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Category Archives: Self-sufficiency

On Personal Accountability

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One of my favorite poems is W.E. Henley’s “Invictus.” I read it for the first time in my literature class way back in college. That was the time when I started to ask a lot of questions about many things – not the way a curious child would but the way a young adult searching for a personal identity ought to. The poem  impressed upon me a strong belief. It created a mind-set, a value that helped shaped who I am now – that a person is in-charge of his own destiny. That whatever (or whoever) a person becomes is the sum total of all the decisions he makes.

For me, the day a person says “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul” is the day that he is embracing personal accountability.  Thenceforth he becomes responsible for his words, thoughts, and actions and whatever decisions he makes he ought to  own them. If he succeeds and becomes happy as a result of  his decisions he will take the full credit and benefits. Conversely, should he fail, should he not succeed  in his boldness to take on the challenges of life refusing help from anyone, he knows there’s nobody to blame, not even himself. He acknowledges that being self-sufficient is not a fault. Recognizing that each person has his own mountain to climb and that it is wrong to become an additional burden to anybody  is a virtue, not a fault.

It is the person who makes himself a burden to his fellowmen that should be faulted. He should be faulted for not making himself personally accountable for his own life. He should be faulted for thinking that it is the responsibility of his fellowmen to help him. Yes, “no man is an island” but each person should think that nobody could force anyone to offer help. Helping is something that nobody could demand from anyone. It flows naturally from the generosity of a pure heart.

Believe that people know when somebody really needs help. The good-hearted among them would definitely offer a hand. However, they are also wise, they are capable of determining if the problems a person is facing resulted from his unwillingness to embrace personal accountability. They know if a person is stuck in a hole dug by his own laziness and vices. They know that that person does not deserve help. Never assume that generous people are dumb. No person should push himself to the edge because of his irresponsibility thinking that somebody would hold his hand before he  falls to the bottom of regrets. Nobody might and he would come crashing down to his certain demise.

The person who acknowledges personal accountability blames neither himself nor anyone when he fails in his undertakings. Instead of falling into the deadly trap of the blame game, he tries to figure out what went wrong and learn from his mistakes. He considers failures as pathways to attainment. He won’t stop until he succeeds, no matter how many times he fails.

On the other hand, a person without it (personal accountability) blames not himself but others for all his failures. For whatever misfortunes he encounters it is always someone else’s fault. When he fails in his relationships, the other party is to be blamed for failing to satisfy the standards he set. When he resigns from his job, it’s because his co-workers and his boss suck. When he could not find a new job, he blames the government. Even for simple matters like  coming late for an appointment he would  put the blame on someone or something else – like the traffic and the weather.

Heaven forbid that he also  blames his parents for their being poor (if his parents are) and their being unable to leave a fortune he could inherit. Heaven forbid that he blames his siblings and relatives, branding them selfish  for not sharing their blessings to him.

The list of people and things he blames for his bad luck and adversities is so long but has forgotten to put himself on top of it.

It is not difficult to identify a person who is allergic to personal accountability. He is the one who whines at everything and whinges every time. He is never satisfied. His standards of excellence are so high that it seems none of the geniuses, past or present, could ever earn his approval.

For the person who lacks personal accountability there is always something wrong. The problem is he offers no solution to the wrongs and ills he sees. Compounding the dilemma is his strong sense of entitlement feeling that people around him should find a solution to his own problems. He is not satisfied not helping find solutions to problems, he also wants others to solve his own.

It is not obligatory for any person to offer solutions to all the wrongs and ills – to fight all evils. Voluntarism is a rare virtue. And if you’re not that  somebody with a strong sense of personal accountability who would come forward to resolve the problems, if you could not offer a solution to the problems,  please don’t add up to the problem. Be not the problem.

At least, each person is being called upon to tread the path of self-sufficiency. Take care of you own problems and don’t bother others for them, directly or indirectly.  Self-sufficiency is the starting point to the journey to personal accountability.

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Pananagutan Sa Sarili

s3Kapag ba late kang dumating sa trabaho, sa isang okasyon, oh sa klase, kanino mo ibinubunton ang sisi? Siyempre pa eh ‘di sa walang kamalay-malay na traffic. Kapag masama ang panahon at maulan, baha naman ang may sala kaya hindi ka  sumipot sa takdang oras. Sa mga sumunod na pagkakataon na na-late ka nanaman, dahil gasgas na ang dahilang “Traffic eh!” at hindi naman umuulan para sabihin mong “Baha kasi!” eh ang sinisi mo naman ay ang alarm clock – hindi gumana. Tama ba?

