Beyond Positive Thinking


Some people would say that “life sucks.”


I adhere to the dictum that “Life is what we make it.” I believe then that when people say that “life sucks” it’s because that’s the way they made it to be. The kind of life we live is defined by the mind-set we have. It is one’s way of thinking that would make life suck.  It is the negative attitude towards life that make people fail in their undertakings – it is what  makes them unhappy and dissatisfied. It’s in the midst of all their failures, sadness and dissatisfaction that  they say “life sucks.”

People are seemingly not sold on the idea that their  way of thinking affects the way  they live life and would determine whether or not they succeed. It is hard for them to accept that it is their innate responsibility to examine their way of thinking and ensure that it doesn’t stand in their way to happiness and success. This is something  I learned so late in life. How I wish I had learned so when I was  younger.

I have heard a lot of things about positive thinking before  but it was only around 2009 that I started digging deeper into the idea and it took a few more years before I really became serious about it.

I realized that there is more to positive thinking than veering away from negative thoughts and shedding off negative attitudes.

It all began when I watched a film entitled “The Secret.” I saw the DVD of the movie by accident. The store owner mixed it with regular movies. When I bought it, I had no idea what it was. There was no synopsis, not even a brief note explaining anything about it. That was it… everything was what the title suggests – SECRET.

I thought it was either a mystery-thriller or a sci-fi movie. When I played, it I found out that it was some kind of a “self-help” film. It was technically a documentary.  I have to admit that at first I  considered the ideas presented as preposterous. Things  I was seeing and hearing from the beginning of the film were like lifted straight from the pages of  a science fiction book… but at the same they also tickled my curiosity.

So, I continued watching and tried to be open-minded and thought of the information in the film as tips for personality development. I have always considered anything that advocates positive change as worth my time and worth trying.  I watched it a few more times after that  and even shared the ideas I learned to my students whenever I would see a connection to the contents of the topic we’re discussing.

Then I decided to do an internet  search for one of the speakers in the documentary who impressed me the most – Bob Proctor. That internet search led me to his (Bob Proctor’s) motivational videos on YouTube and to links to information and videos of other motivational speakers such as Wayne Dyer, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Joe Dispenza, Brendon Burchard, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, Tom Bilyeu, John Maxwell and Mel Robbins.

I watched the videos of the said speakers and searched for electronic copies of the books they have written. At first, it was like once a week that I would play their videos on YoutTube  until such time that I started doing it everyday – in the morning and at night. It became part of my daily routine.

I found out later that Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, and Earl Shoaff came ahead of the motivational speakers previously mentioned. My constant browsing of the internet intended to quench what has seemingly become an insatiable thirst for ideas for personality development  led me  to the works of  one of the “pioneering figures of modern inspirational thoughts” – James Allen. His most famous book – “As A Man Thinketh” – set straight everything I learned about positive thinking.

Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book “Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind” provided enough science into the positive thinking paradigm that wiped out whatever doubts I had about it. I love the way Dr. Wayne Dyer incorporated Asian philosophies into that paradigm and the infusion of practical wisdom and humor to it by Jim Rohn and Les Brown.

Then John C. Maxwell made me think the way I think. His book “Thinking For A Change” reminded me of the value of effective and creative thinking. His suggestions on how to be more focused and creative in the way people should think are very practical but tremendously effective.

I didn’t take  everything I read and heard from motivational speakers hook, line, and sinker. I always had my filters and my critical lens ready when I listened to talks and read books. I analyzed their ideas carefully and (without judging and doubting) tried to see which ones work for me and which writers and speakers make sense.

The one thing those motivational speakers succeeded in doing was to change my mind-set. They taught me how to look at things using a positive perspective. They had confirmed what I believed all along that whatever we become is the sum total of all the decisions we make… that a person is in-charge of his own destiny. It is a personal belief I started forming after reading W.E. Henley’s “Invictus” way back in college.

The process of my personal transformation was rather slow and I got to observe things in my life changing for the better only in 2013.

When positive thinking succeeded in changing my perspectives on life, things in my life improved,  particularly in the areas of relationships, health, work, and  finances.

One day I just woke up and  realized that things are the way that they are. People are who they are. They talk, behave and think the way they want, whether I like it or not.  I can not change them. I can not change the  system of the government, the policies in my workplace, the attitude of my co-workers, the character of my friends and loved ones. The only things I could  change are those that I could control directly  – my words, actions, and my thoughts.  It is my perspective that must change. I need to have paradigm shift as Bob Proctor would put it.

