(This is the speech that I delivered in a Recognition Ceremony at Dumaguete City last March 29, 2010)
Never underestimate the power of a dream!
When I graduated in 2001, I can still recall our graduation song. In fact, I will volunteer myself to sing a few lines of it. Bear with me, I am a member of MBSS! “Masyadong Bilib sa Sarili. And here it goes, “Yes, it all begins with a dream. Something inside that we really believe. There’s so much we can do. We can make it come true. Yes it all begins with a dream”.
As early as now, think of what you would love to do. What is your passion? What do you enjoy doing? If you can answer these questions, then that is your dream. That will be you 4-8 years from now. That will serve as your compass to guide you. So never lose your dream. Never lose sight and most of all never give up your dream! It’s very hard to get lost especially when you are already advanced in age.
In 2007, I ran my first marathon here in Dumaguete. Remember the 34th milo marathon? Yes, I was one of the runners in…, guess what category? Well for someone like me who is a member of MBSS, I enlisted in the 21-kilometers category. You know what happened? Well, I was able to run halfway, and then I hitched to the traffic enforcer whom is following me because I was the last runner of the race. But wait, I gave up not because I am ashamed of being the last runner, but because I have realized I have chosen the wrong category. Sometimes, it’s negative to be a in the elite circle of MBSS! Kidding aside! It happens! We have to carefully choose our own battle. We have to know when to stop and try again. I may have failed in 2007, but I did not allow myself to get stuck and wallow in self-pity, that I can never make it. Last year, 2009, I ran again, and this time in the 10-kilometers category and I am proud that I finished on time and got for myself a finisher certificate.
Failure is simply defined as the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective. According to Dr. Robert Schuller, “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means you haven’t succeeded yet. Failure does not mean you have accomplished nothing. It does mean you have learned something. Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been a fool to try. It means you were brave, you had nerve, you had courage; be proud of your self. Failure does not mean you’ll never make it. It does mean it will take longer. Failure does not mean you’re finished. It does mean you have a chance to start all over again, try something new. Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. It does mean He has a better idea. So it is true, failure is never final.
Consider the following real stories. Woody Allen – Academy Award-winning writer, producer and director flunked motion picture production at New York University and the City College of New York. He also failed English at New York University. When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2,000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process. General Douglas MacArthur might never have gained power and fame without persistence. When he applied for admission to West Point, he was turned down, not once but twice. But he tried a third time, was accepted and marched into the history books.
Now, I have a warning to make. Be careful of dream stealers! Who are they? They are people who will discourage you to pursue your dream. They are people who will tell you straight in your face, you can never make it. They are people who will tell you, Oh my God, look at you, “Is that even possible?
A teacher asked her students to draw their dream. After an hour, Jimmy went to the teacher’s table and proudly presented his drawing of a big ranch with all kind of animals he could possibly imagine. The teacher praised Jimmy for a beautiful drawing but continued saying, your grandfather is poor, your father is poor, you cannot have that ranch. Jimmy, draw something achievable or else I will give you an F. So Jimmy went home very sad and told his dad about it. His father told him, It is up to you son, you can either keep your dreams or allow people to steal it away from you. The next day, Jimmy valiantly went to his teacher and presented his same drawing. The teacher angrily told him, “Jimmy, are you testing my patience? But Jimmy just smiled and replied, “It’s okay ma’am, you can give me an F but I choose to keep my dreams.”
This time, I’d like to address the parents and relatives of our outstanding students, “Congratulations for the achievements of your son or daughter, but please, don’t steal their dreams. Your role is just to support and guide them.
To you outstanding students, you who have chosen that excellence matters, you don’t have to know how your dream will come true. Just dream it. The path will reveal itself, little by little, in due time. Your role is simply to follow your dream.
Once again, Congratuations!