Archives

We Don’t Need Your Grammar; We Only Need Your Story

write-it-downI know many people with mind-blowing stories. Their stories always captivate my heart whenever I listen to them. But here is the problem: they won’t write their stories for others to read. They’re afraid that their grammar sucks. That people will not read their stories if it’s full of grammatical errors.

Many bestselling authors are not grammar gurus. Even Steven Pressfield admitted that he’s still struggling to differentiate between “it’s” and “its.” And you know what? He’s written many books and many of them are bestsellers.

I wonder why people are so conscious of their grammar more than their stories. Your story is you. It doesn’t need any grammar to make a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that basic grammar should be ignored. But my point is this: grammar does not make good story.

No one has ever said: “that story is inspiring because of its grammar.” It’s inspiring because it’s your story. Because of the connection and the message it passes across. Story connects us together as human beings. And that’s why you must write yours for us to read. We don’t need your grammar; we only need your story.

Don’t be afraid to write your story because you don’t know who it might inspire. Will you start writing your story today? I’d love to hear from you. Go!
-MOAB © 2015

Take Care of Yourself First

I wonder why people think this is selfishness. I had thought the same too for a while but I was wrong. I came to this realization after a lot of travel on the airplane. Every time I listen to the pre-flight safety instruction, my reaction is always the same (fear, anxiety and whatnot). But there’s something that got me thinking in the flight attendant’s instruction which is—put on your oxygen mask first before you help others (kids).

I kept asking myself, “why?”  In my last travel, I came up with a succinct answer. Because if you run out of oxygen, you won’t be able to help others with their oxygen mask. This literally means that you can’t give what you don’t have.

This principle applies to our daily lives not only on airplanes. If you don’t take care of yourself very well, you won’t have the strength to take care of others. I’m not saying that you should lose empathy and be totally selfish, but my point is you can’t make a difference if you’re not changing yourself. When you’re alright, there are chances that others will be, too.

Don’t ignore yourself when you need help yourself.  Just take care of yourself first. If you do this with the hope of helping others, then you’ll go places (make a difference and create change).

–MOAB © 2015

Holding the Muse By Its Tail

I don’t believe in the Muse (although, many people have different descriptions of what the Muse is to them.) I believe there’s a superior Being who taught men (writers and all creatives) by pen what they knew not; to create something superb and amazing provided that they’re ready to pay the price—showing up and doing the work.

There’s a process to creating enchanting stuff which is hidden to many people outside the creative zone. Most people don’t see the trouble writers encounter in order to put down those breathtaking and astonishing words. Sometimes inspiration comes when one is not ready and it’s the duty of a writer to hold on to it and never let it go. Doing that alone is hard work.

How many times have I encountered this trouble? My former roommate would tell me that I’m going nuts. He has his own reason. Sometimes I’d wake up from a deep sleep, pick up a pen and start writing. And when I fail to do this sometimes due to laziness, my mind won’t be at rest. There’s something that keeps telling me to do the needful or else I’ll be in trouble.

And when this thing (I don’t know what it is exactly) troubles me enough and I fail to comply, then it leaves me and flies away, forever. This saddens me sometimes, but I try to recover back by punching the keys the hard way.

Whatever this thing is, I’ve learned not to take it for granted anymore. I’m ready to show up, make use of it, and always ready to hold it by its tail.
-MOAB © 2015

Age Has Never Been One of the Criteria of Creating Change

I once read a story about one courageous lad but I can’t remember the source. Here it goes:

A group of people visited a king to complain about the situation in their city. Among them were young and old folks. When they reached the king’s palace, none of them could speak. They were afraid that something might happen to them if they do. Then a young boy of 12 years old stood up, took the lead, and confronted the king.

departmentThe king told him to stay back and let the oldest among them to speak on their behalf. The young kid refused and said something like this: “If age was one of the criteria for choosing king, you won’t be the king now because there are people who are older, full of wisdom and experiences than you but they chose you.” When the king heard this, he was perplexed by the reality of this kid’s statement. He then allowed the kid to speak for the group.

You see, you’ve been lying to yourself and making invalid excuses that you’re not old enough to start something. Age has never been one of the criteria you need to start something or create something amazing, and it will never be. All you need is the confidence to start, the bravery to lead and the curiosity to ask good questions. What are you waiting for? Start now!

-MOAB © 2014

Assumption: It Kills Our Creativity

Have you ever been to China before? I doubt it. But you surely have your assumptions based on some testimonies (media, movies, books, and people who have been there). And most times, our assumptions are not always true. We can never know a nation from books alone, or from people’s testimonies until we live there.

