August 14, 2014
Favor: For those who are 47+ years old and above, hope you can answer this survey on Life Lessons on Living Awesomely in Your 40's
When I turned 30 in 2004, I had married my hottie college crush, worked for the biggest multinational company in the Philippines, and lived the life I envisioned after graduating from university.
But something was missing. My life was not fulfilling. There was a nagging feeling that I was being called for a higher purpose.
At the same time, I felt a baton was being passed on to our generation. The battle of the generation before us was the fight for Freedom from Dictatorship. In a sense, that generation succeeded in winning independence but failed in making a lasting difference during the transition.
It was our generation's responsibility to make things happen for the Philippines. We felt that we had to jump start the journey to becoming a First World nation. We took the baton, accepted the responsibility, and met the challenge head-on.
After 10 years, I can't help but reflect on the life lessons I've learned along the way. From quitting my day job and deciding to do full-time blogging for Our Awesome Planet, to conceptualizing the Ultimate Taste Test event, to creating the Mercato Centrale Night Markets with my partner RJ, to Coaching and Mentoring Entrepreneurs in the Maven Secrets Program, and to becoming one of the top food & travel blogs not only in the Philippines and Southeast Asia but in the world--it's been quite a journey so far.
Here are my 10 Life Lessons on Living Awesomely in Your 30's...
1. You are remembered for your Successes, not your Failures
They say you have to start your business when you are in your 30's or you will be a corporate slave forever. Most people are afraid to start because they're afraid to fail. I learned that you will fail a lot. Only 10-20% of your projects will probably succeed.
Good thing I learned that people remember you for your successes and forget your failures.
For better chances of success, start as many initiatives as possible. Create a minimum viable product and see if it takes off. If it does, make sure to capitalize on it and do more of that. The rule of thumb is to start 10 projects so you could increase the possibility of having at least one of them be successful.
You need to be able to understand the meaning of failure. It does not reflect your worth as a person. Rather, it just means you are on the wrong path; you either have to turn left or right, or sometimes even stop and make a U-turn.
The entrepreneurial endeavors of Filipinos will have a huge impact on the success of the Philippines. If you want to be part this business revolution, start your business now while in your 30's. Don't be afraid to fail.
2. Invest to Force Your Savings
The best way to save is to force yourself to invest. Make sure that you are forced to invest in something worthwhile at any point in time. Don't tell me that you don't know anything about finance...that's not a valid excuse.
Buying a car, spending your money on clothes, eating out, and traveling are NOT ways to invest your money.
Invest in assets that appreciate--land, stocks/equities of successful businesses, and your own business.
Invest in insurance for you and your family. Buy as many insurance policies as possible while in your 30's to reap the maximum benefits in your later years.
Invest in a professional hobby--make money from the things that you love to do. Creating your own own brand, product, or blog is one of the best things you can do with your money.
3. Define your Ultimate Day
If you can live out your daily routine over and over again, without getting tired of it, what would it be?
You can't eat lechon all day for the rest of your life without getting tired of it. You can't play PS4 or Minecraft all day without getting bored after a few days. You can't just travel everyday without a purpose.
What is your Ultimate Day? Defining it is the first step in living an awesome life.
For me, I wanted to have a life not only blessed with financial freedom but with the time and mobility to be with my family, in places that we want to be.
I wanted to be paid for what I loved doing--discovering yummy food and enjoying awesome travel experiences around the world.
I wanted to enjoy my ultimate day with family, close friends, and people I respect and trust. I envisioned laughing all day on the beach, reminiscing the old days, and collaborating on how to make the world a better place.
4. Anticipate Trends and Capitalize on them before everyone else
One of my biggest competitive advantages in life and in business is that I'm able to analyze multiple data, correlate based on my gut feel, and distinguish between a trend and a fad.
Some say that all successful businesses are chamba. They were able to pick a winning idea without knowing it, and capitalize on it before everybody else.
Anticipating trends means knowing the headlines a month before they're published in the papers.
They say any successful business needs 2 types of founders: One who can spot the trend, and another who can execute plans very well and benefit from the opportunities. It's rare to have both in one person.
To quote Larry Page, Google Founder, in a TED Talk interview: “The main thing that has caused companies to fail, in my view, is that they missed the future,” he said. “For me, I just tried to focus on that: What is that future going to be, and how do we create it?”
How did I learn to spot trends? It's both science and art, coupled with a healthy dose of humility in acknowledging that you don't know everything.
I sought out experts and listened to people with great insights and wisdom. Most people pretend to have these, but once you find the authentic ones, you'd know it.
I observed the "flow" of people, understanding where they were in the cycle of development. You have to travel and meet others from different networks to get a feel for this.
Lastly, I accepted that I was only as good as my last idea. This pushed me to keep conceptualizing and exploring. Being perpetually curious about life and what motivates people in their life stages is the key to spotting the next big idea.
5. Create your own "Avengers" Team
Life is full of challenges, so accept that you cannot face them all on your own. Surround yourself with the best and most passionate people that you know.
It's been said that a person's success is the average of the closest people surrounding them and the books in their library. Who are the people around you? What books do you feed your mind with?
Think of your business life as a mystery game where you have to discover the clues and fit the pieces of the puzzle together. You have to distinguish between the heroes and the bad guys, and create your own "Avengers" team to help you achieve the impossible.
How do you find the good guys in a world dominated by bad guys?
I recommend creating a mastermind group of the successful people that you know and respect, who are willing to share their time, knowledge, and talent in a mutually beneficial and profitable learning environment.
Join a young business group/association like the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila. Its current members and alumni are among the well-respected business leaders in Manila.
Invest in meeting people one-on-one. You'll find that you attract the people with the same business values as you. I've discovered that, across many fields, the best ones are energized to meet others and mentor the next generation of leaders.
