12th Commencement Speech by Mr. V Quisumbing
Choices and Consequences
Mr. Victor P. Quisumbing, National Church Planting Director of Christ Commission Fellowship, was the guest speaker at Malayan Colleges Laguna's 12th Commencement Exercises held at the PICC on November 22, 2016.
Below is Mr. Victor P. Quisumbing’s full commencement speech.
Good afternoon, everyone, esteemed colleagues and board members, and academic officers of Malayan Colleges! And for all of us here who are graduating, may I just say congratulations!
It is important for us, especially on this momentous day, when you are graduating college. Are you excited to go out there in the wide world of excitement?
My dear friends, graduation is a time to be able to just thank our parents. May I ask you to give them a big round of applause? And may I ask you also to give a big round of applause to all your teachers?
It is very important for us to be able to give thanks to the people who have been instrumental in bringing us up for the many years that you have been in school. And, today, you are looking forward to a new journey in your life.
So I’ve entitled my talk that I have for you “CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES.”
Some of you have made choices on what exactly the discipline that you want to be able to enjoy; the kind of career that you want. Some of you will be looking at a career that sometimes you may consider as boring and you will make changes, but some of us will continue in the quest to become successful.
Do you want to be successful?
Success is something that you and I want to achieve. Am I right? And our parents have always been there to encourage us to become successful. But look at choices and consequences. TAKE THE HIGH ROAD, BECAUSE, AGAIN, MOST PEOPLE DON’T. When I say “take the high road,” when you make a choice to become successful, you cannot take the road where a lot of people pass through and failed. And my dear friends, failure is not an option for you. I’ve always believe that, early in life, you need to be challenged. And challenges are going to be part of our lives. And it is very important to consider these challenges. We cannot sit down and be complacent. So my challenge to you, my dear friends, young friends, take the high road always. Take it and it must always be part of your mindset.
Another slide that I’d like to share with you is “doing the right thing even if it’s not popular or easy.”
I challenge you, my dear young friends, graduating this time of the year, always think of this: DOING THE RIGHT THING EVEN IF IT’S NOT POPULAR OR EASY. Definitely, doing the right things may be very difficult. There are many things in life that you will be thinking of and the choice is always there. Would that choice be to take the easy road or the hard one? The hard road is always the best choice. Some people take the easy one because they think it’s popular, because they think that it is going to be easier for them. It’s like taking college. Some of us take the easy road, taking a particular career that is easy, a degree that is easy. But I can tell you, the ones who take the high road will take the harder ones and then succeed, because it is a choice, a choice that one makes.
Another thing that I want you to consider is these three words.
I remember one day, way back, just after the World War II was finished. Winston Churchill, at that time, was the Prime Minister of England and he was asked to do a graduation speech in Oxford. He was asked to give words of wisdom. When he came up, the three words he said were “NEVER GIVE UP.” And after that he sat down.
Winston Churchill said this and this has been the shortest commemoration speech ever done.
My dear friends, never give up. It’s truly a mouthful. It tells us to not quit when times are difficult. Don’t quit in making the right decisions because there will be times when you will make wrong decisions. At the same time, when you do make wrong decisions without anybody propping you. My dear friends, it’s a decision sometimes we have to learn.
Never give up!
Life will be competitive for all of you. The different businesses for you to become part of will be challenging. There will be failure amongst yourselves. But it doesn’t stop us. Always have that idea: Never give up.
The three C’s of life I’d like for us to consider are, NUMBER ONE, CHOICES; NUMBER TWO, CHANCES; NUMBER THREE, CHANGES. These will never ever be removed from our challenges. And you know what happens? I wrote this down and I’d like to share this video. It says, “YOU MUST MAKE A CHOICE TO TAKE A CHANCE OR YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER CHANGE.” Is it something you want to consider in your life? How true that is!
Many years ago when I started my career in the life insurance industry, I had to make a choice whether to become a mediocre agent or to be a successful agent. The choice is made by the individual. But I thank God for the many people who were there, encouraging me and telling me that it is time to become successful. Even a challenge to be successful that is given to us has to be a choice. You will have a lot of choices. But the choice to be successful is all yours. Don’t let anybody tell you differently. It’s all yours. And by the grace of God, these choices are such that you will be happy with, but there will be challenges. No doubt about it.
CHOICES. Think about that. Choices. Your life will be full of choices, but the choice to take the hard road or the easy one is all yours. So, what will you take?
