Changing locations
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2018 - 12:00am

I have a friend who works for a multinational company. For a time, she was assigned to work in Minnesota. In a tropical country like ours, we are familiar with cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and even Atlanta or Hawaii. But have you ever visited Minnesota? One word can describe it —COLD. I just got back from New York three weeks ago and to everyone’s surprise, it snowed. Even New Yorkers were surprised. They said it’s still Fall but why the snow? On the first day, my son Bryan and I got there, and the temperature then was Zero degree centigrade. It was cold and freezing, but this is nothing compared to the weather in Minnesota.

Alan Smith tells a story about Ole and his farm located in Minnesota.

Government surveyors came to Ole’s farm in the fall and asked if they could do some surveying. Ole agreed, and Lena even served them a nice meal at noon time. 
The next spring, the two surveyors stopped by and told Ole, “Because you were so kind to us, we wanted to give you this bad news in person instead of by letter.” 

Ole replied, “What’s the bad news?” The surveyors stated, “Well, after our work here, we discovered your farm is not in Minnesota, but is actually in Wisconsin!” 
Ole said, “That’s the best news I have heard in a long time! I just told Lena this morning that I don’t think I can take another winter in Minnesota.” 
I have heard people say:

“I cannot stand Metro Manila. I want to move somewhere else so that I can have a better life. This city makes me sick!”

“Francis, I want to quit my job because I am no longer happy.”

“We have been married five years and I thought he would make me happy for the rest of my life.”

A husband speaking to a friend complaining about his frustrations on marriage said, “For our Twentieth Anniversary, I’m taking my wife to Australia.” His friend says, “That’s going to be tough to beat. What are you going to do for your Twenty-Fifth Anniversary?” 

The husband replies, “I’m going to go back and get her.”

Now, here is my question:

Have you ever heard people say things like these or more importantly, have you ever found yourself saying the same things? Would a change of residence, a change of employment, or even a change of a person in a relationship make you happier?

This funny story reminds me that many people think they would be happier if they were living someplace, working somewhere, or living with someone else (“The grass is always greener on the other side” would make them happy).  Many actually made the change and they still end up disappointed.

They think that a change of location or entering into another relationship will fix their problems. They feel miserable in their job or neighborhood and they want to escape. Everything would be so different if they just lived somewhere else. They may be surprised to know that change to a person is not as powerful and long lasting as what change is in the person.

The truth is that changing locations usually doesn’t change anything because the bigger problem is often not in the world around us, but within us. While it is true that there are circumstances we cannot control, my experience tells me that if I change myself, then my circumstances improve.

I worked for a very difficult boss. Stingy with salary, worked me like a horse and never showed appreciation for the work I’ve done. His favorite expression was, “Is that the best you can do?” As I started my career, I had no choice but to stick to working for him. At least I had the sense to understand that I lacked the competence, skills and expertise to be marketable to others in the industry. Looking back, I realize that the few years with him stretched me and forced me to get into a crash course of skills and competence-building that helped me develop sharp and astute skills I still find useful today.

Reading books of Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn, they changed my perspective. Rohn says, “Your success in life is not dependent on the economy; your success in life is dependent on your philosophy.” And then he continued by saying, “Success is not what you have or what you do, but what you attract because of the kind of person you have become.”  Ziglar says, “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. But, if you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” And so, I embarked on a journey of non-stop learning. I did not have to change my location, neither could I change my boss. I changed myself and the way I look at life, then everything changed, including my location, my boss and my work.

Here is my last story for today.

Have you ever been to an Amish community? City dwellers cannot last long in that commune. But look at the way they look at their life and location.

The Amish owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign:

1. Energy efficient vehicle. 

2. Runs on oats and grass. 

3. Caution: Do not step on exhaust. 

That’s how it is. Change yourself and everything changes.

(Mark your calendars on Jan. 25, 2019 for the much-awaited event “Power Up for Peak Performance”! It will be happening at the Samsung Hall, SM Aura, BGC. This whole-day event featuring a power-packed cast of fantastic speakers will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 5;00 p.m. For further inquiries or advanced reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at

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