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By Bo Sanchez

What gift do you want for Christmas?

Do I hear anybody say, “I want trials”?

Of course, we don’t want trials. But why does God send us trials? Why does He allow trials to come our way? I thought He loves us?

Precisely. God allows trials to come into our life because He loves us. If God doesn’t love us, we won’t have trials.

The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you, depending on how you respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their life. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pause to consider what benefit the problems might bring.

Here are five ways God wants to use the problems in your life:

1. God uses problems to direct you.

You know, sometimes God changes our path and direction and He does that through the problems that we have.

Back in 1991, I fell in love with a woman. She’s charming, religious and I really fell for her. I courted her, sent her roses, chocolates, even serenaded her. But after a few months, she rejected my love. She wasn’t ready for a commitment.

I cried to the Lord.

And then I realized, if she accepted my proposal and we got married in 1992, my life would have turned out differently.

Because in 1994, I started Anawim (our home for the aged) and lived with the lolos and lolas for three years. If I had gotten married in 1992, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

God truly knows everything.

In 1997, I fell in love again. I courted the lady and she accepted me. By that time, Anawim was already stable and I could leave it to some trusted people. So I was able to marry the woman of my dreams.

In hindsight, through my trials, God redirected me. Sometimes God sends us problems to redirect us. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention?

“Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways. “
— Proverbs 20:30

2. God uses problems to inspect you.

People are like tea bags. If you look at it, you won’t know if it is good tea or not. You have to put it in hot water — then and only then will you know.

Has God tested your faith with a problem?
What do your problems reveal about you?
Some people just give up when there’s a problem.

“When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.”
— James 1:2-3

A young woman went to her mother and told her how things were so hard for her. She wanted to give up. As one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen.

She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots. In the second, she placed eggs, and in the last, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She scooped the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what you see?

“Carrots, eggs and coffee,” she replied.

“Which one are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

“Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, wilts, becomes soft and loses its strength?

“Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit, but after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a hardened heart?

“Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the
situation around you.”

How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

The story sure has made me think. I want to be the coffee bean.

A Christian who has trials is transformed by the trials.

Sometimes God sends us trials to inspect us. What kind of heart do you have? What stuff are you made of?

3. God uses problems to correct you.

One time, a man told me his story. He’s 25 years old, a good man. He said that one day he got tempted and went to a bar. A woman approached him, tempted him by saying, “Anything can happen tonight.”

And true enough, something happened. They went to a motel. Days after that, he discovered after medical tests that he had contracted herpes. And according to the doctors, there really is no cure for herpes. It just stays with the afflicted. When the person’s resistance goes low, it resurrects itself.

And then he told me, “Bro. Bo, the Lord is correcting me.”

That’s true. God was correcting him.

I realized that God allows some of our trials to correct us.

Trials come into our life but I don’t mean that the Lord intervenes or interferes to make them happen.

Look at the man who got herpes. Was it the Lord who gave the disease to him? No, God did not even have to interfere. Who gave the herpes to the man? The woman? No! It was the man who put it upon himself! It
was his fault. He chose to have it.

God does not even have to punish you. He will just have to allow the bad consequences of your bad decisions. Sometimes, God allows trials to correct you. And when God corrects you, you’d better listen.

There are some lessons we learn only through pain and failure.

“It was the best thing that could have happened to me,
for it taught me to pay attention to your laws.”
— Psalm 119:71-72

4. God uses problems to protect you.

How many of you have been protected by a trial? Do you think it’s possible?

The lone survivor of a shipwreck was stranded on an island. He made a small nipa hut, looked for food on the other side of the island. While there, his nipa hut got burned. He got very angry with the Lord. He slept with his anger. When morning came, he was awakened by the sound of a pump boat. He was being rescued. He asked them, “How did you know I am here?” And they said, “Yesterday, we saw your smoke signal.”

Sometimes, the Lord uses our trials to protect us, to rescue us and to bless us. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good....”
— Genesis 50:20

The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will
not protect you.
— Unknown

5. God uses problems to perfect you.

Problems, when responded to correctly, are characterbuilders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you’re going to take with you into eternity.

“We can rejoice when we run into problems... they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.”
— Romans 5:3-4

Believe that God will use your problems to bless you abundantly. Let Him fulfill the purpose behind your trials.

24 Life Lessons I learned by Age 24


It's my 24th birthday today. I'm sharing to you some of the lessons I learned thus far at age 24, hoping that you may find it useful.

