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thefatkidinside.com

I’ve been following Erwan Heussaff on twitter for some time now and I finally found time to check out his blog.  I am so fascinated with his style and skill in cooking.  And he seems to do it with such enthusiasm.  It’s enticing.  I like the way he spices up his blog with videos and photos and interesting nutrition facts too!  Check out the video that got me hooked to his site.

ThEfaTkIdiNsiDe

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*photo grabbed from google page

I am waiting

I believe that God is teaching me the principle of waiting.

This brings me to the question of how this relates to the fruits of the spirit?

Let’s look at Galatians 5:22-23.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

Waiting relates to forbearance, which is defined in dictionary.com as

1. the act of forbearing;  a refraining from something.
2. forbearing conduct or quality; patient endurance; self-control.
3. an abstaining from the enforcement of a right.
4. a creditor’s giving of indulgence after the day originally fixed for payment.
The question then is, how does this relate to me now? and the things i pray for?
1. “refrain from something” – to put any action/s on hold
2. “patient endurance” – the attitude that I need to have while waiting
“self-control” – to restrain from acting for myself
3. “abstain from enforcement of a right” – this requires humility, not to demand an answer
4. “indulgence” – giving time for the answer to come
Looking at the Bible, we see several verses that pertains to waiting.
In Numbers 9:8, Moses answered them, “WAIT until I find out what the Lord commands concerning you.”
In Ruth 3:18, Naomi said to Ruth, “WAIT, my daughter, until you find out what happens.  For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
In 1 Samuel 10, Samuel said to Saul, “but your must WAIT seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”
In the Book of Psalm, we can learn from David’s attitude as he waited on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14, “WAIT for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 33:20, “We WAIT in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.”
Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and WAIT patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways..”
Psalm 37:34, “WAIT for the Lord and keep his way.  He will exalt you to inherit the land..”
Psalm 38:15, “I WAIT for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God.”
Psalm 40:1, “I WAITED patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.”
Psalm 119:84, “How long must your servant WAIT? When will you punish my persecutors?
Psalm 119:166, “I WAIT for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands.”
Psalm 130:5, “I WAIT for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:6, “My soul WAITS for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning..”
PRAYER:
Dear God, thank you that I can come to you openly in prayer.  As I wait for your answer, allow me to have a heart like David.  That I may be strong, still, patient as I put my hope in you and follow your commands.  Whatever your answer may be, please prepare my heart, that I may be willing to submit and obey.  May you be glorified, even as I wait.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

I’m not Jenni

Who’s heard about Jenni Epperson?

I first learned about her on twitter.  Some showbiz personalities are following Jenni, so I got curious.

Later, i looked up her blog and got interested too.

She’s a fascinating fashion icon and I like her style.. slick classic.. 

If you’re wondering how she looks, here’s a pic from her old blog site.

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Her blog encouraged me to write on just any topic i’m interested in.  So here I am, writing about her.

I’m not sure yet on how to proceed with this blog.  In the meantime, let this just be an outlet for sharing my random thoughts and ideas. =)

 

 

How to thrive in a globalizing world in overdrive

In my previous blog, I touched base on the reasons why one would consider an advanced education to enhance their career. Although taking an MBA or professional designation has its merits, it is apparent today that this alone will not ensure professional success for ambitious individuals looking to make their mark on the world. There are many articles – blogs posts and research alike, that have argued that the value of such formal education has not proven to achieve as high of a gain compared to the previous generation’s time.

As a 20-something myself having graduated not so long ago, I empathize with many from my generation who seek to figure out how to achieve career success in all aspects – in compensation, fulfillment, fun, and purpose. In a time of abundant opportunities and restless young minds, this is a daunting task. It also doesn’t make the job easier when technology is moving so fast that what you’ve learned in textbooks as a 1st year may be partially irrelevant now. Globalization has also leveled the playing field, where ambitious young upstarts from developing and developed countries alike now have far more power to achieve what they want to accomplish, whether to create revolutions or build the next Fortune 500.

So what does it take to succeed in your career or business in the 21st century? Here are my insights:

Follow Palchinsky’s Principles.

I’ve learned about this after reading ‘Adapt’ by Tim Harford (http://timharford.com/books/adapt/). Peter Palchinsky was a great Russian engineer who was an advisor to the Tsar and to Stalin. Although he ended up getting executed for his honesty, he left the world with three guiding principles to innovating and thriving in a complex society:

  1. Try lots of things expecting many to fail.
  2. Make sure the failures are survivable.
  3. Learn from the failures.

The world today is incredibly complex, and in order to succeed in it one must accept failure as an essential part of the process. In any personal or business decision, there are so many variables that have to be considered that it is nearly impossible or ineffective to overanalyze a situation to come out with a perfect course of action. Therefore, one must account failure as a required ‘life tuition’ to pay for the essential learning required for future success.

