Five InSights to Thrive and Succeed

Long before the Secret was let out,   way before people began to trust that they can attract anything they want, I was told that my destiny was mapped out on the lines of my palms. You see, I grew up in a culture where poverty, misery and sorrow were all ascribed to fate; to some document etched out in space with my name and address on it.  If that’s the case, then I used to think, why work, why struggle and why hope? Why not just lie down wherever I am and let the forces of nature take over?

Pit Bulls & Entrepreneurs (2010)

The difference between Pit Bulls and Entrepreneurs is that, sometimes, Pit Bulls can give up.

More recently, I have discovered an amazing thing: it is only when my state of mind tells me to surrender and lie down that the forces of nature overpower me. It is only when I give up and falter that a moving, dynamic world shackles me with cobwebs of fear, lethargy, and bitterness.

Yes, there are certain aspects of life that have been etched on my palms. Aspects like; where I was born, who I was born to, and how my early youth turned out. These things I’ve had no control of, but beyond a certain period of my life, after completing certain developmental stages, I realized that I’ve had more and more control over how my destiny plays out. Everything has been the result of the choices I have made, the words I have spoken, and the actions I have taken.

And so I live with the conclusion that all the things that I’ve had no control upon were etched on my left palm and all those that I’ve had control of and will continue to have control over are being consistently rewritten and redesigned on my right palm. Thus, my life is a challenge, a synergistic output of what simply is and what I can think, say and do to keep shaping my future, my destiny.

At the start of 2014, a friend of mine, Francisco “Pax’ Lapid, the Dean of Truly Rich Club called me over for a cup of coffee and ambush- interviewed me about how to thrive in life. Caught unaware and unprepared, I thought I’ll just let my heart speak out. Today, I realize that my responses that day continue to bring new meaning to me and my world continuously.

Allow me to share the five insights which emerged in that serendipitous moment in the presence of two video cameras.

  1. Trust That Life is a Gift of Abundance:

Just like night and day, like up and down, there are two contrasting foundational world views that we all hold. The first view is that the world is a tough and a messy place where every dog is out to eat the other dog. To thrive and survive, I need to thrash down everything and everyone that seemingly gets in my way. When we are strong and in a rage, we may possibly win a few life battles but the war…oh, that is bound to end up in a disaster.  This narrow world-view debilitates and shrivels us.

The Second, a beautiful view, is that Life is not just a rare chance but possibly the only chance for us to live big, live happily and live with gusto. This view drives us to stay appreciative, optimistic, and creative. It also celebrates and includes everyone else in this party called life. This view does not diminish or hide failures and accidents, but it utilizes such to add to powerful life lessons and rapidly bounce back.

Everything we think, speak and act upon springs forth and forward from this foundational view. If we think the world is a lousy place to be born into and live in, then it will be so. If we trust that life is beautiful, a gift of abundance and happiness, then that is how we will live it.


  1. Consider Every Job to be Value-Creating Work

I don’t mean to refer to the dictionary meaning of work, career and a job but rather to the biblical character “Job,” whose life was full of struggle, misery, and punishment.

People often tend to relate what they do for a living as a punishment. We all need to realize this fact. We are in a living, moving, and dynamic world.  Change happens every second of every day. To keep up with a rotating and a revolving world, we too need to move.  We need to march, to sweep, and to toil. Some things will be easier to do, more pleasing to our senses and sensitivities.  Other things can be repugnant, and yucky like, say, picking up after our dogs, or diapering a baby. They can be difficult like firing a non-performing colleague who has become a friend.  (or other serious but common enough example.)

When we maintain a sense of balance and equanimity in whatever we do, then we will do everything with grace and serenity of the spirit. Our eyes and hearts will be focused on the fact that, just like gifts, life too comes wrapped in paper, pins and sticky stuff. Think of the struggles in life as the proof and evidence of life itself.

Regardless, of the job description and the status it represents, it is our attitude towards it that will decide how we perceive and act upon it.  And should we really want to change our job, we can surely and steadily claim it because we know that we can make that choice and act upon it.