1. Everything that happens to you is your responsibility, whether good or bad.

2. The greatest truths in life are uncovered with simple, steady awareness.

3. Sometimes, what you are looking for is just in front of you.

4. Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone, so take risks.

5. Problems are common to all, its attitude that makes the difference.

6. Financial security is not a dream, it's a priority.

7. Most of the times, the loudest lessons are found at the most quiet corners of our lives. So seek silence.

8. You'll never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice that you have.

9. Before you can be happy with someone else, you should own your happiness first. Nothing is more attractive than someone who radiates contentment from within.

10. Appreciate even the smallest kind.

11. Say I love you.

12. Don't take life too seriously, after all, no one has come out alive. - Bugs Bunny. Always find reasons to smile.

13. Take many pictures, laugh too much and love like you've never been hurt before.

14. Your health is your life.

15. Quit worrying what other people think about you, after all, nobody's thinking about you at all. If they are thinking about you at all, they are wondering what you are

thinking about them.

16. Sometimes, we are afraid in the things that we really don't know.

17. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

18. Insanity - its doing the same again and again but expecting different results.

19. Knowledge is basically useless without action.

20. Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad. It just depends on your perspective.

21. Having a thousand credentials on the wall will not make you a decent human being. But genuinely helping one person everyday will.

22. Nothing is permanent in this world except for changes. So roll with it.

23. Maturity has nothing to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated. It has to do with what types of experiences you've had.

24. It isn't always enough to be forgiven by others, sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

Dont Quit!

How to Become Strong Leader


A leader is not born.

A leader is created and the whole process starts inside the most dangerous place you'll ever encounter - your own mind.

How can you become a strong leader who inspires others, drives people toward excellence, holds people accountable, and instills a sense of trust? Learning what makes a great leader is your first step.

Here are some things you can do to become the leader you've always wanted to be:

1. Control yourself. Every great leader in history has had to become a master of self-discipline and willpower in order to stay focused on the big picture. If you don't have a goal or the drive to achieve it, you can't lead others to attain theirs.

• Follow through in everything you do. As challenging as it may be, you need to be disciplined enough to be where you need to be, when you need to be there, whether you want to or not. By being strong in your resolve and resisting temptation to give up, you are setting an example for others to live up to.

• Choose your emotional response to a situation carefully. Sometimes you'll need to practice the art of silencing your inner thoughts when they're not appropriate in order to set a positive example.

2. Project your goals. If the people you're leading don't completely understand the deeper meaning in their work, they won't share your vision or work ethic. Every step of the way, communicate with your team to make sure they're on the same wavelength and know what you expect of them.

• Get your team involved in the planning process and the implementation of your ideas. This gives everyone a greater sense of ownership toward the end result.

3. Praise highly and criticize constructively. The way you praise and criticize others can make all the difference in being able to lead effectively.

• Make sure you publicly praise the people who do excellent work for you. You'll give the person a sense of accomplishment and the drive to do even better.

• When someone does something wrong, offer constructive criticism and do it privately. Suggest solutions on how they can improve and take the time to answer any questions. They'll accept your input more willingly if they know it's done to help and not to harm.

4. Know your people. You can't truly lead a group of people unless you truly understand their hopes, dreams, struggles, pains, and goals. All the good intentions in the world mean nothing unless you have a true sense of the people you're working with.

• Talk to your team and get to know them. Getting to know each other on a personal level will strengthen the bond between you. They'll want to do better for you because you're more than just a "boss."

• Be their leader, first, and their friend second. You're their leader and that means that you have to make difficult decisions from time to time. These decisions cannot be affected by personal relationships.

5. Make the hard call. There are times when you have to bite the bullet and make some unpleasant decisions. Firing, demoting, and holding people accountable for their actions can be very hard at times. As a leader, it's your responsibility to handle these matters.

Regardless of where your leadership role takes you, believe that you can be a strong leader. Remember that in order to lead others, you must be disciplined yourself. After all, your actions will speak louder than anything you can say.

In order to gain the respect of others, strive to lead by example in every area of your life.

When you follow these simple guidelines, you'll be well on your way to becoming a true leader!

Using Positive Self-Talk to Conquer Any Goal


Do you feel like you are always talking yourself out of success? As soon as you start to set goals for yourself, do you suddenly have nagging thoughts about how you aren't up to the task or how you simply aren't qualified to carry it through?