However, for failure to be effective, points 2 and 3 must also be realized. Killing yourself or sacrificing an entire organization is foolhardy as you won’t be alive to reap the learnings coming from failure. Similarly, resources are wasted when the same failure is committed to over and over again, with the person or business failing without learning from the mistakes of the past.

Want to become a star employee in your organization? Take the leap and take on that challenging side project no one else is willing to step up to. At the least, you will fail and have learned something you can use in your current or future job. At most, you will succeed, gain the respect of your peers for manning up, and have acquired knowledge of a success template. Either way, you win.

Learn. Change. Learn.

The world is a living organism, constantly evolving. This is apparent in everything from how we go about communicating with each other (from telephone to email to MSN messenger to Facebook) to how we define work (from factory worker to cubicle employee to virtual freelancer) to what products and services we end up consuming (who would have imagined even 10 years ago that the touchscreen tablet, smartphone app, or reality television industry would have boomed so greatly?) New technologies are coming out so fast that by the time I’ve finished my euphoric exploration of my new iPhone 4, an edition two levels above it is almost ready to hit the market. SLOW DOWN WORLD.

What point am I trying to drive here? Like an organism, we must embrace adaptation. This is done by promoting a personal mindset and organizational culture that embraces change and continuous learning.

There are a few organizations that embrace this concept, and have benefited from it. Google allows its employees to delve into their own side projects, which allows the company to tap into a pool of incredible intellectual capability, thus enabling them to produce innovative products time and time again (they are also not afraid to screw up; the majority of new Google applications fail in the marketplace, but that paves way to discovering a gem). Companies such as IBM and Intel were able to rise from being market irrelevant by addressing the tough realities and boldly reinventing themselves (IBM sold off their laptop division and refocused on services; Intel went from worshipping memories to developing microchips). For my organization Sprott-Shaw Colleges, we’ve enhanced our online marketing and student recruitment technologies to successfully adapt to an evolving education market landscape, as more and more prospective students apply now online as an alternative to traditional office visitations with advisors.

With whatever you are doing, ask yourself: What is the most efficient and effective way of completing my objective? If the method employed is with what you currently know and are doing, then keep on doing it. If there is a better way of achieving the objective, then adapt your course and if required, acquire the knowledge and skills to see it through. If you’re managing a company, regularly ask yourself how your organization is doing in contributing value to its customers. If market forces are hinting you to look back at your strategy, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself.

Open Minds, Open Doors.

We now live in a society where people will now have to work together with peers from different countries, ethnicities, religions, and value systems.

At any given day at my organizations Sprott-Shaw Philippines and the Global Career Centre, my team is interacting with colleagues and partners from 4 different geographical regions (Dubai, China, Philippines, and Canada), speaking 3 languages (English, Tagalog, and Chinese). I am a Canadian-Filipino Christian, working with Chinese atheists, Filipino Catholics, and Middle-Eastern Muslims. Expanding further, the mother company we work with has global presence in 18 different countries, with students coming from more than 42 countries.

In my workplace, there is a premium placed on diversity, and respect for different viewpoints and value systems. Diversity is strength because it allows us to tackle projects from multiple angles, and breeds healthy debate which typically leads to better ideas and decisions. It is a concept similar to Steven Covey’s famous principle of the ‘3rd alternative’ (www.the3rdalternative.com); an alternative that emerges from opposing viewpoints which end up being the best alternative that most effectively satisfies the concerns of all parties. In today’s globalized world, an open mind with the ability to empathize and collaborate with other perspectives is one of the most crucial skill sets (or better, virtue) of the modern professional and organization. Close mindedness leads to lost opportunity, or worse face the consequences of a disgruntled workforce and lost market share from inability to relate with a diversifying customer base.

Next time you face a disagreement with a colleague, customer, your boss, or business partner, I suggest following two simple rules from Steve Covey:

1)      Ask the person to agree with you that the other side cannot talk not until you have empathetically internalized his viewpoint and repeat it at his or her satisfaction;

2)      Ask the person if he or she is willing to collaborate with you in coming up with a solution that’s better than both of your current viewpoints, better meaning effectively satisfying each of your individual concerns… and some.

When both sides agree to both 1) and 2), they almost always come up with a solution MUCH BETTER than the alternatives previously thought of by themselves. It is usually better because different viewpoints enable the parties to tackle issues from different angles, thus enabling the creation of a comprehensive and effective decision.

