The Frog, The Scorpion and The Philippines

Have you heard the story? A scorpion wanted to cross a river but couldn’t because he can’t swim. He found a frog, then asked him to carry the scorpion across the river. Knowing the destructive nature of the scorpion, the frog hesitated. He asked, “how do I know you are not going to sting and kill me while I take you to the other side?” The scorpion is smart and skillful with his words. He said “I would be too grateful to kill you, it wouldn’t be fair at all for me to harm you in anyway. Besides, I will die if I do that”. The frog believed the scorpion, so he carried him on his back trusting that the scorpion will keep his promise. Midway through, the frog felt a stabbing pain on his back. In the corner of his eyes he saw the scorpion pulling his stinger out of his back. “You fool! Why did you do that? Now we’re both going to die!”  The scorpion responded as they started to sink. “i can’t help it, it is in my nature.”

Now, think of the Philippines. Think of the coming elections. Think of the candidates… Make sure you don’t have a scorpion on your back.

The Bus Passenger’s Dilemma

Passengers have it easy. They can sit back and choose whether to enjoy or complain about the ride. They don’t have to negotiate through the traffic, decide which lane to take, take an alternate route, speed up and or slowdown. There’s a price to pay though, for letting others take control of the trip for you. They dictate the pace of the journey. You cannot get to your destination faster than how fast the driver is willing to drive. You are at the mercy of the quality of that driver’s driving skills. You can complain and then maybe get off the bus if you don’t like the experience but you cannot take control of the wheel.

In life, you can choose to have it easy and depend on others to take you where you want to be. You can choose to be thankful for what you are getting or complain about the driver’s seeming disregard for what you want. But then, you can choose to take the driver’s seat of your life. Run it as fast or slow as you want to. You can go straight to where you want to be or take all the detours you see along the way. Passengers to your own bus can only complain or get off if they don’t like the ride. It’s your bus. When you’re driving, you are driving.

Are you self-driven or are you driven by others?

The Shaping

It must be painful
to be purified by fire;
to be pounded into shape;
to be cooled, then heated again;
to sustain a desired shape.

But irons don’t have feelings.
Pots and jars aren’t alive.
They take what they’re given.
They become what they should be.
as their creators want them to be.

Sometimes one wishes that it’s as easy
with people as it is with things.
We often refuse to be shaped.
We want to be who we want us to be,
Not what others want us to be
Here in lies the problem.
Some people think they’re shapers,
And other people shapees.
To the chagrin of those other people

Parents, Leaders, Coaches, Teachers, Mentors.
Sons and Daughters, Followers, Players, Teachers, Proteges.

Off With Those Training Wheels

training_wheelsRecent experience reminded me that  the longer you keep the training wheels attached to a bicycle, the longer it takes for the learner to build the confidence to go without it. Sure they’re useful. They minimize the bumps and bruises. However, being too afraid of the  bumps and bruises could mean keeping the training wheels longer than necessary.The bumps and bruises help a lot in the learning process to you know. They teach us how to get up after a fall and hopefully learn how to balance better to avoid the painful fall. The experience too, should teach us that the pain of a fall is nothing compared to the joy of the ride.

This is true with bicycles as it is with life. As parents, leaders managers, and teachers, we sometimes fear letting go. As children, learners and wards we become too dependent for our own good. We all know those training wheels will have to go one day. It’s just that one day is not today. Remember the lesson. The longer you keep them, the longer it takes for you to face the challenges of life. Remember too that even the best cyclists crash and fall once in a while. My point is, the only way to avoid falling from a bike, is to never ride it. But do you really want that?

Pottery and Leadership

It starts with a shapeless chunk of earth. Dry and rough, devoid of beauty nor refinement but not without potential. The potter prepares the materials with a detailed picture of the end product in mind. He adds just enough water and other materials. He lets his hands dirty as he tries to get the right consistency. When the batter is ready, he waits some more for the water to rise and the clay is ready for the next step.

The potter puts the clay on the pottery wheel and starts working on the shape. The shaping of the clay depends on the skill and creativity of the potter. The success and failure to acquire the right shape is on his hands. After the shape is acquired, the material is solidified by putting it through intense heat. The pot is beautified further by painting it and putting more design. The final product once complete is vastly different from when the process started.

Such is the work of a potter and such is the work of a leader.

She starts with a little more than potential. She prepares the team for the shaping process by giving them a sense of purpose and other basic information they need that will motivate them to accept the bigger information they will get as they go through the process of building their skills – the shaping process. The newly acquired skills is put through the intense heat of testing to solidify it. The leader adds on to what has already been acquired by letting them use their own creativity to adjust to the daily challenge of their work. The finished product is vastly improve from when the shaping process started.

Vision, creativity patience, discipline and willingness to get one’s hands dirty are necessary to succeed in both

The Leader is a Cook

What makes a great cook?

  • The ability to turn an ordinary recipe into a culinary masterpiece
  • The ability to identify a good ingredient
  • A sense of timing
  • An exacting intuition
  • The ability to blend different ingredients together

What makes a great leader?

  • The ability to lead ordinary people towards achieving extra ordinary results
  • The ability to identify a good team member
  • a sense of timing
  • an exacting intuition
  • The ability to blend different people together

The Leader is a Farmer

When a farmer looks at an undeveloped land, that’s not what he sees. He sees it’s potential. He will consider it’s location, the characteristics of its soil, the climate and all the potentials of the soil to produce the need of the people.

The farmer envisions, plans and then implements. He cultivates, plants, nurtures, protects and works hard in covering all the necessities of a good harvest.

The leader must learn from the farmer, nothing can be had without toiling. A great leader envisions, plans and then implements. He cultivates by preparing people for the challenge ahead, plant seeds of knowledge, nurtures to develop the knowledge into skill, protects people from being waylaid from their destiny and works hard in covering all the necessities of a good harvest.