The one after zero is the fruit of our labor

When we see fruit growing from the tree, we experience the joy and miracle of seeing something seemingly out of nothing – the one after zero.

When we do one more rep after our stamina has emptied, we experience the delight of breaking our supposed limit – that one more push after zeroing our tank.

It is in these moments that we grow – flourish – the most, isn’t it?


Matthew 3:1-12. Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 338: DECEMBER 4, 2022]

(Re)start

My wife is part of the team who handled this heartwarming McDo Christmas ad:

https://fb.watch/hb35z4SWbG/?mibextid=RUbZ1f

For all the talk about restarting, we might be taking for granted that there is a generation that will only start to experience what the world was used to for the first time. We owe it to these young angels to show that the world is a more fantastic place beyond the small screens they might be used to. Lights from mobile gadgets cannot beat the warmth and vibrance of Christmas lights dancing from our loved one’s homes.

What stood out to me is that for most of us, this holiday is about restarting. But for some of us, this holiday is about genuinely starting to experience what the world has to offer.


Mark 16:15-20. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation…’

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 337: DECEMBER 3, 2022]

Is this the beginning of the end?

Christmas lights, Christmas carols. Smiles behind (no) masks. More face-to-face events in campus and in public areas.

Car traffic beginning to approach carmaggedon levels again (sadly). More pollution and jam-packed spaces.

Is this the beginning of the end of the pandemic? Sadly, my medical doctor friends have shared that there are increasing cases of COVID in hospitals. The finish line feels so near but the fight is not yet over.

These doses of reality, both pleasant and unpleasant, seem to suggest that we may be entering another crucial point, for better or for worse. For now, we keep the faith.


Matthew 9:27-31. “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 336: DECEMBER 2, 2022]

Finding the rock on which to build our careers

Millennials have been infamously branded as job hoppers. Supposedly, we cannot stay in an organization for long. But there is a reason why we are also called Gen “Why.” This is because we are the generation thrown in between transition eras. We got to see the dawn of the internet before its current omnipresence. Therefore, we cannot help but ask why and question norms or things we may take for granted or accept as a given.

I wonder how Gen Z and Alpha would fare? Are they (you?) as confused and misunderstood as the Millennials?

As someone who has gone through my share of dilemmas and quarter-life crises, I have three books to recommend to the next generation, and these books significantly shaped my perspective on building a career.

  1. The Dip by Seth Godin. This book helps put into perspective whether a challenge is something worth gritting or quitting. The lesson: find a space where you are willing to pay the cost of being one of the best in that space. (Find a rock you’re eager to climb and build on.)
  2. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. This book critiques “passion” as something overrated. To find a stable rock is not to find your passion. It is to discover a set of skills that you can build a career on and learn how to fall in love with. Passion is temporary; discipline is long-term.
  3. How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen. This book puts into perspective how we define success and elaborates on how we can apply Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation to our careers. The best kind of space is where our hygiene is taken care of (comfortable material resources) with the opportunity to maximize our potential and pursue self-actualization.

The context has changed compared to my batch and those who came before me. I hope that the new batch can still find ways to experiment and explore the rocks that they can build their career. Maybe the role of schools should be to encourage more career experimentation before students graduate so that when the real world comes knocking down on their doors, they could have built a solid foundation on solid rock.


Matthew 7:21, 24-27. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 335: DECEMBER 1, 2022]

Fishers of men

Influencers seem to be the best role aligned with being “fishers of men” – after all, influencers can reach many people and affect their beliefs. Influencers work hard to create content to catch attention just as fisherfolks create nets to catch fish.

Content creation is a big responsibility; therefore, it should be grounded on insight. If all “content” is just entertainment and stimulation, is it content at all? After all, great stand-up comedy is both entertaining and insightful.

If influencers are the new fishers of men, then the challenge is to create insightful content.


Matthew 4:18-22. Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 334: NOVEMBER 30, 2022]

The responsibility of the one who gained insight is to share it

Insight is such a transcendent and transformative experience. Thus, to complete an insight experience means to share a new perspective or understanding with others so that we may collectively work on making our organizations and society a better space. If the supposed insight turns out to be wrong, at least further dialogue and communication can still allow for correction and improvement.


Luke 10:21-24. Blessed are the eyes that see what you see, for many kings desired to see what you see but did not see it.

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 333: NOVEMBER 29, 2022]

Our worthiness is always a work in progress

The paradox is that those who feel they are worthy are unworthy; and those who feel unworthy are those who have higher chances of actually being worthy. Excellence ceases when a person thinks they are perfect.

Some may think that if we can never be perfect, why bother? But if we think about it, isn’t it more exciting to always have the opportunity to be better than before? Isn’t it exciting to be works in progress rather than a finished product which cannot be “updated” anymore?


Matthew 8:5-11. I am not worthy…

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 332: NOVEMBER 28, 2022]

What does it mean to be prepared?

The implication of preparation is that we have examined our weaknesses and areas for improvement within the context of external forces. If we are not capable of being humble or sober, we are also not capable of proper preparation.

Preparation also requires both courage and faith. Without courage, we remain stuck; without faith, we remain anxious. Thus, to be fully prepared means to reasonably anticipate what could happen and to faithfully believe that there are opportunities that we can seize.

But to me, the prize of preparation is not necessarily “winning”, because to win requires so many things to go in our favor, even those that we cannot control. The prize is peace – knowing that at a particular moment, we were most present and giving all that we could. No regrets, no what ifs. Outperforming the competition is just the icing, but truly winning means outperforming our previous selves.


Matthew 24:37-44. The unknown day and hour

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 331: NOVEMBER 27, 2022]

Safe spaces are brave spaces

Today is the end of this year’s National Business and Management Conference, which also coincides with the tail-end of my students’ research defenses for the trimester. The invited speakers of the conference talked about bouncing beyond (not just bouncing back) through responsible, relevant, and practical research.

A particular insight that stood out to me is the role of scholar-practitioners to design both “safe spaces” and “brave spaces”, especially because it seems like a great answer to the question: “how should we deal with mental health?”

Our society has done an admirable job in being more aware when it comes to mental health and holistic well-being issues. It is a big deal that we are more mindful of creating safe spaces — spaces that are psychologically and emotionally safe for us to discuss our anxieties and negative emotions. However, what makes the management of safe spaces challenging is that there could be people who may act in bad faith, using mental health as catch-all phrase to get away with being irresponsible. Since managers and educators should always strive to give stakeholders the benefit of the doubt, it is trickier to evaluate performance.

But if we look at how athletes train and analogize gyms as “safe spaces”, what stands out is that gyms, exercises, and supervised drills are not only safe spaces but also “brave spaces” — we challenge the trainee to go beyond their limit, even for just a little bit, and if they fail, there are coaches and trainers who can spot and give a bit of respite.

Thus, a truly safe space is also a brave space. The challenge for the trainer-teacher-manager is to encourage courage and for the athlete-student-stakeholder to bare their vulnerability in the hopes of flourishing, even for just a little bit. Because hiding behind our vulnerabilities stunts our growth, while embracing our vulnerabilities vigilantly enables our flourishing.


Luke 21:34-36. Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 330: NOVEMBER 26, 2022]

Insights make pieces of us immortal

Maybe what makes artists “immortal” is the insight and meaning they have managed to articulate in their works. Is that a glimpse of what eternal life could look like? Maybe eternal life is eternal insight — a complete understanding of all things that transcend time and space.


Luke 21:29-33. My words will not pass away

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 329: NOVEMBER 25, 2022]