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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Hunt

“Too many people spend money they earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” ― Will Rogers

After days of reading "the" famous book, gathering the right motivations and carrying much enthusiasm, I went out on a hunt. 

For seven aimless years, I've drunk my way to sleep ever since I started working. Sadly, it was the only way I felt good from every single day of defeat. Defeat from the routine, anxieties and fears, but 'this' one day was different. It was a day I lost sleep over spending time on thinking about what I have to do next. What will I do with this motivation I now have? 

The next day, I went on the internet and papers looking for some extra work that I can do during the day. I resolved that I need to increase cash flow and be able to get out of debt and buy assets that will make me more money - a concept constantly repeated on "the book". I knew it was going to be a challenge but my motivation was stronger. There were a lot of part-time jobs I could do, but none of them would work with my current job and changing schedules. I couldn't afford to leave and do something drastic - especially that I benefitted greatly from the "premium" HMO that was provided. I had two very young kids and saving was almost impossible so if there were  any emergencies, especially concerning their health, then I would be in big trouble.

I considered tutoring, selling paintings and real estate referrals/selling, among other things. The reality was that, there were very few opportunities in our small town. I then turned my sight to the internet, where I explored the possibility of writing blogs or  articles for certain websites. The problem is, I couldn't even afford a laptop and adding data services to the mounting bills that I have to pay would most likely worsen my situation. Plus, I was to do them with no prior experience at all. These were the times when my motivation slowly dwindled. I was going back to the state where I would accept that I was stuck and there was nowhere else to go. 

Little did I know that the worst is still to come. On October 2014, the company where I worked for 8 years, announced that my department was going to be dissolved and everyone would be dispersed to other departments. It was a devastating blow. You see, I was a supervisor - the first in that department and the last one to go. Arranging transfers was such a priority that I didn't really have much time to consider my own options. The only option that was given to me was to be assigned to another center in Manila where positions are available. There was no increase on salary but they would at least take care of my lodging for 2 months until I find my own place to settle in. These times were confusing and I felt that my life had just turned wildly to oblivion. It's so bad that I can't even take a break and think things through. I could't afford to be out of work as I had a family to feed. So it was settled, I would go to Manila. It was the best thing to do.

Being alone for two months gave me the opportunity to rethink my life and where I want to take my family. I was able to consider my options given my present situation - after all Manila is the "land of promise". 

Coming from a sleeping town and a minimalist lifestyle (not by choice), Manila came as a shock. Adjustments had to be made on almost all areas of my life. Everything seems to move faster, louder and harder. Somehow, insecurity also stepped in. Here, I saw the definitive gap between the rich and the poor. Everyone's fighting for their own space. On one side, you have the man in a suit, holding an expensive cup of coffee and boast of nice cars for his ride. On the other, the majority of the masses working so hard to get whatever the man in the suit has. The only escape I had was when I went home to the province to soften the buzz the city life puts in my ears. 

While watching TV one day, I stumbled upon Will Smith's "The Pursuit of Happyness". It was a depiction of a real struggle in a modern jungle. Yet, in this movie, I found another source of motivation. My curiosity hit me so I started reading on the stock market. I passed by the PSE building in Ortigas several times, but I never really cared what was going on in there until this point. This time was different. I had a certain fixation to know more about the stock market. I read more - I discovered more. I got confused, re-read and got more confused. I watched videos and hit the pause, play and dragged the navigator on the YouTube watch page several times. Nothing was making sense, but my curiosity was always enough to push me on. I had no direction, but I was just going at it. I learned about Warren Buffet and Anton Kreil, the difference between Fundamentalists and traders. Soon I was reading about Insurance, mutual funds, UITFs, bonds and securities. Then the message came clear. Getting rich is possible. That I didn't have to be Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. I didn't have to have the next best idea to sell to the world. I just have to educate myself and take a calculated risk. After pouring so much time in reading and watching random articles/blogs and videos, I decided I wanted to be a trader. I wanted to be in control. My eyes are now wide open and felt the success was within my reach. The confidence in me emerged. This is a path least taken, but I am was willing to jump at it simply because it offered me the control I need for my life. To take my life back and live it instead of surviving it.

This is the start of a new journey.



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Still lost

There are journeys best taken with people you enjoy being with and there are few you have to do alone - not by choice but simply because it's a journey everyone think is crazy to undertake. When you take on something by yourself, It's often depressing and there is nobody else around you to share it with. 

My name is Dylan, and I'm an average Filipino. I was born in Mindanao towards the end of the Martial Law. The prevailing unrest in my birthplace led my parents to take a leap and leave everything we had behind and start a new life further North. They were farmers turned ministers. We've been to many places, lived in different kinds of settlements and constantly moved. I never had the chance to grow up with friends I can call "kababata". I was always the new kid in the area. 

At an early age, I've developed to be a loner. Though I had a brother and a sister, we never really got along well. I did not have good memories during my childhood. There were no happy photos during birthdays because there were hardly any celebrations. We rarely ate at nice restaurants or had a vacation somewhere to enjoy each other's company. We were in places simply because it had to do with the Ministry - with my dad's work and nothing was enjoyable as we were always under strict supervision and rules. I remember walking for miles during the evenings when my dad had to attend trainings in this denomination he was trying to get in to (in hopes that our family would be taken in) because we barely had enough for food, education and other necessities. I remember making my assignments in alley ways, corridors, someone's home and just about anywhere my parents left us while they take their classes. 

Years have passed and nothing much has changed.

College was especially difficult - being away from our parents and fending for ourselves. The good thing though is that we've prepared for this our whole life so we were ready. Most kids in school would have more than what they need to support themselves and enjoy the brighter side of things. As for us, we had to live with PhP400.00 per week and work as "scholars" to pursue our studies. This is when I realized that we have just been trying to survive. 

Right after college, things haven't really changed much. I became a father and I suddenly have to become a provider and the best logical thing to do is to find a decent job and jump into the "rat race". Dreams were pushed aside and staying afloat had become the priority. 

Surviving included having debts left and right. Damn, I even had to surrender my ATM as collateral numerous times just to make ends meet. Pawning gadgets become so common and work begun to suffocate. It was a deep deep hole. 

It was only 3 years ago when I had a very strong conviction to claw my way out of the hole I was in. I am not totally out yet, but I know I'm headed to the right direction. Stamping out mediocrity is now a priority. 

It was that time when I finished reading "Rich Dad Poor Dad" that I found the motivation to not settle in the hole I was stuck in. It didn't teach me how I would do things, but it gave a spark of enlightenment and a glimpse of hope. This is when the "hunt" began.