What Happens When Love Fails You?

heart-breakPhoto from healthline.com

Being in love is a glorious feeling.

Suddenly the sun seems to shine brighter and each day feels like it’s better than the last. We all want to be in love – to meet Mr. Right, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. I grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales and vegetables. So naturally, I wanted my own happy ending.

But what if love fails you?

Today a friend of mine shared me the link to a blog post by Tricia Centenera, the now-estranged wife of Filipino actor/singer/performer Gab Valenciano. I’m not a follower of her blog but after reading her post ..And So It Begins, perhaps now I will be. The post was about her broken marriage with husband Gab Valenciano. It was short but poignant – obviously straight from the heart.

gab-valenciano-and-tricia-weddingPhoto from http://www.starstyle.ph

In the beginning, they were so in love. In fact, they got married three times. Once in Las Vegas and twice in the Philippines. But from being so in love, her marriage went from fairy tale to a nightmare after just less than 2 years of being together. She had never felt so broken and devastated before.

What do you do if you are hurt by the person who is supposed to protect you?

What if love fails you?

Human love can be a fickle thing. It can be perfect today and a disaster tomorrow. That’s why you can’t place all your faith on another person. Sooner or later, disappointments will come. Most issues can be worked on – if both of you are willing. But if one gives up, then saving the relationship will be next to impossible.

The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it.
-Nicholas Sparks

There is only one love that will stand the test of time. One love that will remain the same from now until forever. One love that will never fail you. That is the love of our Savior.

Romans 5:8
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What if love fails me?

Then I would do what I have always sought to do – focus on Christ’s love for me. People may disappoint me, but I know the Lord never will.

Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.
C.S. Lewis

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

The Value of Submission

yield-to-god

Photo from godlypraise.blogspot.com

When you read the old testament, there are hundreds of rules given out by God that the Israelites must follow. At first I thought, that must be so oppressive and burdensome for them. But as I got to know God more, I realized that the rules were there mainly for the Israelites. Left to their own devices, they could become pretty destructive. Even with God guiding them, they still rebelled, complained and turned away from Him several times.

It’s easy to think that the Israelites must be a bunch of really hard-headed people. But when I look at my own life, I realize that I’m a lot like them. I used to dislike following rules and was really stubborn. If I didn’t understand a particular rule, I would not follow it. I also wasn’t very submissive.

Knowing God has changed my perspective on submission. Daily study of the bible and the desire to really know Him will change you. It will soften your heart and change your desires. And although I still don’t understand some of God’s ways I have made a commitment to submit to Him and to those he has appointed to guide me.

Last year, two churchmates of mine got married. They were both active members of CCF and had multiple ministries. After their wedding our Dgroup leader met them and encouraged them to take a year off from their ministries to focus on building their marriage. I didn’t understand it at first because, ministry is important, right? Then this morning I came across Deuteronomy 24:5. That was when I understood the wisdom of his advice.

Deuteronomy 24:5

If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

It is important for newlyweds to focus on their marriage on the first year so they can give it time to strengthen and mature before they face other responsibilities. The challenge of marriage is that it puts two very different people under one roof, 24/7. So the first year is a critical adjustment period for the couple to adjust to each other and ease into married life. Just like a gardener takes care of his seedlings in a pot before transplanting it into the field, a marriage is meant to be protected from outside pressures. By protecting your marriage from too many distractions and outside pressures, you’ll allow it grow strong enough to endure the trials of (married) life.

Following advice that you don’t at first understand is tough. But our mentors, leaders and parents have wisdom beyond our years. And if we listen and follow their advice, it is us who will benefit. Even if we don’t like our leaders, we are still called to submit and obey – for all authority has been put there by God. The only time we should not obey our leaders is when they ask us to do something that is morally wrong and contrary to the bible’s teachings.

Romans 13:1

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Obedience is the best evidence of a life lived for God. For if we hear but don’t obey, then we are no different from non-believers.

