THINK: You Only Have 1 Peso

I started out my day with 50 pesos in my pocket.


By 5pm, I had 1 peso.

I had food waiting for me at home. True, I didn’t have any more expenses for the day, but I still needed to hop on the MRT to get home. Good thing, I had a stored value card to get me there.

On the journey home, I was drunk with excitement. I felt liberated without the resources that would usually shield me from hardship. I was ready for any obstacle because I literally had nothing to lose.

The only thing on my mind was to get home to food and shelter, and I knew I’d get there someway, somehow. 

While this romanticized anecdote is a product of my own recklessness and negligence, I savor that 1 Peso Moment. It reminds me of the rewards that come from making do with less. In this instance, I was pushed to the limit because I was down to my last peso and I was provoked to push back because I had to survive. In contrast, an excess of resources could do the complete opposite.

In the startup scene, they say that when a company acquires funding it actually increases the company’s likelihood of running out of funds. I see the concept play out in my own life.

When I’ve got a couple of thousand pesos. The money exits from my pocket without attachment. I can barely remember where it goes when I have more of it. Money, in this case, has less of an impact because it’s dispensable. Since I don’t value the money properly, I don’t foresee any consequences until I’m down to my last peso.

If I were to apply the principles of startup methodology into my own life, as I transition from life in a developed country to life in a developing country, I would say that bootstrapping is the way to go. I’ve heard so many stories about how funded startups fail because they get investors too quickly or how founders lose control of their businesses by giving up majority of their shares. The list seems to go on and on, but aside from the many reasons, I’d like to put emphasis on this Juan Great Thought:

If you’ve only got 1 Peso in your pocket, you stay hungry.

When you don’t have any money for a basic human need like food, you will work at any cost to fulfill that need.  That need to live is what will ferociously drive you to great measures, and that determination opens the doors for great rewards.

I’d like to work with that hunger to survive day in and day out. In days of doubt and despair, I will always remember that moment when I had just 1 peso.