This book is about restoring the unquestionable power of common sense. The following is the introduction for the book.
How much time do you still have to make your dreams come true?
Whenever I ask this question during my motivation seminars, most of the participants couldn’t give an answer. But the answer is really all too simple: None of us knows!
When I was in primary school in my hometown of Gumaca in Quezon province, I thought I had all the time in the world to do everything I wanted to do. So I would just let the day pass doing nothing. I just played around, hung out with friends, neglected my homework and school projects—in short, I enjoyed life as if I had a long-term contract with it. I would do whatever it was I felt like doing at the moment, with no regard at all if it had something to do with what I wanted to do with my life. I often messed up the business of others in the process.
I’d tell myself: Why listen at all to my teacher during class? Why not just pretend to listen, which was easy, but not to really pay attention, which was tough? Besides, I still had to play some unfinished games at home. I’d rather join my playmates who didn’t have the big drag—I didn’t think of studying as an opportunity then—of having to go to school like me.
I thought this way, thinking that I had all the time I needed anyway.
Today, looking back, I realize how much time has passed since then! It has passed too quickly for those who had just wandered around, and too slow for those who had seized every moment of it to realize their dreams.
Lost time is a subject that many people love to talk about—a subject that, in fact, they offer as the lamest of excuses for failing to achieve anything worthwhile in life.
Indeed, as we get older, we realize that we’ve lost so much of the time that was available to us in the past. We’ve lost the most important asset in the world, and it’s indeed heartbreaking to know that we can’t recover any of those losses at all!
For those now in their 40s and 50s who still haven’t achieved their goals and dreams, it’s even more depressing. I can say this based on my personal conversations with many of them.
“How I wish I could have been this-and-that!”
If that sentence sounds familiar, you must have heard it from the old or you yourself are the old saying it.
Don’t get me wrong, though. There’s no need to leave any more room for regret. After all, there’s nothing we can do about the past.
So what needs to be done instead?
In the last four years that I’ve been in the business of helping people develop themselves, I thought it would greatly help them if I could simply get my message of hope across. I always feel the need to bring these philosophies to the fore so that people in their own crossroads can get the chance to decide on how to move on with their lives intelligently. I think it’s absolutely necessary to present to them what I call the tiny, little parcels of truth in life’s personal puzzle.
In the course of my work as a motivational speaker and business consultant, I am able to travel to various parts of the Philippines and to some Asian countries like Thailand and South Korea. During these travels, I find that the most interesting part is when I get asked this oft-repeated question: “What is your secret to success?”
Let me give you my answer straight: “There is no secret.”
And let me tell you this, too: “We know what successful people know but we don’t do what they do.”
In all those years we spent in school, with a company, or in a business, we had been programmed to believe that there are secrets to success.
The world had tricked and mesmerized us into seeking out successful people to find out straight from their mouths what their success secrets are. We thus always feel the need to ask what those secrets are!
Not only that. Over the years, our minds have been conditioned to pay more attention to other people’s grand successes rather than to our own daily personal achievements. In contrast, we haven’t given any attention at all to their everyday activities—like their ways of thinking, their ways of dealing with people and situations. This being the case, our belief system has become overfocused on “watching them” rather than on “watching myself.”
Most of the time, we find ourselves envying successful people whom we thought weren’t any smarter than us. We always find it easier to pity ourselves than work on our own personal development.
The truth, though, is that there’s no secret to success—only obvious reasons for success. Try to ask successful people whom you know and chances are you’re going to hear what you already know. They succeeded because they applied their knowledge of this truth in their lives.
No matter how hard you may look around, you couldn’t find any secret that these people may be keeping for themselves. Think about it for a second. Isn’t it true that their life stories are so public that you can easily know them by browsing the Internet? And isn’t it true that when they tell you their “secrets,” you can’t help but nod and say, “Oh yeah, of course I know that!”
This book, The Obvious Reasons for Success, is a collection of bits of wisdom that I learned literally from the gutter when I was still living in a depressed area in Manila; from enclaves of the wealthy like Forbes Park in Makati City in the Philippines, where I would meet top business owners during the first months of my study of the reasons for their success; from ordinary people with whom I’ve associated all these years; and from extraordinary people who had patiently answered my questions about the “secrets” of their success.
Practically all of wisdom you’ll read here are “obvious” themselves. We see them every day—most of them coming from the streets and known by average individuals. Yet these are the same philosophies used and applied over the years by the world’s greatest and most successful people. Indeed, I believe that they are basic laws that, if remembered and put into action now, could turn your life around overnight. Yes, that’s right, overnight!
This book is also meant to remind you that everything that can help you succeed is there right before your eyes, close to your ears, and deep down in your very own heart. From its pages, you’re going to learn about certain laws of nature that I’ve used as a metaphor to explain my ideas about success. I didn’t create these laws; I have simply packaged these laws so they can enhance the understanding of the points I would like to make.
In your quest to create your very own success, always remember to establish great rapport with these natural laws, for they are meant to remind you of the true principles of survival and triumph. In the process, may you become wise enough to discern what’s best for you and for the people you love. May you find your meaning and reason to make your dreams of success come true as quickly as you can.
Makati City, Philippines
September 21, 2008