Last year, when my boyfriend and I were still friends, he asked the permission of our Dgroup leader if he could pursue me. Instead of giving his blessing, our Dgroup leader encouraged him to pursue God first before pursuing me. You see, he had just accepted Christ in his life so he first needed to grow spiritually before turning his attention to other pursuits. He followed our leader’s advice and “protected” his new relationship with God by focusing on Him. It was only a year after, with our Dgroup leader and my moms blessing, that he finally pursued me. During that year of waiting, he was able to grow his relationship with God. Now that we’re together, our relationship is way better because he has matured spiritually.

Submitting to authority is often not easy to do. Especially if we want something (or someone) and want it now. Sometimes it is seen as a weakness. But it takes a great man to bow down low. And it takes great humility to submit.

Are you struggling with a person of authority right now? It may be your husband, your parents, your boss or the government. There is wisdom in submission. And I believe it is something that we ought to practice in our lives.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

The Power of Clarity

goal_setting

Photo from getentrepreneurial.com

One thing that successful people have in common is clarity. They are very specific about the goals that they want to achieve.

It makes sense. How can you get what you want if you don’t know (or are not very clear) about what you want? Goal setting has always been an effective way for me to reach my goals. I would sit down, and write down what I want.

One of the things I learned in nursing was that you had to set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

A friend of mine said, “My goal is to be happy.” That’s a reasonable goal. I, too, want to be happy. I mean, who wants to be miserable? To be happy is a good goal. But it’s not very SMART. How do you define happiness? Is it having a happy family? Traveling the world? Being successful in your career? A vague goal is hard to achieve. So it’s important to be as specific as possible.

Or let’s say your goal is to be “financially independent.” How do you define financial independence? Is it an income of P50,000 a month? P500,000 month? Or 1 million a month? Also, set a realistic deadline. If you earn P20,000 a month now, saying that you would like to have a million pesos next month isn’t very realistic. Maybe you can start with P50,000, then P100,000 and so on. Once you’ve set a specific and realistic goal, put a deadline. When would you like to achieve your goal of financial independence? This year, next year, or in five years?

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

-Napoleon Hill

We first have to be clear about our goals. When our goals are clear, then we will be able to come up with how we can achieve them. The “what” comes first. The “how” comes after.

Whatever you want, write them down. Draw pictures. Pinterest your goals. Seeing them clearly will motivate you to work towards achieving them. We humans are intrinsically teleological creatures. The word teleology comes from the greek word telos which means meaning or purpose. This means that we are very goal-oriented. We function better when we know what the purpose for our labor is. What the end goal is.

Humans are capable of intentionally pursuing goals that they consciously set for themselves, and thus a different order of teleology applies to them, one which places them in the domain of ethics and politics.

– Monte Ransome Johnson

When I was in high school, I dreamt of being the CEO of my own company. I wanted to run my own business and have the time of my life doing it. Fast forward 13 years later and that dream has come true.

I don’t believe that I’m better than anyone. In fact, there are tons of people that I can think of who are way better than I am. But it’s not about having a high IQ, it’s about setting SMART goals and working on them.

Matthew 7:7-8

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

We all have goals we want to achieve. The question is, have you taken the time to actually write them down?

If you haven’t perhaps you can take the time to do them today.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

What Art Do You Make?

I’ve always equated art with painters and musicians. But according the Seth Godin in his book Leap First, art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

There’s a small village in China that reproduces paintings as fast as they can. Based on Godin’s definition of art, although these people are painters, they aren’t artists. An artist is someone who gives his all to create something of value from the heart. Therefore, anyone can be and should be an artist.

Art is not just about paint, marble or music. It can also be numbers, how you relate to people and strategic planning. Art is about giving value to the world through what you do. The most successful are those that have found their art and shared it selflessly. Pacquiao is an artist. Steve Jobs is an artist. Warren Buffet is an artist.

I used to paint and draw a lot when I was a kid. Here are two of the paintings I made when I was in college.

oil-painting-by-alex-zetaMedium: Oil
Year made: 2009

acrylic-painting-by-alexMedium: Acrylic
Year made: 2005

But although I enjoy painting, it’s not my passion. What I really love to do is connect with people. To build relationships and learn from them. That’s why I enjoy being a real estate broker, writing and public speaking. As a broker, I can reach out to people while providing valuable service to them. As a writer, I get to share my thoughts through my blog. As a speaker, I get to communicate my ideas to the audience.

