A Fighter’s Attitude

Many wonder how Pacquiao reached this level of success in his boxing career. One could relate it to the many successful entrepreneurs today and how they are able to succeed in their businesses.

First, noticeably, are the values of passion and hard work. Manny is clearly passionate about his boxing career. It goes beyond just earning money. Coming from a very humble beginning in General Santos, his desire to have a better life is immense. This brings about greater passion for a skill. Hard work is something that is needed. The intensity of hard work comes from the motivation. It is all about how much you really want it. This hunger is clearly seen among those who come from poverty. That super energy we see in Pacquiao during his fights is basically what has brought him to where he is today.

Likewise, those successful entrepreneurs, even the Taipans, were once poor and they started with humble beginnings. Focus is something that is also very important. So far, Manny has remained committed to the sport of boxing, and not politics. Losing in the last election for a congressional seat to represent the first district of South Cotabato was a blessing for him. He remained focus on his boxing. Sometimes, even entrepreneurs lose focus and deviate from the skills that they are good at. They enter businesses they are not good at and then start losing money. I myself, as an entrepreneur, know the importance of being focused on a business that you know well, which also matches the skill you best have.

Hopefully, Manny Pacquiao does not fall into the 2010 fever of people convincing him to run. He should set his site on beating Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton, then retire as the greatest fighter the Philippines ever had. This will make a history, which many generations will remember and look up to. Politics can always come later during retirement. Notably, Manny attributes his success to God and his country. He is very prayerful, which is very important. This is also observed among many successful entrepreneurs.

The Sy family, with the matriarch who banned Rated-R films in SM cinemas, initiated prayers that are heard in the entire SM department stores at certain hours of the day. Knowing God is behind the success. This helps us maintain our humility and keeps us away from temptation.

Tyson was also one of the greatest fighters, who had one of the worst endings in boxing careers. His success went up all the way to his head. He did not have a strong spiritual relationship with God. He fell into the temptation that comes with success. This is also very true with a number of entrepreneurs who fail in the end, because they forgot the source of their success. And, of course, one of the most important values is the YES attitude.

Even if people say that the odds are against him because Oscar de la Hoya has many titles and he has the reach and height advantage, Manny has a mindset of a fighter. This YES attitude is also seen in many successful entrepreneurs. They always maintain a positive attitude and look at problems with an eye for opportunity. They inspire others more, rather than discourage others, shunning the crab mentality that many Filipinos still have.

The “Yes the Filipino Can!” attitude would turn this nation’s doubting people into positive thinkers. The Pacquiao fever should further inspire people that the ‘YES” attitude can indeed change your life for the better.

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Last week’s column entitled ‘Great Opportunities at Scary Times’ received a number of feedbacks. Some people criticized what I said about the president stepping down in 2010 as her term expires. They are doubtful if she will really step down and not extend her term.

Here are my thoughts on this. PGMA will want to make history. While it may be true that there are some people who would want to see her term extended, (which is part of our democratic process) PGMA knows what is best for the Philippines. Currently with the financial crisis hitting the world and probably getting worst in 09, she would want to end her career with flying colors – having the Philippines grow at four to five percent, while the rest of the countries post recessionary numbers.

I also received some strong comments on what makes me believe that the Philippines will grow next year. This shows that there are a lot of Pinoy pessimists out there with a mentality that says “we’ll never make it.”

Why will the Philippines grow next year? First, we are the lowest cost provider in the BPO and call center industries. We are one of the best English speaking nations, with many patient and call center service operators. A skill of patience in answering calls and providing service is required in these industries. Believe me, Pinoys are naturally great at this.

I was recently asked to join the Microsoft’s Software Advisory Board in the Philippines and attended a presentation by Gigi Virata, Director of Business Process Association of the Philippines. She showed how the call centers and BPOs grew 40%, almost attaining the market share of 10pct, which is their goal in 2010. With the problems today in India and other countries, this presents a big opportunity for us. Koreans are here to learn English. Yes, America is in deep trouble now, but if I had a company there, I would certainly outsource to bring down my cost so I can survive a recessionary environment.

Our economy is not as large, with still so much room to grow. Filipinos are not highly leveraged. Many pay in cash. Many do not have credit cards because they do not qualify to have one. While the CDE market does borrow from 5-6 or pawnshops, many can borrow within the limits (of their assets). The Philippines has properly spread out long term loans. We have been able to raise more money to shore up reserves. These came in timely, so we are prepared. Tourism is the sleeping giant. I now see the Philippine’s advertisements in CNN. This is a good thing, especially now that Thailand’s tourism will be affected due to the protests that grounded thousands of tourists.

In ‘09, we will start to see more spending by candidates who plan to run in 2010. This election spending until 2010 will help boost the economy. Interest rates will continue to decline in the world. And yes, America, Europe and Japan have entered a recession period. But, this does not mean we also will, especially on the basis of what I mentioned. Of course, let us not forget the YES we can attitude, backed up by a solid plan to avert a recession in the Philippines. This is what we need.