Failure Is ALWAYS An Option

A common trend of thought that goes through the minds of the masses is, “Failure is not an option.” Day after day, humanity strives to achieve the ultimate goal. The top of the mountain, the cream of the crop: Efficiency at ANY cost. Pure 100% perfection. And humanity is willing to do anything, sacrifice X amount of sleep, X amount of life years, just for perfection.

And I find it nothing short of ludicrous.

UFC fighter Chael Sonnen puts is best:

“When doubt seeps in you got two roads you can take either road. You can go to the left or you can go to the right and believe me, they’ll tell you failure is not an option. That is ridiculous. Failure is always an option. Failure is the most readily available option at all times, but it’s a choice. You can choose to fail or you can choose to succeed. And if we can plant seeds and let him know, ‘Move your feet, keep your hands up, stay off the bottom.’ That is the road to victory, or self-doubt and negative talk, and that is the road to failure. But failure is always there, and it’s okay to recognize that. If I can leave you with anything today, in my long journey through this is, one, it’s okay. Two, it’s normal. And as athletes and especially as men, as male athletes we hate to admit weakness to ourselves, and when you’re dealing with something and you got some kind of a hiccup, yeah, first thing is acknowledge it.”

Failure is ALWAYS an option. THAT is the fact of life. The bottom line is that it is impossible, on any scale or any stature whatsoever, to be a perfect creature in this life. Every aspect of the daily grind is flawed. Every tree has its worms. Every apex predator has its weaknesses. Every armor has its chinks. Every religion has its biases. The idea that failure is never going to be an option is both imbecilic and dangerous. By canceling out failure, a person commits the ultimate failure: failure to acknowledge his or her weaknesses. To put it simply, if a person cannot comprehend that he or she is capable of failure, then it just makes a loss 3x worse.

I believe in the idea that with every achievement a person gains, there are at least 3 things that person has failed in. Even a master surgeon has failed in something, as sad as it may sound. Every lawyer or lawman has failed in his or her life at least once. The people who are in careers that would seemingly require 110% perfection have indeed failed at something whether it was a test, an exam, a project, to attend a family gathering, an important meeting, a crucial appointment, perform at a certain level in whatever job they are in.

But while failure is unavoidable, to recover from it is a choice. A person can choose to wallow in the recesses of failure or pick oneself up and move on. But the first step is acknowledging that it happened. Self-awareness is next to the beginning of progress, in my mind. A person has to understand that he or she failed, is capable of failure, and must commit to cleaning up and moving on from it.

There is nothing wrong with failing. Failing is just an aspect of humanity that will NEVER go away, as is the choice to move on from failure. Refusal or incapability to acknowledge failure as the most readily available option is poison to the body and the mind.

Show me a person who has never failed and I’ll show you a person who has never succeeded.

Filipinos: Proud Winners, Sore Losers

I think what the late and great comedian George Carlin said in his final stand-up special, It’s Bad For Ya (2008), makes a good point:

“I saw a slogan on a guys car that said “Proud to be an American” and I thought “What the fuck does that mean?”

I’m fully Irish, and when I was a kid I would go to the St Patrick’s Day parade and they sold a button that said “Proud to be Irish”, but I knew that on Columbus day they sold the same button only it said “Proud to be Italian”, then came Black Pride, and Puerto Rican Pride. And I could never understand national or ethnic pride, because to me Pride should be reserved for something you achieve on your own.

Being Irish isn’t a skill, it’s a fucking genetic accident.”

Whenever someone comes up to me with matters about pride, I think 2 things:

A.) A now-defunt Japanese mixed martial arts organization (Sakuraba vs. The Gracies. Look ’em up.)
B.) National Pride

Being a Filipino, I hear the latter flung around like a basketball at a UAAP Ateneo-La Salle game. Not one day goes by that I don’t hear that term by some lowlife with a double digit IQ and a broadband connection. I can’t get through the week without someone spouting off some nonsense about being proud to be associated with a certain group of people just because they were placed into such groups.

