If there is one thing my closest friends know about me, it is how I can see things from a different perspective. It was not always the case though. I had to go through a process in-between my career in scuba diving and today for me to connect the dots.

My friends and I agree that the happiest times of our lives were during the time we were in high school. In my case, the five years I spent living on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – Boracay – was as memorable.

Just like in high school days, my time on the island was a time of discovery. I think nearly everyone I talked to from all corners of the world wished they could live the life I had. Imagine how it feels to live in paradise and do what I was passionate about – studying marine life and scuba diving.

On 2003, I returned to the city to begin a new chapter in my life. Since then, I have never returned to Boracay or thought about scuba diving. Sometimes, I talk about life on the island with friends, but what was once a dream, having been fulfilled was no longer a viable reality for me.

Let me share with you life lessons I learned.

Boracay Life Lessons

From the first time I set my eyes on Boracay, I promised I would live on the paradise island. 6 to 7 years later, in the summer of 1998, I turned my dream into reality. Living and visiting are two completely different things. Visitors to the island see only the captivating beauty of sunsets, cool crystal clear water and incredible nightlife.

On the other hand, as a resident, I began to see the dark side. I was living on a tiny island and was no longer growing. I was mostly around people who were contented with island life.

I learned that while dreams could be fantastic, reality might be something else.

Friends, living the life you live today may be good, you could be doing something you love, but let me tell you this. Times change. You will change too in the coming years. Be sure you are not sacrificing your future for today.

You can quote me on this:

It is better to sacrifice today for the future you deserve.

Scuba Diving Life Lessons

One summer day in 1995, a childhood friend called me up. He simply said he needs one more person to make a group of four to start a scuba diving class. Without thinking, I agreed to join the class.

To earn a PADI Open Water Scuba Diver certification, one of the things I needed to do was to complete all skills in the shallow water. When I was 8 years old, I had a near drowning experience, which came back to me while I was learning the basic skills.

In particular, clearing water from my mask while submerged underwater was proving to be difficult. No, let me correct that, it was becoming an impossible task.

Fear.

Instead of focusing on the steps I needed to do, I was focusing on how as a child, I was walking in a shallow pool, slipped and nearly drowned. It has been nearly 4 decades now, but I remember the stranger who grabbed me and sat me on the edge of the pool.

Whoever you are, thank you and may God continue to bless you.

While the rest of the class continued to advanced skills and began their training dives, I finally was able to do the simple task of clearing my mask the next day. Once I did, the fear was gone.

I have to thank my friend Kenneth Baritua for that phone call and inviting me to join his class. It was the beginning of my career in scuba diving and more important, conquering the fear of drowning and water.

In many ways, that phone call was very much like an opportunity. If I had declined, I probably might not have fulfilled my dream then of living in Boracay. I would not have conquered my fear.

Opportunities come from nowhere and it is up to us to grab. You never know which one would change your life until you begin a journey.

Although my career in scuba diving has ended some 13 years ago, there were other life lessons I picked up that I am making sense of recently.

Besides grabbing opportunities and conquering fear, I believe it was during the time when I was conducting scuba diving classes or leading exploratory or fun dives that I came to know myself better.

Instinctively, I have placed myself in danger far too many times in ensuring the safety of scuba divers who were not following the standards or being reckless.

If there is one thing every scuba diver should know, it is that there is no shortcut to being a certified diver. And for those who have logged tens of dives, there is no room for arrogance and ego.

Today, I see so many people breaking the same rules – in this case, applied to wealth. I have met people who skip the basics, bend the rules, in pursuit of higher income. Often, these are the people who never got what they wanted, and if some did, come crashing down later.

To get what you want, you have to be willing to spend the time learning how and there is no shortcut.

As a distributor of USANA Health Sciences, the mindset is to treat the distributorship as a business. Understandably, there are far more employees involved in direct sales than business owners. Having yet to acquire the mentality of an entrepreneur, many of the distributors I met treat their businesses as a part-time endeavor. Instead of finding the time to learn, many have come up with excuses why they have no time to learn or do what they have to do.

There are those who achieved a level of success (earning). Instead of continuously growing themselves and their businesses, they stop and become complacent. Sooner or later, the income may dry up.

Connecting the Dots

It has been more than a decade. When I look back at the times when I lived in Boracay and was doing what I was passionate about, I find it remarkable how passion can change.

Friends, I agree it is important to do what you want to do and some even say that is living. From experience, passion can change. How sure are you that what you are doing today is what you will be doing ten years from now? How sure are you that a decade down the road, you will continue to love what you are doing today?

You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only do so looking in the past. The idea is to be able to connect the dots and find yourself in a position of success rather than dwell on missed opportunities.

Time waits for no one.

Yesterday, I was telling my XTRM 1-11 teammate in an informal gathering and coaching session, “What you are today, how you do your business, how well you could connect and close transactions, is a manifestation of how you treated people in the past and cultivated relationships.”

Let me end this post with this:

Love what you are doing today with the intention of having a better future. Do not fear nor let go of opportunities. You can talk about how you are planning for this and that, and let me tell you bluntly – planning is bullshit. Planning does not turn a dream into reality. Planning without acting is #TALKSHIT.

You, dear readers, are different. You are one who acts on your plans. Do not fail me, my friend. Be the best version of yourself. Continue to be a doer. Let the past and today be dots that you could connect to realizations of your dreams.