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When pain gives birth to brilliance

When pain gives birth to brilliance

As much as we hate and avoid pain, it pushes us to innovate. When things aren’t going our way and we, or our loved ones, are hurt by circumstances, we are forced to explore new ways of addressing our situation. Thus, there will be a point in life when our accumulated frustration or anguish builds up to a climax of change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But whatever is the ultimate outcome of that sudden change, we will remember it as the defining moment of our life one way or another.

Life-defining moments come at different points, depending on the person. Some hear their calling early on, and pursue life-changing careers at a young age. Others encounter the moment later in life and become completely different persons because of the realization that comes with it. There are teenagers who may have been struggling with existential uncertainty at that stage in their life, and just suddenly get hit with a brilliant business idea that eventually brings on a harvest worth millions of dollars, such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

There are also very mature people out there who have gone hollow inside, but then stumble upon a new religion, philosophy, way of life, or love. They then decide to overhaul their lifestyle as a result of their newfound spirituality or love, like Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. Of course, there are those who are led by painful circumstances to commit one gravely evil deed, and their lives spiral downward from that point on. All of these are examples of life-defining moments that either result in victory or failure.

We must learn to master how to effectively deal with pain, so that we can harness its power to come up with a life-defining moment that changes our lives for the better. The resulting change should help us grow as intelligent and caring individuals, and not break our humanity further. This is the real challenge we must face because, most of the time, our major decisions affect not only our own lives, but the lives of our loved ones as well. If you think about it, a big change will not be that valuable if it results in the suffering of the ones we love and cherish.


There are two things we must think about when deciding whether to push through with our big change: legacy and regret. Legacy is the thing – tangible or intangible – that we leave behind for our loved ones. If our life-defining moment leaves a dark and dirty mark on our biography, then it’s probably not worth doing it. As for regret – we must ask ourselves if any regret that follows our decision is manageable. If you could picture yourself miserably spending the rest of your life regretting your big decision, then it would be wise to think twice, thrice, and even more times if you should push ahead with the decision you’re contemplating to make.

In the end, we must not be afraid to explore new ways of doing things. Our intellect should be maximized at all times, not be limited or encaged by routines that bring us shallow comforts. Be creative. Discover your true potential and unleash it. Define your life for the better, and give birth to your own brand of brilliance.

Obet Cruz, , MBD, DBA (Candidate), is a senior managing consultant of the Advisory Services Division of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 partners and more than 900 staff members. For comments, please email or Visit our website:; Twitter and Instagram: pagrantthornton, and FB: P&A Grant Thornton.


As published in The Manila Times, dated 23 May 2018