If you have ever experienced either situation, you need to change the way you respond to your inner dialogue. Instead of obeying your negative commands, you can use positive self-talk to counter the negativity and overcome nearly all anxious thoughts.

Setting Goals and Sticking to Them with Positive Self-Talk

Are you initially filled with excitement when you first set goals for yourself? Are these thoughts then followed by self-doubt and self-defeating thoughts that stop you in your tracks before you even get started?

It can be difficult to make the most of your life when you are constantly talking yourself out of being a success. It can be frustrating and discouraging to have these thoughts constantly plaguing you. Many of us, in fact, don't even realize we have them! All we know is that we don't have the confidence to stick to our plans and reach our goals.

But there's another way!

Positive self-talk is an effective way to set goals and ensure that you stick to them, even if you have never been able to do this before. The way this works is that you decide what goal is important to you, and then you plan the logistics of how you are going to attain this goal. When self-doubt starts kicking in, you will respond with affirmations that prove your success without surrendering to the negative pressure. Since you're reading this article, it's clear that you're no quitter and you're certainly not a failure, so start believing in yourself!

Re-Programming Your Mind

Affirmations are essentially positive statements that re-program your mind for the positive. The moment you have a self-defeating thought you'd be able to counter the negative with a motivating statement. An example of a positive affirmation is: "I am worthy of great success," or "I see myself in the winner's circle." What this does is replace negativity with thoughts that will help you move toward your goals instead of further away from them.

Positive self-talk is easier to implement than you might think. You may not be aware of the severity of the negative dialogue currently within your mind. However, once you begin with positive self-talk, you will suddenly realize that you are self-sabotaging the goals you set for yourself from the minute that you make them. This process can open your eyes to exactly how much this inner conversation has been interfering with your life. You'll feel hopeful that you can now set goals and surpass them.

Through positive self-talk you will be able easily set long and short-term goals for yourself. And when you use affirmations, you'll have accessible tools to help you push yourself further than ever before. Learning to quiet negativity with positive thoughts is a great move toward setting and attaining future goals with ease.

Infosys Chairman - Mr.Narayana Murthy's Speech on Late Sitting


This article is very interesting. I learned this thru my officemate. How we wish we could do this...

"I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some
people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only
temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't
know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the
office this long. Others put in long office hours because they are
addicted to the workplace. Whatever the reason for putting in overtime,
working long hours over the long term is harmful to the person and to the
organization. There are things managers can do to change this for
everyone's benefit. Being in the office long hours, over long periods of
time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office
long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue. Correcting these
mistakes r equires their time as well as the time and energy of others.
I have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to correct mistakes
made after 5 PM on Monday. Another problem is that people who are in the
office for long hours are not pleasant company. They often complain about
other people (who aren't working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or
even angry. Other people avoid them. Such behaviour poses problems,
where work goes much better when people work together instead of avoiding
one another. As Managers, there are things we can do to help people
leave the office. First and foremost is to set the example and go home
ourselves. I work with a manager who chides people for working long
hours. His words quickly lose their meaning when he sends these chiding group
e-mails with a time-stamp of 2 AM, Sunday. Second is to encourage people to
put some balance in their lives. For instance, here is a guideline I find

1) Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
2) Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
3) Go home.
4) Read the comics, watch a funny movie, dig the dirt,
play with your Kids etc..
5) Eat well and sleep well.

This is called recreating. Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 enable step 2.
Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple concepts. They are
hard for some of us because that requires personal change. They are
possible since we all have the power to choose to do them. In considering
the issue of overtime, I am reminded of my eldest son. When he was a
toddler, If people were visiting the apartment, he would not fall asleep
no matter how long the visit, and no matter what time of day it was! He
would fight off sleep until the visitors left. It was as if he was afraid
that he would miss something. Once our visitors' left, he would go to
sleep. By this time, however, he was over tired and would scream through
half the night with nightmares. He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for
his fear of missing out. Perhaps some people put in such long hours because
they don't want to miss anything when they leave the office. The trouble
with this is that events will never stop happening. That is life! Things
happen 24 hours a day. Allowing for little rest is not ultimately practical.
So, take a nap. Things will happen while you're asleep, but you will
have the energy to catch up when you wake.

Hence, "LOVE YOUR JOB BUT NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR COMPANY. (Because you never know when it stops loving you)"

- Narayana Murthy

Career Advice


Feel like sharing this slide... enjoy!