The other day I met a client who works for the army. While we were touring around Xavier Estates, he shared to me how hard it was to be in the army because of the constant danger they had to face. Now that he was getting married, he wanted to invest in a lot so he could build his fiancée their dream house. Yes, one of my favorite topics with my clients is their love life. And they love talking about it :)  So I showed him a lot in Xavier Estates which he liked and we’re currently negotiating with the seller on the final price. Hopefully, all goes well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Whenever I get to help out clients in finding their dream home, when I connect with them through their stories, I remember why I love my job. Seriously, being a real estate broker is the best job in the world. I have so much fun doing it that most of the time, it doesn’t even feel like I’m working.

Reading about Seth Godin’s definition of art made me think, what is my art form? And I realized, this is it. This is my art form. Connecting with people is my art. And through that, I can do my job which is to help fill their real estate needs whether it is to buy or sell property. The essence of good communication is building a connection with your client. No matter how good you are in presenting your product, if you don’t have that connection, you’re just making noise.

Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

-Seth Godin

 We are all artists in our own way. When you do what you do the best way you can, when you create meaningful work and share it selflessly to the world, then you’re an artist. It doesn’t matter if you have never made a single painting in your life.

I believe that our art is meant to be shared to bless people and make the world a better place. And if there’s someone who doesn’t appreciate your art, don’t sweat it. It’s not for them. I’ve had clients who chose other brokers to serve them. And it’s ok. At this time, my art is not for them. But for those clients who chose me, then I’ll serve them to the best of my ability. Because I see connecting to people as a real estate broker as my art. And I want to make the best art I can.

What about you, what is your art?

You are an artist. And being a unique individual, you can produce art that no one else can. Whatever art you make, make it special, make it unique, make it you.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

 

What does Salvation mean?

salvation_webPhoto http://www.victory.church

I was in my first year of college at Silliman University when someone first shared the gospel to me. I was told that I only had to accept Christ as Lord and savior in order to be saved. Salvation, I was told, was a gift that I could accept if I wanted to. It wouldn’t be forced on me. It was my choice to make.

But what does salvation really mean?

This was our topic tonight at GLC 2 (Global Leadership Center). GLC is a series of classes scheduled once a week at our church CCF (Christ Commission Fellowship). It’s purpose is to equip us to go beyond barriers to share the gospel to as many people as possible and to help us live a life for Christ.

Salvation is more than just the forgiveness of sins. Our speaker tonight gave us 3 things that happen when we receive the gift of salvation.

Born again. Once we accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are born again. Our old self no longer exists. This is our rebirth. Our chance to be new again.

New creation. Salvation is about us being a new creation is Christ Jesus.

New nature. Salvation is about having a new nature. Our old nature, the nature that wants to sin and do dishonorable things will still be there, fighting to win over our new nature. How can we win? We can win by starving the old nature and feeding the new. It’s only by focusing on God that we will be able to achieve victory in our life.

1 Peter 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

It’s not about being perfect or never sinning again, because no one is righteous. Good works cant save us. Only faith can.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Once you accept Christ, it’s impossible for you to be the same. You will be slowly changed by God. Salvation leads to a changed life. Jesus isn’t interested in making a few touch ups – he wants a complete renovation. We think tune-up, but Jesus wants an overhaul. When we choose to follow him, Jesus will turn our lives upside down. He isn’t interested in having uncommitted followers. He wants complete and total dependence on Him.

God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way

-Mac Lucado

What then is role of good words?

If we are saved through salvation and not by good works, what then is role of good works?

Good works are a result of a life lived for Christ. It cannot bring us salvation. But good works result from having Christ in our life. Because again, once Christ is in us, we will be changed.

What next?

After everything God has done, what is our response?

We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Worship isn’t only about going to church on Sundays or attending bible study. Worship is a lifestyle. Living a life as a sacrifice – holy and pleasing to God.

I admit that this is something I need to work on. When it comes to living a life of worship, I’m not as consistent as I should be. Some days, I get it. On other days, I fall into sin again. This is why I need the Lord more than ever. Because I can never do it on my own. I can only triumph over sin through His grace alone.

How about you? Do you live your life in worship?