6. Teach yourself a new skill; Reinvent yourself
(Copyright : Marek Uliasz / 123RF Stock Photo)
Step 1: Remove the word - "I Can't" from your vocabulary.
Step 2: Determine your best learning modality. Do you learn best by doing? By having a dedicated coach? By listening to an audio book? By watching an instructional video? Or by having a learning buddy?
Step 3: Learn something new every 90 days. Teach yourself a new hobby, learn a new skill, speak a new language, play a new instrument, or engage in a new sport.
The internet is the great equalizer because you have unprecedented access to knowledge and you have access to markets outside your physical boundaries.
Take note though: It's also a double-edged sword. You can easily get overwhelmed, lost, and confused in an ocean of content that is worthless without the proper context.
I taught myself how to tell stories through photos. I realized that this is the most important skill in blogging.
I learned Internet Marketing with both good and bad teachers, and realized how to distinguish between the two. The bad ones teach you what worked well in the past, while the good ones teach you what will work in the future.
Finally, I learned how to unlearn and become a child-like again in my re-education, being constantly curious and excited about learning new things.
7. Celebrate "Filipino-ness"
I must admit, there was a time when I was ashamed to be Filipino--probably a result of having the various colonizers of our country gradually (and successfully) instill in generations of Filipinos the belief that they are more superior.
After exploring so many places in the Philippines, interacting with so many of our countrymen, and blogging about those experiences for 10 years, I now have a better appreciation of our heritage. I realized how our forefathers were very resilient, courageous, and determined.
All those traits are still evident in the DNA of present-day Filipinos. That's why it's great to know we are gaining a deeper understanding of who we are as a people, celebrating our diversity and unity.
"Filipino-ness" is the awesomeness of the Filipinos, drawing mainly from three cultural traits:
1). Warm Hospitality. We have the biggest smiles in Asia.
2). A Sense of Family. We have very close family ties--we eat, travel, live and die together. Basically, walang iwanan.
3). Fear of the Lord. We live with a purpose; our life is an offering in the service of our Almighty God.
8. Travel is the Best Teacher
I'm addicted to travel. The travel bug first bit when I visited the beautiful beaches in our country (and it hasn't let go of me ever since).
Traveling is the best teacher. You learn from different cultures, see the bigger picture, and get to put your life in the context of the world around you. You can't help but marvel at how beautiful all of creation is.
Make it a point to discover one country at a time, one culture at a time, and savor the food one flavor at a time.
It's not a contest on who has the most passport stamps, the most selfies around the globe, or most items crossed off on one's checklist.
The journey is more important than the destination itself.
In your 30's, make sure to try and do the following trips, where you can get the maximum learning experience for your money:
1). Visit the Holy Land. Israel is the land where Jesus walked 2,000 years ago. Being here gives you a good sense that the stories in the Bible really happened.
2). Experience Berlin. It's one of those cities with a colorful past and the most vibrant migrant culture I've ever visited. They value sustainability, quality of life, and privacy.
3). Travel Through South East Asia. In a quest to discover our roots, you'll begin to realize that our forefathers were part of a much bigger Southeast Asia family.
9. Understand that Money is an After-effect, not a Goal
I frequently get asked how I make money from blogging. I learned throughout my 30's that most people ask the wrong question/s. You don't make money. You create value in people's lives and the money is an after-effect of the value that you create.
If you want to "make more money", you have to create more value. Think of it as a reward from the universe for the good things you do for your fellow men.
There are three effective ways to have more money in your life:
1). Solve a Problem in Society. This is easier said than done. You need to know the motivations, context, and aspirations of a certain group to understand the problem and provide a solution for it.
2). Align with your Life's Purpose. As you start your entrepreneurial journey, I highly recommend that you discern your purpose in life. All of us have a mission to fulfill in this world, and if we align our life to that mission, all the graces and money will flow to you to support you.
3). Tithe 10% of your Earnings to the Community responsible for your Spiritual Development. It works like magic. The more you give, the more you will receive. As they say, you receive God's best when you acknowledge His presence and contribution in your life.
10. Health is Wealth...Seriously
Older people all over the world always say that health is wealth. In contrast, young people like saying #YOLO--You Only Live Once--so enjoy every moment of it, but sometimes to the detriment of their health.
In my 30's, I failed in this aspect overall. I did run two 42km marathons, play and excel in badminton, and go to the gym a number of times. But I thought that health was like a project where you could focus on it only at certain points in time, and ignore it in between.
I failed to realize that health is the sum of your lifestyle choices and a product of your self-discipline. I struggled in my 30's; and as I approach the 40-year milestone, I know this is something I cannot ignore anymore and simply cover up with a hashtag.
As your mortality catches up with you, you regret eating all that unhealthy stuff and making bad decisions on how to live your life.
Lifestyle Change is a vague concept until you see its implications as you get older.
I guess it's a good thing that they say Healthy Life begins in your 40's...
My 30's could probably be best described as an "Entrepreneurial Reinvention". It is my hope that the 30-year olds out there will find what I've shared helpful and inspiring.
Looking back has made me excited to enter my 40's with a renewed vigor and a deeper sense of our "Filipino-ness".
I dedicate this new stage of my life to my 4 boys and to the next generation of Awesome Filipinos. I pray that God will continue to bless us all with success and abundance.
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. I wrote this article with my own biases, opinions, and learnings. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. A quick favor for those who are 47+ years old and above...
It would be great if you could fill up the 5-question survey on Life Lessons on Living Awesomely in Your 40's. Rest assured, your answers will be completely anonymous (unless you want me to credit you by leaving your name).
I plan to publish the results of the survey here by the end of August, in celebration of my 40th birthday.