I was invited to be a panelist for the Ayala Young Leaders Conference 2011 last week. During the discussion, we were asked what we were most passionate about in life. Initially I was going to say “marketing” or “digital marketing” because that was my profession and industry. However a few minutes before I was called to answer I had a realization that everything that I’ve ever done was the result of my true passions: reading and writing.
It started way back when I was a kid when my older brother gave me a fantasy novel called Dragonlance. At first I was bored with reading it but after a few minutes I got hooked and was plunged into another world. I distinctly remember missing lunch and merienda that day because I just poured all of my time into reading it. I couldn’t stop reading! After I’d finish one book I’d pick up another and read more. That was how my love affair with books began but just like any great love story it would have to temporarily end. I stopped reading books sometime in High School and it was only until I was in the corporate world that I rediscovered it again.
When I was trying to get promoted to Brand Manager in one of the companies that I worked for, the Sales & Marketing Director gave me advice that I would forever take to heart. He told me that the secret to success is learning from the experience from others and the best way to do that is to read books. He gave me a list of marketing books that I should read. That same day I went to National Bookstore and almost blew my entire paycheck on books. The rest is history.
Former Sales Director Level Up! Apol Dionglay (man on the right)
After that incident in my last job, I would turn to books each time I need to improve at something. When I was having problems handling my finances I invested in several personal finance books including titles from Chinkee Tan, Larry Gamboa, Francisco Colayco, Efren Cruz, and Dave Ramsey. When I was starting to play competitive poker, I hit books again written by Daniel N. and Doyle Brunson. When I rediscovered God I spent countless hours on Christian books and of course the bible. When my career started to head towards digital I got almost all the digital marketing and social media books in Fully Booked and Powers Books. I also got a lot of encouragement from my family and friends who told me that my late grandfather (Sen. Blas F. Ople) was also a voracious reader.
To add to all of that I subscribe to around 30 blogs and websites and I read all of them everyday.
It’s sad that when you’re young reading books is “geeky, nerdy, and uncool”. I strongly encourage everyone, especially the next generation, to see the value in reading. It can change your life for the better. Knowledge that you can apply and put into action will be one of your best secret weapons in the corporate world and even in business. Invest in your self-improvement. Read books. Read blogs. Read newspapers. Read magazines (and don’t just look at pictures).
Thank you again to the AYLC for inviting me over. It was a phenomenal experience sharing my life stories with the kids (81 of the top student leaders in the PH attended the event).