God isn’t after perfection but a transformed life. All He asks is for you to let Him in.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

How to Deal with Difficult People

difficultpeoplePhoto from http://www.chopra.com

In my job as a real estate broker I get to deal with different types of people everyday. Most of my clients are a pleasure to deal with. Some, however, are a bit difficult.

I remember a few years ago when I was working on this deal in Xavier Estates. My client wanted to purchase this 5-bedroom luxury house overlooking Cagayan de Oro. It had a huge lawn with a swimming pool. It was one of my favorite listings and ever since we got that listing, I’ve praying that I would be the one to sell it. Now my client was a 24-year-old businesswoman named Maria (not her real name) who was a bit on the tough side. She would shout at people (yes, even at me) and was generally difficult to deal with. At first, I felt a bit resentful towards her. I was raised in an environment where shouting was not a normal part of our routine.

Then one day, as we were waiting at for some documents, Maria told me her story. When she was eight years old, their village Healer told her parents that she was bad luck and that they had to give her up or else the entire family would suffer. So her parents took her to her grandparents house and left her there. Since her grandparents were already old and had little money, she had to work to take care of them and herself. She started to grow vegetables in their backyard and sell them at the night market. In the mornings she went to school. On weekends she would man their small sari-sari store. Sometimes Maria’s male cousins would storm inside her store and take away all her earnings for the day. Since they were bigger and stronger than her, she couldn’t fight back. So instead, to protect her earnings, she put her money in tin cans and buried it in her backyard. All throughout grade school and high school, Maria worked hard to fend for herself and her grandparents while at the same time, using her wits to outsmart her cousins who would drop by from time to time to bully her.

Maria’s first house

When Maria reached 13 years old, she happened to pass by one house for sale in Carmen which she liked very much. She liked the quiet environment and peaceful neighborhood. The house was being sold for 3.5 million. Maria thought for a moment. Where would she get that kind of money? After a few minutes, she went home and started digging. She dug up every single tin can she had buried over they years and started counting the money she had accumulated. The total amount was 3.5 million. And that was how Maria bought her first house.

Nothing beats hard work

Over the years, Maria engaged in a variety of businesses until she found one where she really hit the big bucks – the textile industry. She started buying RTW’s from a factory in Korea and selling it wholesale to boutiques and malls in different cities. She had clients from Pagadian, Ozamis, Dipolog, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and Davao. Her business was so successful her clients actually had to get in line to purchase her products. The factory didn’t have any other buyers as it sold everything it made to her. Despite not being able to go to college, Maria’s dedication to her business and willingness to work hard enabled her to succeed where so many had failed.

Put yourself in the other persons shoes

Maria’s story not only inspired me to continue reaching for my dreams, it allowed me to understand her better. It was only when I put myself in her shoes that I was able to see where she was coming from. At a young age, she was rejected by her family. Over the years, many people tried to trick her and take advantage of her. It’s no wonder why she would so easily get defensive and angry and suspect that people were trying to deceive her. We are shaped by our environment and experiences. I could see that although Maria was, by worldly standards, successful she was still struggling with trust issues because of what she went through as a kid. And so, instead of feeling resentful I started to feel compassion towards her.

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Are you dealing with a difficult person in your life now?

When dealing with difficult people, instead of reacting, try to understand where that person is coming from. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. My experience taught me that people are the way they are for a reason. Perhaps that person who’s mistreating may just be having a bad day. Or maybe he’s going through a huge family problem. Or maybe he’s up to his ears in debt.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.
Dale Carnegie

 

Because I made the effort to understand Maria, we were able to keep our relationship. I was able to help her buy the house she wanted and now she’s living in her dream house. A beautiful 2-storey, ridge-view mansion in Xavier Estates that overlooks the city. The little girl who was supposedly “bad luck” became the good luck charm of her family. Last time I saw Maria, she was with her family. She had forgiven her parents and is now building a relationship with them again. 

beautiful-house-1Photo from wlpapers.com (not the actual photo of her house but it looks similar to this)

Never burn bridges 

I believe in never burning bridges with people. You never know when you might run into them again. The world is becoming smaller everyday. If you have a person in your life now that’s difficult to deal with, try to understand that person. Decide to love them.

