I want to understand what motivates Filipinos to survive, live and thrive everyday. What drives them to succeed in life?
Success requires self-discipline; but a successful person also knows how to enjoy the fruit of his/her labor.
One person I know who has a very strong work ethic—and a fun lifestyle of traveling and researching communities to go along with it—is my childhood friend Allain. I decided to ask him the following questions.
Allain Dumon Fonte
Human Rights Policy Researcher
I personally define success when I achieve a goal; or, satisfactorily complete any task.
How do you measure success?
I measure success by the people that I helped.
What did important people tell you about success?
A great mentor and author, Swami Sivinanda, taught me that everyone can succeed if they put their hearts, mind, and soul even to the smallest acts.
Where were you born?
I was born and raised in Cebu City, Philippines.
What was your upbringing like?
I was raised by my father to find contentment in everything. He raised me and my siblings to be happy and grateful for what we have. My mother raised us to be helpful and be generous with others. We were not raised by the belt, but our parents taught us that discipline should come from ourselves, and not being imposed. They taught us that if we have self-discipline, we can go places; and taught us that if we are content, we can find happiness.
As far back as you can remember, what was your very first experience of feeling successful?
My father never bought us toys, because money should be valued and be set aside to more important things. When I was seven years old, I asked the store owner across our house if I could help and get paid. She gladly tasked me to wipe all the merchandise clean, and in return paid me 2 pesos. After 4 months of helping out, I was able to saved and bought my first toy. The feeling of achieving something at that age was wonderful beyond words.
What is your most defining personality or trait? (i.e., introvert, extrovert, easygoing, organized, natural leader, etc.)
I am an extrovert and friendly.
What qualities do you believe contributed to your success?
Because I am a people-person and easy to deal with, I guess these qualities have contributed to my success.
What is your occupation/career?
I am now public policy analyst and researcher. I contribute policy papers for the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Peace Research.
What made you choose such occupation/career?
I find the job very rewarding because reviewing public policies allow me to assess if laws serve their purpose of protecting the human rights and ensuring the welfare of the people. I believe that laws and public policies need constant reviews and assessments as time changes; because as times change, the needs of the people also change.
In one sentence, what do you do for work?
I am an academic and a researcher.
Where did you attend college/training?
I received my diploma in International Studies at Yoshiwara College in Japan as a recipient of the Japanese Ministry scholarship grant. I earned my B.S. in Psychology from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines and my MBA in Southwestern University in Cebu, Philippines. I was a recipient of the EU scholarship and completed my graduate studies in Human Rights at the University of Sydney in Australia.
Who are your inspirations?
There are many people that I admire; but, I am deeply inspired by the stories and bravery of Nelson Mandela, Oskar Schindler, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Harvey Milk.
Favorite success quote
“The road to success is not a bed of roses. One must learn to sacrifice and ready to suffer in order to be successful.” (This is just my personal quote.)
What is your advice for others who want to succeed in life?
Success should not be measured by how others see you and what others say about you; success should be about you and how much goodness you bring to others.