February 2016

We all want absolute certainty that things will go as planned. And when it doesn't (as is usually the case), we blame everyone and everything. Our belief in the possibility of "perfection" is strong. Warriors and fighters, on the other hand, have developed a secret winning strategy that works 99% of the time. It is called, "being realistic". Apparently, having to put their lives on the line everyday - as part of doing their job - has opened their eyes to a drastically different way of seeing things. We should try that once in a while.

War strategist Carl von Clausewitz used the word "friction" to represent the difference between our plan and what actually happens The bigger the deviation from the plan, the bigger the "friction".

More "friction" translates to more "heat" --- more aptly known as "stress". And "stress" can warp our sense of proportion and wreaks havoc on our propensity for complexity --- which can then feed into itself, until you get overwhelmed, burned out, or break down.

"Friction" is unavoidable because nothing in life is ever the same. No amount of thinking in advance can prepare you for the infinite possibilities of the present moment. Possibilities which you may take advantage of or fall victim to.

What would you give to become immune to friction? 

Indeed, what would you give for the ability to feed on "friction" and convert stress into capacity for excellent performance? Of being able to be attuned to the FORCE of circumstances and master of the moment?

Being master of the moment is what I call being "dangerously awesome".

More than just being fully alive, being dangerously awesome means being fully awake. It means having tremendous fluency and fluidity in adapting to the unexpected. It means having the speed of mind to quickly see and use the potentialities of the unexpected as if you were counting on it to happen because you planned it that way.

At the root of this seemingly tremendous adaptive capacity is our basic set, standard issue, "human survival drive". We are familiar with this kind of strength, we hear inspiring stories and tall tales about it all the time. We admire people who seem to have it, even fictitious characters. But we don't know we have it within us until huge problems force us to be strong.

Philosophers and legendary warriors of old talk openly about this but they can't help but sound vague and mystical. How can they not? Wisdom gained in the face of death in the heat of the battlefield. Wisdom gained over a lifetime of meditations and discourses. They all speak of the same paradoxes to achieving personal excellence.

There are five core principles [and seven powerful ideas for unleashing them.]    

When you realize their life-changing potential, you will understand why I call them dangerous.


Maintain a constant "grasp" of the moment. Be at peace with chaos. Embrace uncertainty. Romance the unexpected. It takes a lot of will power to be always realistic and alert to the changing landscape. But REALITY does not really offer you any alternative. You have no choice in the matter. Surrender to the moment. But make the surrender, your choice. A decision you own. A realization that you are actually "connected" to the universe, so it's less a surrender and more of coming back home. Accept this moment. Love it. The chaos within and the chaos without is one and the same chaos that permeates the universe. Embrace the moment like there is no other reality, cause there really is none.

Seize the moment. Instead of getting overwhelmed, use it's energy as incentive to be fully engaged with reality. Ride life's momentum. Life is a "happening", an event, a constant stream, a cosmic phenomenon.  If you don't ride life's momentum, you'll get run over and over. And over.

Life is a closed door. If you don't open it and get inside, it will forever be an enigma to you. Action is the key to getting inside. And when you act, act generously, not half-hearted. Give. Give back to life. Especially when it seems you have no more to give. Keep giving. Give generously of your self in whatever you are doing now. Invest yourself in the moment completely. If it's not worth doing well, its not worth doing at all. To be aimless is to be dead. Stop waiting for opportunities. Instead, just do something, practically anything of value. That will "attract" opportunities. Especially, do something that you love. Action invites opportunities.

Believe in your success. Especially when it's hard to believe. Keep believing. Hold on to your vision. Keep in mind that strategic vision is more important than specific strategies. That with a powerful vision, everything will fall into place. Focus on the vision and believe.

The power is within you. It's irrelevant to think whether you earned it, or deserving of it. You just happen to have the power by virtue of being alive. That's what you need to understand, believe and be thankful for.  Your next concern is how to unleash it.  And that's the topic for a sequel post.



MANILA, Philippines—United Nationalist Alliance Vice Presidential candidate Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II hits the campaign trail today with the battle cry “Patas ang Laban,” and armed with almost 40 years of experience both as part of the military and as a member of the Philippine Senate.

His platform of government complements UNA standard-bearer VP Jejomar Binay’s “Gaganda ang Buhay” that when combined means EQUALITY leads to BETTER LIVES.