Many times we make choices which are more convenient for us. That’s what we like to do. It’s convenient, easy. “We do not want to take risks” is what we’re saying to ourselves. There will be risks, and they have to be calculated. The risk has to be taken with sincere effort to understand what we’re going through. You took your college degree in Malayan Colleges Laguna. You made a choice. Or should I say your parents made a choice. But, definitely yes, you made a choice to stay on. How many years did it take you to finish? 5 years? The average is 5 years. Some of you have been around since way back. But, no, finally, you’re graduating! I heard that some of you took your course for 7 years. Is that right? But don’t bother yourself with that. You know why? Because you are graduating today. You are graduating! Give yourselves a big hand!
I’m going to give you an example. There was this certain lady in one of the life insurance companies that I’ve been part of as a president. This lady took her licensure exam 13 times. Many people took it once, some of them failed along the way. Some passed. This person took it 13 times. You know what’s the difference? She became extremely successful. Every time she would talk to her colleagues, she would say “Shame on you who took their exam once and have passed it but are mediocre in your performance. Look at me,” she said, “13 times. I could’ve given up. Quit along the way. But no.” She wanted to pass. And she did it, after the 13th try. And she became very successful.
So whether you’ve taken this course for 7 years, 8 years, 9 years, it doesn’t matter! It’s a choice you make. It’s a choice to fail, but it is also a choice to succeed. Would you like to succeed? The best way to succeed is to take extra effort to make sure that you do not do what mediocre people do. Because mediocrity is all around us, but don’t be part of it. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
I have another slide that I’d like to share with you. Look at what Albert Einstein said, “WHAT’S POPULAR ISN’T RIGHT AND WHAT’S RIGHT ISN’T ALWAYS POPULAR” Does he make sense? Oh, yes. I like reading famous quotes. You know why? Because it encourages me. I am at this stage in life wherein quotes are important, and where I am able to speak to people because I’ve gone through the difficulties of life.
When I joined the insurance industry as an agent, I wanted to be just a successful agent. Nothing more, nothing less. But one day, somebody said, “Vic, are you being selfish?” and I was surprised! “Selfish? Why?” “Why do you remain as an agent? When you can become a manager?” I said, “Manager? I don’t want to deal with lazy people.” “Oh, see. You’re being selfish.” You see, the perspective that one looks at is what is important. There will be perspectives in life and there will be choices that you will make on those perspectives. The reason why I didn’t want to be a manager was because I didn’t want to deal with lazy people. You know who was the laziest of them all? Me. And I knew the fine art of laziness. I couldn’t stand lazy people. I couldn’t stand myself. Until I made a choice one day. I had to become successful. And that’s when people started looking at me.
My dear friends, that is the challenge of life. One day, one of you will be doing the keynote address here because you would be recognized in your own field. And I’m sure, you would enjoy speaking to people.
Another slide, Mary Crowley said “WE ARE FREE UP TO THE POINT OF CHOICE; THEN THE CHOICE CONTROLS THE CHOOSERS.” You can make a choice. But it says, “Then the choice controls the choosers.” You’ll be successful, that would be your primary goal. You want to be a mediocre? That would also be your primary goal.
I watch movies like “Rambo” and “Rocky.” The truth of the Rocky films is more of “when you’re hit, when you’re broken, you stand up.” I look at those things. And that has become part of my regime. A regimen to watch the movies that inspire me. Do you like watching movies? TV programs? What do you like to watch? The Walking Dead? That will not inspire you. That will only make you survive. That’s not what we are looking at.
Another, “THE WISE TELLS US THAT PEOPLE ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE CHOICE THEY MAKE”. Is that right? Are you accountable for the choices that you will make? Yes, you are. You want to be successful? It’s a choice. You’re accountable for it.
Why am I pushing the idea of success? Because, you see, success is illusive. Success is such that many people don’t want to go through sacrifices to be successful. Many people don’t want to have the hard work that is needed to become successful. But, it’s just the beginning. And then later on, you’ll see how success will control you. The challenge is yours. It is always yours.
Another one, “WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBLITY.” Who said that? Spider-man! You’ll be given power. You’ll be given responsibilities. It is important to take it. The reason why people will give you power is because they see in you certain qualities that they know you will take to the next level. And then you’ll be given more responsibilities.
In 1973, I started my quest. But not to become successful. But just to be there. You know what happened? My boss, then, told me, “Vic, if you don’t want to be number 1 in this company, make I suggest you resign. Please, leave this company.” Did I get mad? Yes, I was mad. Because I was happy with the kind of position that I had. I was there, on the second page, not on the last page, of the production report. Second page! And he said, “No, Vic. No. I want you to be number one, or you resign in this company. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Think about it this evening. Pray about it. Tomorrow, make that decision. But I want you to realize that when you say yes, that means, by the end of this year, you’ll be number 1!” Did I take the responsibility the next day? I told my boss, “I’m taking it.” And he only said “Good luck.”
