Viewpoint: Pay the Price
A message from our International President
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
My story this month is anchored on those words. This is a story of one woman’s many struggles against hardship that led to her eventual success. As you read her story, I hope you can also see how your trials and tribulations could make you stronger… could make you succeed.
As a child in the 1930s, she had always admired the show windows of Manila’s classy department stores. Standing before those windows, she dreamed that some day, she too would have her own department store. That was her impossible dream – impossible because she had very little education, she didn’t have any business exposure, and she didn’t have any money!
Have you ever had an impossible dream? Some great deed you’ve always wanted to achieve? What did you do about it? Let me tell you what she did. In the mid 1940s, she advanced confidently in the direction of her dream. With a sparkle in her eye, and a pounding in her heart, she hit the streets every day to sell homemade soap and inexpensive slippers.
The life of a sidewalk vendor was hard. She had to stand under the heat of the sun, or in pouring rain for hours; she had to contend with the dust, the car fumes and the stench from the horse-driven carriages in those days. And worst of all, she was looked upon with disdain, even scorned by passers-by.
Every night, she went home limping, as the soles of her feet would be badly blistered and bleeding. But she held back her tears, and every day, she persisted. And she survived!
After four years of this, she earned 200 pesos (four U.S. dollars at today’s exchange rate)! In Manila at that time, this was enough to seed her children’s future. With the feeling of success, she boldly moved to Cebu to open a tiny textile store. She endeavored to live the life that she had dreamed of.
Everyday, she opened her store at five in the morning and closed it at 10 in the evening. And as her family continued to grow, it was not strange for her to give birth to a baby one evening and be up working in her store the following morning. When it rained hard, her store would be flooded to waist level, and strong typhoon winds would blow off her roof! But her endeavor to live the life she had imagined started to pay off. In 1957, she was able to open her very own department store.
This month, I share my mother Rosita’s story. I hope it will inspire you, as it continues to inspire me to dream my dreams, and to make them come true. You, too, can thrive on your dreams. But you’ll have to be willing to pay the price for success. To use the department store metaphor, there are no bargain basements in the store of success. There are no discounts at the success counter. But if you’re willing to pay the price, then it’s out there! Please, pay the price!
Johnny Uy, DTM