Inspirational Words to Live By

Tau Kappa Phi Law Fraternity FEU

[With brods Congressman Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. and then NTC Commissioner Ruel Canobas (center). Circa 2009]

 By: Brod Manuel B. Quintal, Esq.

     Goals remain goals for as long as they are not attained. For most organizations, which in law we call juridical persons, the goals are oftentimes ideals, so much so that they remain goals for an indeterminate period of time. Seemingly, forever. This has to be so, otherwise, the organizations will have no more reason(s) to exist. Just take hold of any document containing the goals of some large not-for-profit organizations to see for yourself. That this is so, perhaps, explains why juridical persons are organized to have “perpetual” existence.  

     Unlike us, humans. Our existence is finite, our goals must be determinable and specific, and reasonably attainable within our own time-bound existence.   And in the efforts to have our goals realized, we may be inspired and guided by words of wisdom of, and experiences by, those who have blazed the trails before us. Though the identities of many of them are lost in history, their words remain to inspire, motivate, persuade, and serve as calls to action.

   All of us must have come across maxims that have become ingrained in our thoughts. Let me share with you three maxims that I have found inspiring.  

     First: Back in my early years in college at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (University of the City of Manila), I accidentally came across a motivating maxim in a daily newspaper. It said: “Nothing great was ever achieved without much enthusiasm.” Its authorship is unknown. Anonymous. Incidentally, it makes me wonder why many of the wise and inspiring maxims are attributed to “Anonymous”. Perhaps, it is better that way so that we will not be able to examine the life and times of the author, and discover some dirt that will diminish the impact and influence of their statement.

     I am not, by any stretch of imagination, claiming that I have achieved something that you may classify as “great”. Standards of measurements vary. “Tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang“, may result in some ways. But, humbly, I may have achieved something some are aiming for that gives me some credentials to say what I write. Anyhow, this article is not about me and is not written for me, but for those who may find it as a call to action, or beneficial in some other way.

    Many leaders of the world, past and present, including many heroes of the Philippines, did achieve great things because of the quantity of time and the quality of efforts they devoted to the cause or goal they aimed for.  All of them did forego many mundane and earthly desires and pleasures for the sake of reaching their predetermined and cherished goals. At least, while they were in the thick of the fight to get what they wanted. Many leaders in business and politics now used to be ostracized, treated as outcasts for being “nerds”, in the earlier years of their lives. They are now the sirs and bosses of those who used to be characterized and admired as “cool”. For the “much enthusiasm” that they had, some gave their lives. Of course, I do not suggest that you give your own life or cease to have a life, to pass the Bar exams. Or reach your other goals.

   Second: “The best helping hands are found at the end of your arms.” Again, the authorship of this words of wisdom is unknown. Anonymous. It is true, as the English poet John Donne profoundly observed, that “No man is an island, entire of itself”, but no one else is with us all the time but ourselves. Others can extend their helping hands, so to speak, anytime and anywhere, but only when it is allowable and/or possible.   During the examinations, you are alone. You can rely only on what you know, what you have read, what you have reviewed, and hope that you can recall them at the precise time you need them.

   Among the many who voluntarily collaborate to have you hurdle the Bar examinations, the greater burden is on you to make it. To quote two meaningful lines from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley, “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” As the master of your fate and the captain of your soul, be true to yourself and do neither cast aspersions nor blame on anyone, if the result is not your cherished one.

   Third: We all know that not everyone gets what he or she wants the first time he or she wants it. Success comes at different stages of life. History is replete with examples of failures and triumphs. When failure results, remember that tomorrows always come.   Think that there is time for everything and your time has not come, yet. “Never, never, never, never give up!”, in the words of Winston Churchill, a great man whose life story is a story of frustrations and triumphs, of failures and success, and of determination to achieve a preset goal. He took the exams to the British Royal Military College three times before being accepted. He was defeated in elections for member of parliament at least three times in his political career but re-ran and won every time. He was relieved as Prime Minister but later returned for another term when his ideas became relevant to the electorate again. He remained a member of parliament late in his life, giving up only when his mortal body could not handle the rigors anymore.  

     Those words were actually Churchill’s speech, the shortest one on record, before the graduating class of the boarding school where he spent his lonely childhood years. His advice remains relevant. And it will be, for any man determined to overcome the odds against him.

     Let these words, or similar maxims you may have come across, inspire and motivate you to achieve your goals. Ignore them, if it will please you, or if they will not serve your purpose. You do not have to take it from me, for I only came across them in my own life’s journey. Take it from those who created them, whether they are named and known, or are anonymous. Their value do not depend on who created them, but on the Solomonic wisdom they proclaim.


© 2015
April 8, 2015

Glen Cove, New York

See other works of Brod Manuel B. Quintal, Esq.

Ikaw Lamang
The Universality of Rizal’s Ideas and Its Relevance to Filipinos Today
Rizal: Filipino hero, Asian and a universal man
Constitution: To Amend or not to Amend?
The Law and Politics in Impeachment
Words: The Tools of the Legal Profession

About the Author

Brod Manuel B. Quintal, Esquire, is a former college  professor of Political Science and Law, with graduate degrees in both disciplines. He is admitted to practice law in the Philippines, State of New York, and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. His Law Offices of Manuel B. Quintal, P.C. is located at 291 Broadway, Suite 1501, New York, NY 10007, United States of America. He is the former Executive Editor of International Tribune, a weekly newspaper based in New York. He is the president of the Tau Kappa Phi Law Fraternity Alumni Society – USA/Canada, for 2014-2016.

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