Archive for May, 2007

Don’t forget to show her how much you love her.


I took this photo of you and mommy when you were just 1 month and 1 day old. I remember how that sleeping position was the only way we could keep you from crying that night.


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The three I’s are integrity, industry, and intelligence. These are actually the values of the Ayala family, but it immediately resonated within me the moment I read it. I’ve been trying to live my life by them. I can’t say that I’m perfect with it, but I try. Here are the meanings of the three I’s:

  • Integrity – To be constantly aware of what is right and wrong and to consistently think and act according to what is right;
  • Industry – The habit of sincere, steady, and continued devotion to any useful or productive work, whether manual or mental; and
  • Intelligence – Applied knowledge. The ability to exercise the higher mental functions; the ability to grasp the significant factors of a complex problem or situation; and the capacity to meet situations, especially if new or unforeseen, by a rapid and effective adjustment of behaviour.

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The following is a paraphrase from Fernando Savater’s book titled “Amador

“While we don’t always have control over the things that come our way, we always have full control over how we react to each of them.”

I’ve held on to that saying since I read the book back in college and I try to live my life by it as consistently as I can. You should do the same, son. It’s very liberating.

P.S. You might want to read that book too when you find the time. It talks about ethics, self-discipline, and how to live a good life while managing to avoid an overly philosophical tone. It’s very beautifully written. It’s also what inspired me to start this blog.

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Here are some quotes from wordsmith.wordpress.com

Revision actually means “seeing again.” When we revise, we reconsider our perspective or argument, organizational structure, evidence, counter argument, and particularly our audience. Revision leads to rewriting and more rewriting. Michael Lee had it right when he said, “The first draft reveals the art, revision reveals the artist.”

“Half my life is an act of revision,” said acclaimed novelist and screenwriter John Irving.

I think John Irving says it quite nicely: As we go through life, we increasingly become aware of “things” (objects, ideas, concepts, etc.) around us. Don’t feel threatened by these new things, son. Even if it means you have to start from scratch again. Embrace them. Life is also about increasing our level of consciousness everyday and adjusting our behaviour accordingly.

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Life will always present you with challenges no matter where you are and no matter what age you are in. Don’t let that bring you down, though. It’s actually a good thing. Think about how boring it would be if there were no challenges. We’d all probably just be sitting on the ground staring into space, scratching our heads, not knowing what to do. Having said all of that, try to find ways to cope. Learn to appreciate the little pleasures in life. Learn to laugh at your mistakes. Laugh with your body. Value your relationships. And, of course, know that your mother and I are always here for you when you need to rant.

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A significant portion of your character is determined by the quality of your work (I’m referring to the kind of work that you do, not the company or place where you work). I know that probably sounds backwards: we’re more used to thinking that our character determines the quality of our work. But keep in mind that the relationship between character and quality of work isn’t a one-way street: Character determines quality of work and quality of work influences character. It sounds like a chicken and egg problem, doesn’t it? Look, I don’t want to get all philosophical on you now so I’m just going to say this: with a little bit of perseverance, an open mind, and the support of everyone around you it’s easier to directly affect the quality of your work than it is to directly affect your character. So find ways to improve the quality of your work to get that cycle going.

P.S. Thats not to say that you shouldn’t work directly on your character either. You should. But for quick-response, short-term improvements, quality of work helps.

P.P.S. Just in case you end up being a geek like me, an engineering-based analogy might help. It’s similar to a set of capacitors within a very basic AC to DC power supply. The capacitors I’m talking about are the ones connected in parallel between the rectifier and the outlets. Note that these capacitors come in varying sizes. What the smaller ones do is similar to what improvement in quality of work would do for your character, whereas the effect of the larger ones would be similar to what would happen if you work on your character directly. Ask me about this when you’re older. It’s hard to write everything down and I’d rather scribble diagrams on a piece of tissue than post it here.

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One of the things to keep in mind about romantic relationships is that you can only be ready for it once you know that you can still live a good life without it. Think about this son, if you live your life feeling empty and incomplete, there is a chance that you will expect all your happiness to come from your girlfriend/fiancé/wife once you find her. Remember that I explained earlier why you shouldn’t do this.

There is a good analogy for this: Two individuals, a man and a woman, come out of a grocery store. The man bought bacon, and the woman bought eggs. If they went their separate ways, they can still go ahead and make a satisfying breakfast individually. But if they combined what they bought they’d be able to cook an even more satisfying meal. This is how you should view romantic relationships (in fact, I believe most relationships should be viewed this way!).

This is not to say that you should keep your girlfriend/fiancé/wife at arms length. Not at all! Be warm to her. Give her lots of affection. Regularly show her how much you love her. This is the beauty of learning how to be independent: once you know that you can live a good life by yourself, you are no longer afraid to share it with someone else.

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