John 15:12

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life

-Alex

The Epic Love Story of Titanic

header-was-rose-just-imagining-things-fan-theory-proposes-that-titanic-s-jack-wasn-t-even-real-jpeg-240931-1Photo from asiatrvl.com

Who hasn’t heard of the timeless love story of Jack and Rose in Titanic? I remember watching it when I was in the 4th grade. The movie had ended but I didn’t want to move from my seat. It was so romantic and yet tragic. The me-against-the-world, I-would-die-for-you kind of love. So when Pastor Fernie showed a photo of Jack and Rose at the CCF service yesterday, it brought back a rush of memories. I thought that was the only epic love story of Titanic. It turns out, it wasn’t.

On the eve 1912, The Titanic, a luxury steam ship set sail from England to New York. On that ship was a 39-year-old Scotish pastor from Great Britain, John Harper, with his 9-year-old daughter. They had just finished their daily devotion when they heard a commotion outside. It turned that The Titanic had hit an iceberg and was slowly sinking. Harper quickly helped his daughter into one of the life boats and went back to the ship to help save more people. One of the survivors recall seeing Harper praying with terrified passengers on the deck for their salvation. While everyone else was busy fighting for their life, Harper was focused on saving them not only in this lifetime but for eternity.

john-harperPhoto of John Harper from moodychurch.org

John Harper’s last convert

In the ice-cold water, John Harper was doing his best to save as many people as he could. One Scottish survivor, Steve Crain, recalls that fateful night when the ocean waves brought John Harper near him.

“Are you saved?” Harper called out to him while holding on to a piece of wood.

“No I am not.” Replied the Scotsman.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Was John Harpers reply.

“Are you saved?” Harper asked for the second time.

“No,” Replied Crain.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Harper repeated. Then, loosing his hold on the wood, John Harper sank to the depths of the ocean. Never to be seen again.

Steve Crain, in that moment, accepted Jesus as Lord and savior of his life. And he was John Harpers last convert.

titanic-sinking-underwaterPhoto from titanicuniverse.com

I’ve always thought that the story of Jack and Rose was the epic love story of Titanic. It turns out, it isn’t. John Harpers story surpasses their love story in ways that can’t be explained. His love for Jesus Christ goes beyond life. Because he knew he was already saved, he wasn’t afraid to die. And up until his last breath, he continued to preach the Gospel.

We are all called to make disciples of all nations. That is our great commission. Our ultimate calling.

When was the last time you shared Jesus to someone?

God has given believers the responsibility of spreading the Gospel to all the world, and we need to use all at our disposal to accomplish this task.

Theodore Epp

I admit that I don’t do it as often as I should. John Harpers story, the epic love story of Titanic, reminded of what I should be doing everyday. So many people need the Lord. As His children, it is our privilege to share the Gospel to as many people as we can.

You have one business on earth – to save souls.
― John Weslet

Don’t wait for your last moments on earth to share the Gospel. Start doing it today.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Playing to Win: Lessons Learned from Ivanka Trump

ivanka-trumpPhoto from pinterest.com

No one says “successful career woman” quite like Ivanka Trump. As the daughter of billionaire real estate tycoon, Donald Trump, you wouldn’t expect any less. In her book The Trump Card, Ivanka tells her story about growing up as a Trump and shares the lessons and insights she has learned along the way.

Most people are not as fortunate to be born a Trump. But Ivanka takes what she has to a whole new level by not resting on her father’s laurels or her famous family name. She fearlessly worked hard to forge a name for herself and make her own mark in the real estate industry.

Despite being born in the lap of luxury, Ivanka shared that their parents taught them the value of discipline and hard work. Yes, their parents provided for their needs. But if they wanted more, they had to negotiate for it. Thus, Ivanka learned early on how to hone her negotiating skills. At home, if they were asked to do the dishes after dinner or help fold the laundry, they were expected to do it right away with no complaints. Growing up, her father provided guidance yet never pushed them into doing things they didn’t want to do. He gave them free reign to make their own choices and commit their own mistakes.

 Never be afraid to try new things.

