Category Archives: Mind

Read with Your Ears

Have you ever wished you could read more but couldn’t  because you just didn’t have the time?

audiobookWell then, I would like to propose a solution: The  Audiobook. 

The moment I began using audiobooks, I was hooked. From a dismal 0 books a year, I managed to “read” through 30 plus books in a year with room for more.

Audiobooks have a unique advantage over its paper and e-book forms, in that you can “read” them while performing other activities like driving, commuting or working out.  You can even “read” them in the dark. What would otherwise be mutually exclusive activities like reading and working out; or reading and driving, they can now be simultaneous and complementary. Now you can shop, work out, drive, commute, take a walk or do the laundry while someone reads you a book.  All that new-found time can now be spent learning a new skill or getting swept away in some far away adventure.

Buying and using audiobooks made simple

Some years ago the audiobook book might have been cumbersome to use, because it would have required a cassette or CD player.  But now after the creation of this awesome invention called the mp3 player, audiobooks are ultra-simple to acquire and use. And because you are given the option to choose your preferred  file size (with some trade-off in sound quality) disk space is no longer a major issue.  A 7 hour audiobook can fit in under 30 MB of disk space.  Also, since mp3 players are built into many phones so you may not even need a separate device to play it.

Then there are the online stores that allow you to download your audiobook within seconds.  If you’re not sure you want it yet, these stores offer you a sampler you can listen to.  Now, because the book has been reduced to a downloadable digital file which is delivered electronically, the costs of production, marketing and shipping a book has dropped significantly making them so much more affordable than ever before.  And if you are really committed to reading, you can avail of more discounts by subscribing to their member programs.

So read, read and read even more

If all these reasons I have mentioned so far still don’t compel you to start reading, maybe this will. The world has changed in very profound ways. The age of the knowledge worker has arrived. The skills for jobs have changed and the skills that were once highly marketable are rapidly becoming obsolete, replaced by automation and robotics.  And if you haven’t started retooling, you might wake up one day very soon to find out that your company has purchased a software that renders your services unnecessary.  By that time you would have been totally unprepared for what happens next.

Start now. Invest in your future.  Read.  Learn. Prepare yourself for the inevitable. Yes, the world has changed, but never before has information been more accessible to everyone and that provides you with unparalleled opportunities for growth and self-development. Sooner or later you will have to pay for the costs of these changes.  The longer you wait the higher those costs are going to be. This might not be evident to you right now but it will be soon enough. Learning something new is always a wonderful thing, so why not keep it going while you have the leverage of time and technology.   Click here for some great audiobooks to start with.

Or download these highly recommended e-books now:

The NSA/ NTC Scholarships

Trainees12-25 Life is always big on education, that’s why we are excited to feature 2 incredible opportunities for world-class education in the Philippines; The Philippine Cadet Program and the Electro Cadet Program. The Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) and the Norwegian Training Center – Manila (NTCM) are currently screening for the next batch of scholars for these 2 educational programs for school year 2011-2015.

The Philippine Cadet Program

The Philippines Cadet Program offers a full scholarship for a Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Transportation (BSMT) or in Marine Engineering (BSME).  The scholarship, sponsored by the NSA, covers tuition at any one of the 6 prestigious maritime university or academy, board and lodging during the scholarship period. And because the scholar is sponsored by would-be employers, this practically guarantees that the scholar will upon graduating, will get top priority for jobs at one of the Norwegian shipowner’s firm.

This program started way back in 1993 with a pilot class of 150 cadets.  It has since, continued to produce top quality officers who serve Norwegian controlled vessels.  To qualify the applicant must be:

  • single, age16-22 years
  • a natural-born Filipino citizen
  • physically and mentally fit
  • able to pass written, oral and APRO examinations
  • enrolled in any NSA accredited university/ academy
  • free of any convictions or derogatory records

The NTC Electro Cadet Project

TrainingThe Electro Cadet Program is another sponsored training program by the NTCM specifically intended for licensed Electrical or Electronics Engineers.  The program offers a full scholarship for Elecro-Electrical maritime training (13 months), along with free board and lodging while training, a training allowance and free international travel during shipboard training.  Upon completion of the program the cadet will be offered employment in one of the sponsoring Norwegian controlled vessels.

The candidates to be considered for this program must be:

  • licensed as an Electrical Engineer (EE) or an Electronics and Communication Engineer (ECE).
  • 23-30 years old
  • preferably with relevant industry experience
  • of good moral character

The Norwegian Training Center – Manila

Bridge SimulatorThe Norwegian Training Center located in the TESDA compound in Taguig CIty (Philippines), is a state-of-the-art maritime training center boasting of high-tech simulation equipment. The NTCM was first established by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association in February of 1990 and was in May of the same year integrated as part of the Norwegian Maritime Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. The purpose of the center was primarily to upgrade the quality of the training programs for Filipino seafarers serving Norwegian controlled vessels.  Filipino crew in Norwegian ships numbering 25,000 at the time.

Although the center was initially intended for Filipinos, the training courses are available to all nationalities for a fee and subject to the availability of space.