Senator Honasan is an advocate Pro-Poor Governance & Ideology by integrating poverty reduction, respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms to allow people to live with dignity.

“The key to progress is to adopt economic and social policies that are responsive to the people’s needs, while holding decision makers accountable to the people and make them adhere to the rule of Law,” he said of his platform of government.
“We need to harness our natural resources to ensure sustainable development, maximize the potential of an empowered citizenry, and the economic impact of the business sector, to attain the liberalization of the less fortunate citizens from poverty and unconscionable inequality,” Senator Honasan added.

Senator Honasan has fought for a lot of different causes throughout his life—17 years as a soldier, 7 years as a rebel and 21 years as a Senator, but the one thing that has remained constant is his guiding principle for God, Country and Family.

As a solider, Senator Honasan  gallantly fought for democracy earning him a number of medals, awards, decorations and commendations for gallantry in action including three Distinguished Conduct Stars, Gold Cross medals and Wounded Personnel Medals sustained in combat. In 1985, he was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men given by the Philippine Jaycees.

In 1986, Honasan was one of the young leaders who broke away from the martial law government and led his troops to ignite the EDSA revolution.  

In 1995, Senator Honasan ran for office as the first truly independent candidate in Philippine political history to win a Senate seat.  He was re-elected in 2001, 2007 and recently in 2013.

Achievements And Accomplishments

He is principal author and co-author of, among others, the Clean Air Act of 1999, Clean Water Act, the National Security Policy, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2009, the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law (CARPER). He is shepherding the Freedom of Information Act which he now refers to as the POGI Bill – People’s Ownership of Government Information Act, the National Mapping and Resource Authority Law and the Land Use Act.

Senator Honasan has proposed a Mini-Marshall Plan for Mindanao to help jumpstart economic development, peace and order, and political unity. The proposal will also help end centuries of armed

To date, he has sponsored over 200 Medical-Dental-Surgical Missions in depressed areas of the country, serving at least 20,000 indigent patients.

He is a prime mover of the National Security Strategy Framework which seeks to define the country’s national security and strategy in the light of internal and external security threats and the consequent National Peace Policy.

Sponsored the computer education scholarship of 3,000 students thru the Sulong Dunong sa Kaunlaran program and the college scholarship of 106 out-of-school youths.

Under the Gregorio B. Honasan Peace and Development Foundation, he regularly distributes relief assistance to calamity-hit areas in the country.

Served thousands of constituents requesting for claims for PVAO, SSS and AFP/PNP claims and refund of teachers’ loans through his Public Service Program aired over RMN-DZXL and DZRH-Radyo Natin and Gringo Honasan Reports aired over RPN-9 and PTV-4.

“This election is not about me. It is about you, your future and the future of the country. This may be the last time I will stand on a national platform to speak to the Filipino people. And my message to those who were born during that time and those who were not yet born, is this: ‘When the Filipino people get together with their soldiers under moral leadership, change is possible, that the systemic changes and the re-engineering of our society and our government that is required for real reforms can actually happen—we did it 30 years ago, I believe we can do it again. All we need to do is to make rational, intelligent, informed decisions based on facts, not on popularity or perception before we cast our vote.’”

“I have dedicated most of my life to my country, yet for a few times, history has placed me as an enemy of the government and the people I have sworn to protect. History may be written by the victors, but it is up to us to carve out our own legacy, and my accomplishments are proof of what I have done for our country.”

“I have stood in the grounds of Malacanang Palace three times in my life in full combat gear without an invitation except the invitation from my conscience, but after 42 years, now, I know exactly what to do.”

Gringo Honasan – for Equality, for Progress, for Vice President.
conflict and terrorism.

Shortly after the previous presidential election, I became increasingly disillusioned about politics in general and President Benigno Aquino III, in particular. I became so disillusioned that I eventually decided to refrain from writing about public affairs. Lately, I have come to see politics in a fresh new light. Perhaps a fermenting of my pessimism into political maturity ---  or just a natural sign of ageing. Whichever it may be, I believe it's high time to weigh in on the game again. 


