Hardwork, Grit and Humility.

Why humility and grit beats hardwork

Growing up, my parents were neither rich nor poor. We were right in the middle of the pack. Though back where I was growing up, being in the middle of the pack is already way better than most people. Both my mom and dad worked hard and never asked a cent from their parents when we were in the Philippines. Before getting married, they rentedtheir first place together, a small apartment because once they decided they wanted to get married, they knew they had to live independently and away from their parents to live their own life. When they got married, it wasn’t fancy but it was good enough, a small wedding in a church with family and friends with a fairly small banquet hall for their reception with the people that matters. Let me add, they paid for their wedding and their reception with their own money.

My parents worked hard but they stayed humble. My dad started off as an entry level job in a film company in the Philippines and worked his way up to becoming a Regional Manager. My mom used to teach Computer Science classes all because she was always on the top of her class. My dad came from the highest of families then ended up to the lowest of families where he knew only hard work can bring him to where he wanted to be. My mom came from a fairly well off family but she also knew that working hard will give her a better life, one from her own merits and intelligence.

Then one day, they decided to sacrifice all of this to move to a country where they didn’t know anything and anyone. They moved from a place of comfortability, a place in their career where they worked hard to achieve, families and friends, a well-paying job and an awesome community to go to an unpredictable place. They moved and place all their bets at a shot for a better future for me and my siblings. That’s gut wrenching.

A couple days ago, I met up with a couple friends of mine to talk about our side project. We had a meeting, worked on some few things and I came out thinking to myself, “Damn, we’re working hard and we’re going to make this happen”

Nope, we weren’t working hard. Not even close.

We were quite lucky that my aunt moved to Canada before we did. We stayed in her small basement, a bedroom with a big bed and a futon on the floor for me and my siblings to sleep in. It made it a little easier for my parents to get themselves started as they had a few cushions. 3 days after we landed, I had to go to my first day of school in Canada. I spoke some english but not as well. Looking back, I wonder how hard it must’ve been for my parents as they barely spoke any english then and had to go through interviews and look for a job. While I was having a hard time adjusting to French and English speaking school and getting really frustrated with it, here my parents must’ve been exhausted, annoyed and dismayed because the jobs that they can only take as immigrants really dependent on knowing english. They didn’t give up and they pushed on. They went back to school, a small college where they can get Accounting Certifications and took on student loans. They graduated, got their diplomas with flying colours yet still, this wasn’t enough. As an immigrant in Canada, certifications and knowing english won’t get you a job. Most jobs in Canada are looking for “canadian experience” — basically that’s experience working in Canada and since my dad has never worked in Canada, he doesn’t have a canadian experience. I remember vividly my dad coming home one night complaining about the pains of finding a job. Here he is, looking for something to keep his children afloat with real experience from his past companies while companies deny him and letting him know that the hard work he put in his last companies are not valid. How would you feel if someone told you that the jobs you worked so hard in and the experience that came out of it is not valid for you to get a job even if that job is the only thing that can help you and your family survive? That is heart breaking.

I would’ve doubted myself. I would’ve asked myself, Was moving here a mistake? Will my family experience poverty? What will happen to us?

Resilience is key. Grit is key. It’s this drive to get back up and go harder when you get pushed down.

My dad went to the library almost every day. To me and my brother and sister, this walk to the library was fun for us, it was a way to get out of the house and see other things. To my dad, it was his hustle. He would sit where the computers are and look through job listings after job listings after job listings and applying to them constantly. While I was busy looking for the next comic book to read, my dad was looking to catch a break and get an interview. He even almost worked in the library. Then one day, he finally got his phone call, an interview for an opening as an accounting clerk at Pusateri’s. He interviewed and got the job. It didn’t pay as much but it was well enough for us to move from my aunt’s basement to our first apartment, a two bedroom apartment not too far off from the Toronto East Detention Centre. We brought some old couches, one of the older TVs from my aunt’s house and even a new computer to do our homework in. It wasn’t fancy but it was something we can call our own.

Most people would’ve enjoyed what they have and just be grateful that they’re finally living, finally staying afloat. My parents weren’t one of those people. They knew it was a start, a foot in the door. It wasn’t much but it can begin their journey out into the real world. So when my dad was recruited as a Sunlife Advisor, he grabbed the opportunity and knew that he can make something out of himself. The very first year he started as an Advisor, he won a couple of awards for starting out strong. My dad also won more awards during his tenure as an Advisor. He then worked so hard that he was promoted to become one of the managers of the office. Since then, we’ve moved to two different houses, gotten about 5 different cars, got another dog and well, here we are.

Hardwork. Grit. Humility.

This is where my passion is. This is what keeps me going, my purpose, the chip on my shoulder. I know I can do better, I know I can be better. Because my parents have given all their life to bring me to where I am now. If I’m not a multitude better, then I’m not any good. I took it all for granted when I was younger, never realized what I had but it’s never too late. Remember that today is yours for the taking. Work hard and stay humble. Humility will bring you from where you are to where you want to be.