Relearning the (Lost) Art of Listening

My elementary teachers often told us that we have two ears and only one mouth so we could listen twice more than we speak. This is an important reminder in the age of social media and incessant online noise.

If Facebook and Twitter posts are any indication, people chime in and post their comments within minutes, if not seconds, of a photo or status update. What’s even worse is that people drop all filters and say whatever they want to say online!

Have we lost the art of listening?

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Limitations are a Blessing

We often believe that if we only had a big amount of money and resources, we can pursue our dreams: start a business or a nonprofit, invest, and achieve what we want in life.

But it doesn’t work that way.

I have seen a lot of college students squander the many resources available to them. One of my housemates during my last year at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, owned a powerful computer and ate better than most of us at the house we rented.

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What’s in my backpack?

I carry a backpack when I go to the office. It’s the same backpack I carry when I travel for work. Here’s what inside my bag.

High Sierra Backpack

To begin with, I have a High Sierra backpack, which I bought at a discount store for about $24. It’s been with me for 3 years now. I like its construction, the number of pockets and compartments. It has been sturdy and durable.

Laptop.

I have a Dell Latitude E7440. It’s an older Windows laptop with Intel Core i5 processor. It was issued by the company I work for. It’s good enough for the work I do.

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Parenting Tips: Lessons from three TED Talks

It’s not easy being a father. I thought I had issues with my dad while growing up. But now that I am a father of two sons, I understand how difficult it could be, and how I could easily make mistakes, too.

Here’s a few lessons about being a dad from a few TED Talks.

Glen Henry: It’s Okay not to know a lot of things about being a dad.

I may not be a stay-at-home dad, but Glen Henry’s talk resonated with me.

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Frequency Works! (Or Slow and Steady will get you there)

Remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? The hare may be really fast but it is the tortoise who finished the race.

Gretchen Rubin wrote “As a writer, I work every single day, including weekends, holidays, and vacations. Usually I write for many hours during a day, though sometimes it might be a sting as short as fifteen minutes–and I never skip a day. I’ve found that this kind of frequent work makes it possible to accomplish more, with greater originality‚Ķ”

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Something Unexpected Always Shows Up

Something unexpected always shows up. I’ve been learning this throughout my life.

Google Maps’ estimated time of travel is almost always shorter than the actual travel. If you’re planning an event or a wedding, a storm can derail your bets laid plans. I am so glad that it didn’t rain when my wife and I got married.

I learned the importance of Plans B and Plans Z when I organized an international event in 2014 and a very strong typhoon literally destroyed the venue of our event! Roofs caved in or the wind blew them away. Glass doors shattered. Electricity was cut off. The venue was literally unsafe after the typhoon.

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The Challenge of Minimalism

In March 2015, we let go of about 80% of our possessions. With some misgivings, I gathered my books and sold some, and then gave away a lot more. Our shelves, tables, chairs, and other appliances went to people who responded to the ads I posted on Facebook, Craigslist, or OLX. Even our set of clothes dwindled. Between myself, my wife, and my son, we gave away 4 big boxes full of shirts, pants, and other clothes.

My books are my best possessions and treasures. I had almost all of Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi books, Tolkien’s books, the game of thrones books (which by the way belong to the series called “A Song of Ice and Fire”), a bunch of Filipino and Ilokano books, and nonfiction leadership and business books.

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Remembering Childhood Friends

The first close friend I remember in my childhood is one of our neighbors in Roxas, Isabela. I knew him as Don-Don. Only later did I find out that his real name is Samuel. Don Don had two brothers – Geoffrey and Bong Bong.

I spent countless hours in their rented home and their yard. Often, I would climb the concrete fence separating their house and the parsonage we were staying at.

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Losing Time & Space for Contemplation

Socrates said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

But in the midst of all the responsibilities and complexities of twenty-first century life, who has time for self-examination and contemplation?

I certainly feel that my life is too full that I cannot make time and space for contemplation. And I feel guilty about it. As a Christian, contemplation and meditation are spiritual practices that could enrich my life.

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Simple Joys brought by Coffee

I am a certified coffee lover. It may have started when I was in 5th grade. My mother asked me to prepare coffee for her. I put hot water in a cup, scooped more than half a teaspoon of Nescafe instant coffee, and finally added a teaspoon of sugar. After tasting it, I almost spat it out because it was bitter. But after several days of doing that, I acquired the taste of coffee. Eventually, coffee became a constant companion for late night writing and meetings.

Instant coffee used to be the craze in the Philippines. It probably still is. I don’t know why but it may have been because of advertisements on the radio and TV. Instant coffee, particularly Nescafe’s, is a poor substitute for real coffee beans! Sure it takes more work to brew coffee beans but I know better now.

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