While at Choate, a college preparatory boarding school, a modeling agent invited her to try modeling. At 5’11” she certainly was tall enough to be one. Although she wasn’t really interested in modeling, Ivanka wanted to try her hand at something new. Something that was outside her fathers sphere of influence. She wanted to see if she could succeed in an industry where the Trump name didn’t carry much weight. As a model, Ivanka had moderate success. Still, real estate remained her first love. It wasn’t easy to juggle go-sees and college but she did it, graduating as summa cum laude with a BA in real estate from the Wharton School of Finance.

2c25f9ad00000578-3229289-making_an_entrance_ivanka_trump_33_looks_absolutely_stunning_in_-m-13_1441894921055Photo from dailymail.co.uk

Listen to advice.

Due to her exposure to real estate as a child, it has always been Ivanka’s dream to join the Trump Organization after college. But one of her college professors advised her to try working for a different company first before joining the Trump Group. Seeing the wisdom behind his advice, she joined Forest City Ratner, a diversified real estate development and management company. After two years, Ivanka resigned and joined the Trump Organization as the Vice President of Real Estate Development and Acquisitions.

Donald Trump may come across as brash, too outspoken and can rub some people off the wrong way. But based on how his 3 children turned out, it seems like he was a good father to them. He provided them with the guidance they needed. No matter how busy he was at the office, whenever anyone of his children called, he would pick up the phone. He also modeled the value of discipline and hard work. Now all three are doing well at the Trump Group as part of his team.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”

Albert Schweitzer

Here are 3 things I learned from Ivanka Trump:

Follow your passion. Ivanka had discovered her passion for real estate as a young kid. She loved the times she would go with her mother, Ivana Trump, to check on their hotel operations or accompany her father on the construction site. Ivanka and her two brother got to work at the different aspects of their business when they were still in high school – mooring boats, landscaping and helping with operations. Donald Trump was a firm believer in hands on, from the ground up training. Business was their usual topic at the dinner. So although she could have been successful in other fields, Ivanka followed her passion to pursue a career in real estate and is currently doing well as Vice President for Real Estate Development and Acquisitions.

Make excellence a habit. Her parents taught her at a young age that whatever you do – be it school, modeling or business – do it to the best of your ability. Ivanka’s parents allowed her to pursue a modeling career while studying provided that her grades wouldn’t get affected. And their standard was no less than a 4.0 average. There is no room for being mediocre in this world. It’s easier to aim for the best when you love your job. Still, even if you don’t like what you’re doing at the moment, that’s no excuse to slack off. Successful people play to win no matter what they’re doing because excellence is not only a destination. It’s a way of life. It’s a habit.

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
-Aristotle

Hard work will never go out of style. The world may know about Donald Trump’s story. About how he built his real estate empire from the ground up, about surviving a financial crisis, from being almost a billion dollars in debt to coming out even wealthier than before. But not many people know that Ivana Trump, his first wife and the mother of his 3 children, is also very much like him. Ambitious, relentless and hard working. As a Czech skier who competed in the Olympics, Ivana was no stranger to hard work. And she brought this work ethic into the Trump Organization, matching her then-husband in his zeal for hard work.

Having successful parents like Donald and Ivana Trump can either leave you feeling entitled or determined to get out of their shadow and succeed on your own. For Ivanka, it made her determined to succeed on her own. As the Vice President of Real Estate Development and Acquisitions, she has worked hard to provide value to the company. When working on a deal, she does her homework. She studies the competition, analyzes the deal and gets the insight of a lot people (including her father) before making her decision. A famous family name is one thing, but without hard work to back it up, you won’t go far. It’s like style and substance. They need to go together. Aside from her success with the Trump Group, Ivanka has also ventured out on her own by partnering with Dynamic Diamond Corp, a leading diamond supplier, to introduce a line of jewelry called The Ivanka Trump Collection. This collection is targeted for the working woman who wants timelessly chic pieces that she can pass on to her children.

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.

-Colin Powell

As a career woman myself, I appreciated how hard Ivanka works and the effort she puts into doing what she loves. Success isn’t simply about money. It’s about significance – making your mark in the world through meaningful work and helping as many people as you can. As for me, I want to make my mark through 3 things: as a discipler, as a real broker and someday (hopefully next year) as an author.

042610-ivanka-lead-623Photo from pinterest.com

What about you?

