He speaks his mind…

Self opinionated or being straight to the point? Saying the truth or being upright?

Many people don’t like people who are contemptuous in speech, particularly when you’re expected to say things “nicely” and with “modesty”.

But being direct to the point can actually be insulting for some.  Others expect that whenever we speak, it is done properly and with tact.

I remember I once told someone that whenever we speak, we must practice how to be “politically correct” because not a lot of people understand why we say what we say.  Saying what one needs to say without being hurtful is an art.  Not everyone is able to get away with what one wants to or needs to say with the reason of “having to speak one’s mind“.

Speaking one’s mind is a reflection of one’s upbringing. It’s a cultural thing as well.  There are people who don’t like being directly called out for being wrong.  They mistake being told off as a sign of being rude.  But being honest about situations makes a healthy relationship.  It’s also a cultural thing to shrug off  opinionated people and regard them as being offensive or having inconsiderate behaviour.  After all, there’s a thin line between speaking out for justice and truth, and speaking out of hate.

There are two reminders I will share…

When anger rises, think of the consequences.

– Confucius

During fits of emotional distress, it is best that we get out of the room or try to avoid your mobile phone or laptop, so you can avoid the impulse of letting go awful and mean things (no matter how accurate) to say to others.  You can’t get that back when you’ve let it go.

Before you say something, think how you’d feel if someone said it to you.

Then there’s the other situation where we need to have a voice.

Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you.

Never apologise for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time.

If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind.  Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.

– Gandhi

Calling and pointing out what is wrong, what is evil and what is not right should always be the right thing to do. But the circumstances on when to do it will require some degree of adroitness and sensitivity when dealing with difficult issues. Placing what is right in the right perspective is important for relationships in every sphere of life. Saying what is right without humiliating another is an art we all should try to learn.

There are situations where we just need to speak our mind.

The most important compass when we speak our mind is to “never worry about who will be offended if you speak the TRUTH.  Worry about who will be misled, deceived and destroyed if you don’t“.


Others call it a flip flop.

It’s like a trend today. And it gets to be tiring to have to make heads or tails of the news.

By changing lanes very quickly, it confuses even the rational individual.

The death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is an example of changing stories. Jamal’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has remained a glaring mystery in his murder. Statements out of Saudi claimed Khashoggi was armed and had fought it out in the consulate. Today, Saudi prosecutors say the killing was planned.

But this is not the first time that stories of espionage had changed rapidly. The reason for the inconsistencies is to confuse people and make them tired of the issue or topic. After all, the best way to mislead the reader is to waylay them.

There’s a lot of that going on in local politics lately. Juan Ponce Enrile, who once said that there were atrocities during the Martial Law years had flip-flopped on this during an interview with Bong Bong Marcos. In today’s news, he once more becomes inconsistent by apologizing for the faux pas, and blaming unlucid moments (of a very very old man).

Or there’s Sid Lapeña on the news flip flopping on whether those metal containers containing the 11B pesos Shabu shipment were or were not actually there. After the exchange in barbs and evidences with PDEA, he concedes like a little boy, “sige na nga”, and affirms the presence of drugs in the metal containers that were able to get through customs.

Oh but we don’t have to look far for the tree that bore these fruits. The president, after all, appointed these incompetent nincompoops. Without doubt, many of them are not cut to lead. Loyalty cannot be the first qualification for governance. After the academic and experience requirements are fulfilled, the vetting begins considering all qualified people equal. My janitor is loyal to me. Do I expect him to become my chief finance officer?

We are all loyal to the president. Since he is the duly elected leader of the country.

That extent of loyalty will vary over time. And ends when love of country reigns in our hearts and mind.

When what he does is inconsistent with what he says, then skepticism arises. When he sides with evil and wrong decisions because of friendship or acquaintances, people will distance themselves from being loyal. It creates dissent among the ranks. Mistrust.

When you don’t walk the talk, you don’t expect an appreciative audience. It is human nature to distrust someone with inconsistencies. Only fools or opportunists will trust someone with lack of integrity.