Noong nagkahiwalay kayo ng karelasyon mo o nagkagalit kayo ng kamag-anak, kaybigan, o kapitbahay  mo, sino ang may kasalanan? Eh di siyempre hindi ikaw. Halos nakakatiyak akong sa kabilang partido mo ibinunton ang sisi. Kesyo masama ang ugali niya o nila, hindi marunong makisama, walang pinag-aralan, at bastos.

Ang punto eh hindi ka nauubusan ng pagbubuntunan ng sisi. Napakahaba kaya ng listahan mo ng mga dapat sisihin. Basta may nangyaring hindi maganda sa buhay mo o may pangyayaring hindi sumasangayon sa iyong kagustuhan, eh pilit mong hahanapin kung sino  ang dapat managot kung bakit nagkaganoon?

Naalaala ko tuloy ang kuwento ni Jim Rohn, isang kilalang personalidad sa larangan ng “personal growth and development”. Isang araw daw eh tinanong siya ng kanyang mentor na si Earl Shoaf, “Jim, curious lang ako, bakit hanggang ngayon eh parang hindi ka pa umaasenso?” Para daw huwag naman siyang magmukhang parang walang kadiska-diskarte sa buhay, ang ginawa ni Jim eh inilista niya sa isang papel ang mga may kagagawan kung bakit hindi niya maiangat ang kanyang kalagayan sa buhay.

Heto ang mga isinulat ni Jim Rohn sa kanyang listahan – pamahalaan, ekonomiya, panahon, traffic, pamamalakad ng kumpanya nila, mga walang kwentang kamag-anak at kapitbahay, at mga taong nakapaligid sa kanya.

Sino ang madalas sinisisi ng mga taong hindi makahanap ng trabaho? Eh ‘di siyempre ang pamahalaan. Tungkulin daw ng mga nasa poder ng kapangyarihan na tiyakin na ang mga mamamayan ay magkaroon ng oportunidad na makapagtrabaho.

Tama naman sila. Pero meron bang bansa sa alin mang bahagi ng mundo na kayang bigyan ang bawat mamamayan nila ng trabaho? Meron bang bansa na kung saan ang mga pribadong kumpanya at negosyo, maliit man o malaki, ay kayang i-hire ang lahat ng gustong magtrabaho?

Sa pagkakaalam ko’y wala. Mahirap tanggapin pero iyan ang katotohanan.

Balikan natin ang uapan nina Jim Rohn at Earl Shoaf.

Matapos daw basahin ni Jim ang listahan ng kung sino (at ano) ang dapat sisihin kung bakit hindi siya umaasenso eh tinanong siya ni Earl – “Bakit wala ang pangalan mo sa listahan?” Ang ibig sabihin ni Earl ay bakit tila yata sa hindi pag-angat sa buhay ni Jim noong panahong iyon eh ni katiting eh parang wala siyang pagkukulang.

Ikaw ba? Hindi mo ba kahit kaylan naisip na maaring ikaw mismo ang dahilan kung bakit hindi ka umaasenso at kinakaharap mo ang mga problemang meron ka?

Bakit mo sinisisi ang traffic at baha sa hindi mo pagsipot sa takdang oras sa lugar n na dapat mong puntahan? Tapos sasabihin mo nanaman na inutil ang mga lider ng bansa dahil hindi nila magawan ng paraan na solusyonan ang problema sa traffic. Sige nga, sagutin mo ito – “Sino ba ang nagluklok sa pwesto sa mga taong nasa poder ng kapangyarihan ngayon?” Ah… hindi mo sila ibinoto. O sige, eh iyon bang mga ibinoto mo noon, ano ang nagawa nila para sa bayan? Nawala ba ang traffic at baha noong panahon ng mga politikong sa tingin mo eh mas magaling at matino kaysa sa mga nakaupo ngayon?

At teka, kaninong ugali ba talaga ang hindi maganda kaya nakagalit mo ang taong kagalit mo ngayon? Sila ba talaga?

