• A costly lesson

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    MAR ANDRIEL S. UMALI

    I was in a rush. It was 7:00 p.m. and my flight abroad was at 8:20 p.m. I had two bags at that time—my main hand carry bag and my secondary bag. It took me 35 minutes to get to NAIA Terminal 3 from my place. When I arrived, an airline employee signaled the last-call for the flight and I quickly went to the check-in area. The receptionist asked for my ticket and passport, gave me a boarding pass, and asked if I would check in my secondary bag. Seconds after, I saw my secondary bag moving along the airline belt, headed somewhere.

    That was when I realized I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life—since I was in a big hurry, I forgot that I had placed my wallet in the front pocket of my secondary bag! At that time, I intended to change the currency at the airport, but I was so late. It only took me two minutes to realize the mistake.

    I went back to the airline employee. She said that they could not recover the bag for me, to which I replied that my wallet was there—another mistake. I carried on with my flight and wished that no one would steal my wallet. When we arrived, I hurried and looked for my bag.

    Fortunately, my wallet was there! Good thing all my cards and IDs were still there. However, I suddenly turned pale when all of the cash was gone. Nothing left. Not a single peso. Apparently, it was stolen while my bag was being transferred.

    Whether we are a manager at work, a professional, a family man, or a student, there are certain situations that would require us to make quick and efficient decisions. Often, tense situations cloud our judgment, shift our focus, and make us less mindful.

    How do we react when things that are running smoothly suddenly turn the other way? What do we do when a certain deadline approaches so quickly and we are just halfway through the project? Or when your flight is at 8:20 p.m. and you can only leave Taft, Manila at around 7? It was at that time that I learned one of the biggest lessons in my life: be mindful of what is valuable, even under stressful situations.

    I was too focused on trying not to be left by my flight that I lost my focus on other important stuff: my belongings.

    As we are completing that project with a tight deadline, making that quick call at work, or hurrying to catch our next flight, let us not lose sight of what is important. As leaders and managers, we should not lose sight of our end-goal, nor should we take small details for granted.

    I hope that we could always make informed decisions even in tough situations, because there might be consequences that couldn’t be reversed once a decision has been made.

    That is why thinking effectively and making sound decisions are one of the qualities of a good leader. As of this writing, I still have a hard time believing that a fellow Pinoy did that to me. I admit that what occurred was partially my fault. Like most people, I did what I had to do, and that is to learn from my mistakes. It is something that I hope will not happen to anyone. It was a situation that cost me something of great value. Lesson learned!

    Mar Andriel Umali is an assistant professor at the Financial Management Department of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. He welcomes comments at mar.umali@dlsu.edu.ph. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty and its administrators.

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