I did exactly that. I changed my perspective and it is continuously evolving.  I’m not saying that everything in my life now is perfect. One thing I could say though is I am happy with who I am, what I have, and where I am. Perhaps the life I live now  is what Brendon Burchard would describe at the end of his videos as – “a charged life.”

I fully embraced self-sufficiency and personal accountability.

People wrongly think that positive thinking is just that – thinking. It’s merely the springboard. Great things happen to people when they start changing their mindset – from negative to positive. What would make positive thinking weave its magic is the corresponding positive actions you undertake.

Positive thinking without positive action doesn’t work. Brian Tracy added one more to the equation – “One must have an organized plan of action.” He added that action without planning is the cause of every failure, underachievement, frustration, time wastage, anxiety, and stress.

So, it’s not just a person needing to think positively and that’s it. Action and planning are needed.

All motivation gurus advocate the setting of goals. They strongly suggest that people should have their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals… on top of their long-term goals.  They also identified two qualities that a person must have in order for positive thinking to work – self-discipline and self-sufficiency.

For me, self-discipline is the most difficult obstacle to hurdle.  Old habits die hard. It’s true, but somehow I am succeeding in slaying the bad ones – albeit slowly.

I know it’s not easy to change one’s perspectives on anything especially if such perspectives are already deeply anchored in the person. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Right? Allow me to be literal on that idiomatic expression and let me add this –  “… but people are not dogs.”


Ang Pagsulat Ng Tula

balagtasHindi madaling sulatin ang tula. Totoong mahirap ang maging makata.

Sa lahat ng dyanra ng panitikan, ang tula ang pinakamahirap sulatin. Hindi gawang biro ang pagsama-samahin sa iisang kabuuan ang mga elemento nitong tugma, sukat, saknong, talinghaga, at kariktan. Kaylangan ding malalim ang balon ng talasalitaan ng sinumang susulat ng tula. Doo’y huhugot siya ng mga salitang katumbas ng damdami’t kaisipang nais ipahayag.

Hindi sa mas madaling magsulat ng maikling kwento o nobela. Hindi rin gawang biro ang pagapangin sa banghay ng kwento ang mga elemento nitong tagpuan, tauhan at tunggalian. Subalit ang mga sumusulat ng kwento ay maginhawang nakakagamit ng maraming pahina hanggang matumbok nila ang kasukdulang ng kwento at marating ang wakas. Si Leo Tolstoy ay nangailangan ng mahigit kalahating milyong salita upang tapusin ang nobela niyang pinamagatang “War and Peace.”

Sa kabilang banda, ang makata’y mayroon lamang isang pahina ng papel, minsan nga kalahati lamang nito, upang ipahayag ng malinaw at buo ang kanyang saloobi’t iniisip. Ang mga Hapon, sa anyo ng tula nilang tinatawag na Haiku, ay kapiranggot na bahagi lang ng papel ang kaylangang gamitin sa dahilang ang naturang tula’y binubuo ng isang saknong lamang na may tatlong taludtod na ang gitna’y may pitong pantig at ang una’t huli’y tig-limang pantig.

May mga dagdag pang hamon sa mga makata kapag kanilang nilakbay ang mundo ng taludturan.

Mahirap bumagtas sa daan ng kalungkutan habang ikaw ay nakangiti. Hindi rin pwedeng sumagwan sa ilog ng kasiyahan habang nakasakay ka sa bangkang yari sa luha. Ang luhang ididilig sa mga taludtod ng tula upang ito’y mamunga ng kalungkutan ay iniigib ng makata sa balon ng mapait niyang mga karanasan.

Tanging ang puno ng kalungkutan ang pwedeng pitasan ng luha at tanging ang hardin ng kasiyahan ang pwedeng tubuan ng nakangiting bulaklak. Kung aakyat ang makata sa puno o dadalaw sa hardin ay nakadepende sa uri ng damdaming nais niyang ipahayag.

Kung meron man ay iilan lamang ang mga makatang kayang humahalhak habang gumagapang sa balag ng malungkot na taluduturan.