Drive with a Purpose.

I could not forget the part in Alice in Wonderland where Alice asked the Cheshire Cat on what path along a fork road she should go. The mischievous cat grinned and asked her where she was heading, to which Alice replied that she doesn’t know. Wisely the Cheshire Cat answered that either road would not matter. The same applies in one’s job, and life as a whole.

There is no use driving when there is no destination. On average, we spend 1/3 of our day for 40 years working. How depressing it would be, particularly on your deathbed, to fail to realize where all that time was truly aimed for. The majority of people go on with their lives, clock in and clock out at their 9 to 5, working for the sake of work and receiving a paycheck and benefits at the end of the day. Time is the most valuable resource in the world because it is something that cannot be taken back. Wouldn’t it be a wise decision to invest some time to think about the purpose of why we wake up and do what we do in the first place?

Finding out the purpose of your life serves several benefits:

1)      A sense of purpose provides you a level of energy and enthusiasm hardly achieved by those without it.

2)      A sense of purpose saves you time and ‘thought resources’ because you don’t waste your time doubting yourself and draining your energy from worry or anxiety.

3)      A sense of purpose will provide you superhuman focus. With extreme focus, one can create something out of nothing. Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, and Henry Ford all possessed it, and each one revolutionized the world.

 In the information age, the world rewards those with the strongest convictions and purpose. It is the most valuable asset of any professional or business, because it is the spirit that drives them to achieve great heights. In the age where knowledge workers dominate the economy, purpose is what attracts the most talented and intelligent employees to follow you. Today, the strength of your purpose is directly proportional with your ability to sustain and grow world-class teams, organizations, and nations.

If you’re an employee, ask yourself right now why you do what you do. If the first thing that pops up your mind is paying down the mortgage and bills, then you don’t have a real purpose. If you’re a manager or entrepreneur of an company, ask yourself what your organization exists to do and see if your employees know it. If the first thing that pops on your mind is shareholder value or even profits, then invest some time in finding out your company’s purpose. Most businesses exist to simply feed the families that work in them, and there’s nothing wrong with this. But to become world-class, purpose must be the driving force behind everything you and your team does.

The 21st Century is different from your parent’s time

It is without a doubt that to survive, thrive, and succeed in the modern world on overdrive, one must adapt principles that may seem bold 20 or 30 years ago. Many in our parent’s generation never had the same global exposure and technologies that expose us to international competitors and partners, ever more efficient way of doing things, and colleagues with unique value systems and viewpoints. The past had an unwritten honoured contract between employees and their employers, companies and their governments. Study and work hard, and your company or the government will provide for you. Stay at your job for the next 4 decades, retire, then play golf and host dinner parties for the rest of your life. In our modern society this is simply not the case anymore. This change may not necessarily be a bad thing; never before have we been provided an unbridled opportunity to be awesome, to change the world, and live an amazing life.

The complexity of the 21st century demands a mindset that is able to embrace it. Accepting failure as a building block of success, being a lifelong learner, possessing extraordinary empathy and an open mind, and finding a sense of purpose are just some of the principles required to become a successful careerist or organization in the new economy. At the highest level, it will lead to a more full and satisfying life for you and the people around you.

Aron

(Real) value of graduate studies

There is a reason why they call it the ‘trying 20s’. Young adults are faced with many decisions, some of which may have an incredible impact on their entire lives: should I buy a house, start a family, change careers, move to a new country, pursue my deepest passions, explore my faith, quit my job, stop smoking, marry my true love. One of the most highly debated ones, particularly amongst young professionals, is the pursuit of more advanced graduate education: “should I pursue further study in (insert professional business degree or qualification here)?”

This blog post was inspired because I just came off a heated (but out of love) debate with my dad on whether or not to take my MBA (Masters of Business Administration). The structure of my dad’s argument is as follows:

To be successful, you must become a senior executive of a large corporation.

Most senior executives of large corporations hold advanced qualifications like an MBA, CPA, CFA or the like.

Therefore, to increase your chances of becoming successful, one must take an advanced degree to be able to consolidate such a senior executive position in a large corporation.

I understand my dad’s sentiments. He grew up in a modest household in a relatively rural region in the Philippines, studied hard, and earned entrance in one of the country’s top educational institutions, UP. He graduated as an engineer, continued to work hard, earned his MBA, and rose up the corporate ranks in his beloved organization before leaving it all behind by immigrating to Vancouver with his family (which I have deep gratitude for given that he let go of his professional career for a better life for his children). Now that we’re here in Canada, he’d like to pass on the batton, and see his children succeed as well as respected professionals and contributing members of society.

