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Archive for May, 2015

Energy for Living

May 24, 2015 1 comment

It’s difficult to be excited in facing the challenges of life if you simply do not have the energy to do so.  Fear and anxiety will replace what could have been enthusiasm in finding solutions and getting resolution to the issues of the day.

The pressures of life bring you stress.  You’re only stressed about something if you care about it, especially if losing it means something significantly bad for you.  If you happen to be stressed out of a sense of duty also then that’s even admirable.

It’s only with having the right attitude that you can hope to preserve your sanity.  Step aside to find the time and frame the issues in the proper context.  Perhaps things aren’t as bad as it seems.  Perhaps you can do something about it immediately.  If it’s really that bad and there’s nothing you can do about it, then it doesn’t matter if you worry about it or not since the end result is still the same, so you might as well prepare yourself for such.

No student is greater than his Teacher.  If Jesus was not spared from undergoing the Passion that He went through, then all the more that we, His followers, should take up our Crosses in life and follow His example.  There is comfort in the thought that God will not allow any burden greater than what we can handle, and that He is with us in all the trials of life, so we’re never alone in facing life’s struggles.

In the end, only through the grace of God will you have the energy to resume fighting and carrying on in life, as difficult as the road ahead might be.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Self-Inflicted Disappointment

May 23, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s easy to be disappointed if you make the effort to find a reason all the time.

A simple example would be finding fault with someone.  You can hope that someone will volunteer to do something you want done; if he doesn’t then it’s disappointing.  You can give the option for someone to do something you want done; if he chooses not to take the option since you did give him the option in the first place then it’s disappointing.  You can outright ask and even require someone to do something you want done; even if he does it, it can still be disappointing because you had to ask him to do it rather than him volunteering or choosing to do it.  It’s unfair for the other party because whatever he does in any of the scenarios he causes you disappointment.  It thus becomes unrealistic for him to please you no matter what.  And, frankly, he can even unwittingly add insult to injury by not even caring that you’re frustrated.

It’s emotionally difficult to go through life when you see malice in everything and everyone and are thus very critical and cynical.

When you find ways to make yourself intentionally unhappy, then ultimately your feeling of disappointment is self-inflicted.  You can choose to be happy while still recognizing that there are many good reasons to be disappointed in this world; it’s a matter of how you want to frame your perspective in life.  Be careful when you look for a reason to be disappointed because you will find it, and you will thus be the reason for your own misery.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

Leadership: Thoughts on Command Responsibility

May 16, 2015 3 comments

Command responsibility is a curse of leadership.  The practical essence of this is it’s the fault of the leader when something wrong happens under his watch.  You are the leader, therefore it’s your fault; it’s ALWAYS your fault!  The concept is simple and particularly convenient if you’re looking for someone to blame for anything and everything that happens.  However if you think about it a little more, then you might see that it’s not as simple as it seems.

I’m reminded of an administrative screw-up that happened some years ago.  The short story here is that my supervisor at the time ended up apologizing for the mistake.  I did appreciate the token of transparency of owning up to the problem and what-not, but I think the apology was unnecessary.  Frankly it even felt meaningless because my supervisor could literally not do anything about it anyway – it really wasn’t his fault, and it didn’t feel right that he would be apologizing for something that wasn’t his doing.  But because he was the supervisor, he assumed command responsibility for the screw-up anyway.  This wasn’t the first time I saw such a situation come up, nor would it be the last.

Call me old-fashioned if you want, but I consider it unjust if one is blamed for something that’s literally not one’s fault.

One scary aspect of leadership in large organizations with units interdependent on one another is being held accountable for an output that is dependent on another team that is responsible for producing their part of the final deliverable, and this other team is literally out of one’s control.  If this other team refuses to have a sense of ownership for their part of the output then this will unfortunately reflect poorly on the leader’s capabilities.  Perception is reality, and so even if it’s literally not the leader’s fault, it still is.  By virtue of being the leader, one ends up owning the work of the other team even if one don’t have to do so, out of a sense of worry to ensure the job is done if not out of a sense of duty.

“What’s the status of (whatever it is you’re following-up on)?”  If the person you’ve addressed this question to answers with a laugh, then you know you have a problem.  The more maniacal is the laugh, the bigger the problem.  [This is based on a true story, unfortunately.]

A leader can be blamed for the fault of another team out of his control.  It can be utterly exasperating and unfair to be in such a situation, and unfortunately for leaders such happens often.  One can only hope that this other team will soon realize that their failure ultimately impacts the organization as a whole – and when everyone is impacted, they are impacted, too.  A leader can only hope that time will come when the truth will come out, hopefully sooner rather than later, and he will not be judged as harshly by his critics.  Unfortunately experience has shown that these things are usually too much to hope for in real life.  Adding insult to injury, oftentimes one is only remembered for the one thing you failed to do when the 100 other good things you accomplished are forgotten.  (I’m both cynical and realistic when I say this.)

Every once in a while mistakes do happen despite the best efforts you put to avoid it.  A leader is held accountable for the problems that the people under him create.  This operates on the principle that the leader is in a position of influence to make things happen, or not happen, as the case merits.  There is truth to this.

However consider this, too: No one really has any control over someone else.  No matter how much you try to coach and guide, to influence someone in a certain way, that person still has a mind of his own and can ultimately still do as he pleases.  At the end of the day you cannot force your will on someone who can make up his own mind.

The quick and dirty solution would be to micromanage the work of people to ensure things are done correctly (in other words, done exactly your way), however this approach has its own perils.  It demoralizes the person for it shows you don’t trust his work.  You also risk stifling innovation; sometimes risks are needed to learn and explore something new.  And it’s in taking calculated risks and learning from such where we make significant leaps and bounds for the better.

