A Winner Never Quits

A quitter never wins, a winner never quits.

I first heard these words from a sweepstakes ticket vendor who exhorted patrons to continue buying from him.

Persistence, that is what it is called. But this thing took on a new meaning to me when I chance upon a section of the book Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen on  Overcoming Obstacles. It talked about how one of the greatest leaders in history may have exemplified this trait. It talked about how Abraham Lincoln did not quit, and eventually won!

Today, on his 150th death anniversary, let me share how Lincoln breathed life into the word — persistence:

Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He could have quit many times but he didn’t and because he didn’t quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of America.

Lincoln was a champion and he never gave up. Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House.

  • 1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
  • 1818: His mother died.
  • 1831: Failed in business.
  • 1832: Ran for state legislature- lost.
  • 1832: Also lost his job. Wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
  • 1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
  • 1834: Ran for state legislature again – won.
  • 1835: Was engaged to be married , sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
  • 1836:Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
  • 1838:Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
  • 1840: Sought to became elector- defeated.
  • 1843: Ran for Congress-lost.
  • 1846:Ran for Congress again. This time he won-went to Washington and did a good job.
  • 1848:Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
  • 1849:Sought the job of land officer in his home state-rejected.
  • 1854:Ran for Senate of the United States-lost.
  • 1856:Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention-got less than 100 votes.
  • 1858:Ran for U.S Senate again-again he lost.
  • 1860:Elected president of the United States.
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Six Little Spending Mistakes That Can Cost You Your Financial Freedom

Česky: Kreditní karty Deutsch: Kreditkarten En... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Six  Little Spending Mistakes That Can Cost You Your Financial Freedom
 
by: Bruce Hokin
 
 
Can't seem to get ahead financially? Debts piling up? Maybe you're making some of these mistake unknowingly. These mistakes listed below will help you understand where you may be going wrong and how to get back on track quickly. You can be debt free.
 
Mistake 1. Living Beyond Your Means
 
This is the real cause of your worry and stress. If you are spending more than you are earning, whose money are you spending? It's the credit card provider's or the bank's. The cost of this money is interest. 
 
The way out – Make a Commitment to yourself only to spend within your income limits. Maybe you could increase your income (or cash in) by applying for more skilled positions, selling some of your unused articles or assets. Is the second car really a necessity? What about working out ways to make your hobby pay for itself? 
 
Why not find ways to reduce your spending? How much would you save each year if you decided not to have the daily coffee shop coffee? Why not make your work lunch each day rather than buying it? Commit to only buying the necessities. 
 
Mistake 2. Paying Off Less Than the Full Credit Card Balance Each Month
 
Get this debt under control and your life will be much easier. If you are like many others and only pay the minimum balance each month, the interest on the interest makes those purchases oh so expensive. 
 
The way out – Find ways to put aside more money to apply to the credit cards. It will take time to reach this goal. However, if you don't make a start now you may never pay them off. This situation did not occur overnight and neither will the solution. But, by diligence and commitment you'll get there. 
 
Mistake 3. Not Really Knowing Your Financial Situation
 
Before you can set meaningful goals and develop savings strategies you need to know your financial situation now. The best, proven and tested method by far, is by developing your own personal budget. This is not hard to do. Please don't give up now. Just follow these simple steps:
 
The way out – 
a)Find your latest credit card statements. Write down all the unpaid balances.
b)Are there any other unpaid debts (not home or car) then include these balances as well.
c)List out your (or family) monthly income. Only the amounts "brought home". Include all types of income.
d) Work out your monthly spending. List out where all the money goes. Don't leave anything out.
e) Minus the monthly spending total from the monthly income total and review the answer.
 
This will give you an initial idea as to whether you are living within your means or on borrowed money.
 
Mistake 4. Continually Adding to Your Debt
 
If debt has got you into this situation it is critically important not to add to the state of affairs and thus make it worse.
 
The way out – cut up the credit cards, keeping only 1 for emergencies. Don't buy on impulse. Ask yourself twice or three times before you buy anything "Do I really need this?" before you hand over your hard-earned money. Don't buy at the height of the fashion or fad. Commit to never paying full retail for anything. Get it on sale or negotiate a lower price. 
 
Mistake 5. Spending All Your Income
 
It may sound OK to spend any money you earn but there are risks attached to this strategy. How are you going to pay for emergency items? What about major car repairs. What about major electrical appliance replacement? Are you going to pay for these on credit? Bad idea! How are you going to save for a substantial deposit on the next car?
 