Sa palagay mo, ano ang ginawa ni Jim Rohn matapos sabihin iyon ni Earl Shoaf? Heto ang ginawa niya – nilamukos niya at itinapon sa basurahan ang listahan ng mga  sinisi kung bakit hindi maganda ang itinatakbo ng pamumuhay niya. Gumawa siya ng bagong listahan. Isa na lamang ang isinulat niya – kanyang pangalan. Tinanggap niyang siya, at tanging siya lamang, ang dahilan kung bakit hindi umaasenso ang kanyang buhay. Siya ang may pagkukulang. Tinanggap niyang hindi puwedeng iaasa kahit kanino ang ating tagumpay. Noon nagsimulang maging maayos ang takbo ng kanyang buhay.

O ngayon, sagutin mo ito – bakit hindi ka makahanap ng trabaho? Naghanap ka bang talaga? Baka naman ang gusto mo eh ikaw ang hanapin ng trabaho? Baka naman kaya wala kang mapasukan eh masyado kang maselan. Tanggapin mo kung anong trabaho ang nababagay sa iyong kakayahan o tinapos.

Tandaan mo rin sanang may kompetisyon. Katulad mo, marami ding iba na naghahanap ng pagkakakitaan. Sa isang trabahador o empleyado na kaylangan eh maaring dalawa, tatlo, o higit pa kayo na pinagpipilian. Kung ikaw ang pinakamagaling, ikaw tiyak ang mapipili. Kaya’t pananagutan mo sa iyong sarili na iangat ang iyong kaalaman at kakayahan sa napili o kinabilangan mong karera o larangan para magkaroon ka ng bentahe sa iba.

Huwag mong ikahiya kung pagsasaka, o pangingisda, o pagakakarpintero, o pagtitinda ang siyang napili o kinaya mong gawing pagkakakitaan. Hindi naman kasi lahat ng tao eh makakapagtapos ng pagaaaral at magiging propesyonal. Pero hindi nangangahulugan na tanging ang mga nakapagtapos lang ng pagaaral ang puwedeng magtagumpay sa buhay. Ayon sa isang pagaaral, tatlo sa bawas sampung bilyonaryo ay hindi nakapagtapos ng kolehiyo. Kasama diyan ang mga pinakasikat na college dropouts na sina Mark Zuckerberg (CEO ng Facebook) at Bill Gates (founder ng Microsoft). Kung meron kang skill o talent, pagyamanin mo. Maaring iyan ang magiging tuntungan mo para matupad ang mga pangarap mo sa buhay

Meron ding mga tao na ayaw talagang mamasukan, may pinag-aralan man sila o wala, dahil mas gusto nilang magtayo ng sariling negosyo. Bakit hindi mo subukan?

Kung ayaw mo namang magnegosyo at wala kang makitang trabaho sa Pilipinas bakit hindi mo subukan ang mangibang-bansa? Kanya-kanya tayo ng diskarte o pamamaraan para pagandahin ang kalagayan natin sa buhay. May makikita kang trabaho o pagkakakitaan kung maghahanap ka.

Pananagutan sa sarili na humanap ng paraan upang mabuhay ng matiwasay at maunlad. Responsibilidad mo na tiyakin na magkakaroon ka ng kaalaman at  kakayahan upang itaguyod mo ang iyong sarili at pamilya. Huwag mong iasa sa mga ibinoto mong kandidato, o kahit kanino pa man, ang iyong kinabukasan. Huwag kang magmaktol dahil mahirap ang mga magulang mo kaya hindi ka nakapagaral. Marami kayang nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral sa kolehiyo na hindi umaasa sa kanilang mga magulang na batid nilang wala namang kakayahang pinansyal. Huwag kang magdamdam sa mga kamag-anak mong mapepera na ni singkong duling eh hindi ka maabutan. Hindi nila responsibilidad na  tulungan ka. Magpasalamat ko kung may tutulong sa iyo. Pero kung wala eh ganoon lang talaga ang buhay.

O, ano na ang balak mong gawin sa listahan ng mga tao at bagay na sinisisi mo sa hindi pagbuti ng kalagayan mo sa buhay? Lamukusin mo na iyan at itapon.