There’s nothing wrong with having pride, especially when it’s because a person achieved a goal or an award. There’s nothing wrong with being proud OF Megan Young for winning the crown as Miss Philippines, nor is there anything wrong with being proud OF Manny Pacquiao/Gilas Pilipinas for beating an opponent in representing the Philippines in their respective sports. But having anything in extreme is a bad thing, and being proud to be a genetic accident is probably one of the worst. Sadly, the Philippines is chockfull of the latter.

Before anyone gets any idea that I’m just being ignorant in singling out the Philippines, please understand that I know there are other places with misplaced people and misplaced pride. I know this. However, I’ve lived in the Philippines for 19 years and I don’t know the stature of the pride other countries have as much as I know the warped reality of “Pinoy Pride”. Also, I’m a former “Pinoy Pridist” myself. I used to beat my chest over the littlest things Pinoy-related and completely hate on anything contradictory to Philippine Pride. So I type as a convert, not as someone from a holier-than-thou standpoint.

I say this a lot, “Be proud of, but not BECAUSE of.” The problem with Filipino pride is that Filipino Pridists tend to take any achievement made by a Filipino and use that as a means to make them feel special and put themselves on a pedestal over everyone else, then when the Philippines tastes defeat, Pridists proceed to bash, insult and offend the ones who beat us (Case in point, The Iranian team beating Gilas Pilipinas earier this year in FIBA 2013) . They rage on and on to anyone who makes jokes about the Philippines (Katherine Ryan), any observations made about the Philippines or even valid statements that weren’t even made on the purposes of disparagement.

One example is the events that followed the FIBA 2013 games wherein the Iran Basketball team beat the Philippine “Gilas Pilipinas” team. To basically sum it up, here’s an image I found of Iranian team member Hamed Haddadi’s Facebook page and how exactly Pridists show their sportsmanship, maturity and hospitality:

So, what exactly IS proper pride, and how should Filipinos apply it?

In my opinion, proper pride is being proud of someone minus clinging onto that certain someone as if their achievement was everyone’s achievement and their success was because of their nationality. Manny Pacquiao won because he trained and fought the hardest, not because he’s Filipino. Megan Young won because of hard work, not because she’s Filipino. Jessica Sanchez made it far in the American Idol because she worked hard, not because she’s Filipino. THEIR hard work is not OUR badge. WE didn’t fight those fights, MANNY PACQUIAO did. FILIPINOS didn’t walk that catwalk, MEGAN YOUNG did. THE PHILIPPINES didn’t take center stage and sing their throats hoarse, JESSICA SANCHEZ did.

Filipinos need to learn that PROPER pride is being proud of someone’s achievements. To back our own, while being good sports in return. We can’t win all the time, but to go out and slander the name of the true victors just shows immaturity and lack of class. Applaud the efforts of both teams, while being the mature ones and raising the hand of those who beat us fair and square.

Be proud of, not BECAUSE of.

Do You Know What It Means To Be An Introvert?

Thought Catalog

As someone who works with people all the time, you’d think I’d be an extrovert. I’m friendly. I’m not shy. But when I get close to my “people time” limit, it’s time to shut down, be quiet and hole up with a good book. I love helping people, but there’s a huge reason that I balance that type of work with work where I get to be quiet and dive in to working with words instead of being bombarded with interaction.

It’s because—although I don’t fall into some of the old stereotypes—I’m an introvert.

I spent years feeling guilty if I wanted to spend time alone instead of doing things with friends. I learned to make the best of it, and often pushed myself to be social—even when it felt exhausting. Many people do this, as extroversion tends to be prized in our society, while introversion is seen as a…

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Money Talks: The Scum Behind DLSU Ticket Sales

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

These are the words that made Michael Douglas’ character, ruthless and legendary Wall Street player Gordon Gekko, memorable in the 1987 film Wall Street. Though anyone who has seen the film (And I insist that it needs to be seen, especially in this modern age) knows how it ends. And seeing how I haven’t been writing for over a month, I thought I’d take this bit of free time to write about something I discovered to day in school: Scalpers.