How do you want to make your mark? In this day and age, we can succeed in almost anything. Do what you love, make success a habit and work hard at it. If you do, you will make your mark and success will be around the corner. It’s only a matter of time.

Go live Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

 

Rise Up: Face Trials Head On

rise

Our character is shaped not in times of joy but in times of hardship and suffering.

I remember a few years back, when my dad had a heart attack and could no longer manage our hardware business alone. So my mom called to ask me if I could help him out. Initially, I didn’t want to do it. I found managing a hardware too stressful because there was so much inventory, dozens of things to consider and you couldn’t leave the store because clients only wanted to negotiate with the owner. So at first I resisted. But in the end I couldn’t say no to family.

Managing our hardware took me way out of my comfort zone. A few weeks into managing it, I quickly realized it didn’t have a proper system for inventory and finance, and it was bleeding money. I felt like I had stepped into a boat that was sinking fast.

I’m a believer that a person should focus on his passion and do what he loves for a living. Because if you love what you do, you wont have to work a day in your life. But there are times that you need to go through stressful situations and do things you don’t like to do in order to grow. 

Our character is shaped not in times of joy but in times of hardship and suffering.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from that experience, it is this: Rise Up. Face life and the trials it brings head on. Just like gold, you’ll need to go through fire while being hammered and bent into shape to be the best that you can be. Although I didn’t really enjoy managing the family business then, I certainly learned a lot from it. And some of what I learned I am able to use in running my own business now.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

-Helen Keller

There will be times in your life when you’ll have to do something you don’t want to do. Things that you feel you are not prepared for or that’s beyond your comfort zone. You may be tempted to say no and just pass the baton to the next person. Don’t. Rise up. Say yes to the challenge. Do what you need to.

Things that are unfamiliar will feel uncomfortable at first. But as you rise up to the challenge, as you face it head on, that’s when you’ll grow.

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself into one.

-Henry Davie Thoreau

 

Are you running away from something?

A responsibility? A job you feel you’re not equipped for? A decision you need to make but cant?

Rise up. Face the challenge. Grow.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

The Use of Inception to Influence Others

inception-top-spinning-rotation-2Photo from businessinsider.com

Inception is a 2010 science fiction heist film written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starred by Leonardo DiCaprio. Nolan worked on the script for 10 years before it finally materialized into a movie that won 4 Academy Awards. Inception is based on the idea that a person could enter into another persons subconscious mind through his dreams. And through that dream, plant an idea. When that person wakes up, he will think that idea came from him when in fact it came from inception.

When I first watched Inception a few years back, I thought, how devious. Inception is a whole new way of manipulating people to bend to your will. I always thought inception was pure fiction. That it was just a movie. But after watching it for the second time, I realized, it is real. Every time we share our ideas and values to the people around us, we are performing inception.

secrets1

Photo from brandibernoskie.com

We live in a world that is highly connected. And I’m not only talking about technology. Almost none of the ideas that we have is purely an original. Every thought, each belief came from someone or something. It may have been from a book, a movie we watched, random thoughts of a friend or the intentional teachings of a parent. We may think an idea is our own, but actually, it’s not. With all the things around us that influence our thoughts, no idea is purely our own.

You are influenced by your environment and your environment is influenced by you.

In the movie, inception could happen only if you were able to successfully get inside the deepest recesses of your subjects subconscious. So your subject had to either open his mind to you or you could get in his safe place and plant the idea without his knowing it. In the same way, in life, you are influenced greatly by two things: the people that you care about most or the incidents that had strong emotional impact. Because we often don’t remember the facts but we remember how we felt in that moment. Emotion is a powerful memory enhancer.

Being able to perform inception, to influence a person to do something is powerful thing. And we each have that power. We each have a certain degree of influence and it is our choice how to use that influence. Through inception, we can either build people up or destroy them.

We can sometimes be careless with our words and actions. But we don’t know how much influence we wield. And how that can affect the life of another person in ways we cant imagine.

With great power comes great responsibility. You have the power to plant ideas into another persons mind. What kind of ideas will your plant? Will it be ideas about love, service and humility? Or will it be about selfishness, pride and greed?

An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.

-Cobb

The next time you share your ideas to the world, think for a moment, will this make the world a better place?

Go live a Truly Wealthy Life.

-Alex

 

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