The mudslinging has been on for some time now but it's only today that it is officially in full swing.
And here are the official presidential contestants (in no particular order):

  1. Vice President Jejomar Binay
  2. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago 
  3. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte 
  4. Senator Grace Poe 
  5. Administration bet Mar Roxas


Despite meeting people who are die hard fanatics of each candidate, the overwhelming sentiment I get these days is precisely that Filipino voters seem underwhelmed by the choices for president. No one seems just good enough.

The latest Pulse Asia Survey generally reflects this scenario:

  1. Poe regains the top rank at the survey with 30 percent 
  2. Jejomar Binay ranked second with 23 percent
  3. Roxas and Duterte each scored 20 percent
  4. Defensor-Santiago has 4 percent voter preference

Any which way you look at it, these numbers are weak, if not pathetic. These numbers imply that any candidate who can muster the genius or the luck to capture the popular imagination even late in the game can play wild card and dominate the polls.

Here are a few random thoughts thin slicing inside my head:

Poe has her citizenship case dangling over her head up to now -- and I bet this will be so up to the last minutes prior to elections, if only because it would be to all her opponent's collective advantage. That's the penalty for being an early topper. Her citizenship, as well as the way she handles her citizenship crisis, have eroded her credibility and perceived desirability.

Binay has been known to pull out last minute, under the rug surprises (remember the Noy-Bi phenomenon?) 

Duterte may be tied with Roxas now, but his unique brand and strong unapologetic message could prove deadly for his opponents. He also happens to enjoy the "new kid in town" advantage.

Roxas has been a bottom dweller, consistently shooting himself in the foot. It would take, I dunno, no less than a catastrophic miracle for him to land a victory. He has a huge image problem that I would love to see him fix whether or not he wins.   

Defensor-Santiago is, as far as numbers go, a non-player. For sure, she should have won a long time ago. But now she's but a faint echo of a thunder long gone.


The final stretch will be a duel between Binay and Duterte.

I believe the underwhelmed majority will eventually warm up to the rivalry of the two.

Poe will be a strong third player, until her natural momentum get sucked by Binay vs Duterte narrative. Naturally, if Poe can win her citizenship case with finality much sooner than later, that would offset the general landscape.

[Posted in JOURNEYIST]

"We associate the willingness to risk great failure – and the ability to climb back from catastrope – with courage. But in this we are wrong. That is the lesson of Nassim Taleb."
-- Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

An epistemologist of randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb was once described as "the hottest thinker in the world". Born in 1960, he is a Lebanese American essayist whose work focuses on problems of randomness and probability.

His book "The Black Swan" was described in a review by Sunday Times as one of the most influential books since World War 2. In it, he advocates for a society that can withstand "black swans" or difficult-to-predict events --- what he calls a "black swan robust" society. Taleb favors "stochastic tinkering" as a method of scientific discovery, by which he means experimentation and fact-collecting instead of top-down directed research.

According to Taleb, "we humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen, the unknown, resolve the tension by scueezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas".. This, he said, makes us victims to the Ludic Fallacy, or the misuse of games and dice to model real-life randomness.   


Taleb detests the error of comparing real-world randomness with "structured randomness" in quantim physics /where probabilities are remarkably computable/ and games of chance like casinos where probabilities are artificially built.
He said, predicitive models /such as those based on Plato's Theory of Forms/, gravitate towards mathematical purity, thus fail to take some key ideas into account; such as:

1.That it is impossibile to possess all relevant information
2.That small unknown variations in the data can have a huge impact
3.That theories or models based on empirical data are flawed because they fail to account for events that have not yet taken place but could have taken place.

He claimed that the foundations of qualitative economics are faulty and highly self-referential. He states that statistics is fundamentally incomplete as a field as it cannot predict the risk of rare events.

TALEB'S CHALLENGE is how to live and act in a world we do not understand and build robustness to black swan events.

An application of his most effective, or least fragile, risk management approach is one in favor of linear combination of extremes. In other words, Taleb advocates a dualistic approach -- to be both hyper-conservative and hyper-aggressive at the same time, as these two extremes are more robust to estimation errors. This approach of avoiding the middle option is also known as The Barbell Strategy.

For example, an investor might put 80 to 90 percent of his money in extremely safe instruments, such as treasury bills, with the remainder going in to highly risky and diversified speculative bets.    

Taleb believes The Barbell Strategy is applicable across all domains, from politics to economics and to one's personal life.


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