Thursday, December 23, 2004

101 Ways to Nourish Your Soul

The Manila Times
Business Times p.B1
Thursday, December 23, 2004

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Nourishing the soul

Dalawang tulog na lang at Pasko na. Let’s put our discussion of the balanced Scorecard at the back burner meantime and concentrate on this very special occasion of the birthday of Jesus.

Let’s take cues from Mitch Finley’s book, 101 Ways to Nourish Your Soul, on how best we could commemorate this Holy day.

• Be generous to the point of extravagance. How much money do you intend to use this season for your “wants”? Why not give it to someone who could use it for “essentials.” Give it to somebody you don’t know and doesn’t know you and don’t tell that person it came from you. I am sure you will be rewarded with wide smile, bright face and unadulterated happiness.

• You could give your time generously. Baby-sit for a neighbor who could not go to Mass because she has little child/children or old-sit for a senior citizen in your neighborhood. You and the children and oldies could delight in rereading the story of Jesus’ birth and childhood. Con todo action y emotion. Or simply spend more time with your spouse and children, instead of attending every party in town.

• Take a walk. Instead of just sitting down there waiting for visitors, move! I had a most peaceful Christmas last year in Batangas. After Mass, we spent the rest of the day and early evening swimming in the clean, clear waters of Anilao and walking barefoot on sand and rocks. Since we were not expecting visitors, we cooked only enough and did not have to eat leftovers the following days.

• Make your own Quesadillas. Here’s a recipe from the Victor-Roldan Family (Marivic, Anna, Patricia and Mommy). Top one piece soft tortilla with chopped tomatoes, garlic and onions; grated or sliced mozzarella cheese; thinly sliced beef or pork or tuna or chicken; another layer of mozzarella; sandwich with another tortilla piece. Cook in greaseless pan or oven toaster on both sides. Cut into four. Serve hot. You can prepare ingredients days ahead and store them in the ref. These could be eaten for snacks or meals.

• Give up bitterness, resentment, whining, blaming and hopelessness. “Life is a mix of good and bad, happy and sad. You have to expect that sometimes life will kick sand in your face. So what? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to living. So things didn’t work out the way you hope they would. All the same, you can try something else.”

• Fast. “We have a thing about food. We eat not just for body and soul togetherness. We also eat because we have nothing else to do at the moment. We eat for recreational purposes. We eat food when what we crave most is friendship or simple companionship. We eat when we crave love. We eat when we crave God. Hard to believe, but we do. Whatever you can get a handle on, don’t eat between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., for example. Or make it a full 24 hours. That can be good.” If you have health problems, consult your doctor first.

Here are some Christmas wishes from our friends and readers.

• Vic Navales, past president of Cebu’s Durian Toastmasters Club and president of Navales Foods: May Good Lord give us all the courage and will to surmount problems. May He give us peace and happiness.

• Gigie PeƱalosa, president of VCP Trading International: PEACE and PROGRESS—for our country and for ourselves. POLITICAL WILL on the part of our country’s leaders—to weed out graft and corruption at all levels and in all forms. The simple blessings of love, peace, togetherness and good health for my family and friends.

• Abe Pagtama, Filipino and Hollywood actor: for this coming year, more commercial and acting gig.

• Michael Chua, TM District 75 governor: My wish is for Philippine Toastmasters to regain the limelight in the world. What I wish for then is for more toastmaster clubs to be built in the coming weeks. Not only will we go up the rankings—the organization can touch more lives and make them better.

• Nic L. Lim, director for Human Resources at Universal Robina Corp.: For our government to take on our HR Agenda for Nation Building and help us make a call for a united action. For our government to pursue a united approach in addressing our key issues as a nation. For the Filipino people in general to instill discipline and involvement in contributing to making the Philippines a better place to live in. For world peace.

Merry Christmas from Bangkok, Thailand! No translation in Thai language because they don’t celebrate Christmas here like we do.

(Please send your Christmas wishes to

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Peacock in the Land of Penguins, Glass Ceiling, Way of Go, Lean Against The Wind

Favorite Books
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Paradigms & Paradoxes Corporation

A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A fable about creativity and courage
By BJ Gallagher Hateley and Warren H. Schmidt
(Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc)

Dancing on the Glass Ceiling
By Candy Deemer and Nancy Fredericks
(McGraw-Hill Companies)

The Way of Go: 8 ancient strategy secrets for success in business and life
By Troy Anderson
(Simon & Schuster, Inc)

Lean Against the Wind: How to Face the Future
By James McKarns
(St. Pauls Philippines)

These past years have been terrifying and trying times. We encountered many and unsought crises after crises: environmental disasters, economic meltdowns, dreaded diseases, bankruptcies of the mind and pocket, disappearing resources, wanton promiscuity and many others.