By the end of that year, because of my resolve to become number 1, I was number 1. It had to be a choice. Nothing else. So the choice of number 1, number 2, number 3, in any organization, it is all yours. And I can say this, it happened to me way back. And that’s why through the years I was very fortunate to have reached the levels, the success in the life insurance industry. I never realized I’d become a president. But somebody just told me, “Vic, I want you to be the president of this company.” I said, “Am I capable?” and he said, “Yes, you are. Why are you afraid?” Then I took the responsibility. You see sometimes there may be people who’ll tell you “You can be one. You have to show me. You have to show them.”
Next. Okay. Let’s read this together. “LIFE IS ALL ABOUT MAKING CHOICES. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST TO MAKE THE RIGHT ONES. AND ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST TO LEARN FROM THE WRONG ONES.” Makes sense? Yes! My dear friends, what will happen to you beyond this afternoon are the choices you’ll make. Life is all about choices. The choice to be successful, the choice to be a failure. I make sure everyone wants to go after success.
The next one, I’d like to quote from the Good Book, the Bible. I will not be able to leave this room unless I quote from the Good Book. Look at what PHILIPPIANS 4:8 SAYS: “FINALLY, BRETHREN, WHATEVER IS TRUE, WHATEVER IS HONORABLE, WHATEVER IS RIGHT, WHATEVER IS PURE, WHATEVER IS LOVELY, WHATEVER IS OF GOOD REPUTE; IF THERE IS ANY EXCELLENCE, AND IF ANYTHING WORTHY OF PRAISE, DWELL ON THOSE THINGS.” I praise God that in 1983 I started to look at spiritual things. Why? Because I saw in the Good Book, the Bible, the life that I will follow would be based on God’s laws, based on God’s principles. I know God will never fail us. God will make you successful, if you follow him. I can assure you of that. Remember I was an agent, when I went into the industry in 1973. At the end of my career, praise God, He gave me a chance to be the president of 3 companies. And the last one, the president of Grepalife, a Yuchengco company. So I’m honestly telling you, God takes care of His children.
Okay, next. CONSEQUENCES. When you make choices, there will be consequences. And I want you to consider consequences. They are good. Consequences are such that we must learn from them. Not that we will get ourselves into a very bad situation. No. We learn from them. And let us look at some statements. “PEOPLE ARE FREE TO MAKE CHOICES, BUT PEOPLE ARE NOT FREE FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR CHOICES.” After your diploma comes your choices. You make that diploma come to you because you made a choice to succeed, to graduate. But now comes the hard thing: life. And that’s what I want you to understand. Choices and consequences are the things that you would have to go through in life.
Consequences. Andrew Carnegie said this. “PEOPLE WHO ARE UNABLE TO MOTIVATE THEMSELVES MUST BE CONTENT WITH MEDIOCRITY, NO MATTER HOW IMPRESSIVE THEIR OTHER TALENTS.” Maybe we have other talents, but if we are unable to motivate ourselves, beginning tomorrow, it doesn’t matter what you have completed, because success comes from motivated people. And you’ve got to motivate yourself. Enthusiasm comes from within. You have to make that choice also. Be careful. IT MAY ONLY TAKE A FEW SECONDS TO MAKE A CHOICE BUT IT TAKES A LIFETIME TO DEAL WITH CONSEQUENCES.
“IT’S BETTER TO CROSS THE LINE AND SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES THAN TO JUST STARE AT THE LINE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tama? Kung minsan tumitingin lang tayo sa buhay, we don’t do anything about it. May I suggest to you that there will be choices to be made and you do make a choice? ‘Wag kayong tumingin lang. When somebody is successful, have some kind of envy, good envy, because you want to be successful also. Success is something that is contagious. That people around you will also want success. And if you are married and if you’ve got children by the time, the next 5 years, your success will actually encourage your children. I remember a particular agent in Manulife. She has 4 children, all of them are from Philippine Science High School. All of them scholars. And she expected all of them to be scholars. She expected them to be the best in their classes. And they became the best in their classes. But, one day, the eldest asked her mom, “Mom, you’ve always asked us to become number 1 in school, but may I ask you are you also number 1 in your company?” That was a challenge to the mother. And you know what the mother said? “I was so taken aback by that challenge.” That it made her make a choice to become successful and to be number 1 every year, and that was what she did. And every year in a big party to show to the people who are the most successful performers, she would invite her family and they would be the very first ones to cheer. They would be cheering their mother. But it was the children who challenged the mother, and the mother took the challenge.