Real life relations are the perfect example of why trust matters. When inconsistencies happen, when you cannot look at your partner straight in the eyes because of indiscretions, when you hide from others because you’re too embarrassed to face your ghosts, when you cannot address issues at home or work because personal conflicts collide with honesty…these are the times when our integrity slowly erodes. Until there is nothing left to show. To believe. To hold on to.

Inconsistencies destroy not only a person and his relations with other people. Inconsistencies have destroyed empires. Inconsistencies are used by tyrants as a strategy to confuse and literally divide a nation.

As Jim Collins puts it bluntly

The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change. The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.

Honesty is such a lonely word

Singer and songwriter Billy Joel in the song entitled Honesty, writes the lyrics beautifully of a highly principled, ethical and moral dilemma.  While the whole song speaks about honesty in relationships related to love, the chorus talks about the quality of being honest and how lonely the word is.

Honesty is such a lonely word

Everyone is so untrue

Honesty is hardly ever heard

And mostly what I need from you

Some people purport “white lies” or “little lies” for fear of hurting others with the truth.  When a spade is called a spade, when the cruel reality is revealed in spite its consequences, honesty may sometimes hurt but will be appreciated much.

People often confuse honesty for truthfulness.

Honesty is about expressing your opinions and feelings accurately.  Truth is an accurate representation of reality. Both words don’t have to balance each other always. One can completely be honest yet be untruthful.

A schizophrenic can be honest about their fear of the ghost they see in the corner of their room every night.  The truth is, there’s nothing there.

When you are called by the principal of your child’s school because he beat up another child, and your kid says the other child “started the fight”, he’s being totally honest about his opinion.  The other child had called him out for being an ass, your kid got angry and hit his classmate with the algebra book on the face. But in reality, in truth, your child started the fist fight.  We usually will protect our offsprings and we won’t believe that our kid started the fight.  You can always say that your child was being honest. In truth, he started the fight.

Dr. Jeremy Sherman, writes in Psychology Today (Aug 1, 2018), about the difference between honesty and truth.  He emphasizes that the failure to recognise the difference leaves one exposed and gullible.

Gullibility is largely a product of failing to notice the difference between honest opinion and truth.  You may recognise the difference, but we’re all gullible in the company of people who share our honest opinions.

We’re much more likely to spot a fraud who disagrees with us than one who’s on the same page.  We’re much more likely to notice that honesty and truth are different when someone’s honest opinion conflicts with ours; but when someone’s feelings and opinions are just like ours, we’re both in touch with the truth. How could we not be? We both agree? That’s a consensus!

Why do we mistake honesty for truth when we’re on the same page? Because all tend to see ourselves as the standard for the truth about reality.  We assume we’re unbiased.  When we’re with like-minded people, they must be unbiased, too – in direct contact with the truth.

Thinking that we’re the unbiased measure of all truth is why more exes are diagnosed as narcissists by their former partners than there are true narcissists.  Their former partners assume that being loving and attentive to them is the true standard.  If someone fails by that “unbiased” standard, they must, in truth, be narcissists.

What Sherman writes about is the complicated truth.  Sadly, many see themselves as the measure of all things.  Everyone is suddenly a genius or a the gold standard of knowledge.  Anything that veers away from the standard of your opinion is biased.  Because you feel you’re the gold standard.

At any point in our lives, whether it is in the political arena or a battle of relationships and love or getting ahead in the business circle or academic honesty, it’s a fair reminder that you cannot expect loyalty from people who cannot even give you honesty.

It’s a paradigm shift that not many can handle. Ask the politician whose family is running for various positions in politics.  It’s like the story of the schizophrenic. He tells you to believe in his fantasies and fairy tales and empty promises, when in truth there is none.

If you want to be trusted, just be honest.

The story of truth and lie

In 1896, French artist, Jean-Léon Gérôme painted La Vérité sorta time du puits armée de son martinet pour châtier l’humanité.

(Truth coming from the well armed with her whip to chastise mankind).