Where you can find out more about the scholarships

If you would like to know more about these scholarship programs, you can inquire at the following locations:

In National Capital Region (NCR):

Norwegian Training Center – Manila
Gate 2. TESDA Compound,
East Service Road, Taguig City
Trunk line: (02) 812-0742 loc. 111
Direct line: (02) 894-5389

For:  Philippine Cadet Program


For: Electro Cadet Program

Rogelio M. Velarde
Head Electro Technical and Development Project
Mobile:  0920-907-5212
Stephanie Morato
Project Assistant
Mobile:  0928-552-6512

In Luzon:

Philippine Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific

Kamaya Point, Brgy. Alas Asin,
Mariveles , Bataan

Philippine Merchant Marine Academy

PMMA Complex, San Narciso, Zambales

In Visayas:

John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Arevalo

Sto. Nino Sur, Arevalo, Iloilo City
Tel. No: (033) 336-0131/ (033) 336-1082

John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Molo

M. H. Del Pilar St., Molo, Iloilo City
Tel. No: (033) 336-8150

John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation – Bacolod

Alijis, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Tel. No: (034) 434-2278

University of Cebu – METC

UC-METC Alumnos, Mambaling, Cebu City

University of Cebu – Lapu-Lapu & Mandaue

A. C. Cortes Ave., Looc Mandaue City
Tel. No: (032) 345-6666 loc. 233

In Mindanao:

DMMA College of Southern Philippines

Davao City (DCSP)
Tel. No: (082) 241-1350

Access Other Resources:

Build a Great Habit to Break a Really Bad One

Creating a Habit

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the differences of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave. ” —Og Mandino, Greatest Salesman in the World

Habits die hard.  Anyone who has ever tried to break a bad habit knows this all too well.  I tried to stop smoking several times without success before I finally nailed it. Habits are there of a reason. They free your brain from having to consciously process everything you do.  What happens is, your brain takes everything you do routinely and turns it into an automated process, a habit that runs in the background while your brain focuses on the things you do that require your conscious attention.

As a habit acquires more and more triggers and associations, the stickier it gets.  Take for instance smoking.  You may want to smoke when you need to do some super focused thinking or when you want to relieve stress or when you want to stay upbeat at a party or when you are drinking with friends or when taking a break at work.  Over time this becomes habit.

Before you know it, you are buying a pack if cigs everyday as you go to work without even thinking about it. After a stressful meeting at work, you just reach for the pack and head for the smoking area. (Smoking areas, by the way, are a new development.  Used to be, you just reach for your pack and light up wherever you feel like.)  When a friend calls you for a break, you just automatically reach for the pack.  The thing is, gradually over time, smoking has been built-in to most of your activities and is also increasingly associated with many pleasant emotions.  Now try to stop smoking. [evil grin]

What is not so evident, is that smoking here is not a single habit but many habits.  It is so integral to many of your activities that to break it, would require you to extract yourself from your life and endure a great deal of emotional deprivation.  Okay, it’s hard.

Breaking the Habit

I finally managed to quit smoking when I graduated from college.  Actually it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  I used to think it was just my disciplined mind and dogged determination that got me through it. But thinking back, what made it easier for me, was the fact that I was transitioning from student to job hunter (or unemployed as my mother chose to see it).

All the activities that smoking was associated with, had disappeared and I was free to integrate new activities into my life sans the smoking. I still had to contend with my physical addiction to nicotine and the loss of my security blanket, but as I gained 18 pounds, I kicked the habit. I eventually lost the weight I gained, so it still has a happy ending for me. I still sneak in a smoke or two every so often but I never got hooked as bad as I did as a student.

Likewise, consider what a newly retired person has to go through, especially someone who has been working all his life for 40+ years. Decades of acquired habits will suddenly lose their triggers. This could actually be a very good opportunity renew oneself, to start afresh.  But in many cases, people are just overwhelmed by the immensity of the change they have to endure after retirement, not to mention the loss of all the reinforcing emotional rewards associated with those past activities. To be cut off from our habits with none in its stead can be as crippling as a severed limb.

The Best Way to Make that Change

 “For it is another of nature’s laws that only a habit can subdue another habit.”–Og Mandino, Greatest Salesman in the World

The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a better one. Og Mandino in his book the “Greatest Salesman in the World” suggests that it takes 30 days to create a habit.  Matt Cutts (see video) says the same. The first page results of my search gave me anywhere from 15 to 30 days. To be in the safe side let’s just assume that it takes 30 days.

So if you have a habit you want to break, deliberately take the time and effort to do something else instead.  Remember it has to be a conscious, deliberate and repetitive effort, because if you don’t focus on the new behaviour and do it every time, over and over again for at least 30 days, the old habit will sneakily kick back in and it’s business as usual. Your mind will fight it.  It will, if it can, maintain the status quo, because that is the only way it can function efficiently.  For the most part that’s a good thing.  But when it comes to breaking bad habits, it really sucks.

This is going to be a battle between your mind that wants stability, and your will to make a change. The key here is focus, determination and persistence.  Your mind will shut this operation down if it can, so you need to be on your guards.  The good news is, as your mind gets used to this new behaviour routine it settles, and a new habit is formed in place of the old one.

Watch a TED video:   Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days