THE clip of Efren Peñaflorida’s big triumph as 2009 CNN Hero of the Year played on as 81 delegates of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress watched him on screen accept the title.
“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, men, women of different colors, shapes and size. Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need, to each and every person inside in this theater, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. You are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream and collectively, we are the change that this world needs to be,” he said in his acceptance speech, proudly holding on to the small replica of his pushcart classroom.
Peñaflorida yesterday joined the congress, addressing the group of young student leaders and leaving them inspired and rearing to do their own changes.
In his keynote address, Peñaflorida shared four “timeless principles” to the 81 delegates, which would help them become better leaders and changemakers.
Based on “Lead,” the first principle was “Live the purpose, love the people,” said Peñaflorida.
“Begin with the end in mind…do not let hurrdles stop you from reaching the goal,” said Peñaflorida.
He added nobody was ever “too young or too old” to start giving back to one’s community.
“We must bear in mind our purpose in life – we must live with it and love the people we come across,” he said.
The second principle was “Exercise your faith and execute your plan.”
“Hold onto your faith and don’t give up the fight. We can make things happen,” challenged Peñaflorida.
He stressed that it was about time that people should stop saying “I can’t,” and instead start believing that they can do it through the help of God.
“Allow growth, accept change” was the third principle which he introduced.
“The last principle which he shared was “Deal with your weakness and dwell with your strengths. I encourage you to develop a good habit,” said Peñaflorida.
He stressed that instead of us constantly focusing on our weaknesses, it was time that we put more focus on our strengths and see to their further growth and development.
And as we may be all rearing to see ample changes around us, Peñaflorida shared that change always started from within.
“Change begins within us,” he said.