I’m a writer and artist. I create art through stories and tell stories through art.
Hi, I’m Carlo Cruz and welcome to my blog. This blog is about challenging remarkable people like you to learn something new (almost) every day. It also chronicles my journey as I search for meaning, pursue spiritual, intellectual, and creative growth, and seek answers on how to live a life of contribution.
What you’ll find here
Every day, I write and draw my ideas about Life, Work, Art, and Faith. By sharing at least one lesson each day, I wish to help you move forward.
Occasionally, I also write long-form posts that (I hope) can change the way you think, transform your life, and even help you in making a difference.
Let this blog be your everyday companion in your journey.
Why I do what I do
Let me tell you a story:
There was a guy who grew up following all the rules. He obeyed his parents, got high grades at school, became a leader of a student organization, graduated from one of the top universities in his country, played sports, went to church every Sunday, and always crossed the street using the pedestrian lane. His parents also provided everything he and his siblings needed. And so, he lived a comfortable life.
His life was perfect, until…
After graduating from college, he thought he would get what he wanted easily, like how he always did growing up. He thought he could land that management trainee job at a multinational company. He thought he could demand the paycheck he wanted as soon as he started working. He thought he would get promoted in only a few years’ time. He thought he would succeed financially at a young age. After all, a friend told him before graduating that he would do great things and it stuck with him.
But, life had other plans for him.
Soon after graduating from college, he got a phone call from the company of his dreams for an interview. He passed the first and second interviews. But, after the final interview, he felt something was wrong. He waited and waited for the company to call back. After a month, he received an email from the company informing him that he didn’t get the job. He was heartbroken, but he moved on.
He soon applied for jobs in other companies. But, he didn’t even get a callback. He faced rejection after rejection after rejection.
He didn’t notice that he was already losing his joy. Soon, he also lost his self-belief. He was devastated after facing so many rejections.
He fell into despair. He lost life’s spark. He lost his light and his smile. He was no longer the cheerful person his parents knew. Who used to be a positive, optimistic person became negative and pessimistic. He no longer believed in himself. He thought he was good for nothing. He felt worthless. He fell into a depression and his parents even pleaded with him to seek professional help. He went to counseling and sought a psychologist. But, he didn’t follow through. He felt that the psychologist simply kept telling him things he already knew: “You may be comparing yourself with others. You may be setting goals which are not realistic.” While valid and reasonable, those words were not what he needed at that time. He fell into the darkness even more.
Finally, he pushed the people in his life away. He pushed away his family, his former classmates, and his friends. When he met new people, he didn’t let them into his life. It even came to the point where he didn’t allow God into his life. His last stronghold, his foundation, his faith, was shaken.
He thought everything would return to perfection once he finally landed a job. He was wrong. Even when he finally got a job in a respected company, he didn’t recover his zest for life and his self-belief. Even when he joined a Big Four auditing firm, he still felt the darkness inside. Sure, he was always smiling in front of other people. But deep inside, he was still hurting.
At his darkest moment, something in his heart told him to seek God once again. Even when he had already pushed God away, God was relentless in pursuing Him.
He found God in the Scriptures. Then, he found God in community. Once again, he found God in the church. And he finally learned to find God in his every day life — in his joys and, most especially, in his trials.
Since then, things started to turn around. Not immediately, but slowly, as if in a journey that will take as long as his entire life. And no, he didn’t magically get everything he always wanted. But, he learned the lessons he needed. One lesson, one day at a time:
He learned the truth about himself. Growing up, his worth was tied to how well he performed. At school. At work. In sports. And in life. Without his past successes, he didn’t know who he was. He felt worthless. That’s why he was always trying to prove something to others and, especially, to himself, through his job, his paycheck, and other people’s approval. But, when he found God, he learned that his identity and his worth lie on God alone. He was already loved even before doing anything good. He was already found worthy even without any merits. He was already God’s child even without any conditions.
He learned to be true to himself. He was done trying to please other people. He was done living other people’s lives and dreaming other people’s dreams. When he rediscovered his love for writing, drawing simple illustrations, and impacting other people’s lives directly through words, he left his job as an accountant and financial analyst and pursued a career as a writer and an artist. It wasn’t easy. His family didn’t approve of his decision initially. He took a pay cut from his previous job. He had to take on freelance writing jobs just to support his dreams. But finally, he was true to himself. Finally, he was happy.
He learned to work hard. For a long time, he acted like he was entitled to the fine things in life. He acted as if he could get anything he wanted easily. But, he learned the hard way that life doesn’t work that way. So, he started working hard to make his dream of becoming a writer a reality. There are nights when he sleeps late just to work on his dream, after an entire day of fulfilling his commitments to his clients. He started working hard and taking good care of his relationships. He learned to spend more time with his loved ones and not take them for granted. For everything he has in his life, he started giving it his all.
He learned to live for others. To dream for others. To love others. During his struggles, he learned what it felt like to be insecure, to be left behind, and to be emotionally, spiritually, and even physically hungry. He learned to empathize with others. To be one with them in their pains and struggles — in life and in their careers. He now includes others in his dreams. He writes about his pains wishing that the reader who is going through what he went through can find solace and hope. If he didn’t go through those dark moments in his life, he would most probably be still living and dreaming only for himself. He learned to love others.
He learned to embrace life once again. But this time, he learned to fully love life in its fullness, with all its ups and downs. He started celebrating the smallest of his victories and learn from his painful defeats.
He learned to have faith. To believe. To be brave. To have courage. To take the leap (and, sometimes, to build a bridge). To trust that God always has something better in store for him.
He learned to never stop learning. Growing. Contributing. Challenging himself. And trying to make a difference.
Today, that guy has never been happier. In fact, he is happier every day. Despite life’s challenges. Despite his trials. Despite his struggles.
The difference today is that he has faith. He focuses not on what he receives, but on what he wants to create, to give, and to contribute.
That guy has grown. Still, he’s a work in progress. But, he has come a long way.
That guy is me (if you still haven’t guessed it). That’s why his story is very close to my heart.
And his story is not just my story. It’s also the story of so many other people struggling in life, in their careers, in their relationships, and with their faith.
I do what I do to share the lessons that helped picked me up. Every day (sort of). One lesson at a time.
I do what I do in the hope that they can find comfort in my story.
I do what I do to challenge remarkable people out there to be true to themselves, to be vulnerable, to be brave, to create, to work hard, to make a contribution, and to never stop learning.
I do what I do because of my story. Our story.
The story is still unfinished. I write every day (or at least I try to) as it continues to unfold. I chronicle the lessons I learn one day, one lesson at a time. You can read the blog every day or subscribe to The Daily Email to receive these lessons straight to your inbox daily for free.
If you find my work meaningful or inspiring and wish to support the blog, the best thing you can do is spreading the word to your friends, family, and colleagues.
All the articles on the blog are free (and ad-free) and I hope to keep it that way. But, the reality is that I spend time and money to keep this blog (and my mission) running. If you wish to help me pay my hosting, mailing services, and other expenses, you can consider becoming a patron with a recurring or one-time contribution.
But more than anything else, your presence is more than enough. Thank you for simply being there. Thank you for being part of my story.
Want to say, hi? Drop me a message anytime!