I empathize with his viewpoint, but don’t fully agree with it. An advanced graduate business degree or qualification is not required for career success. In fact, I believe that the value of such certifications has diminished drastically over the last decade. How so?

1) More and more people are graduating with similar graduate degrees and are competing for a finite number of jobs. Yes, that’s a statement that needs to be proven, but I believe a simple search in google for such articles and statistics about this proves my point.

2) Technology has enabled us to learn almost anything and do almost anything. That’s right, we now live in a world where if you have the drive and the vision, you can pretty much learn anything through self study in youtube, Khan academy, or reading free business tips from fastcompany/bnet/investopedia… etc. Technology has also given us the power to do way more for less in all aspects of business functions, such as marketing (facebook and blog guerrilla marketing), and HR (recruiting through linkedin).

3) Almost anything can be outsourced to developing countries now. Deloitte and Touche outsources some of its auditing functions to  Hyderabad, India (yes, I’ve been there and seen the armies of Chartered Accountants enter their spaceship looking buildings all day/night, working for a fraction of their Canadian counterpart’s wages). You can pay a Philippine MBA grad to do financial analysis for you (one service in an upcoming field called ‘knowledge process outsourcing’, or KPO) for less than $1000/month, or a six-sigma certified recruitment specialist  to do hiring for about the same amount.

Sounds kinda depressing. In today’s day and age, why would anyone, or even a Fortune 500 for that matter, pay incredible amounts of money for a newly minted MBA when he can outsource, utilize technology, or get more affordable candidates in the labour market?

Fortunately, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. If researched correctly and properly selected with the right criteria and goals in mind, an advanced business degree can provide its consumer value. It just depends on how much value it will provide you and how much you’d be willing to pay for it. For those looking at making a decision on their graduate business studies, I suggest analyzing your target degree keeping 3 value-added criteria in mind.

A graduate business degree or qualification will provide value by:

Value-Add #1 – New skills gained. Simply put, the most fundamental reason why we all get schooled in the first place is to learn new skills. Therefore, one should ask the question on whether or not a particular program is providing you a skill set (say, managerial accounting, better understanding of corporate law) that one does not posess or has a hard time acquiring/mastering on one’s own. A good example of this would be obtaining your CPA designation if you want to become an accounting professional specializing in the audit of financial statements. One would find it incredibly difficult to learn such skill on his/her own (and even so, get buy-in from companies to review their statements without an official CPA title to their name).

Value-Add #2 – Developing a trusted and reputable personal brand. Let’s face it, holding all things constant, a job candidate with professional titles linked to their name has greater probability of catching a recruiter’s eye than a candidate without a a title. Even more so if that candidate came from a ‘prestigious’ institution like Harvard or Queen’s. Does having a title or graduating from an Ivy League make you awesome? Of course not. Does it trigger a somatic marker in most people’s brains that you are indeed awesome? In a considerable amount of cases, a resounding yes. Especially for first impressions, brand matters.

Value-Add #3 – Expanding one’s social network. In my opinion this is probably the most important factor to consider when taking an generalist MBA degree. While studying, you are developing connections with like minded and ambitious individuals who are just as passionate with making a difference as you are. Connecting with such peers will surely support your business (or the company you eventually work for). With a strong business peer network, it also open your doors to future career opportunities if you do decide to move to other aspirations. Lastly, hanging out with cool people also means you get to discuss ideas with them, and perhaps implement a new business concept that will make you guys a lot of money and make an impact in the world. What better place to innovate and explore new ideas than in the halls of graduate school, away from the usual ‘noise’ of everyday work?

Of course some types of graduate education will give you more value in certain aspects than others (ex: a CFA designation will provide you exceptional technical finance skills, but perhaps may lack the social networking factor as compared to taking an MBA in a brick-and-mortar college). It also depends on what you value most out of your education, and whether or not that’s going to accomplish your long-term career goals (ex: I’m a manager lacking accounting skills, therefore a technical education through taking a CMA designation will cover this and make me into a more effective manager, thus paving way to C-suite heaven). Last but not least, one must also account for the $$$ required to pay for such education, and see if its value justifies the investment (Queen’s MBA will provide me the networks, but is this worth $70,000? Can’t I socialize and develop these friendships on my own?)

In conclusion, the real value of graduate business studies is NOT in guaranteeing you ‘success’. Whether a high school drop-out or ivy league MBA graduate, the world owes you nothing. The value of such qualifications is determined by your own personal situation, analyzed through the simple 3-value-added framework above.