12 More Daily Habits


My article 24 Daily Habits has been an amazing success, so I thought I would follow it up with another 12 Daily Habits that I try (I’m not perfect!) to do and that you may consider incorporating into your life.

1. Stretch: I was inspired to write 24 Daily Habits by my discovery of the benefits of exercising everyday. Every so often I can’t find time to exercise, but at the very least I stretch. Some benefits of this include: reduced muscle tension, increased flexibility, and increased energy levels (from the increased circulation of blood).

2. Write: I normally spend time each day writing articles for this blog. I find writing very therapeutic as it allows me to clarify my thoughts and feelings about a number of issues. If you don’t have a blog, try keeping a journal or writing a long email to a good friend each day.

3. Listen to Music I Love: its a simple pleasure we often take for granted. If ever I want to relax, get pumped, or simply just have fun its quite likely I will put on some music to accompany my mood. I rarely listen to the radio though - I want to choose the tunes!

4. Exercise My Brain: exercising your brain is as important (if not more!) than exercising your muscles. In the past year I taken to Sudoku and Kakuro as ways to stimulate my brain and have fun. Other suggestions are crosswords, quizzes, and brain teasers.

5. Sharpen My Memory: this could come under the above habit, but I think it is worthy of its own heading. I haven’t always been kind to my brain in the past, and I recently started to notice how this was affecting my memory. Each day now I try to sharpen my memory with simple techniques such as remembering names and telling stories (ie recalling events).

6. Drink Plenty of Water: drinking plenty of water each day is essential to good health. Among other things, water flushes toxins out of vital organs and carries nutrients to cells. I try to take a water bottle with me wherever I go.

7. Drink Green Tea: I love my cup of coffee first thing in the morning, but when it comes to the afternoon I find that coffee over-stimulates my brain and makes me edgy. Instead I drink green tea in the afternoon which still contains caffeine (important to help me make it until 5pm!), but does not give me the negative effects of an afternoon coffee. There are also many health benefits to green tea which you can read further about here.

8. Under Promise, Over Deliver: this is a great way to impress people. The last thing I want to do is make promises which I won’t be able to keep.

9. Smile: ….. and the world smiles with you. Well not always, but I find that a smile is a great way to break down barriers with people.

10. Celebrate My Successes: I find its so important to take time each and every day to celebrate my successes. This doesn’t have to involve opening a bottle of bubbly (or in my case cracking open a beer). A mental pat on the back will often do. If you need some ideas I recommend reading 75 Simple Pleasures to Brighten Your Day from ZenHabits.

11. Meditate: as part of my routine of winding down each day I try to spend 10 - 15 minutes meditating. Benefits of meditation I have noticed include relaxation, energy, and perspective on my life. This article from PicktheBrain has some good tips on getting started.

12. Have Fun: one of my life philosophies is that we should enjoy each day. I consider many of the habits I have listed in this article to be fun (eg sudoku, listening to music, and celebrating my successes). Importantly, though, I always try to have some spontaneous fun each day.

What is Adulthood? 20 Defining Characteristics of a True Adult


How can one classify a true adult? Many people directly attribute age to adulthood. The problem with this methodology becomes evident when you discuss the topic with various people of different cultural backgrounds. If you ask each of them what age they believe constitutes the point at which a person progresses from childhood into adulthood, their answers will always be different. Why? Because every one of the answers are based on subjective opinion. Adulthood is not based age; it’s based strictly on emotional maturity.

So what constitutes emotional maturity, and thus adulthood?

Here are 20 defining characteristics of a true adult:

Realizing that maturity is an ongoing process, not a state, and continuously striving for self improvement.

Able to manage personal jealousy and feelings of envy.

Has the ability to listen to and evaluate the viewpoints of others.

Maintains patience and flexibility on a daily basis.

Accepts the fact that you can’t always win, and learns from mistakes instead of whining about the outcome.

Does not overanalyze negative points, but instead looks for the positive points in the subject being analyzed.

Is able to differentiate between rational decision making and emotional impulse.

Understands that no skill or talent can overshadow the act of preparation.

Capable of managing temper and anger. Keeps other people’s feeling in mind and limits selfishness.

Being able to distinguish between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.

Shows confidence without being overly arrogant.

Handles pressure with self composure.

Takes ownership and responsibility of personal actions.

Manages personal fears.

Able to see the various shades of grey between the extremes of black and white in every situation.

Accepts negative feedback as a tool for self improvement.

Aware of personal insecurities and self-esteem.

