One day, Max, a criminal in death row was about to be executed.
The warden was extra kind that day, so he asked him, “Max, for your last three meals, you can ask for anything you want. What do you want for breakfast?”
Max said, “Pancit (Local noodles). For long life.”
The warden smiled and said, “I don’t think it will work. But here’s the pancit anyway.” Max ate with gusto.
After a few hours, the warden asked, “What’s your second meal?”
“Spaghetti. Also for long life,” Max said.
The warden laughed as he shook his head, “Max, this won’t give you long life, but anyway, here it is…” He gave him spaghetti and Max devoured it.
After a few hours, the warden asked, “What’s your third meal? Sotanghon?” (Another local noodle dish.)
“No,” Max laughed, “noodle dishes have not been working for me.”
“So what will your last meal be?”
Max said, “I want a bowl of fresh strawberries.”
The warden said, “But it’s not the season of strawberries. That’s about ten months away!”
Max said, “Oh, it’s okay. I can wait.”
Max had a simple purpose: To extend his life.
If you noticed, his first two strategies didn’t work. So he shifted strategy.
Friends, you need to be an expert in using this powerful tool of success.
Are You A Quitter?
I know it sounds shocking.
But I’m serious.
Unless you learn how to quit, you won’t reach your dreams.
I don’t say that because I read it in a book. I say that from personal experience. I’m successful now because I know when to quit, how to quit, where to quit, and what to quit.
By the way, do you have problems?
Today, I’m going to teach you how to solve your problems by quitting.
Let me give you a hint: Most of the time, the best way to solve your problems is not by solving your problems. The best way to solve your problems is by making them irrelevant.
And the way to do that is to quit.
I hope I’ve confused you by now.
Let me now tell you my first story: A love story. A tragic love story.
But I’m going to ask a favor. Notice whenever I use these three words in my story: Purpose, Path, and Problem.
Let me define them for you:
o Purpose is the final destination
o Path is the road going there.
o Problem is the barrier on that road.
My love story is about Jenny, a beautiful single woman with many dreams.
Like many single women, her big purpose is to have a happy marriage.
Which includes a lovely wedding, romantic dates each week, cuddling in bed every Saturday morning, and hugs under a starlit sky.
One day, Jimboy walks into her world and offers a path to her purpose.
He has good looks. Dresses smart. Speaks well. Has what Filipinos call “arrive”.
She meets him, likes him, and walks home with her feet on the clouds.
She also has many profound signs from Heaven that they’re meant for each other: They’re fans of the same artista.
She’s excited. She believes she has found the man of her dreams.
Unfortunately, the dream turns out to be a nightmare.
The Problem of Jimboy
She discovers that Jimboy is an irresponsible bum.
He always doesn’t have money. His wallet is thick, but it’s filled with old receipts, discount cards, and an expired driver’s license that he can’t renew because he has no money.
He hasn’t held a steady job for the past five years. When Jenny asks him why, he says he’s a free spirit. But since his spirit is still trapped in a physical body that gets hungry three times a day, Jimboy has to borrow money from Jenny.
Jenny also discovers that Jimboy has mixed blood. He’s 25% Filipino, 25% Chinese, and 50% Alcohol. When she asks why he drinks so much, he says, “When I drink, I fall asleep. When I fall asleep, I don’t sin. When I don’t sin, I go to Heaven. So I drink to go to Heaven.”
Finally, she also discovers that Jimboy flirts with anything that moves with a skirt. She finds he has other girlfriends. “In case of emergencies,” he laughs.
Let’s review the three elements of our story.
Her Purpose is a happy marriage.
Her Path is Jimboy.
Her Problem is his character flaws: being a bum, an alcoholic, and a playboy.
What should Jenny do?
Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if she just quit this path and take another?
But from my experience, many women don’t. They just keep on trying to solve their problem—in this case—Jimboy’s character flaws.
I see two reasons why people don’t quit…
1. When You Confuse Purpose And Path
Jenny must see boyfriend Jimboy as a path.
Just a path, not the purpose.
Because if she’s confused between purpose and path, she’ll be attached to Jimboy. If Jenny confuses Jimboy to be her purpose, then she’ll try to solve the problem of his character flaws head on—by trying to change him.
That may include emotional manipulation, sexual blackmail, dragging him to prayer meetings, forcing him to counseling, and driving out demons via exorcism.
Or she may just marry him and hope that marriage will change him.
Which is a huge mistake. Here’s the truth:Marriage doesn’t change anyone, it simply magnifies what’s already there.
But okay, I admit. There are rare exceptions. A few guys do change after their wedding day.
But that’s like playing Russian Roulette. With a gun that can hold 100 bullets—and 99 are loaded. Do you really want to take that risk?
2. When You Become Unclear With Your Purpose
Emotionally, the Jennys of the world are discombobulated.
They will keep their Jimboys because marriage is no longer their purpose.
For example, if Jenny has a strained relationship with her parents, and her parents told her that Jimboy wasn’t good for her, Jenny will keep him as her act of rebellion. In this case, her purpose isn’t marriage anymore. It’s to get back at Mama and Papa and declare her total independence.
If Jenny has a broken self-image and believes—in her subconscious—that she deserves a jerk, then she’ll keep him too. Again, the purpose is no longer to get married. The purpose is to inflict self-punishment for being such a terrible person. Even if Jimboy leaves her, Jenny will continue to search for other Jerks. She will be a Jerk-magnet for the rest of her life.