So how do we face the future courageously? Let’s take some cues from famous authors.

“Laugh often,” says James McKarns. “Laughter has been called the “sunshine of the soul. It produces warmth, light-heartedness, friendliness and is a pleasant means of sharing with others. Humor and consequent laughter melts away many icy tensions and frustrations which otherwise could grind us to a mental and emotional halt. It has been said that when we have a serious problem, the second best thing to do, next to finding a solution, is to find humor in it. That enables us to be accepting or, at least, more patient until a real solution is discovered.”

McKarns related the story of former “Saturday Review” editor Norman Cousins who suffered the advanced stages of a connective tissues disease and whose chances of recovery were diagnosed as poor. Cousins took on a steady diet of old Marx Brothers movies and some of the Candid Camera shows and laughed his way to enduring good health. “That internal doctor is no joke. We begin the healing process by believing in the God-given curative powers of our own bodies and minds. If we encourage our minds and bodies to heal themselves, they will.”

McKarns strongly advocates a selective mental diet of hope, kindness, gentleness and concern for others to turn us into better people with higher motives and loftier ideals. He observes that the thoughts we think, more than the food we eat, shape us into what we really are.

Likewise, Troy Underson suggests a pro-active and direct approach to the future culled from his studies of the ancient game called Go, also called “game of geniuses.” In this overly competitive world, he shares essential elements of strategy and competition he culled from the game. Playing the game is like participating in the TV reality show of Donald Trump.
• How to make use of limited resources and time to produce the largest gain
• Which initiatives to continue and which to abandon
• When to lead and when to follow your opponent
• How to weigh competing interests among different units
• How to enter a market where the competition is already well established
• How to proceed t o ensure success if the competition enters your market
• How to create a strategic plan when the market changes quickly
• How to go global but think locally

Underson says 27 million people have played the game including Mao Tse Tung, Bill Gates and John Nash (A Beautiful Mind). He includes instructions on how to play the game and how to prepare the board for two players.

I love fables and I love “A Peacock in the Land of the Penguins.” University of California professor Judy Rosener rave review: “I loved it! This is an engaging tale of the challenges and dilemmas faced by those who are different as they struggle for success and fulfillment—as well as the challenges and dilemmas of those who are members of the power elite in today’s organizations, Truly a fable for our times.”

In Part II Tips and Tools for Feathered Friends is a simple test to determine if you are a peacock or other type of exotic bird that goes:

• Do you frequently feel like you don’t fit in—that you are different in some fundamental way?
• Do you get criticized for not being a team player (a euphemism for not conforming to group norms)?
• Do you feel pressured by your boss or others to change in some significant way to fit in?
• Do you feel ostracized, lonely, left out of the loop of information and decision-making?
• Are you unable to identify with anyone as a role model at the top of your organization?
• Do you often feel under- or unappreciated for your talent and skill, while others who are less talented get promoted and rewarded?
• Do you often try to figure out “what’s wrong with me”?
• Do you feel stifled, stuck, frustrated by some unseen “system”?
• Are you frequently ignored, interrupted, or discounted when you make comments or suggestions at meetings?

Now, get the book (Third Edition) to know if you are a peacock, a penguin or a struggler. It is good to know so could play Go cleverly. Take a cue or two on how to unleash your creativity and assert your individualism in the land where conformity is rule.

Speaking of orthodoxy, women generally feel they must and try to fit into the accepted, masculine-driven pattern of business. In Dancing on the Glass Ceiling, authors Candy Deemer and Nancy Fredericks teach women how to utilize the power and effectiveness of playing like a woman.

First, women should accept the fact that they are grandly different from men and “dance on the glass ceiling rather than muscle your way through it..” Deemer and Fredericks writes, “This shift in thinking can have an enormous impact on the outside world. It’s called the ‘butterfly effect.’ Research has shown that a single butterfly fluttering its wings in China has the potential to magnify the resulting airflow throughout the world, even affecting weather in the United States.”

The authors challenges women, thus, if a butterfly can do all that, imagine the power that women have to create results in their own career and in their own company simply by allowing themselves to follow a more natural pathway to success—a feminine pathway.

They observe that women seemed to gravitate instinctively toward certain leadership behaviors that were not even on the radar screens of most men, such as intuitive decision making, the special talent for nurturing subordinates and the automatic ability to interpret both the verbal and nonverbal layers of communication. “Yet neither the women nor their organizations recognized the powerful role these assets play in fueling the companies’ success.”

With these in mind, let us welcome 2005 with all our optimism and confidence! God promised He will bless and keep us always. Let’s make that happen.