Able to separate true love from transitory infatuation.

Understanding that open communication is the key to progression.

Above all, true adults do what they have to do when it is required of them, and they do what they want when they can.

They are able to distinguish between the two and manage their time and efforts accordingly.

24 Daily Habits


We first make our habits, and then our habits make us - John Dryden

I have previously written about how the habit of Exercising Every Day has helped me tremendously. Doing something every day is such a powerful way to form a habit that I thought I would make a list of 24 habits that are worth doing on a daily basis.

Note: I have divided these into morning, day and night although some could obviously be under different headings.The Morning

1. Wake Early: I am a big fan of waking at 5am and spending time working on myself before going to work. I have written more about this habit here.

2. Exercise: when I had the goal of exercising 4 times a week I found it was very easy to tell myself I will exercise tomorrow instead. Setting the expectation of daily exercise removed this as a potential excuse and I have since reaped the benefits of this daily habit.

3. Review or (even better) Rewrite Your Goals: each day I try to get closer to achieving my short, medium and long term goals. Starting the day by reviewing or rewriting my goals means that I have better awareness of them throughout the day. As Robin Sharma says:
With better awareness you can make better choices and when you make better choices, you will see better results.

4. Read and/ or Listen to Motivational Material: in the morning a whole day of endless possibilities lies ahead. I motivate myself to play my best game by reading and listening to inspirational books/ audiobooks.

5. Visualise the Day Ahead: I like to take a few minutes to shut my eyes and visualise what I want happen in the coming day. It’s amazing how often my desires become reality when I do this.

6. Write a “To Do” list: I like to write out a list in my diary of the important tasks I need to do that day. As they are completed I put a line through them. So simple, yet so effective.

7. Check the News Headlines: I think it’s important to have an idea of what is happening in our community and the world. Also if don’t at least check the main stories, I find it is easy to feel left out of conversations throughout the day.

8. Take a Multivitamin: I try to eat a well balanced diet, but taking a multivitamin daily reassures me that I obtaining the proper amount of vitamins and minerals that I need (**Update: see comments).

9. Tidy Up: a cluttered house can lead to a cluttered mind and fuzzy thinking. I find it’s best to stay on top of things by tidying up each day.

10. Take Time to Look Good: it’s a reality of life that people judge us by our appearance. I take a few minutes each morning to ensure I go out into the world looking the best I can.
The Day

11. Put First Things First: Many people have their day controlled by tasks that are urgent , but not necessarily important. Examples include interruptions, some email and some phone calls. The habit of putting first things first is about organising and executing your life around your deepest priorities.

12. Connect with Nature: I find spending time outdoors in nature is great for my sense of wellbeing. I have written about this here.

13. Blog: blogging makes me think and write - two things that I can’t get enough of each day. I have written more about the benefits of blogging here.

14. Snack Well: I substitute the chips, candy and chocolate with fruit, vegetables (carrots and celery are great to chomp on) and nuts.

15. Be Proactive: being proactive means showing initiative and taking the responsibility to make things happen. Whenever I want something to happen, I ask myself: what can I do to make this happen?

16. Ping a Friend: I try to send a quick email or text to a friend each day. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends when I am extremely busy.

17. Save: I save at least 10% of each paycheck. A great way to find the money to save is to break it down to a
daily amount, for example $10-15. By taking account of the Latte Factor I find it easy to save this much.

The Evening

18. Have Family Time: on a typical workday I won’t see much of my partner and son, so I believe it’s important to, at the very least, be there most evenings. Family time is about quantity and quality.

19. Floss: This is essential to reduce tooth decay and gum disease. Why wouldn’t you want to have the best smile possible?

20. Wind Down: I try to switch off the computer and the TV about 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime and let my brain have some down time after a long day. I sleep far more peacefully when I do this.

21. Review My Day: I find this is a great way to hold myself to account for taking action throughout the day. Did I get closer to achieving my goals? Did I complete my to do list? Did my day go as planned? If not, why not?

22. Read: I love to read and do so continuously throughout the day. I find it is especially good to read just before to going to bed. Just makes sure it’s a relaxing book, and not one about nuclear physics (see habit #20).
23. Say I Love You to My Family Members: don’t just assume that your family members know you love them. I say these words to my partner and son at least once per day.

24. Go to Bed At A Reasonable Time: the first habit of this list (waking early) begins by going to bed at a reasonable time and getting a good nights sleep.