A very interesting talk took place in this year´s edition of Congressum. The guest speaker that attended the event was Alejandro Olivares. With a very simple, but motivating message, the speaker sought to promote the identification of the “personal horizon”, which will help people manage their lives.

I would define the conference as different. Laughter and raised hands were all over the auditorium, as the guest speaker´s talk went on. One could infer that the essence of the conference was to get people participating in it, and it sure had success. The whole talk was a call for action.

Alejandro Olivares is an engineer dedicated to coaching and giving conferences. He has a coaching company, Olivares & Olivares. From the way he conducted the talk, since the very beginning, you can conclude that he is no “ordinary speaker”. The next moment he set foot on the stage, he had asked the whole audience to stand up. Following this, he showed the audience a stretching routine, intended to help focusing.

Getting people involved in your conference can have a very positive impact and reassure the things you transmit them. Olivares asked the public what they saw, in a couple of images, they represented the horizon: land and sky. The topic of the talk was this; your horizons, “Professional Horizons”. The speaker then gave the definition of both, Earth, and sky, or heaven.

Apart from the definition we can find in a dictionary, Olivares defined both, Earth and Heaven, in a very clever way, using them as analogies.

  • Heaven: This represents the hobbies and passions that a person has. It is not tangible or definite.
  • Earth: Where you stand, what is defined. This can be your professional career or your studies. What you are going to be doing.

The conference revolved around these two concepts.

Heaven is what you like the most, what “keeps you awake at night”, your passion. According to Olivares, activities such as soccer, art, music, etc. can be classified in the heaven area. He said that these activities are not considered as a “professional career”, though they can become one under certain conditions.

The earth equals to the ground on which every person stands. For the public, this would be school, studies, what will lead you towards a professional career: medicine, law, etc. This is what you would study in a university. The ground represents what an individual must do to develop professionally, like studying College.

What the conference sought to transmit as a message was that people should always define their ground and sky. Both parts construct the horizon, which can ultimately represent your life. Olivares gave the public tools to determine everyone’s horizon. He asked the whole auditorium, to draw a tree. This was a symbol of your personal life. The roots in the tree represented where you come from. The tree trunk was a representation of what maintains the person steady and firm in life. Then, we have the branches, these are the areas of your life: family, school, etc. These areas are the ones that a person develops throughout his or her life. To visualize your life completely, it is useful to split it in areas, for your analysis. These areas, evidently, will have their outcomes or products. “You reap what you sow”, this can apply to your life, and it is represented in this tree model: the fruits of the tree are the fruits in each area, as they spawn from every branch. Plants also produce flowers, in this case our life-tree also does; these represent personal goals or plans. Flowers in the tree can flourish into achieved goals, both, long-term or short-term.

By using the tree model, everyone should be able to visualize their situation in the present. Everyone should identify what their heaven and earth are and be able to distinguish the line between hobbies and a professional career, the concrete part.

By stating that hobbies or activities that you enjoy performing are part of a “heaven”, that is not yet tangible, the speaker did not mean that you should stop doing those activities. Sports, arts, music, etc. are not very likely to give you money and a concrete life path that studying “engineering” or any other career in a university can give you. University studies are a very helpful tool that almost guarantee you a professional future. Olivares thinks that graduating from college contributes to the formation of good habits, and a solid work ethic. This contributes to overall personal development.

There is a way to modify “heaven”. There are ways to make the “non-professional” activities you love, professional: by making them a source of income, or studying them in depth. As an example, there are professional sports, or singers, that make a lot of money and live from their passions. Turning passions into a professional pathway is difficult, because it takes a huge amount of dedication, sacrifices and time. Apart from the effort you put into it, another factor that counts is the talent that you have for a certain discipline.

The guest speaker made very clear that people should organize their daily routine to fit the activities from both sections: the ground or the Earth, and the sky or heaven. Some people in the audience wondered what people should do if they had more than one hobby. Well, if that is your case, and you want to excel in a discipline, you must decide which activity you like the most. Effort, abilities and perseverance are not infinite, we are humans after all, so deciding an activity of the “heaven” sphere is crucial to balance correctly the activities in both, your Earth and Heaven. After knowing what you want on the heaven side of your horizon, you need to know what you want on the other side, decide a career.

If you know what your Earth is and what is your sky, it is time for doing what the most important message of the talk tells you to do: You must join the two pieces together, so that they form your horizon, heaven and Earth together. And how do you do this? It is simple, but not easy, just dedicate time to the two of the aspects. Structure and organize your daily schedule, so that you can fit in both. This will have plenty of good effects on you, and ultimately help you develop as a complete person.

Whatever you want to do, just do it, even the speaker said to the audience: “People will not criticize you if you don´t do anything, but if you do something, whatever it is, they will start to criticize”. You should not care about what others think of your activities, about your horizon, and you should ensure that you are fulfilling what needs to be fulfilled to develop and become a better person.

So, everybody has a special task to do, find what you want to do, decide, and then act. First define your “Earth” and your “heaven”. If you have already done it, congratulations, now it´s time to go join heaven and earth, go ahead and build your horizon.

Written by: Pedro Amezcua