Some of you are number 1 in your class, am I right? Who’s number 1? You’re number 1, ma’am? Could you, please, stand up! Can we give her a big hand? 169 and she’s number 1. Mayroon pang number 2? May number 3 pa? You know why I am saying this? I want you to look at them. I want you to also realize that they are not much different from you, but they made a choice to become number 1, number 2, or number 3. They studied hard. They made sure that they took the exams and passed them with colors. And, today, they are about to be recognized. And life is going to be that way. You will be recognized. So don’t stop. Never stop. Never quit. Don’t give up. I love being with people like them who speak the same language. That’s what I want you to do. Speak the same language. I remember a colleague of mine who was also into the sales profession. When people would ask him, “Do you know this other person?” And he would say, “It’s not a question that I know them. It’s a question of ‘do they know me?’” Ohh, yabang. But that was what they felt was necessary. These people have to recognize greatness. And I thank you for showing us your very best.
You all know Yoda. Let’s see what he says. “FEAR IS THE PATH TO THE DARK SIDE. FEAR LEADS TO ANGER. ANGER LEADS TO HATE. HATE LEADS TO SUFFERING.” I like what he says. You can never be part of the dark side. Follow Yoda. But you know more than Yoda? FOLLOW JESUS. Yoda is just a representation. I follow the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. And I pray you do as young as you are. That is what is important. You don’t follow the dark side. You follow the Light, Jesus Christ.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF TODAY ARE DETERMINED BY THE ACTIONS OF THE PAST. TO CHANGE YOUR FUTURE, ALTER YOUR DECISIONS TODAY
Many years ago, a Chinese businessman talked to me about the problem with the Philippines, specifically in education. And I’d like you to learn from this. He said, “The problem with students today is that they graduate from school to think about getting employed. There’s nothing wrong with that. You know what is better? When you finish school, think about being an entrepreneur.” Our country today needs more entrepreneurs more than ever. And I challenge you to be one. Build your own business. Think about that. Again, that’s a choice. Many times, students graduate thinking about only one thing: I want to work in an organization. There are very few who think this way: I want to put up my own business. May I challenge you? Put up your own business. This country needs more entrepreneurs. Got it?
This class of 2016 I pray that there will be more entrepreneurs here rather than just employees. Nothing wrong being an employee. But being an entrepreneur is far challenging. Okay? Wag nyo sabihin, later on, “Si Vic, yung commencement speaker namin, ayaw nyang maging employees tayo.” I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that you make a choice to be an entrepreneur. I would challenge the number 1 and the number 2. Be an entrepreneur, an excellent entrepreneur. Because there is a place for you.
Now, for those who are in military uniform, marine engineers. You could be captains of your boats. Whoa! Are you prepared? I like your uniform. You know when I was growing up I wanted to be a military man. I wanted to be a pilot. I wanted to be a fireman. I wanted to be just as long as I am in a uniform. But, praise God, I didn’t get into it. Sabi nila, “Vic, hindi ka pwede sa PMA, maliit ka.” But I wanted to be a basketball player, sabi nila, “Mas lalo.” I was playing center when I was in grade school. But during high school, naiwan na ako, guard nalang. By the time I hit college, wala na. But, again, it changes. It changes.
I will end with one passage of Scripture. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “WHOEVER SOWS SPARINGLY WILL ALSO REAP SPARINGLY, AND WHOEVER SOWS GENEROUSLY WILL ALSO REAP GENEROUSLY.” Choices, my friends. You make the right choice, you will get the right consequence. You sow and you will reap properly. You want to be successful? You have to sow, and then you will reap. Choices are made by the individual. And I praise God I made the right choice. And I thank you, graduating class of 2016, for having me here. I pray that I made sense. I pray that you will be going out there, right there where the action is, and make those decisions based on what we’ve talked about. Agree? Because I want you to be successful. And I don’t want mediocrity to be part of your vocabulary. It should never be. Take it out from your vocabulary. Mediocrity is not part of you. But success is. Ambition is. Choices are. All of those are yours to take. But mediocrity cannot be. And you know who will suffer because of mediocrity? Not only your family, but the next generation. And I’m concerned about them. God is concerned about the next generation. And it is important for us to make that decision today. This is our generation. Then the next generation comes. The choice is yours. And consequences will also be yours.
God bless you, and thank you very much!