Photo credit (above): Nicu Buculei | Flickr
The year 2014 has been marked with some of the worst disasters we have seen in the region.
Indeed we do not even have to look very far to witness the tragedies befalling Malaysia Airlines flights MH17 and MH370 (and the recent AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501).
These were disasters likened to lightning striking twice in the same place within the same year. These unfortunate occurrences do prove that the worst things can happen not only once, but twice!
Lives were lost, families were affected and eventually businesses and everyone are affected.
In the news
On a lighter note, the year also brought about the shocking news that Hello Kitty is not actually a cat, despite being a “Kitty”. The news had two generations of people who always thought Hello Kitty to be everyone’s lovable pet aghast.
In more recent news, Instagram’s Bot Purge resulted in Justin Bieber losing 3.5 million followers!
It seems like he had a population of followers who were not actually real people. I could not help but crack a smirk at this bit of news only to find that Kim Kardashian is faring a bit better than Bieber.
Some celebrities seem to be taking things worse than others; perhaps coming to a stark realisation that they were not the big people they thought themselves to be. This was a bubble well popped!
The Philippines had taken another hit from mother nature via typhoon Ruby and came out better this time around with much less damage also owed to the lessons of the previous year.
An eventful year
The year 2014 was an interesting one which was highlighted both by major and minor tragedies. All of which should be a lesson for all of us.
We need to take the good along with the bad as many would say, but how does this affect your life for the better?
Personally, this writer has seen better years. Out of some of the debacles, came some of the best learning moments in my life.
What could be a loss in the more obvious front such as career and money could be one of the greatest wins in the game of life.
In a previous failure, I forced myself to recount what mattered most and came up with three things: faith, family, and friends.
With constant undulations that life brings, it is good to look at these three things as a constant with maturity begging for more discernment as time goes by.
Last year has been an exceptional teacher in this regard.
In the backdrop of your personal life lies the usual business of the day, but this does not mean that you have to leave everything you learnt at work once you leave the office.
Whether we like it or not, work is a part of us and occupies most of our waking day.
The same strategies and metrics that apply in the workplace can be carried over to your personal life.
Life needs to be managed just as anything that occupies your time. With some of the woes in life, come some of the greatest gains in learning.
Here are four ways on my list.
1. Focus on what matters
While saying “money isn’t everything” could be considered a cliche, much of it rings true especially when the chips are down.
As said earlier, faith, family, and friends tend to bring back disproportionate rates of returns when considering what you get back in exchange for the time invested.
Keeping an eye on the three also helps us manage the paradoxes of earning and the quality of life.
Back in 2012, I racked in the most billable hours in my consulting career only to fail the stress test on my annual physical exam.
Top that with not being mentally and emotionally present during the most important moments in my family’s life.
A year lost in connecting with your loved ones cannot be replaced with money, especially with those who have passed on.
We spend so much money on material things rather than spending time with people.
In the end, you may have a fat account (and fat around your waist), and still be emotionally and spiritually bankrupt.
When a downturn occurred the following year, I found faith, family, and friends with me throughout my trials.
They helped me get back on my feet, encouraged me, and even helped me venture towards things that I love to do. I am doing them right now as I write this article.
2. Let go of heavy baggage
You will find that things and people are not necessary to take on your journey. I have found that some of the people who patted me on the back during my career highs were the same ones who were stabbing it when I was weak.
In the end, you will realise that we spend too much time with people who are only with you due to strategic interest.
Some were with you because of your material generosity and your image.
You will find that once they get what they want in one way or another (which sometimes does not include you), they are fast to step on you to advance themselves.
They disguise their advice under a veneer of honesty and sometimes with twisted principles.
In the end, they are full of negativity, and unmet needs you cannot fill.
Know the signs early, accept the brutal facts, forgive them, and move on.
3. Find what ignites your passion
Another life paradox is finding what you truly love during the worst moments of your life. When things take a downturn, you will suddenly reconnect with your forgotten talents.
They were hidden all along! Some of them could be a bit detached from what you do for money.
What you realise then is that having a job could be different from making a living.
Try to use this time to realign your career and priorities. Try to identify things that you would be doing anyway, with or without the money.
Get in touch with your God-given talents and strengths, and combine them with your zealous passion. You will find that the amount of effort will yield exponential returns.
Turn your talents into a competitive advantage by applying the time to develop them. Know your talents and passion, and invest time to develop them!
4. Multiply yourself: Connect and collaborate with others
Share your passion and invest in fruitful relationships that develop your interests and open new perspectives to create new possibilities.
Commit to a positive change beyond yourself and beyond your shores. Be accountable to the people around you. Take the lead if you must, but lead responsibly.
Many great things could come out from the worst. It is a matter of perspective, but in everything you do, always remember to be authentic.
Always keep your faith, family, and friends. Keep your eyes on the horizon and your feet on the ground. Live simply but love extravagantly.
John Walter Baybay is a regional management consultant who has worked for more than 17 years in corporate strategic planning and economic planning. He is a competitive athlete who balances his time between business coaching, family and working with communities.