A company survives, thrives, or dies based on its ability to provide value to its stakeholders. This cannot be guaranteed by any kind of education; it is still up to the individual professional to deliver.

In a future article, I will provide my thoughts on what true skills are needed for a young professional to be successful in today’s fast-paced, competitive and globalized society. Stay tuned!

Aron

CHRISTmas 2011 Gift Ideas

Yes, it’s that season again when we crunch our brains for the list of top-20 or top-30 most special people in our lives who deserve a gift of appreciation for their intentional or unintentional contribution to our person (concrete and visible or otherwise).

I’m starting with a list of my top-10 groups.

GIFT #1 – For my new found family friend

A set of one-year daily devotional.  This has been my annual staple gift.  Always thinking of feeding the spirit first and what can give an eternal impact.

For Dad: Knowing the Heart of God by John Eldredge

“365 readings to prompt readers to soulful reflection and intimacy with God. Gleaned from John’s best-known works, includingWalking with God, Fathered by God, Wild at Heart, Captivating, Waking the Dead, Desire,The Sacred Romance, and Epic.” – OMFLit 

For Mom: Love Language Minute Devotional by Gary Chapman

“For those who are dating, married, or engaged, this devotional will help them identify and learn to speak their loved one’s language. As the reader progresses through the readings, he or she will begin building the foundation of any good marriage– communication, respect, unconditional love, and forgiveness.” – OMFLit

For Sis: Leadership Promises for Everyday by John C. Maxwell

“Daily devotional featuring leadership thoughts from Maxwell’s bestsellers.  An ideal gift-book.” – OMFLit 

Gemstone bracelets.  Howlite.  Black Onyx.  Agate.

Though i don’t believe in the supposed protective and healing effects of these gemstones, I’m giving them for their ornamental value.  With girls, you can’t go wrong with jewelries.  ^^

How to make an exciting 30-day incubation period

Manila, Philippines.  PAL Centennial Airport at dusk.  From car, using iPhone 3GS.  Unedited.

Situations in life can be viewed with a creative perspective, always looking for best ways to go through it.

Waiting.

Yes, waiting can even be a very exciting process.  It’s when you prepare yourself for greater things to come.  This period makes future events more special.

So, question is, how do we make this period no less special and take a special form of itself.  Let’s see some suggestions.

Day 1 – Start reading an inspirational book (aka Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren).  Cook lunch.  Play with dogs and puppies.  Bond with friends.  Pray and smile.  ^^

Day 2 – Wake up at 2am and still awake at 4am wondering why you have not communicated in any way. I decide to text you. Glad I did. Moving on today. I do business audit. Worship. Dinner with GFs. Watch Breaking Dawn. :)

Day 3 – Discover a cost-efficient way to communicate via whatsapp! ^^ Thanks to my Brilliant Friend.  Teach.  Work.  Dog grooming.  Shopping (4tops + 2pants + 1dress).  Spent only P2,350 for this 7-piece addition to my wardrobe.  Weeee!  Love great bargain finds!

Day 4 – Teach.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Discovered that the owner of happinessinthrees is a dear friend.  It’s a blog about finding at least 3 reasons to be happy each day.  Her entries are witty and happy.  A good read at the end of a heavy work day.

Day 5 – Teach. Work. Run. Work.  Developing dependence on energy drinks for a quick boost of adrenaline.  Can’t decide the better one between Cobra and I-on.  So i’m trying both.

I have a biased preference over Cobra knowing that the brand manager is a friend and he has effectively got me hooked to the product.  Their ad says the drink contains “a unique blend of highly beneficial ingredients which include: B Vitamins, Inositol, Ginseng, Taurine and Caffeine”.  True or not, I have psychologically relied on its supposed effect.

I’ve tried I-on also through a friend’s referral.  Learning that it’s a Unilab product, it gained more of my confidence.  The ad also says that it contains a “formulation of Ginseng, Royal Jelly, Iron + Multivitamins”.  This product however is not readily available in all stores.

Having taken both today, I should be ready to go back to work.  Now, WORK MODE.

Day 6 – 11.24.11 Yes, one day closer.. + Usual work day + Run 7k + Think of you.. ^^

Day 7 – 11.25.11 Personally productive day for me! Had my 4 schnauzer puppies vaccinated and dewormed at UP Veterinary Hospital.  Great service they have there and at a very reasonable price.  P1,900 only for vaccine and deworming of 4 puppies!

Run with mabel at UP and Dek joined us for late snack at Saint Alp’s Katipunan. =)

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