Ambition vs Obligation: The unlikely journey of a 22-year-old CEO

He bought his first car at 25, his first 350 sq. meter home at 28.
This is Sean Si. He’s now reaping the rewards from running several successful technology-based businesses that he started at the age of 22.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Technology is how he’s making a comfortable living now, but it’s technology that almost caused his biggest downfall.
In fact, it can be summed up in four letters – DOTA. It is an extremely popular online game among men both young and old. And Si was no different, cutting classes to spend eight hours a day playing with his friends was the norm.
This resulted in him failing 28 units in college. This didn’t sit well with his parents, particularly his father. Si’s father is a businessman, but unlike typical Tsinoy families, he didn’t want Si to succeed him in business, or be involved in business at all.
The older Si views business as a very difficult way of making a living. He would rather see his son work up the corporate ladder where he doesn’t have to deal with all the headaches that come with running his own business.
That’s why he takes Si’s education seriously and gave a stern reminder to him that he won’t be supporting his studies anymore if he continues taking it for granted.
It was a wake-up call for Si. He promptly dropped his gaming addiction and eventually graduated with his Information Technology degree.
He was immediately hired by a big multinational company soon after graduation. The hiring came as a surprise to him. Even with all his failing marks and the number of other applicants they could have chosen, they hired him.
It was a big blessing.
One that would last a whole five months.
Prior to even applying for a job, Si was already freelancing. He was hired to do some work online, particularly, search engine optimization. And he was really good at it. Clients were lining up to get his services. Now, if you don’t understand what kind of work Si was doing, you’re not alone. His dad was as lost as you are.
So, when Si floated the idea of resigning from his job and focus 100 percent in his freelancing career, his dad resisted.
What Si thought as a very lucrative opportunity to earn a living while being his own boss, his dad saw it as an unstable, unreliable and unnatural source of income.
The idea of earning an income comparable to a corporate salary while sitting in front of the computer in one’s pajamas is unheard of. He did not put Si through five years of college just to stay at home.
Father and son’s arguments went back and forth. Si was even asked to seek counsel from their church authorities regarding his decision.
Eventually, Si realized that all his dad wanted was to secure his financial future. He was simply worried that no company would hire him when they see that he only lasted only five months in his first job.
Si showed his dad all the lucrative job offers. This made his dad realize that Si indeed really knew what he was doing and that this is an opportunity he can’t pass up.
His dad gave the green light for him to pursue this career, allowing him to soar to new heights.
Asked for advice on how others in the same dilemma can handle the challenges of pursuing their individual ambition vis-a-vis fulfilling their filial obligation, Si has this to say:
“Honor your parents first. It may take some time. Know that they only want the best for you. Parents are reasonable beings, make them understand in their own way what you want to do.
“Be strategic. Be diplomatic. Compromise where you can. Stand your ground on things you firmly believe in. Work extremely hard. Remember, at the end of the day, whatever business you’re trying to pursue, it’s not worth destroying your relationship. If you can show that you also want the best for yourself and are pursuing something you believe in, I’m sure they’ll consider it.
Most of all, pray. You cannot change people. Only God can.”

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