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Life lessons from “Everything About Her”

The movie Everything About Her was graded A by the Philippine Cinema Board and a decent 7.5 by IMDB, a UK based movie database of films, tv programs, etc.  I shed a bucket of tears while watching the movie despite the many funny scenes because it was about cancer and mother and son relationship.

Here are some life lessons we can learn from the movie:

1. Cancer shatters your world. In the movie, Vilma Santos plays the role of a very successful and tough career woman who was diagnosed with cancer. This changed her world and her priorities. Over the past several days, I have been through a roller-coaster ride of emotions myself. We just celebrated our parents’ Diamond Wedding Anniversary (that’s 60 years of marriage) and were treated to an outpouring of love and praises from our dear relatives and friends, many of them flew in from all over the world to join us. Then just when we thought we would be settling back to our respective routines energized by the wonderful celebration we just had, my mom, who had earlier been diagnosed with lymphoma, was rushed to the hospital. No matter how old we all are now, we can’t seem to be prepared for things like this. The Big C still scares the… out of all of us! And that’s why I was crying a river while watching the movie.

2. There is no excuse for being rude. Whether you’re rich or poor, healthy or dying, there’s really no excuse for being offensive, impolite and ill mannered. In the movie we can laugh at some scenes where Vilma acts rudely because she’s Vilma. But imagine it happening in real life. I think it would be a totally different story. We can come up with excuses for being rude like “I’m really hot-tempered. It’s the real me.” or “I haven’t had my coffee yet.” or “It’s my period.” or “I’m having a bad day.” but still, they are excuses. If you live in a society, you have to act accordingly because each of us is undergoing something at any point in time, and nobody’s bad mood is that important that it’s worth hurting and disrespecting other people.

3. The advantage of earning goodwill. No one is perfect and chances are we may be off-guard sometimes. The best thing to do is to apologize sincerely and immediately. But do you notice how we are more forgiving with someone we already like, and act the opposite with someone we dislike? This falls under what we call in Behavioral Economics as the Confirmation Bias – our tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms our beliefs or hypotheses. When we don’t like someone, chances are, at the slightest act of not being nice, we’d say, “I knew it, he’s really a jerk!” So in meeting people, especially those who matter to us, let’s earn brownie points by being helpful and generous at the start so that they can easily like us. Hopefully, when crisis situations come, they will remember their belief about us and would be more forgiving with our mistakes. I think the impakta character of Ate Vi in the movie was easily forgiven by the moviegoers because she is Ate Vi, someone we’ve admired as a good actress turned good politician all these decades.

4. In dealing with rude people, do not allow yourself to be rude. The character of Angel Locsin is a winner here, she kept her bubbly devoted nurse attitude despite the rudeness of her boss. In the end, she is the winner. This is easier said than done because we are quick to react based on how we are treated. Sometimes we feel that we should show that we are offended by rude acts from other people. According to writer and coach Steve Chandler, to be offended is to surrender to the brute power of other people, to give them permission to make you feel resentful. Here’s a great description of how to avoid being a victim to “offensive remarks.” Earl Woods, the late father of Tiger Woods, was being asked by a media person to react to a sarcastic racial remark made by a golfer who was beaten by Tiger, “Aren’t you offended by that racial remark?” Earl answered no, but the media person tried to elicit a retort so he asked again, “But he offended your culture!” To that Mr. Woods said, “No he didn’t. The culture is fine. He’s got the problem. We don’t.” What a classy answer!

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5. First years of our children are critical for bonding. In the movie, the character of Zian Lim was very angry at his mom who spent more time in the office than with him. When his parents separated, he chose to go with his father because he was the main caregiver. I’m telling you, these early years are so fast, they’d be over before you know it. So please, make time for your children. Be available to them while you are still the center of their life. Here’s the thing, one year of absence in their young life cannot be replaced by many years of making up in their teen or adult life.

6. FQ Lessons from the movie. The movie is very realistic in the sense that it shows how Filipino families typically pass on the role of financial provider to the oldest child or whoever is earning in the family and everything is okay. Usually, the provider resorts to working abroad to earn more while the other members act as if there’s no financial difficulty asking for vacation in Boracay and other non-essentials. Sometimes it is this blind kind of love and support that the financial providers give to their family indefinitely that eventually becomes destructive. It prevents them from saving for their own retirement right away, and it also enables the dependency of the other family members just waiting for manna from heaven. I find this unfair. All family members should help out if there is financial problem. Don’t count the chickens before they hatch is another FQ lesson that should be picked up here. When Angel got the job, she joyfully announced to her family, “Mayaman na tayo! P90,000 na ang sueldo ko!” complete with dinner blow out without even waiting for her first pay check. I loved it when on the first payday, Vilma only gave her P10,000 because the P80,000 was used to pay off Angel’s credit card debt. This is more than Libertarian Paternalism (nudging people to make the right decisions). Sometimes it really helps to exercise serious nudging to the people within our circle of influence. In this instance, Angel might have come up with a lot of excuses to delay paying off her credit card debt, which was being charged high interest rate.

If the movie is still being shown, you may want to watch it. It didn’t only provide the above life lessons but also good acting from Vilma Santos and Angel Locsin.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. I will be a speaker at the Truly Rich Club’s Wealth Summit 2016 entitled Millionaire Makers on March 4-5, 2016. I will speak on Day 1. Click this link to register. http://trulyrichclub.com/wealthsummit/

2. If you want to learn more about parenting, join the Parenting Academy 2 entitled Parenting to Build Family Resilience led by Dr. Honey Carandang on February 27, 2016 at the St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City. Click link to register http://mlacinstitute.com

Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples - Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.

ATTRIBUTIONS: Images used from fil-event.com

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