  1. Reframe Regrets into Right Decisions

Far too many times, we tend to dwell on our sorry past. We spend time and energy in these thoughts until they become so murky and heavy that we have a hard time shedding this, pointless, emotional baggage.

Apart from having learned good lessons from a past event for future use, we need to let go of the memory. We need to forgive and forget the people involved in it, the hurt we felt or the anger that still engulfs us. To keep lugging around this emotional baggage serves us no purpose other than to corrode our blood and our spirits in our here and now.

To re-engineer our destinies we need to recognize that whatever we did in the past; whatever activities and relationships we were involved in were all part and parcel of the decision making process based on the material, mental, and societal resources available to us then.  At that time, we believed that we were doing the right thing, didn’t we? Well, now it is time to let go of the regrets.

Regretting our sorry past doesn’t have to define our present but can destroy it. It is only from recreating a happy past that we strengthen the foundations of our future. Regard all the traumatic experiences and the failures from your past as if they were all a bad dream and move on. Wake up, grab a fresh cup of coffee, and go seize the new day … every day!

  1. Work Your Goals, Inch by Inch

We all have dreams…the good ones, I mean. If you don’t have a dream then that implies that you aren’t living. It matters not the size and the shape of your dream in comparison to the dreams of others. Your dream might be to own a backyard with a goat on it, while someone else might want to sell goat-milk soap to millions across the world; they are both, individually, valid dreams.

To dream is to see a place in the future, in a world where you can grasp a fistful of the sky for yourself and feel fulfilled and happy with it. Now beyond this “seeing” and beyond this vision, life requires that we put our shoulder into it definitively, smartly, and continuously. If we don’t act and if we don’t work, then the nice, big world will move on and leave us behind with an apologetic smile on its face.

Every single day, every single moment we must pluck a thought, take a step, pick a thing or two, and plod on towards our dream of a goat farm or a soap factory. There’ll be times when you may not be able to measure progress and there will be times when you may have to take five leaps instead of one step but plod on steadily and cheerfully and very soon, you will be there.

Currently, I am in the middle of book on sales and sales coaching. I worked feverishly at it for most of last year. Over the last two months I have been cracking knuckles over things other than the book but, by golly, I know I will be back on track in a jiffy!

Working your goals, big or small, is the measure of you turning your hopes, dreams and life’s purpose, step by step, into a reality.


  1. Think in Systems and Think “Ecology”

More than two decades ago, Dr. Peter Senge created a masterpiece with his treatise on Systems Thinking with his book, The Fifth Discipline. He made the business world realize how they can either create value with an attitude of nurturing inclusiveness or do harm by staying obsessively driven towards fulfilling just their own goals. What is true for large business is also true for individuals and small groups.

Yes, we must set our goals and pursue our own ideas of happiness but should any of our thoughts, words and actions create harm, directly or indirectly, for others then we need to revisit our dreams and our actions towards our vision. This requires focused and purposeful thinking from a wider perspective, with empathy and with compassion for people and the planet.

Let’s take the simple example of you wanting to own the world’s largest soap-making factory. If your factory does systemic harm to any other entity, then you need to rethink it. Or if your goal to become the best golfer in town means leaving your family wanting for your attention, then you need to rethink your own aspirations. This is ecology and this is thinking in systems.

In summary, I know many of us often feel like taking off and away from the daily challenges of life. Others grind their teeth and fight life with bitter aggression. History and now neuroscience too, point to the possibilities that good health, true wealth, and authentic happiness are achievable. It is achievable when we are clear about our purpose, creative with our approaches, and conscientious with our actions. This, after all, is an abundant and giving world. All that it asks of us is to be sensible and sensitive towards the world and with ourselves.

Now bring up your hands and glance at the lines of your left palm which represent the unchangeable. Then look at the lines of your right palm where your intelligence, awareness, strengths, and choices are etched out. Finally, clasp your hands together, ready to dive into a future of your own making in harmony with the world we all live in.

This is the way to thrive at work and in life.

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