The way out – Once you've prepared your budget you will clearly see what you need to do to put some income aside for other needs such are emergencies and repairs.
 
Mistake 6. Spending Without Caring About Your Future
 
Unless you are planning for your future and financial security, you cannot be really happy. There are always worries lurking in your mind about how you would survive in a financial emergency if you have no savings. It can be very rewarding to see how quickly your savings multiply over time with only a small investment each payday.
 
The way out – Take stock of your life and realize that tomorrow won't look after itself. It needs your attention. Keep some funds aside to put away for your retirement, children's college costs, emergencies, holidays and major purchases.
 
Avoid these 6 spending mistakes and you'll be well on your way to financial freedom. Guaranteed.
 
 
Source: Free Articles
 
 
About the Author
Bruce Hokin has designed a simple budget tool called "5 Steps to Freedom Personal Budget." It is based on his extensive background as a qualified, experienced accountant, manager, consultant and financial adviser.
 

 

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The Internet and How it Improved the Way I do things

I am fortunate to have experienced how internet technology has evolved during my lifetime.  I saw how the computer evolved from the era of adding machines to Casio’s scientific calculators to HP’s programmable calculators to the Commodore computers and the room-sized Burroughs and the IBM mainframes to the earliest Apple and IBM desktops to today’s laptops, ipads, and smartphones.

On the communications front,  I experienced how it was to wait for years before getting a phone line and to bearing with party lines.  I also remember the time when pager was a necessity, when being on call means tuning in to your Motorola radio 24 hours a day.  But all these changed when the telecoms industry was deregulated,  and ushered and era when I can  choose between various competing land line providers.  And  of course, I can still recall how excited I was when I finally got my first cellphone unit!

I was introduced to the internet technology sometime in the early 90s via an intra-company email system.  The internet  technology has developed exponentially since then. I am fortunate to have used most of what it can offer to help make the way I do things a lot better and simpler

Indeed, a  lot of things has changed since my childhood days when the fastest form of communication is via the telegram or a public announcement (panawagan) via a public service program on radio.  Today, I have several options for communicating: SMS, voice calls, e-mail, chat, or via skype. All these on real time!

Aside from improving the way I communicate with friends and business associates, following is the full list of my personal and professional activities that the internet has helped made simpler and faster:

  1. Communicating: E-mail,  Yahoo Messenger, Chat, Skype
  2. Searching: Google, Bing, Yahoo and others…
  3. Social networking – Facebook, Myspace, Multiply, Twitter, LinkedIn
  4. Video and Images Watching – You Tube, Flickr
  5. Online Shopping and Group Buying – Amazon, Ebay, Sulit.com.ph, and other group buying sites
  6. Online Banking and Stock Trading
  7. Learning – Wikipedia
  8. Gaming.  Level Up, Tantra, World of Warcraft, Online poker games
  9. Blogging and Websites
  10. File and Music Sharing – Bit Torrent, Napster, Kazza, Limewire.

 

I have realized that internet technology used wisely is not something to be feared but harnessed. It has revolutionarized the way I communicate with others. And to those who are still familairizing themselves with the technology, here is a word of advice:  the internet is a web of information, where one can be led in many different directions. Seeking guidance from those already experienced in technology is a wise way to go.

Go and enjoy the benefits we can only dreamed of when we were younger!

 

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From My Inbox – Keep your Dream


 

 “Success comes to those who believe in the in the beauty of their dreams the most, the fiercest, the longest – those who don’t give up even if the others let go”

                                                                               – Henry Ford,Founder of Ford Motors

 

To have a dream is one of the most important thing any person should have.  It provides one with an image of what he wants to achieve in life – “anong gusto mong maging..” as they would say it in Filipino.  It helps define the direction you want your life to go, and gives you the challenge to put your mind, heart and energy to achieving your dream.

Dream Big. Work for It. Achieve It!

 

There are many stories about people who dream big, worked hard for it, and achieved it. Here is a beautiful story about a boy who dreamed big and did not let any disparaging comments discourage him from working  towards achieving his dream. I pulled this out from my email inbox and I am sharing this with you below…

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.

The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.

“That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.

“He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’

“The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’

“The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’

“The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ “Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.

He stated, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week.” When the teacher was leaving, he said, “Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.”

“Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.”

– Author Unknown

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How to Produce an Indie Movie – The Case of Happyland

In a earlier post, I wrote about the circumstances behind my joining the Happyland team as one of its producers. Here is the second part of my experience as an indie movie producer.

