John Gokongwei: Love your work. Never stop learning.

John Gokongwei Jr., the JG Summit chairman emeritus has recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City last October 18, 2018.

In his speech he narrates how he started as a young entrepreneur making Php20 per day by working longer and harder than the other. He also then stresses how he still wakes up early and love what he is doing at the age of 92.

Today, I am 92 years old. I still wake up early and I still love to do what I’m doing. I still know everything what is going on in my company.

He also shares his wisdom in succeeding life:

I always tell my children, my grandchildren, and my colleagues: Love your work. Work hard for it. Love your family. Love your country. Never stop learning. And always look back and be grateful to where you came from.

 

 

Here is the full text of John Gokongwei’s speech:

It’s always special to be back here in Cebu, my hometown. And it is extra special to be here at my Alma Mater, University of San Carlos. I flew here this morning on the airline I named after this city I love, Cebu Pacific. I went to school here at the University of San Carlos for my primary school and my high school. I was valedictorian in grade school, and I was number one in my class in high school. Because of that, I received free tuition at school. I remember Fr. GRIES who taught us English Literature, and Mr. Quibilan, the principal. I especially remember Fr. Smith, who was the disciplinarian, because one day he caught me running in front of his office, and I had to stand in the corner for one hour. When I was 13 years old, my father died, leaving me to take care of my mother, my four brothers, and my sister. At the time, my youngest brother, James, was only nine months old. I took care of them all. Because the family has always been my priority. It was here in Cebu that I first earned my first few pesos. I used to wake up way before dawn to ride my bicycle to the public market many kilometers away. I set up a little table at the market to sell spools of thread, bars of soap, and candles. I earned about twenty pesos a day by working longer and harder than everybody else. But it didn’t matter since I really loved my work. I loved being an ENTREPRENEUR. And so all through the years, I stayed as an entrepreneur, loving what I did and working hard. And always learning from the school of life. Years later, when I was married to my lovely wife Bia, and had six children of my own, I finally had the means to go back to school. I went to De La Salle University to get my MBA. It took me four years since I was a working student. When I got my diploma it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Then I went to Harvard in 1972 for 14 weeks to take the advance management program. Today, I am 92 years old. I still wake up early and I still love to do what I’m doing. I still know everything what is going on in my company. I still love to learn and am always reading books, and now, online stories in this new digital age. I always tell my children, my grandchildren, and my colleagues: Love your work. Work hard for it. Love your family. Love your country. Never stop learning. And always look back and be grateful to where you came from. Thank you, University of San Carlos, for being a large part of who I am today. Thank you for this lifetime achievement award.

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ARE YOU EXPERIENCING CAREER TRANSITION?

Chapter 1: You Are Bound to Begin a New Journey

Career transition is painful. Be it caused by unfortunate events or your own decision making, especially if you seem to be soaring high prior to the transition. You acknowledge that there’s so much more to learn, but you thought you’re strong enough to adjust to whatever comes your way, as long as you’re patient, hardworking and maintain a positive attitude. Then along the way, there’s turbulence, sudden lost of sight and before you knew it you’ve already lose path - you know longer know where you are heading to.

During this time you will feel discouraged because in spite of your best efforts, you can’t seem to land to where you think you should be or worse you can’t secure a job interview. The hurt and despair of being unemployed or taking a step-back in your career after being part of the “big leagues” of life are far more devastating since we are not just taking into account the loss of income but loss of career, loss of self-respect and loss of identity.

If we allow our despair to be a part of our daily life and let our emotions unchecked, failure in career path will lead to self-pity, self-blame and depression,

Most often, you’ll try to seek refuge through prayer, but during this times, you might caught yourself asking the following in your prayer: “How much more Lord?”, “How much longer must I wait for a breakthrough?”, “If you love me, why are these things happening to me?”.

Then you will start to examine the past and think of all the wrongs you’ve done. You will be tempted to deny that God still cares for you, because somehow your mind will tell you: ‘You’ve blown it.’

Let me tell you two things -

First: If you think you everything is being taken away from you because of the things you’ve done in the past – think of Peter. Peter denied Jesus (Matthew 26:74) and wept bitterly (Mathew 26:75). But that was not the end of Peter’s story. He find his strength in Jesus and the Lord restore him. He was able to got up and fulfill the assigned path as the “fisher of men”.

Second: God knows what you are going through. He knew everything that will take place even before we are conceived. He knew all the painful season that we need to bear for us to be ready for the biggest blessings of our lives. He sometime allow despair to come our way for us to grow closer to Him. He disarm us and let us feel weak or helpless, so he could help us. He let our plans fail, so he could make things happen according to His will.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and future.

The fact that you are still breathing means God is not done with you yet. A major set-back or hitting rock bottom does not mean your journey is over, in fact it may have just began!

Trust his plans. Restore your confidence with the Lord and remember that He is always faithful to us.