Scalpers are basically people who help ticket distributions of events by buying a number of tickets and selling them to students for faster and more convenient distribution. I’ve worked as a ticket agent before for the Xavier School Variety Show back in 2008, and believe me when I say that scalpers were a big help for me back then. Not only did they help me get a front row seat for the “Varie” but I got a lot of positive feedback about the scalpers. They sold a lot of tickets for very negotiable rates, but not to the point where it was detrimental to me, them, or their customers.

Unfortunately, I was told about a different brand of scalpers: The types that buy a bunch of tickets and sell them to students at insane prices. A saying goes, “There’s always that one guy…” Sadly, that one guy turned out to many, who seem to get a kick out of selling patron tickets, which are normally at Php250, for twice and sometimes more than 4x the regular price. So imagine paying 1K for a 250-peso ticket, and you generally grasp the enormity of the situation.

I didn’t have the best grades when I took Economics in my High School Senior Year, but I do know this: Price is inversely proportional to Demand. What this means is that if the price of a certain item, in this case, a ticket worth Php250, shot up to Php1,000 or more, then the demand for said product would decrease. More people would just opt out of buying tickets if the price was more than the item was worth. And it is no wonder to me that UST’s crowd stomped ours when they strictly prohibit scalpers. It’s unfair for those who want to get the experience to watch the game live minus the burden of shelling out more cash for a supposedly fair-priced ticket. And if I’m not mistaken, what these scalpers are doing is hoarding tickets, cheating people, and stealing from them by ripping them off. All of these are punishable by law, again if I am not mistaken.

Thankfully as I’m typing this, the matter is being investigated and settled, and I do hope this matter ends swiftly and justly. I’m not the type that watches UAAP frequently, let alone live. I tend to have this curse where the team I root for loses whenever I watch. But I am a fan of basketball and will root for Jeron Teng any day (Xavier Pride, people. He used to be my batchmate in High School.). I just want to enjoy reading about the game’s progress on Twitter minus the bullshit and ballyhoo.

See those bits of green? Those are LaSallians. True, this is UST's crowd, but the DLSU side isn't really much different. Thanks, scalpers. Source: Prudon, K. (Photographer). (2013, October 03). 2013.10.02 - DLSU vs UST [MBB - Finals Game 1] [Web Photo]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151757833124760&set=a.10151756950049760.1073741981.149678604759&type=3&theater

See those bits of green? Those are LaSallians. True, this is UST’s crowd, but the DLSU side isn’t really much different. Thanks, scalpers.
Source: Prudon, K. (Photographer). (2013, October 03). 2013.10.02 – DLSU vs UST [MBB – Finals Game 1] [Web Photo]. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2013 from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151757833124760&set=a.10151756950049760.1073741981.149678604759&type=3&theater

Combat Sports In Schools

I’m a huge fan of combat sports. HUGE. I love watching a sport where men and women meet in a ring or an octagon and duke it out to see who is the best. I also used to be a bully. I used to pick on guys smaller than me until an eye-opener made me see that the shit isn’t going to fly in the real world. Plus, I’m the type of guy who needs a combat sport. Basketball just wasn’t doing it for me physically and mentally the way boxing did when I started earlier this year. I’m just the type of guy that needs to punch something in order to feel better, and boxing did just that. It’s more than my sport, it’s my therapy.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s blog. I believe that combat sports should be taught as a Physical Education class in schools. I understand that martial arts like Tae Kwon Do and Karate are already school sports, but I believe that should be expanded to other forms of combat sport. Boxing, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Vale Tudo, Judo, etc. should also be taught, as well as the disciplines that follow. That the skills they learn through combat should only be used when direly necessary, not just when they feel like it or for their own ego boost.

You may be thinking, “That would just make bullies pick on other kids.” That may be a possibility, but I don’t think their targets would be so helpless when they are taught how to fight. As a former bully, my mentality was to target the people who seemed to have a disadvantage against me. Don’t target the ones who know how to beat me up instead of the other way around, target the helpless. If more kids knew how to fight and defend themselves, especially the victims, then I believe the bullies would most likely think twice about picking on their victims.

