José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda or Jose Rizal was a physician and novelist, born in the Spanish colony, Filipinas as a “creole” (half Filipino, half Spanish). Rizal wrote extensively about the abuses of Spanish colonizers to the Philippines, fighting to reveal their atrocities and inspiring a whole generation towards freedom, therefore becoming the Philippines’ national hero.
Rizal may have died on December 30, 1896, at the tender age of 35, but much more of him than his remains in Rizal Park lies in the hearts of Filipinos. He inspired the independence movement because he provided a mirror to the sick colonial society that Filipinas had become as a result of Spanish colonization.
Here’s what you can learn from his life and implement in your own work sphere:
Against all odds
Rizal manifested the highest virtues being a Filipino. He struggled and won in the face of the most arduous situations, and inspired the Katipunaneros to revolt, and thereby helped found the first independent Republic of Asia.
Focus on your goal(s)
Fighting injustice in society was Rizal’s sole motto. Night and day, all he dreamed of was to free fellow Filipinos. Rizal became a leader of the reformist movement called Propaganda, an unwavering campaign for political and social freedoms. He wrote unceasingly for the La Solidaridad and even wrote two novels to reveal the atrocities of the Spanish colonials. These led to his assassination, but he died a hero.
Keep personal life away from work
While we do not live in such tumultuous times as Rizal’s, it is important to keep distractions away from every workday. Rizal was so focused on the work that he did not allow loved ones or even his own preferences or emotions come in the way.
Pride of representing a brand
You don’t have to be a model, actor, sportsperson or lead any kind of glamorous existence in order to own representation of your employer. If you work for a company, you’re automatically their face. Your values, hard work and personal ethics play an important part in its growth. So be proud and own it responsibly. Rizal too read extensively to prove the merit of the pre-colonization culture of Filipino.
Use your time to the fullest
Rizal spent much of his time in self-improvement via self-education. Not only was he busy academically, but he also learned sculpture, painting, languages including German, and kept up with the latest conversations globally in philosophy and science. Even in exile in Dapitan (a remote town in Mindanao), he used his time in cataloging the local animal kingdom and plants to share with fellow revolutionists.
You too can take a leaf from his life and become a better version of yourself every day. Whether by taking an online or after-hours course at the local university, acquiring a new hobby, or being part of a hobby circle, or even just reading instead of spending hours in front of your (not-so-) smart tv or phone!
There’s a virtue in giving
Rizal always led a frugal existence, including staying hungry at meals to pay rent and skipping outings to stay on track with his medical education. In Dapitan, even though he won the lottery, he relinquished all his winnings to build light and water infrastructure, and a school for fellow citizens, where he taught as well as offered free medical treatment.
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