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What defines success? You!

November 10, 2009

There’s no easy path to success…

Yes, there's no short cut to success..

Yes, there's no short cut to success..

Most people have read and heard a great deal about the awe-inspiring life stories of successful people who achieved their ambitions and made their lives a great inspiration to many. Looking closely, these are the kind of people who started at a very young age, armed with nothing but their vision to achieve and their determination to make a difference.

There’s John Gokongwei Jr. who started to work at the age of 13 after their family lost their fortune when his father died. A man who loves life, this generous Taipan, whose fortune has been estimated at billions of dollars, first sold used clothes or ukay-ukay, rice and scrap metal.

If one is to make a case study on how billionaires and successful people achieved their financial status, it seems that there’s a need to look at how they started and what made them the person that they are today. As what Gokongwei said, “There’s no easy path to success.” The best person to give the best advice when it comes to success is the one who achieved it without anybody’s help, and not some business professors or pulp-magazine columnists.

The global financial crisis might have affected a lot of businesses, big or small, in this country, but to some people this current economic crunch even motivated them to work harder in order to reach their ambitions instead. But there’s one question that hangs in the balance—what makes a person successful? Many would mention varying answers, but what really made others who are now making waves in business and other fields is their sense of independence.

Sense of independence is part of a person’s moral fiber, and is developed through the years. Like Gokongwei and others who made buckets of money in business, they did not attain their rare status by depending on others, but by focusing only on their ability.

“I felt like I was the richest person on earth.”

Some people I interviewed shared how this philosophy of self-reliance made them a better person.

A new bar passer, Lotis Rosario shared the view that sense of independence is indeed a key to success. Rosario said had to work to support her law studies.

“Being a working student taught me discipline in setting my priorities, managing and maximizing the resources and time that I had,” she said. This new lawyer from San Beda echoes Gokongwei’s formula to success, saying, “all good things can only be achieved by hard work “

“If you want to achieve something, do everything that you can faithfully and sincerely to get it.”

Rosario considered education an investment so she did her best not only to graduate, but to pass the bar exams as well. “I didn’t have savings back then because I spent all my salary on books, food and transpirations,” she said, adding that when she passed the bar, “I felt like I was the richest person on earth.”

Myrtle Mila, a senior law student, shared the same opinion about being independent and a working student. Mila said she shouldered all her expenses—tuition fee, books, transportation, and boarding house, among others—from the very first day she set foot in law school. She currently works two jobs—as a call center agent and legal researcher of a well-known law firm in Ortigas to support her studies. “Being a working student taught me so many things, especially time management and priorities in life,” she said. To achieve her goal, she said that she had to focus only on her priorities by not getting involved in any “unimportant things.”

According to Celso Lim, who despite being in his prime years is still willing to become a lawyer, sense of independence is something that can be acquired at home. A full-time law student and a part-time insurance agent and real estate broker, Lim said that acquiring this philosophy all depends upon a person’s upbringing. He said that when he was still in college at University of the Philippines in Diliman, he was a self-supporting student. “I developed this philosophy in life at an early age because both of my parents were hard working. And by the time I had a family of my own, I also taught my children to be independent,” he said.

Lim said that his daughter Ma. Victoria, 21, who is now a registered nurse in Hayward, California, started to work at the age of 14 in the United States. “She was practically supporting her studies and tried to live a life of her own.” He was also proud that his 24-year-old son, who is now working with a Japanese firm as an IT expert, also imbibed the same spirit.

“The problem with most young Filipinos is that they are dependent on their parents, and this is not good to our country,” Lim said, adding that sense of independence may not only propel a person to success, but may also have a great impact on the country’s national goals.

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