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Why you don’t need to be smart to be successful

Why you don’t need to be smart to be successful

By Zae Plana

Millennials deal with a lot of expectations, especially when they start working as professionals. Many underestimate their capabilities when they’re young—they struggle with working their way up and proving each day that they have a place in the real world. But despite all these judgments and challenges, this generation continues to look forward with a positive mindset.

Passion and tenacity, though, are best coupled with some smart advice. Last May 24, at Sun Life’s Live Brighter Sessions, The Apprentice Asia’s first winner Jonathan Yabut shared to millennials his way to success—how an unconfident underdog won such a compelling competition of skills and brains.

The Apprentice Asia Season 1 winner Jonathan Yabut dishing out some wisdom on succeeding in whatever you do.

Here are some of the tips he shared that enabled his own success—and could help millennials shape their own victories.

Success is when preparation meets opportunity

The YOLO mindset works in some situations, but not when the more challenging moments come up.

Preparation is still key, especially during a big job interview or any make or break moment in one’s career—it doesn’t matter how smart you are. The crucial moment matters when one is prepared and this practice led to Jonathan’s victory in The Apprentice Asia. He came into the show with little to no knowledge about host Tony Fernandes, a Malaysian business mogul. But being a fan of the Apprentice series, he psychologically prepared himself for this moment. When he got in, all he had to do was “stalk” Mr. Fernandes to know what he expects from the apprentices.

Success also means saying “no” to some things

Often times, there are just a lot of opportunities in the market. They’ll just keep coming your way. And if you don’t have a clear vision of what you really want, you’ll be taken along by the waves. You cannot just say yes to everything; choose wisely, think of which opportunity will showcase your passion and will pave the right way to success.

To stand out, you must stand back

It’s not always about being in the spotlight. One time, during The Apprentice Asia, Jonathan’s co-contestant said he does not deserve to be in the finals because Jonathan never volunteered to be a project manager. But for Jonathan, no matter how great of an individual you are, if you lack leadership skills you will not get promoted. If you know that someone else can do the job better than you, step back and let them shine—because a true leader is one who makes leaders out of others.

It’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart

Working hard doesn’t always pay off; it’s all about working smart and being efficient. A person who works smart knows how utilize their time to produce their best work without sacrificing relationships and rest. They make time for themselves and are able to get inspired. So the next time they get to work, they are more engaged to contribute for the company.

The secret to success is out there: it’s called grit

You don’t always have to be the ace in everything you do. You only have to be dedicated in your passion and have grit. Grit is what drives you to do better every day and every time, even if the circumstances are unfavorable. That means when you get down to it, drive and getting things done are more important than your intellectual capacity.

Your purpose ultimately determines your success, and that purpose must go beyond getting the bills paid and providing for one’s self. At the end of the day, it’s important to work hard to give back to the people you love and to make the world a better place. This same idea drives the people behind Sun Life Financial Philippines to live brighter within their business venture.

To ensure a practical side to your purpose, it’s important to invest the money from your hard earned work. The Sun Life Financial Philippines Live Brighter Sessions aims to increase financial literacy in the Philippines to ensure such a future, and these sessions will soon hit the shores of Davao and Cebu. For more details, follow @sunlifeph on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Interested to be a Sun Life advisor? Visit to learn more.

Photos by Eugene Herrera



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