Also, as a former bully, I also needed a medium to vent or release excess energy on. Prior to boxing, I didn’t have anything to vent my feelings on aside from other people so I would just find those who I figured were easy picking and just bully them. Boxing, as I said earlier isn’t just a sport for me, it’s therapy. It’s a way for me to vent my emotions or release any excess energy I have in body. And I stand firm in the belief that there are students and kids out there who feel the same as I do and just need combat sport in their school as their therapy for emotion management.

But again, the victims aren’t always going to win. It’s a known fact that in life you win some and you lose some. However, that’s what I believe makes a person stronger. In a fight, you’re not always going to win. Some days your opponent will beat you, other days it’ll be vice versa. Don’t teach kids to be so quick to pick up a gun, teach them to raise their fists and fight. No bullshit, no weapons. Just level the playing field and let them duke it out. Talking things over isn’t going to always work on everyone. Believe me, they tried it on me. Sometimes kids need to settle things over in a fistfight or a 1-on-1 brawl.

The victims don’t need to be the victims forever if they’re taught how to put up their dukes, defend themselves, and quit being so helpless. And bullies can’t be bullies if they can’t find anyone helpless to target. And I stand firm believing that if combat sports is taught in schools then it would benefit victim and/or bully physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically.

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A Love Resurrected

As a first post, I don’t see how it could be any more fitting than to talk about my taste in music. I’m an old soul in a young body, meaning that my iTunes playlist is consumed by old songs, a little bit of Jimmy Buffett, a dash of Metallica, some Johnny Cash and Stan Rogers when I’m in the mood for some peace and quiet, and not forgetting the required dose of Hotel California for the road. But one genre I’ve made my rule to always have on an iTunes list is OPM.

I’ve listened to OPM as far back as I can remember. One does not simply live in the Philippines and not hear a Parokya Ni Edgar, Itchyworms, or Eraserheads song at least once. But my list also goes farther back to the days when the Juan dela Cruz Band, Asin, Yoyoy Villame, and APO Hiking Society ruled the Pinoy musical roost.

However, I must admit that love waned into total darkness over the past few years. it just seemed that the music I’ve loved for so long and held in such high regard faded into just rehashed crap or parodies of foreign songs. Nowadays, one may hear over the radio a K-Pop song, an overplayed, autotune-riddled mess, or the radio DJ giggling like a loon on a sugar high or making comments that would make even the most immature brat cringe with disgust. It seemed to me that OPM was dead and that what was once a respectable genre was now replaced with complete, asinine, CRAP.

Earlier this year, back when I was still in High School, I helped document an event called TEDxXavierSchool. One speaker that struck me the most was a person named Aristotle Pollisco, better known to the masses by his stage name Gloc-9. I only knew the rapper from my old favorite “Bagsakan” by him, Parokya Ni Edgar’s Chito Miranda, and the late, great Francis “Kiko” Magalona.

Gloc 9 pretty much talked about how he became the rapper he is today, and I couldn’t help but become interested again in what Pinoy music was like nowadays. The Modern Pinoy Music, or “MPM”, if you will. I came across his recent album, “MKNM: Mga Kwento Ng Makata” at a nearby music store near my place and popped it into my laptop, ready to be disappointed.

To put it simple, I loved it.

The songs not only educated and enamored me, it jump-started my old love for Filipino music that I once thought dead and gone. It motivated me to not only hunt for more Gloc-9 songs, but to fill my iTunes with more Filipino songs, both young and old.

I’ve met Gloc-9 two other times since January, uring the Xavier School Variety Show and at Free Comic Book Day 2013, and I’m always remembered about that fateful day he resurrected my love for Pinoy songs. And I can’t be any more thankful to “Sir Gloc” for doing so. It’s made me realize just how much I’ve missed and how much more I need to learn in being appreciative of the songs of my people.08062013754