"It's my 80th birthday today and I'm thankful I'm still strong and able to do the things I love. There are very few who reach this stage of life with no illness and strong and that's one of the things that I'm thankful of. Life rolls out so fast that when I look back, It feels like yesterday I was only 12 years old, but when I woke up, I'm now 80.
I always received gifts in my past birthday celebrations, and now I think it's time to give back. Not that I will give you material things, but the lessons I learned in life that I taught to my children and until now, I see the fruit of those advice.
I'm not good at writing articles or publications or whatsoever you call it, but will do my best to share these lessons and hoping that this generation would read and spread it.
There are lessons in life that are learned the hard way, sometimes you have to go through the worst in order for you to become a better person. In my case, I will share the things that I'm thankful I didn't do when I was young.
1. Ignore the once in a lifetime opportunity - November 28, 1946. I was celebrating my 12th birthday when I got the chance to help my parents in our financial life. My friend told that we can sell tomatoes in wet market near our town to earn some bucks. I didn't hesitate.
Lesson: Opportunity doesn't require anything. It will knock on everyone's door. If it chooses you, it's up to you if you will grab it or not. You will never find anything that's truly yours until to try chasing them.
2. Not setting a goal - At age of 12, I learned how to make money for my family. There was this time when I told myself that I need to double my effort in order to make more money to sustain our family needs. My friend and I decided to set a goal to sell 10 baskets of tomatoes every week. That's a hell of a work but we achieved it. 10 baskets became 12, 15, until we saw ourselves selling 30 a week.
Lesson: Every goal that you set, small or big, will definitely have a huge impact in your life. Be it on business, choices, or whatever things you do. Set a goal. No matter how big or small it is, set it.
3. Complain before thinking - I was 18 years old when my mom told me to visit my sick aunt on the other side of the village. It was 6 years since I started our small business and it's growing steadily. The first thing that came up in my mind was our business because I was the only one working as a coordinator. But I complied to what mom told me. It turned out that my aunt was extremely sick and my cousins need my assistance. I stayed there for a week until she died.
Lesson: This is I think one of the oldest advice you can get from an old pal - Think before you complain. And I will include that on my list. Once you start complaining, you are being selfish. Stop. Relax and think carefully on the things that you are about to complain to.
4. Keeping my life at a fast pace - Being a cheerful and energetic person, I developed a discipline to slow things down when it comes to decision making and other stuffs. Thus leading me grow our business slowly but steadily. It also allowed me to think deeper in doing other stuffs.
Lesson: You can get whatever you want in life if you really want to. That's for sure. But rushing things will only delay them. And worst, won't happen to you. Learn to slow things down. It will help you to be more creative, patient, and wise.
5. "Just get" whatever I wanted - I've always dreaming of having a decent home for my family in my teenage years, and that led me to live with that dream and started to build it. 10 years later after putting up our business, I bought my family a new house with a large farmland at age of 23. I would say it was one of my greatest achievements in life being a son.
Lesson: Perhaps this is one of the biggest lessons I told my sons and daughters - Building the things you want will make you happier than the ones you just get. It's a big lie if you believe you can get the things that will bring real happiness without building them. Put your eyes and heart on the things you want, but don't neglect the way through it.
6. Being a workforce machine - As disciplined as I was in the eyes of my family, I am still a person who like to work on short hours. I'd rather work productively for 3 hours than spend the whole 8 hours doing nothing. And I did save some time to be LAZY. Yes, there were times where I escaped the office and went to the beach or some places just to sleep and/or eat food.
Lesson: Save time for laziness. I mean it. It's a man's nature to be lazy sometimes. It actually good for you and will save you from lots of stress especially living with this generation where competition is just around the corner, you need to set some boundaries between work and life.
7. Get too attached to material things - As our business grew, I managed to buy the things I wanted. Cars, properties, and many more. But that's it. At my age, I don't think of those as much and left them to my children - even my Bugatti Veyron which I bought 4 years ago.
Lesson: Material things won't define true happiness. It might for some time, but it won't last forever. Just think of the things you acquired that made you happy 10 years ago and see if they still bring the same excitement now.
8. Compliment people on the things they don't control - There were people on my business that were so active when I was in the office but most of the time fail to accomplish major tasks. They looked good in being active, but not in delivering the things I wanted them to do. So I gave compliment with their activeness but not in their productivity.
Lesson: Being good is different from appearing good. You can be a better person in front of your friends/boss but not in a personal level. Never try to be this kind of person if you don't want to mess up your life.
9. Didn't do what I had to do and regret it later - As a business owner, a son, and eventually a father, I had a lot of things running in my head and it was just overwhelming for me. But I did my best to cover all those especially the important ones. The other things that I didn't do were not big enough to fully regret them.
Lesson: It's better to do something and make mistake rather than doing nothing and then regret it later. It doesn't matter if you do big or small things. As long as you are doing it.
10. Abuse my health - I didn't smoke, I didn't drink liquor a lot, and I chose carefully what I eat. It's one of the big things I did to reward myself because I was a busy man back then and there's a lot of things running on my head. And now I'm 80, but I still enjoy the benefit of being healthy.
Lesson: Your body is your greatest investment. Don't ruin it. You may be enjoying smoking or taking drugs, but those are just temporary pleasures. At the end of the day, you will still end up killing yourself. Give yourself a favor and never do these things. Or if you do, please for the love of God, stop it.
I'm old now, and when I look back, there are still some things that I wanted to do, things I regret, and mistakes I wanted to correct. However, I still feel successful and contented with the way I lived my life decades ago. I hope these lessons will help you break through this heavily competitive generation."
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