Our purpose-driven life

September 4th, 2008

The column last week touched on the question of whether or not Ninoy’s death was a waste. We received a lot of positive feedback from readers and most of them agreed that Ninoy’s death did change a lot of this for this country. Democracy, for one, is an example and sometimes, we have too much of it in a way.

Let us try to relate this to God’s purpose for us – how we came to this earth to do what purpose.

Many years ago, I chanced upon a book entitled “Into the Light”. It was about a woman who had a near death experience. She recounts how she died, what was shown to her by the angels, and how life in heaven was like. But, what struck me most is what she said, that we already pre-existed as spirits. She said we were brought to earth to experience an earthly life that will help us develop as better people. It was quite sometime ago when I read this book.

There are some people who are still not able to identify their purpose in life. They might be lost and unhappy. For those who have found their purpose, happiness is a constant and their lives are full of energy.

My father in law, Jose Orosa, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, turned 69 years old. About a year ago, he was diagnosed with a stage four colon cancer. He went through two operations, one in the liver and one in the colon, and chemotherapy. For eight months it was quite challenging for him, but he was able to pull through and the cancer went on remission for about four months. Just recently, the cancer returned. What inspires me about him is that he continues to keep a positive attitude despite all these challenges.

Way back during his younger years, he started many corporations, House of Rugs, Admacor and a number of handicraft businesses, some of which were sold and some he lost because of labor problems. As entrepreneurs, these are the risks. Even until today, despite his illness, he continues to think of projects, like helping build the victory church in the Fort. He has come out with world class coffee table books. The fore edge painting on the book entitled “Visions of the Possible” and some Malacañan Palace books are creations of Jose Orosa. Having this original design in all of Asia, “Visions of the Possible” won Best Books National Bookstore Awards for Best Book Design. The award giving body said nothing came close to it.

One can easily give up hope or blame God for all the unfortunate events in life, but Jose Orosa continues to maintain a positive outlook in life. In his own way, he continues to fulfill his purpose in life.

Former President Corazon Aquino, who was also diagnosed with colon cancer, continues to serve the people with her ‘Pinoy Me’ foundation that helps the micro-entrepreneurs in terms of financing and business advice. She is still out there trying to help Filipinos not lose hope.

Recently, I have come to know of a non-profit organization called ATRIEV. It was established by visually impaired computer enthusiasts Tony Llanes and Carol Catacutan. ATRIEV is the Adaptive Technology Training, Resource and Access Center. It is a non-profit organization that helps visually impaired persons to have access to college education, employment and other opportunities with the use of technology. ATRIEV has helped people like Marx Melencio, as I have also mentioned him in a few of my previous columns. Marx is a young man who lost his eyesight five years ago after being shot. And yet, he did not dwell on his misfortune. Today, Marx has an IT research company, employing about 89 people (around 17 of which are also blind). With the help of ATRIEV, Marx was able to have access to his success.

We also congratulate Peter Wallace in contributing to the development of ATRIEV. Since he first came across the organization in 2002, he has played a big role in making ATRIEV the way it is now. He moved to put together trustees for the organization. He also brought together members of the business and academe to give assistance to ATRIEV. As he is now a present trustee of ATRIEV, he considers the organization his baby as he continues to give support and whole-hearted assistance in giving opportunities to those who are in need but well-deserving.

These people who have lost their eyesight or hearing have not blamed God for their handicap. Instead, they have created an organization that provides access to learning for the blind and visually impaired.

Another story, as we all know, is Tony Meloto’s purpose in promoting ‘hope for the hopeless and land for the landless’ through Gawad Kalinga. Tony also finds himself with a son-in-law who has also found his purpose in life. Dylan Wilk, grew up poor in Leeds, England. At the age of 20, he started a computer games marketing company with a business loan of 2,500 pounds from the Prince of Wales Foundation. Dylan’s company, Gameplay, became the biggest in its field. As he became a very successful entrepreneur in London, he sold his business at the age of 25 to focus on community service and social work. He became an icon for the Prince of Wales Foundation, until he came to Manila. He met the Gawad Kalinga community and built his first village – the BMW-GK Village, which was from the proceeds of his brand new BMW that he sold to raise funds for GK. With this, he fell in love with the poor Filipinos, with the Philippines and with Tony Meloto’s daughter. He has also found his purpose in life, which was to help the poor in the Philippines. He embraced Tony’s advocacy and married his daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Wilk are now in Canada on a 30-day bus trip that was initiated to inspire Filipinos to love and not to forget the country where they came from. According to Tony Meloto, Dylan is what people may call as the entrepreneur from the poor for the poor.

Sometimes, as I look back, I never thought I would write a column as my spelling is bad and I never got good grades in grammar. Even thinking of starting the Go Negosyo advocacy was far for my mind. But, we all have our purposes in life. We just need to find it and fulfill it to the best that we can. Even if this column does not inspire you enough to start your own business, I hope that at least it will give you some encouragement to find your own purpose in life.

Life will be full of challenges. Sometimes, people are born with wealth and health while others are not. Some countries are given greater resources, like oil. As the lady who experienced near death, she mentioned that angels showed her that we are all called to come to earth to be able to learn and turn our weaknesses into strengths. Life is indeed a journey to those who are like Jose Orosa and former President Cory Aquino. They now face a greater challenge, and still they are able to continue God’s purpose for them. They are truly an inspiration.