The painting was suggested to be an expression of Gérôme’s hostility to impressionist movement, to which he was violently opposed. The expression is a translation of the aphorism of the philosopher Democritus, “of truth we know nothing, for truth is in an abyss”. The nude model refers to the naked truth.

In the 19th century, there was a legend created based on the painting.

Truth and Lie meet one day. Lie tells truth that “it’s a beautiful day today”. Truth looks up to the skies and sighs. For truly, it was a beautiful day.

Truth and Lie spent the whole day together, exchanging stories and having fun. During their stroll, they reach a well. Lie tells Truth, “the water looks very nice. Let’s take a dip together.” Truth, once again suspicious, tests the water and discovers that indeed, it was very nice. They undress and start bathing.

Suddenly, Lie jumps out of the well and puts on the clothes of Truth and runs away. The furious Truth comes out of the well and runs everywhere to find Lie so she could get her clothes back.

The World, seeing Truth all naked, turns it’s gaze away, with contempt and rage.

The poor Truth returns to the well and disappears forever, hiding therein, it’s shame.

Since then, Lie has traveled the world dressed as Truth, satisfying the needs of society, because the World, in any case, harbors no wish at all to meet the Naked Truth.

According to Gérôme’s biographer, Charles Moreau-Vauthier, Gérôme slept with this painting above his bed and was found after his death with his arm stretched towards it, in a gesture of farewell.

Since 1978, it has been part of a permanent exhibition at the Museé Anne de Beaujeu in Moulins, France.

(Thank you to my classmate Noel Tanglao for posting this story in our Viber group. This is a modified version.)

Bias is human

We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.

Perception is a way of regarding, understanding or interpreting something.

Opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

So, yes. This blog is about the recent PGH incident with a media person.

The perceptions of the media person were:

1. There was an immediate need for the  doctors at the ER to see the patient. Regardless of triage or protocols.

2. He is (was) an important person.  Which may have meant that when he tells the doctors at the ER that it’s an emergency, they should take his word for it.

His opinion, ergo, of the incident about the ER fracas was that the doctors were not paying attention and, as he would put it, should have attended to the “patient first”.

This is where cognitive bias is found.

A mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering or other cognitive process as a result of holding on to one’s beliefs and preferences regardless of contradictory information.

It is systematic. A deviation from what is the norm. Subjective social reality created from the perception of the input.

The putrid anger spewing from his mouth (as evidenced in the videos online) were, from any form of human standards, unacceptable.  Even, if for arguments sake, he wasn’t being attended to immediately, he still had no right to curse the medical staff.

While he had his perceptions, for the sake of intelligent argument – his perceptions were totally wrong.

If he felt that immediate attention should have been accorded the child, he should have done what was right – bring the child the the nearest hospital AFTER the accident.  Transporting the child 13 km from the scene of the accident in the midst of traffic, to a government hospital whose emergency room was undergoing renovation (and this was announced by the hospital all over media the past months), was irresponsibility from his end already.

He was just being an ass.  He thought he could get away with popularity.  At the same time, because it was his driver that hit the child, he thought he (and his driver) could scrimp on expenses by taking him to a premier government hospital.  The question now lies – what were the circumstances that led to the driver hitting the child?

There will always be people like him who feel entitled.  And they are not necessarily from his profession or his age group.  Lately, I’ve seen more and more of these “entitled” people from all walks of life and from extremes of ages.

Sadly, what is wrong is twisted to make it sound rationally correct. Keyboard warriors paid to undermine the truth by creating unsubstantiated opinions and perceptions are destroying the institution of our democracy.

We live in challenging times. The creation of bias is human. This month’s blog is about the truth unveiled. Let the dice be cast and fall where it should.

Back at you

So here’s to those memes who troll the internet.  Defending incompetence has never been arguably this tough.  I guess that’s because incompetence is built by other incompetent people.  Like two peas in a pod, it takes two to tango.

It’s funny (and sad) that in spite of how the political scenario evolved in the last two years, there has never been a time when the word of the year INCOMPETENCE, has really hit the core of leadership.