Dapat mong malaman na ano man ang estado mo ngayon sa buhay, ang lahat ng iyan ay ikaw ang may kagagawan. Huwag mong isisi kahit kanino. Ang tagumpay mong naabot o kabiguang pasan… ang maganda mong kalusugan o sakit na iniinda… ang kaligayahan mong nararamdam o lungkot na sa puso mo dumadagan – lahat ng iyan ay resulta ng mga ginawa mong tama at maling desisyon sa buhay. Hindi ka batang paslit para hindi mo malaman  kung ano ang kakahinatnan ng mga bagay na ginawa at hindi mo ginawa.

Katulad ng madalas nating sabihin, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”

A Learning Experience

friends(A Personal Essay)

I had an experience during my vacation in the Philippines that made me revisit the issue of self-sufficiency – of not expecting anybody to help you when you’re in dire straits – of not assuming that all those that you think are your friends would help you.

Anyway, the situation I was in at that time was not really a matter of life and death. I did not do anything messy or put myself in a difficult situation that necessitated rescuing. I just needed a little assistance, one that would not require those that I approached to spend a significant amount of time – not money. I was just requesting for information.

I was then about to travel to a certain place in the Philippines with my family and some friends during the winter break. Something I am not fond of doing is travelling, local or international. In short, the travel bug have yet to bite me. I have extra budget to spend should I decide to be a “Dora the Explorer” but it is not on top of my priority list at the moment.

What’s my point in emphasizing that I don’t have that itch to travel? That because of it, I am not familiar with some of the nitty-gritty details involved in travelling – except those that involve travelling to and from South Korea because I have been doing it for the past 6 years.  But even those travels that I did from Manila to South Korea would just be from the airport to my workplace. Most of the time I was alone and I had to fend only for myself and I would always opt to sleep in one of the available benches at the Incheon International Airport if I had to wait the following day for the next bus that would take me to my destination. I consider as impractical letting go of a “Benjamin” or two for a few hours in a hotel.

So, for the first time (in my life) that I would be travelling with a group of people and I would be in charge of everything – including securing a place where we could stay overnight. I never had such a task before so I needed some help to ensure that I don’t  mess things up. That was when I thought of the two friends residing in that place where we were  intending to go.

The reason I took the courage to bother them was I know they are familiar with the place and I presumed that they may have relatives or some friends who own transient houses there. Of course I know I could do some online booking for hotels but I was trying to save as much money as I could that time and staying in any of the popular hotels in that place would make my expenses double if not triple.

One of them responded but that friend told me of a name of a hotel that sounds like it’s expensive.

The other one I asked help from did not bother to answer back when I expressed my purpose. Honestly, that caught me by surprise. Hearing from that friend something like “Sorry, but I can’t help you because…” would have been better. I may be a little sensitive but I did not expect that kind of non-response from that friend.

It was my fault to expect something from somebody. Momentarily that I have forgotten that it is not the moral obligation of anybody to respond to my requests. I forgot that I should not feel entitled.

But I am a person who could always take NO (or SORRY) for an answer. I would also say the same when I have to.

Still, I gave that friend time to respond. I know that that friend was able to read the message I sent through Facebook messenger. After one day, there was nothing.

It was then that I realized that my very reliable friends – Facebook and Google – could probably help me find transient houses in the place we wanted to visit. I was right and how stupid of me not to have thought of that before I tried to bother other people for that very simple problem. I was so wrong to think that only the expensive hotels could think of using the Internet to advertise their business. I discovered that even the cheapest transient houses in that place do the same. But I was more wrong to think  that that person would be kind enough to respond to a simple request for an information.

Anyway, I got what I wanted – a not-so-expensive but a tidy and comfy transient house.

After I closed the deal with the owner of the transient house through a phone call, I informed that friend who kindly responded to me that I had already found one. I thanked that friend and he wished me, my family, and my friends a happy vacation – which we had.

Then, I messaged my other friend who decided to disregard me. I apologized to that friend for the bother I caused. That friend did not also respond to my apology.

I am not judging that person who I thought considers me a friend. Perhaps I was also wrong in presuming that we were friends.

So, I decided to put it down to experience. Lesson learned.  I should thank that friend for reminding me to be completely self-sufficient  – for reminding me that rare are friends who would help us when we are really in need.

Rare are friends who would help us when we are really in need. Treasure them and never abuse their generosity and kindness. They will not demand it but reciprocate their good deeds if and when we could.

Remember this: A true friend, like true love, is hard to come by.

 

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