The Main Story:

Jim conducted various interviews with football aficionados, Don Bosco Brothers and former Tondo barefoot players to weave the story for the film. This is the excerpt of the movie:.

A Spanish missionary priest tries to form a fighting football team composed of disadvantaged boys from the slums.  He enrolled the help of a seminarian, who was a college football star; his assistant parish priest; a volunteer catechist, and, parish workers.

Together, they recruit the most unlikely group of young men – a neighborhood  basketball star; a skilled pickpocket and fearless thief; two drug-sniffing brothers who live off the garbage dump;  a hare-lipped rapper wannabe; a gang leader;  a pedicab driver; and many others. The young men were lured by the dream of winning the tournament’s hefty cash prize. And to win, they only have to do one thing — beat their opponents from the “rich catholic schools.”

The priests, the seminarian, catechists and other church people set out to build his football team.

The Back Story

The priest was inspired by the story of Filipino striker Paulino Alcantara – star of the Spanish football team FC Barcelona in the 1930s.  His record of 357 goals in 367 games is still unmatched in Spain’s football history.  It is the memory of Alcantara’s feats that inspired Father Jose, the Spanish missionary priest, to attempt the audacious: build a football team in the slums of Tondo.

Our original plan was to shoot some scenes in Barcelona to highlight the extraordinary feat of Paulino Alcantara. Budgetary constraints prevented us from doing so. Thus,we settled for dream scene instead. However, the Paulino Alcantara story may have been among the reasons (plus probably the fact that Spain won the FIFA World Cup that year) why we got invited to screen the film during the Spanish film festival in Manila in 2010.

 

The Actors

Strictly speaking, we did not have any professional actors in the cast.  But we do have football players who had important roles in the movies: Phil Younghusband, China Cojuangco, and football players from various exclusive schools. We also hired actual residents as extras. Some of the supporting characters were playing their real selves. Nevertheless, the production experience was one of camaraderie and fun.


 

People behind the Camera

Mitch Moreno, Jim’s partner, was the project’s workhorse. She was in control of all aspects of the project, except the creative side which was Jim’s.

I helped raised money from corporate sponsors. Initially the corporate guys listened to the pitches mainly because they were my friends, but when they started to interact with the production and the creative group, and after they have internalized the film’s story line, they become converts.  We got funding from Alaska, Rebisco, and a few other brands..

Butch Jimenez and Manny Luna of Activ Asia pitched in with their personal funds.  It was Mitch and Jim who talked to Butch and Manny, and since I saw the presentation outline before the meetings, I believe they were not there as financial investors but as believers in the objectives of the project.

We also got grants from a European donor and from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). We also did crowd-sourcing, a way of raising money via the social network, and got monetary contributions from various individuals.

It was a lean and mean way of running a movie production project, poles apart from my experience with my former network. At Happyland, we planned every shooting day and source out the best cost for everything we need in the production.  It also helped that some members of the creative team agreed to cuts in their professional fees..

 

The Setting:

Happyland

The movie’s setting was a place in Tondo that residents call  “Happyland,” which comes from the word “hapilan” — a Visayan word for “garbage dump. “  The movies main characters lived in this place – a former smoking mountain of trash that government bulldozers levelled to give way to substandard and cramped residential buildings for the poor.

 At one point, Star Cinema talked to us about the possibility of co-producing the film. It came with a condition though. They will re-write portions of the story to make it more commercial, introducing among others, a love angle aspect to the story.  A tie-up with Star Cinema would have meant a great boost to the commercial success of the film. On the other hand, it would also mean we have to replace a number of actors, which would have resulted in a dissension among the ranks of our technical and creative personnel. A number of them are apprehensive with working with a major studio as this may result in loss of their creative independence. After much thought. I politely told Malou Santos, MD of Star Cinema, that in the interest of “industrial peace” I will have to refuse her offer.

 

The Economics

We struggled to finish the film.  We began filming at the beginning of 2010. We intended to release the film around June or July 2010, around the same time as the World Cup. However, problems encountered during post-production delayed the film’s release and put the production into debt. The post production house has inadvertently erased very important materials from two days of shoot, so we have to re-shoot those scenes.  Production costs also shoot up because of the elevated cost of storage and expensive cost of post production that the choice of Red Cameras entails.

Nevertheless, there were opportunities that resulted out of our failure to meet the June-July 2010 deadline. Spain won the World Cup, and so when they held their Spanish film festival in Metro Manila in October 2010, they look for a football movie to show in their festival. Happyland is that movie – the first movie about football produced by a Filipino team.