When the purpose is messed up, our lives are messed up as well.
Sadly, I see this tragedy again and again.
Oh, if only we learn to quit!
But our problem is that we think there’s only one path.
So when a problem blocks our way, we try to solve it head on.
Not understanding that sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to make it irrelevant. For example, Jenny can make Jimboy’s character flaws irrelevant by simply dumping him—and choosing someone with better husband-potential.
Life will be much simpler. And happier!
Tell Yourself: There’s More Than One Path
People don’t know how to quit.
I’ve met otherwise wonderful people who’ve been stuck in dead-end relationships for years—because they don’t know how to quit.
I’ve met great employees who—for the past 10 years—have been stuck in a job they don’t like, working for a boss they don’t like, and receiving a pay they don’t like—because they don’t know how to quit. (I’m not saying you quit tomorrow. Apply at another job first before you quit.)
I’ve met entrepreneurs who’ve been stuck in a business that doesn’t earn much or that isn’t in line with their passion—because they don’t know how to quit.
I’ve met people who—for the past 10 years—have been stuck in abusive religious groups that kill their spirit—because they don’t know how to quit.
A friend of mine showed me this principle at work…
There’s Got To Be Another Way
A couple of years ago, my friend said he was taking up nursing to go abroad to earn for his family. Though he and his wife owned a school, they still couldn’t make ends meet. Because the school had very few students and many parents weren’t paying or were delayed in paying their tuition fees.
So the guy went abroad to work.
But after a year, I met him again. He told me something beautiful. A line I want you to say often. He said, “Bo, there’s got to be another way!”
“What happened?” I asked.
“My kids need me. And I was so lonely out there. I don’t want to go abroad again!” he said.
My friend and his wife decided to work on their little school. They did massive marketing and doubled their enrollees. They also did the unthinkable: They raised their tuition fees. (In the past, their tuition fees were very low.)
Today, this couple is happy to report that the school is doing so much better. And wonder of wonders, the parents now pay regularly. Why? Because they were able to reach parents of a higher economic bracket who don’t have problems paying tuition fees.
Filipinos think that there’s only one path to financial abundance: Go abroad. Be an Overseas Filipino Worker.
But the problem to that path is huge—leaving your children.
Hey, don’t solve that problem. Make that problemirrelevant by choosing another path. Yes, there are other paths to financial abundance!
You can be wealthy here in this country!
One last story…
Choose Another Problem—
A Problem You Can Handle
Four years ago, I wanted to build the first Catholic homeschool provider in the Philippines. At that time, all homeschool providers in the country were non-Catholic.
For those who don’t know what homeschooling is, let me give you a simple definition. Homeschooling is when parents teach their own kids at home and try their best not to kill them before the day is over.
Just kidding. I believe in homeschooling so much because kids learn with fun. When done correctly, homeschooled kids can have a broader intelligence than kids from regular schools. And ironically, they can have greater social skills too. Today, two million kids in the US are being homeschooled because it’s a fantastic alternative.
I love homeschooling. But my problem was that the Department of Education didn’t love homeschooling. (Yet!)
They had this iron-clad condition: If I wanted a license for homeschooling, I needed to build a physical school—complete with a few concrete building, an army of teachers, yellow school buses, a nice tall flagpole, and a security guard named Mang Jun—before they gave me a go signal to open my homeschool center.
That was the giant problem in my path.
Now I could have bulldozed my way through that big problem by simply building a physical school. I knew I could do it. I’ve built stuff before.
But my goodness! First, I’d need millions. Second, I’d probably become bald from stress—and I don’t like to be bald because my head is shaped funny. But more importantly, why build a traditional school if my heart was in homeschooling?
I took one step backward and prayed.
That’s when I found another path with a much smaller problem: I could partner with an already existing school and work out a joint-venture agreement with them.
That’s when I remembered my dear friend and fellow-Preacher Alvin Barcelona and his wife Tess. They owned a wonderful, multi-awarded school calledPowerKids. The only problem was whether we could work together on the project.
We solved that small problem over a nice dinner of boneless Bangus and Quezo ice cream in my home. That night, we signed the papers, and Kaboom—we launched the www.CatholicFilipinoAcademy.com the next day.
Today, PowerKids CFA serve almost 150 kids and their very brave parents.
Here’s the key to great success: Be unflinching with your purpose, be flexible with your path.
Never give up on the dreams that God has placed in your heart.
But you can experiment in various ways in fulfilling them—until you find the right one.
Just like Peter…
Fill Your Nets!
One day, Jesus asked Peter to fish. Peter said they’ve been fishing all day and have caught nothing. But Peter said that he’d still do it.
But Jesus said something curious.
He just didn’t tell them, “Lower your nets one more time.”
He said, “Lower your nets in the deeper water. And lower your nets on the other side of the boat”
In other words, quit the old way of doing things and take another path.
Result? Peter’s nets were so full of fish they almost broke. That’s abundance.
Friend, do you want your nets to be full? Do you want abundance too?
Don’t quit your purpose. Still lower your nets.
But quit where you lower your nets.
Quit when you lower your nets.
Quit how you lower your nets.
Find another path.
Are you going through some problems now?
1. What is really my end purpose?
2. Is there another path to this purpose whose problems I can handle?
And take new paths.
And may your nets almost break with your abundant harvest.
I’ll tell you one more reason to quit:
Even when a path seems to be working!
May your dreams come true,