Responding to Day 6’s prompt: What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favorite person? Tell us about it.
Have you ever disliked an activity before but eventually have grown to like it? I did. I once hated reading books of any sort. I don’t know why but I wasn’t a natural born good reader. I did not care if my younger sister loved it. I would always tell that to myself. Deep inside I would ask, “am I missing anything?” I have always been busy playing with dolls and watching series. Suddenly, a Christmas present from an aunt came. It was a second hand book entitled Magic Tree House. I forgot exactly what part it was in the series but it had an “I want more” effect on me. I never really read a book cover to cover until this one. I don’t know what happened but I suddenly and unexpectedly liked it. As the months go by, I would always convince my dad to buy me the other books.
At that time, I didn’t know if that hobby would still survive until now. I was just a kid who impatiently tries to discover activities outside school. Fast forward to High School, another incident prompted me to develop my reading habits. It was when I attended a science convention in a nearby town. After few days upon arrival, my fever got worse and my dad was forced to pick me up. Before heading home, I saw a bookstore and insisted we go in. The details in my memory certainly failed to remember why I picked up “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” but it was probably because my dad owned the adult version. I gave it a try. It was the first non-fiction book I have read outside school. How uncool is that?
Reading has been a favorite pastime ever since I learned the essence of it. I am thankful for those instances where I was nearly forced to read. I am thankful that despite I am a late bloomer in a sense; I was still able to learn to love it. It has been the most helpful skill I have acquired which brought me to understanding things that would go unexplained without their existence. It opened doors for me to know more about myself, the world that surrounds me, and God. I am always looking forward to reading a new title.
Last year has been the most fruitful year in terms of reading. I have been wanting to know my passion and I thought books must be of help. I didn’t know where it started but the moment I ended reading a book, another title would appear in that same book which seems interesting. I will later on check it out and will find myself finishing it. Book after book has been a chain of stories, experiences, principles and life lessons that will always become part of me. Of course, I am aware that not all are true. I always ask if the principles that the author believes are in line with what I believe. If it isn’t, I challenge my own principles by remembering what the Bible says.
One of the most memorable books that I have read is Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In where I was able to realize that women are making excuses to climb the corporate ladder because of owning up too many household duties when in fact their husbands are more than willing to have a fair share. I was able to realize that women tend to “prepare” more for the family season of their lives, giving space for giving birth even with no marriage soon that will take place. Finally, I was able to realize that women should be empowered in the C-suite level because some situations can only be resolved by letting women sit in board room meetings.
I also learned how company culture can inspire not only its employees but also customers (current and future alike) through Tony Hseih’s Delivering Happiness. It taught me that failures are inevitable to success. It also taught me that business risks can entail personal sacrifices. It allowed me to dream that there are companies who willingly give much to employees in order to give the same to customers. It enabled me to picture what a great company should look like. I even got a free culture book shipped straight from its Las Vegas headquarters. A sincere act that validates what they say.
I learned valuable lessons on leadership from John Maxwell’s Equipping 101, Andy Stanley’s Five Essentials for those who will shape the future, Jim Collins’s Good to Great and Built to Last, Robert Townsend’s Up the Organization and Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust. Each of these books has allowed me to look at leadership as something that requires great effort. They taught me that leaders must build the trust not only from the people he or she leads but also from his- or herself. They taught me that leaders cannot be good on all things. Rather they delegate tasks that are certainly not in line with their gifts or abilities.
I also learned about hurtful experiences from Joy Tanchi-Mendoza’s When a Good God allows Rape and Tindell Baldwin’s Popular. Both women shared contrasting but both hurtful stories of youth days. I admire them both for overcoming the circumstances with much courage. I have seen how faithful God is working in their lives even when people tried to harm them.
I learned more about myself by reading psychology books that root from Myers & Briggs’s personality types. Each of them gave me perspectives on what my character is. They allowed me to explore more about myself, my interests, my strengths and my weaknesses.
The last book that I finished before the year ended was John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. It finally answered my yearlong dilemma of finding passion. As a Christian, what else should I live for aside from living for Jesus? Nothing. In this book I learned that our one and only passion is to love God and give Him glory as we become Christ-like in our speech and conduct. It freed me into thinking that I am in the wrong place and being in the wrong job.
Lastly, I learned a lot about God and myself by reading the Bible. Although I have been reading it for several years now, I never felt the desire for more of it last year. I am thankful to God for giving me this heart to know Him more. It always challenged my thoughts, behavior, actions, and plans. It strengthened me when there are times that I would give up on myself.
Indeed, reading has taken a lot of my time but it was all worth it. I am looking forward to read more books this year. Hopefully I can share them to you as well.