 

Next Steps

The first payback we got  was that we were able to provide opportunities for personal growth to the more than 20 teenaged football players who joined the cast. Some of the boys got football scholarships. Another one became a team member of the Philippine team to the Homeless World Cup.  Moreover, the boys today are more confident and sure of themselves compared to how they were before we started their training.

Meanwhile, the Philippine football team -the Azkals, won games in the Asian stage and soon enough, football became a household word. That rubbed off on us, and it became a bit easier  to get groups and communities to sponsor private screenings of the movie. Adobo magazine – the authoritative advertising industry publication sponsored a special screenings of the movie. It even got its corporate clients and guest to donate money or shoes for the Tondo boys.

It was clear to us that Happyland will have a difficult time at the commercial theaters, so our strategy was to do private screenings of the movie. It was also screened in various Sineng Pambansa events in various cities around the country. And it is making the rounds in schools and communities.

To be sure, we are still a long way from recovering the investments we made for the movie, But it is an historical first. It is the first football movie produced in the Philippines.  It even won awards for some of our creative and technical staff.

And to me, the satisfaction of being part of a pioneering media vehicle featuring the game of football.

Below is the full trailer of the movie.

 

 

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How I Became a Producer of the Indie Movie – Happyland

I become a producer of a movie about football two years before the sport got widespread attention. We even tapped the country’s most popular football player, Phil Younghusband, as one of the major actors in that independent film.

Serendipity

During the summer of 2008 my son attended a football clinic. As a culminating activity, football trainers from various schools held a friendly tournament among their wards.  I was watching the friendly among teams composed of players aged 16 years and below. The venue was the Ateneo Football field.  The name of the visiting team was Los Mataderos.

They don’t look like butchers to me, but the team name and being from Tondo evoked toughness and a killer ring to it. There was therefore an initial hesitance of the Ateneo boys to rough it up with the visiting team. Some of the Tondo boys were playing barefoot while others had worn out shoes.  They were cursing a lot, but would quickly lower their voices when their coach called their attention.

Except for 3 or 4 players, most of the team members are still newbies.   Nevertheless, they won the game and would have been the champion of the tournament had the organizers not discover that their best player was over aged.

They were also on a first named basis with my son’s team trainer/coach. I learned later that Coach Boy also trains the team. In fact, he grew up in the same neighbourhood as these boys. Like many others that played with him before, football became their ticket to changes in their economic well being. It sent them to school, it put them away from a life of vice and crime, and it paved the way for them to get jobs.

I thought that if football became a ticket for some Tondo boys to improve their lives, other boys all over the country can benefit from being good players of the sport. All it takes is an inspiration.  And what would that be?  Back then, I noted three possibilities: (1) a winning national team; (2)a popular league and/or players; and, (3) an inspirational media vehicle (movie,TV show, social network page, or a book).

In another part of the field on that same day, Jim Libiran was also watching his son play football. In the course of the tournament, Jim also noticed the barefoot boys and asked a question or two about them.  He learned that they are from the same area that he used as a setting for Tribu, his award winning movie about the gangs of Tondo.   The film maker and storyteller in him saw a material for a film.

Elsewhere, Peter Amores, a former college football standout,  took a respite from helping manage their family business in Cebu and started a non government organization with the objective of teaching football to street kids. He named his NGO, Futkal or Futbol sa Kalye.

One year later, Jim Libiran invited me to a cup of coffee. At Bo’s Coffee in Katipunan,  while both of us were waiting to fetch our sons, we talked about Happyland,his second movie after the much acclaimed Tribu. Jim invited me to join him in the project.  My role is to advise the team on the business and marketing aspects of film-making and of course, to help get corporate sponsors for the movie.

Jim has also encouraged Peter Amores to take FutKal to Tondo.

Jim and Peter tapped more than 20 boys ranging from 12 to 20 years old and provided them with football training and even acting lessons in preparation for the film. They tapped the players Jim and I observed at play during the Ateneo tournament.

Immediately during our first meeting, I said yes to Jim, not only because producing films is in my bucket list but also because the project is a vehicle that will popularize a sport wherein Filipinos have a fighting chance in the world stage. I also have a personal affinity with the main message of the film which is: “Victory is sweetest if you worked hard enough for it.  One won game is not enough to win a tournament. Fight hard enough in every game. Give it your best and then fight some more.”

And so it came to pass that I got involved in the independent movie, Happyland.

 

 

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