Mas magandang pakinggan ang kudyapi ng lumbay kung ito’y hihipan ng isang makatang minsa’y halos malunod sa sariling luha dahil sa isang karanasang nagdulot sa kanya ng matinding kapanglawan. Ang tambuli naman ng kagalakan ay pwede lamang hipan ng makatang narating na ang kasukdulan ng saya na tuwing ito’y naaalala ay nangingiti ito o natatawa kahit siya ay nag-iisa.

Ngunit ang buhay ay isang musikerong tinuturuan ang makata na kayang hipan ang kudyapi ng lumbay o tambuli ng kagalakan sa ano mang pagkakataon na kanyang naiisin.

Kung ang intensyon ng makata’y hasikan ng butil ng luha ang kanyang mga taludtod upang doo’y yumabong ang hapis ay kanyang susundutin ng karayom ang pilat na iniwan ng isang sugat ng kahapon hanggang umagos mula rito ang dugo ng kalungkutan. Hindi ito pagiging masokista bagkus ay isang sakripisyo na dapat gawin ng makata. Dapat kasing nararamdaman niya ang ano mang damdaming nais ilatag sa mga saknong ng kanyang tula.

Kaya nga tunay na alagad ng sining ang makata. Kaya niyang paikutin sa kanyang kamay ang mga emosyon. Katulad ng isang artista sa entablado, umiiyak… matapos ang ilang saglit ay biglang tatawa.

Minsan ay mali ang pakahulugan ng mga tao sa makata. Kapag ang sinulat niya’y puno ng pagsisisi at kalungkutan dahil hiwalayan ang temang binalangkas sa tula ay inaakala ng mga bumabasa na ang makata’y minamahal pa rin ang isang taong nakahiwalayan at nais na ito’y muling bumalik. At ang taong nag-aakalang siya ang pinatutungkulan sa tula’y nagmamalaki’t nagbubunyi.

Huwag kalimutang ang makata’y alagad ng kanyang sining. Ang makata’y hindi alipin ng nakaraan, masaya man o malungkot. Ang tunay na makata’y inaalipin ang nakaraan. Pinaglilingkuran siya nito. Pinagkukunan niya ng ano mang nais sulatin ang panahon lumipas.

Binabalikan ng makata ang nakaraan para maghanap lamang ng  inspirasyon. Binabalikan ng makata ang nakaraan upang may paghugutan ng emosyon…upang siya ay magalit, mainis, mangiti o matawa…upang muling maramdaman kung paano umibig at mabigo…kung paano magtaksil at pagtaksilan…upang muling mangarap…upang muling maramdaman kung paaano mabigo, bumangon at magtagumpay.

Sorry Honey!

tamad“Honey! Sira na yata ang electric fan.”
Ang wika ng kanyang misis kay mang Teban.
“Pakisuyo nga, pwede bang iyong tignan?”
“Sorry darling! I am not an electrician!”

Tila nagulat sa sagot na nadinig,
Napabuntong-hininga kawawang misis,
Tiniis na lamang ang matinding init,
At siya’y nagpatuloy  sa paglilinis.

At nang dumating pang-display na inorder…
“O pakipako na lang nito sa pader.”
At ang sagot ni mang Teban kay kumander,
“Sorry darling! But I am not a carpenter!”

At pagkatapos,  si mang Teba’y nagbihis,
Pasipol-sipol pa nang ito’y umalis,
Iniwan ang asawang inis na inis,
Hating-gabi na nang siya ay bumalik.

Nang ang pintua’y binuksan ni mang Teban,
Siya’y nagulat sa eksenang dinatnan –
Umaandar na ang sirang electric fan…
Si misis – display sa pader, minamasdan.

“Wow! Fixed na pala ang mga problema mo.”
“Yes!” Sagot kay mang Teban ng misis nito.
“Pag-alis mo… may dumaang estranghero,
Pumayag naman siyang tulungan ako.”

“Ngunit ang loko’y may hininging kapalit
Magbake ako ng cake o – kami’y magtalik.”
“Aba, oportunista pala ang lintik.”
Wika ni mang Tebang, halatang naiinis.

“Kaya’t pinagbigyan ko na’t sobrang kulit.”
“Ha? You mean ipinag-bake mo siya ng cake?
Sumagot ang misis, parang kinikilig –
“Sorry honey! I’m not a baker. I shouldn’t bake.”

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