So here’s some reality check. And here’s saying it right BACK AT YOU…

There are 7,632,819,325 people in the world.

Why are you letting one of them ruin your life?

Yup! It’s weird how one nut job actually affects our lives.  Emotions don’t right what is wrong.  Rational thinking does.

Why, for heaven’s sake, does everything get splattered out of proportion? He says, she says, they say.  Social and mainstream media just seem to center on what are (to me) IRRELEVANT issues.

Never argue with someone who believes their own lies.

You’ll never win that argument.  It will be just one issue piled on top of another. Look at how the troll patrols (keyboard warriors) are so busy when a political issue hits the very core of incompetence. Rabid exchange of opinions and curses.

If you don’t like something, just take away its only power:


But NOOOOOOOOO!!!! We give it so much attention that it’s like flooring the gas pedal! By the time we put on the brakes, the impact would affect all the passengers.  There are bigger issues at hand.

I get it! Whatever is ongoing with the government is reportable.  Then again, there are a lot of events (good and bad) that deserve front page news as well.  But a lot of media don’t focus on what is relevant.  The intricate use of PR that spins an issue to divert other issues or praises irrelevant projects when it’s actually their job to do what they are praised for is paid advertisement.

The bad news is, a lot of people CANNOT differentiate between a paid PR (public relations) columnist who receives payment to “slant” an issue.  The newspaper will always claim that the writings of these columnists are “personal opinions” and have nothing to do with the stand of the newspaper.  That’s why these columns are found in the OP/ED (opinion/editorial) page.  Only the EDITORIAL expresses the newspaper’s or publications view towards an issue and reflects the majority vote of the editorial board.  A COLUMN is a recurring piece or article where the writer (usually part of the stable of the publication, but sometimes they invite a guest writer) expresses his/her own opinion on an issue.  The operative words here: HIS/HER OWN OPINION.

It’s sad, no, AGONIZING, that there are people who think that just because a column provides an opinion, IT IS THE GOSPEL TRUTH, and that all attention and resources should focus on this.  To those who give attention to half truths and half lies are poor in discernment.  And that, is GULLIBILITY.  (Well, alright, it’s called politics. I’m trying to be polite here.)

A good columnist is objective.  Takes no sides.  Is not biased.  Checks all the facts and gets the other side’s story.  Is not PAID for a PR job.  And it’s easy to spot a bad columnist.  They flip-flop.  They change sides easily (depending on who is in power). They have a penchant for lying through their teeth.  Their stories are never consistent.

With so much publications flying around (including this one), being a rational thinking human being in the time of digital technology can be quite challenging.  After all, we all don’t have the luxury of checking and cross validating the vast information that is being fed our way.  Most of us bank on EMOTIONS. No matter how wrong the scenario is, they just “share” away because of political survival.

Excuses are the tools of the incompetent.

We usually forget that there are only two options in decision making:

  • make progress or make excuses

I wrote about the Dunning-Kruger effect a few months ago.  To reiterate, the DK effect addresses people who are ignorant or unskilled in any area and are too inept to notice.  They end up thinking they’re far more competent than they actually are.  Big mouth, bad words, all ego.

A gentle reminder to everyone.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said “They muddy the water, to make it seem deep.”

Life truths

Lifehack has a short list on hard truths which we wish we knew early on in life.

When we were young, we all wished we were adults sooner than we thought. Responsibilities. Freedom. Making money. Financially stable. Professionally made.

As adults, at times we wish we were kids again. Carefree. Dependent. Cared for. Few life stressors.

I’m sharing with you Lifehack’s 8 hard truths about life (and my personal take on these) which we wish we knew earlier:

1. Everyone you love is going to die

Sadly, no one lives forever. And while death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. So here’s to living and loving one day at a time.

2. We give our lives meaning. If you feel that your life is meaningless, that’s your fault.

Only we have the power to chart our directions in life. Only we can allow people to hurt us or violate our rights. If you allow this, you deserve what you dish out. Stop blaming others.