One of our assumptions about the Chinese is that majority or most of them are good at ping pong or many of them are Kung Fu masters. Chinese movies have spread the idea to us but the truth is, not all Chinese are good at ping pong, not all Chinese are Kung Fu masters.

departmentWhat’s my proof? There are many Chinese in my class. Is my proof sufficient? Of course not. Here’s my own biased story: some weeks ago, it was an excursion week in my university. As monumental heritage students, our excursion was about exploring the 16th, 17th, and 18th century buildings (monuments) and how to preserve them for the future generations.

After so much work and sightseeing, we decided to have fun. There was a place to play ping pong. I love playing ping pong, but I’m not good at it. Because I know people who are far better at playing ping pong than I do. A Chinese friend got to the table first. He wanted to play with me. I was afraid to play with him, because, after all, he’s Chinese. He’s going to win, that’s my thought and other people’s thought. We were all wrong.

I won the first Chinese, then another one, then another one, until I played with all the Chinese around which I won all the games. Are you Chinese? “The Chinese students asked.” I smiled and said, “No.” They chanted you must be Chinese for you to be good at ping pong. They had their own assumptions, too. And in reality, they were wrong.

Most times, it’s not where you were born that makes you great or good at something; it’s the belief that you can do it that makes people great. It’s not your color, genes, language, or body, but will and passion. After many conversations with my Chinese friends, I found out that not all of them love Kong Fu, not all of them love ping pong or other famous activities ascribed to the Chinese alone. They have their different passions and that’s why they’re not good at playing ping pong. Your passion defines you and not your family background. Break the shackle that’s holding you back from greatness and, start doing and investing on your passion. Start now!

-MOAB © 2014

Motivation: Who Will You Give It To?

Some days ago, a goal captured my attention when the loud voice of my friend chanting “goal!” echoed. Don’t ask me the name of the teams, because I wasn’t watching. I only saw the goal part.

The game was tense as my friend explained. Almost going goalless, then a young player got a pass and scored the lonely goal in the match. After scoring the goal, he started running in jubilation towards another direction while his team mates were running after him. Excited, they were.

Photo Credit: Krissy Venosdale (flickr.com)

Photo Credit: Krissy Venosdale (flickr.com)

I was thinking, “where’s he running to?” At least he should celebrate with his team mates first or thank the player that gave him the pass, but he didn’t do that. He was running towards the direction of his coach. He hugged his coach, which I think means “thank you.”

I wonder why he had to run to his coach. I wonder why he didn’t celebrate with his teammates. There must be something behind his gesture, I thought. After so much thought,I came up with this: the coach believed in him, encouraged him, and gave him a trial. The result? He scored a goal and become awesome. And that’s why he ran to his coach.

Now, over to you: who will you encourage, motivate, and instill confidence to become awesome? You don’t have to be a coach to do that. A single write-up could make the difference. A single speech could make the difference. Even just a text of 140 characters could make the difference. Look for that person that you believe in his/her potential and encourage the person. Because if you do, you’re also motivating and encouraging yourself to become awesome. I believe you’re awesome, so find other people to tell this. Let’s do this together.
-MOAB  © 2014

The Last Lecture…

It was in the middle of my post graduate days in the university when a Seismic engineering lecturer gave his last lecture to all the soon-to-graduate students. As the lecturer informed us that today would be his last lecture with us, all the students gazed to his direction and listened attentively.

“Today’s lecture is the last lecture I will have with you,” he said. “But I have a beneficial advice for you all,” he added. Most of you are studying civil engineering because your friends are, most of you are in this lecture hall today because your parents said you should be here, but it’s not too late now to decide your own future and follow your dreams and passion. Because not all of you will become engineers, not all of you will make it to the engineering industries, but most of you will make it if you do what you love and desire most.”

Photo Credit: Sherrys Soiledwings via flickr.com

Photo Credit: Sherrys Soiledwings via flickr.com

After hearing him out, all the students gave him a standing ovation. We were all touched, but I think I was touched the most (in my own perspective). I felt like his advice was meant for me at the right time. I had wanted to be something else, not an engineer. I had wanted to be with the creatives because most times, during the lecture I read books on my phone. I enjoyed reading them and I had thought I would want to be a writer, somehow. I felt this is my call and I will do anything to share my ideas and write my stories for the world to learn from. What’s your passion? What do you enjoy doing? Follow your dreams and fight for it, because it’s never too late to do so.

-MOAB © 2014