What is important
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2020 - 12:00am

People are getting healthier these days. The lockdown has made a lot of people I know to stay home and settle for healthy and simple meals. Some people do not know how to cook and express their regret that they should have learned when they had the chance. Others are learning. And those who know how to cook are being valued and appreciated in ways unimaginable.

When things were normal, we wanted the best of everything, and even if we had it; seems like they were never enough. I remember last November when my daughter-boss Rachel and I brought a couple to New York’s most famous beef restaurant. The line was long, and when the food was served, it was worth the wait. The steak house has been awarded top steakhouse in New York for an uninterrupted string of years, but for whatever reason, we discovered that last year was the second year in a row that they missed the award. The food is still good; the place is excellent, yet because of that discovery, we all felt disappointed. I told myself, next time around, we’ll go to a better restaurant. It seems that we are never satisfied with what we have as we always aim for more and for something better. Success can spoil us. We want better, we want the best, and we want to be treated in a special way.

Then the virus struck and things quickly became different. Even the city that never sleeps has been forced into slumber. Their bars and “Michelin star-studded” restos closed. Meanwhile, back home, you and I are staying home, and our lifestyle rudely interrupted. Things can be a little bit unsettling because our daily routine has been suspended.

Browsing Viber, a group I joined sent me this material that makes a lot of sense. “I have so many clothes. I have so many shoes. I have so many sunglasses. I have so many bags. I have so many gadgets. And yet I still get bored! I don’t have to go to work. I have all the time at home—no work-related stress. And however, I get anxious. I have a roof over my head. I have food on the table. I have cars, and yet I panic and get scared.

So these are the lessons I am learning: All the material things I have only give me temporary happiness. No matter how much I have, I still want more. There are small things in life that matter most. I can’t find security on material things, even mine. I need somebody to rely on during these troubled times. I need God now more than ever.”

Many people today are in need. Health workers need more protective gear. People need provisions even for something as basic as food; their work has been stopped, and so is their income. Others worry about their savings afraid that getting sick will deplete all of their savings in one fell swoop. Perhaps those of us who are blessed with a little bit more would share with those who are in need. Donate. Give. Help those who have less.

Another inspiring material was sent me, and it goes this way: “What’s important is not what kind of car you drive, but rather how many people you give a lift. What’s important is not the size of your house, but rather the number of people you welcome into your home. What’s important is not your social status, but whether you live your life with class. What’s important is not what you possess, but instead what you give. What’s important is not how many friends you have, but rather how many to whom you are a friend. What’s important is not how much overtime you worked, but rather if you work overtime for your family and loved ones. What’s important is not if you live in a great neighborhood, but rather how you treat your neighbor.”

This situation forces us to pause, pay attention to the important things. And the message from my Viber group ended with the following words: “Everything around us is so temporary. Things our lives revolved around - work, gym, malls, movies. We are being taught to live without them. It has taught us that in the end, it’s your family that keeps you safe. And there is a God and we all need Him.”

Amen to that. And thank you, my Viber group!

(Connect with Francis Kong in www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)

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