3. The perfect partner doesn’t exist.

We’re all idealistic. Who doesn’t want a whirlwind romantic relationship? But searching in the wrong ocean may be what you’re doing. Ideal relations are wonderful goals. Be realistic. Building a fantastic relationship takes two to tango.

4. Life is a game. Find the games you want to play, learn the rules, and find a way to be successful at the game you selected.

Or tap out if you can’t hack it.

Sorry kids. The truth is out. Life is a game. A game of chance. Sadly, the fact is, some of us don’t realise that we either sink or swim in the game called life. Like any game, there will always be cheaters. And the latter may win a game. It’s up to you if you allow it, the next round.

5. Everything ends. Youth, love, life. All will end. That’s what makes them valuable.

Cherish them while you can. Make the most out of them while you still can. Look for happiness. Martyrdom is a thing of the past. Live to love and love to be happy. We only live once. And die once as well.

6. Be romantic about the little things.

It’s more memorable that way. Attachment may be something we try to shun away from so that we don’t hurt when it’s time to say goodbyes. But memories of good times put a smile on our faces. It’s not about the hurt that we need to focus on. It’s about why fairytale “aha” moments that are remembered most.

7. Be a realist about the big things. Life isn’t a movie. You need to have a plan. Have an artist’s ambition but an engineer’s mindset.

Have you ever tried to walk away from what doesn’t fit you or doesn’t feel right and feel good after walking away? Sure you’ll be poor for awhile but hey, that’s reality. Life will never give you rainbows everyday. There will be rollercoaster rides. That’s why you need to have a plan. And if you keep getting stuck at Plan A, well tough luck. That’s probably where you’ll still be 10 years from today. Reality bites. But it is what it is.

8. Figure out a way or don’t complain

Starting all over again is not bad. It’s actually what successful people do. “Your last mistake will be your best teacher.” And that’s a fact. Life will always offer you a million chances to make you happier and a better person. Don’t regret the opportunities for change. Walk away if you must but don’t complain at where you get stuck.

Pistantrophobia and trust issues

Don’t trust everything you see or hear, remember, even salt looks like sugar.

Trust is the most fragile feeling that makes or breaks a relationship. Whether it’s work-related or has something to do with love, trust is the intricate bond that keeps relationships together.

I’m not the kind of person that trusts easily. I usually have trust issues. It’s usually a need and want thing. You know my drift – when people want something from you, that’s the time they see a need for you. That’s right. It’s called the want and need theory. Look at the politicians. Every election time, they promise heaven and hell. Damn, some even promise to lead you to the promise land. But after you’ve voted them into office, they’re such a f*cking mess! Especially if they’re unable to deliver what they promised at the time of the campaign. (2019 is around the corner so this issue is ripe for the picking.)

When people constantly lie, we eventually develop pistantrophobia – the fear of trusting someone. It’s a knee jerk reaction to being hurt over and over.

So when I give you my unconditional trust, it means a lot. It takes a lot of truth to gain trust, but just one lie to lose it. And things don’t end up the same. Ever. You don’t look at people the same way again.

People say that lying is part of life. Part of survival mode in a dog-eat-dog world. I tell these people that this kind of thinking is hogwash. It’s a pathetic excuse by people who survive only through lies and fantasies.

“One of the worst feelings in the world is having to doubt something you thought was unquestionable.”


A lie will always be a lie.

Anything done after a lie will never be the same again. You look at the other person differently.

When someone lies to you, it’s because they don’t respect you enough to be honest. They think you’re stupid. And I find it insulting when the lie is justified as “truth”.

It’s sad how some people believe their own lies and the stories they make up in their heads.

If you don’t correct the people who lie to you, when they upset you, they will never treat you right. What we allow is what will continue.

Whether the lie is from a relationship or work in nature, a lie is a form of deception. Of betrayal.

They say that time discovers truth.

I say, “never try to f*ck up someone’s life with a lie when yours can be destroyed with the truth”.