Today’s column:My father’s seven keys to success

Whew, am I glad that 2006 is about to leave us! It was a year of great tragedies and political turbulence, not to mention a trail of unsolved crimes and squabbles. Because of it, we look to 2007 as an opportunity for a fresh start or new beginnings.

The year ahead of us is all about making choices. In several households spread across the nation, the more difficult decision of staying pat or leaving to work overseas is in advanced stage of contemplation. In several nooks and corners of coffee shops and dining areas in and out of the metropolis, decisions are also being made: to run or not run, and under whose ticket?

Behind every decision is a desired outcome, a measure of success. For a departing OFW, the desired outcome is purely financial – economic liberation by relocation. For a candidate, regardless of the position sought, the clear measure of success is an electoral victory. For those with other decisions to make, perhaps with lesser difficulties, the desired outcome may simply be self-improvement, which is an outcome we must all desire and work hard for always.

Well, a new year brings us equitably a clean canvass to make our own formulas and equations for change. We are all bound to make mistakes as this canvass gets filled with the brushstrokes of life, but so be it. We are fallible human beings – those who pretend otherwise are doomed to a life of perpetual unhappiness and deceit.

Thus to the 7 keys of success drawn up by my late father, Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople, in his Bulletin column of March 30,1993, he hastened to remind his readers of an eighth one: “to thine own self be true.”

Here are Ka Blas Ople’s 7 Keys to Success:

“The first key to success, worldly or otherwise, is to set a goal for one’s self. Most of mankind get born and die without ever knowing what they really want.

The second key is to develop a positive outlook in life. Problems are often opportunities in disguise. As someone has said, pessimism is just a state of mind but optimism is a strategy for living.

The third key is to develop an active, rather than a passive, view of one’s environment. Successful men do not merely wait for things to happen to them. They take initiatives. They try to make things happen. They create their own challenges and opportunities.

The fourth key is to stand by one’s principles when life’s crises must be faced. The test of character, in the phrase of William James, is not in choosing the path of least resistance but the path of the greatest traction. The temptation to make the easy choice must be resisted. This merely means that most times, the harder choice is the correct one.

The fifth key is to be absolutely dependable and trustworthy, so that your own colleagues know they can trust your integrity even in the most difficult moments. The trust of colleagues and subordinates is what can propel you to success.

The sixth key is a commitment to continuing personal and professional growth. Most people stop growing after leaving school. Education is for life.

The seventh and last key is to live a frugal and disciplined life, shunning all forms of waste, whether of time, talent, money or other resources. Life itself is a finite and most precious gift, and wasting it through frivolity and self-indulgence must be offensive to the Giver of Life.”

As you begin to make your choices and try to re-arrange your life’s pieces, note that no one else but you possesses the power to steer your life to the best direction possible. That canvass is yours to complete. Happy New Year!

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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  • i shall live by these keys, no matter how challenging!


    “Huwag pairalin ang katamaran” is one of Amang’s favorite “pangaral” to his friends and relatives. Never give up and finish the job at hand.

  • raul dado

    ka blas’ keys to success will certainly inspire us no end. i also remember the late amb. mario galman, who was a ka blas protege, tell me when we served in laos that thinking of ka blas always got him up and running in the morning. we will remember both great souls. — raul dado, consul, buenos aires