At the end of the day, it’s still very crucial to continue to hold your leaders accountable for things under their responsibility.  If you don’t hold people in general, and leaders in particular, accountable for what they’re supposed to do then nothing good will happen.  Mature leaders will acknowledge the mistake and own fixing it.  However also be mature enough to at least try to see the situation from the leader’s perspective; sometimes things are not as simple as it seems, and an understanding and appreciation of the nuances of the situation are just as important to consider.  Besides, you might just realize that, subjected to the same situation, you could not have done any better, and you wouldn’t want to be unfairly criticized for the same.

Moral lesson: Be fair, play fair.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

God’s Will and What We Want

May 12, 2015 2 comments

God doesn’t need our opinion; He simply does what He pleases.  Just looking at this fact by itself, it honestly looks bad and feels very harsh.  However we need to consider this in the right context.  God loves us, and it’s for this reason that He does whatever He does because in the end it’s what’s best for us.

It’s easy to need and want God by our side so that He can fix the problems we cause for ourselves and also do our bidding.  For everything else in life, especially when things are going right, it’s also easy to think that we don’t need Him.  This line of thinking is obviously arrogant; it expresses a sense of entitlement where none literally exists, for our Lord doesn’t work that way.  There’s really nothing we can do without Him.

Speaking of things happening the way we want, there’s something to be said about eventually getting what we want.  Sometimes it happens late, but at least it happens late rather than never.  However sometimes it happens late enough to the point that it’s no longer meaningful to enjoy, and so the moment to relish it has been lost forever.  However things turn out, getting what we want doesn’t guarantee our happiness.

Forcing the matter of getting what we want has a subconscious implication that this life is the only thing that we have and thus we should only live for this world, and that we know better than God.  To not get what we want would mean missing out on something wonderful forever, and that is tragic.  However even when we do get what we want, it’s in our nature to still seek and want more.  Enough is never enough.

Nothing in this world will ever satisfy us.  This continuous longing in our heart is for something more meaningful, one that would last forever.  No matter how great and wonderful the thing or experience we possess, at the end of the day what we deeply ache for is God, for only He can truly satisfy the longing of our heart.

Our deepest desires are what God wants for us, too.  When we look into ourselves to understand what we really want, we’ll eventually realize that this is in sync with what God wants for us, too.  And when we align our will to God’s will, we will get everything that we ask for — and so much more!

Categories: Religion

Trust in God: Do Not Worry Over Dependencies and Helplessness

May 12, 2015 1 comment

It’s hard to enjoy life when you’re worried about something or many things (obviously!).  Pressure from within and from others to do something about what you worry about makes the situation more stressful.

The solution is to do something about that which worries you.  Worrying about a concern worsens with inaction.  You can reduce the stress by doing something – anything – about it.  And whatever it is you need to do, do it NOW!  Delaying any action will only prolong the worry and stress; get things done so that you can move on.

The situation becomes more difficult, and thus more worrisome, when you have dependencies on others, and you have little or no control or influence over such.  You’re in a precarious position if you’re accountable and responsible for something whose outcome is dependent on other people or factors out of your control.  The only thing worse than feeling worried, is feeling worried and helpless.

When you’ve done all that you could, and there’s nothing more you can do at this point, then the only thing you can do is to trust in God that He will see you through your present crisis.  Trust in God that somehow, and in some way, things are going to be alright.

It’s easier said than done but it has to be done: Do not worry; trust in God instead.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is infinite and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your most Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

Categories: Religion

Attractive People and Everyone Else (Including You)

May 1, 2015 1 comment

Last weekend, as I was looking at myself in the mirror of the restroom on the second floor of the mall, a thought crossed my mind: I look quite handsome!  I certainly liked who I saw staring back at me.  I think the way the lighting was setup in the mirror, which was the type you would find in studios for photo shoots, had something to do with my perception also, because it helped highlight my better features.  The nice thought didn’t last long, though, for I quickly realized how foolish and conceited this line of thinking was.  It was at this point that additional ideas came to mind.

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To be brutally frank about it, not everyone is physically attractive.  In fact, most people just look very ordinary.  (I unfortunately have to admit belonging to this group of just “ordinary looking people.”)  Some people are really blessed to have the right genetics that make them part of the attractive people crowd.  This is very obvious because they physically stand out in the sea of humanity; we spend time giving them second, third or even more glances back, and think about them (and possibly what we’re also doing to them, if you know what I mean) in the privacy of our minds long after they’ve gone.  Compare these select people to everyone else who are obviously not them – and by this I mean you, me and everyone else – and no one will spare even a thought for us; it’s a feeling we give to each other.

I think it’s good to think that we’re all handsome or beautiful in our own special and unique way.  We’re not part of the select group of people blessed with physical beauty, objectively speaking, but at least subjectively and in our own minds, we hold our own.  It’s important to have an appreciation of yourself, for aside from your mother, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will appreciate the person you see in the mirror.

For what it’s worth, looking ordinary just like everyone else means people can relate and connect to you better, simply because they know and feel that you’re just like one of them.  Being placed on a pedestal to be admired and adored has its own problems for it can be a lonely thing.  It’s an ironic but true observation that looking ordinary is not a showstopper to find love, while there are many beautiful looking people who are lonely.  People tend to go for those “within their league;” since there are more ordinary looking people than extraordinary, there are plenty of opportunities to find that other person, while the extraordinary ones are playing the game of love on hard mode in their own special and unique way.

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In the end, it’s very nice to have a beautiful body, but let’s not forget that beauty fades over time.  It’s much better to have a beautiful soul, for such lasts for all eternity.

You might just be another ordinary looking person, but to the Right One, you are the most handsome or beautiful creature that they’ve ever seen – and that’s the only thing that will really matter, because that’s the only thing that will really mean something to you.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy