CM Infante speaks in JA Graduation 2018

CM Infante speaks in JA Graduation 2018

Former NSA Cadet and Arevalo Unit Model, C/M Joey Infante is this year’s Commencement Speaker for the JBLFMU Arevalo.

CM Infante was an NSA cadet and graduated Cum Laude in 2007. He started his technical experience onboard oil/chemical product tankes of OSM Maritime Services in 2006 as a deck cadet and continued to serve in the same company from 2009 until 2013 with onboard promotions as third and second officer.  Aside from being a Senior training officer, he has also been employed as OIC of Training Department, Training Manager, Certified PDOS Trainer and Audit Team Leader of Wallem Maritime Services Inc . Presently, he is Training Manager and Data Protection Office of Stolt Nielsen Philippines.

Herewith is the message he delivered in front of the graduating class of 2018.

Right after singing the Junior Chamber International Regatta Hymn at Robinson’s Place Iloilo 2 weeks ago, I was approached by our administrator, Sir Neal Sobrejuanite, and my nanay Mam Louella Bernas and asked me if I can be their commencement speaker.  I was like Whaaaat? And, suddenly, I was transported back into my Graduation Day exactly 10 years ago. I even remembered 4 years ago where I stood on this same podium – hosting our 2014 commencement exercises.

But then, I checked my schedule and told Sir Neal that I am available. The mere fact that Sir Neal and Ma’am believed in me boosted my self-confidence. It means my mentors found something special in me that I could deliver a speech that would inspire young minds to find their voices and rock the maritime industry. Yeah! I am nervous guys (Ma’am Eler is here, Ma’am Jessica, Sir Lamasan and Sir tan) – my mentors) but I am standing doing my best to deliver and share the wisdom that I have gained from my “real life experiences”.

This part of the program might be so boring that nobody even bothers to listen because they are busy taking selfies/groupies, updating their fans on Facebook and Instagram that finally they will be graduating. So, it really is a challenge for me. How do I say something new that hasn’t been mentioned a thousand times already? How do I sum up my wisdom in an address for a max of 10mins and how do I get the audience listen to me and make this speech interesting and worthwhile?

I can still reminisce the day when I was sitting in one of those chairs, trying to figure out what would lie ahead after I got hold of my diploma. During that time, all I could think of is to start practicing my profession and face the real world.

Now let’s get into business. I would want this speech to revolve around this thought, “I create my own life, and therefore I will lay down my own criteria for success”. People would consider themselves successful when they have reached the pinnacles of their careers as masters, others just want a dream house, a dream car and a family of their own and others just wanna be happy. Therefore, success is subjective. It is personal that only you can define it. I may find myself successful, but others won’t and vice versa. As a verse from the poem “Desiderata” goes, “If you compare yourself with others, you will become vain and bitter for always there will be greater and lesser person than yourself.”

So what needs to be done, how can I start defining my own success? Let me share 3 main points.

1. Have a blueprint. Whenever a building is constructed, a blueprint serves as a pattern or a guide and that no building is properly erected without a solid and proper blueprint. Relating to our lives, we need to have a plan - where do I see myself 5, 10 years from now? Because life isn’t a que sera sera - leave it all up to fate or destiny kind of thing. You create your life therefore you take charge and plan. Successful people do not just dream, they wake up and do all the hard work to achieve success. After graduating, I told myself to practice my profession, learn the things I need to learn and once I’m done I would start working ashore. And midshipmen I did. I told my parents “ma/tayindikoyamagworksabarkodugay, ma land base akoya” Mom/dad I’m not gonna work on ships for a long time for I will be working ashore.That was the plan ever since. I had a blueprint and for me to create my own success I must abide by it.
Point no. 1 – Have a blueprint!
2. What you focus on expands. Midshipmen, your brain is more than just an organ that controls your body. It’s the software system for your life computer, and if you want to plan your life, it will have to start with the way you think. If you want to become a master, focus all your energies into becoming one. I graduated March 2008 and in February 2009, I got promoted to Jr 3rd officer, March of the same year, I was promoted to 3rd officer and December of that same year I was promoted to 2nd officer and June 2013 I passed the C/officer licensure exam. I was only on vacation max of 2months and min of 2weeks. I was so focused on my career because I had a plan and I didn’t have plans of stopping until I had achieved it. My crewing managers were so happy because I was always in myA game and they can count on me when needed. I even went onboard December 18 when everybody’s hiding not to go onboard.Like a microscope, I focused my efforts because I had to follow my life’s blueprint.
When Henry Sy, decided to reclaim the we consider now as MOA complex, people laughed at him and asked him “Who would want to invest in a reclaimed area? Do you have customers nearby? But he was as focused as a LASER and challenged himself “If there are no customers, then I will create a community. Look at MOA complex now, it has become a landmark. Sometimes, you can achieve even the impossible when you believe in the power of your mind to focus. The same dilemma I had when I decided to work ashore. In my blueprint it says go and start working ashore. I did not have the experience, I did not have a huge network, my parents do not approve of it and my friends and colleagues were cynics (some even concluded that I have lost my mind). But I went back to my own definiton of success – It is personal, I have my blueprint and I don’t care what you say or think, I will do what I have planned to do – just watch me.

When I decided to work ashore again, I was so focused. June2014, I was hired as a senior training instructor, October of the same year, I was promoted to OIC of the training department and January 2016 I was promoted to Training Manager. I am sharing my career projection to all of you not to brag but to share a concrete example of my 2nd point. The biggest obstacle to your own success is the limit you place on yourself! If you think you can do it, then you will do it. If you think you can’t, then you won’t. Seek advice from those better than you because when you listen to people who haven’t even proven anything yet then you are doomed.
Let me review guys, first we need to have a blueprint, a plan on how you want your life to be and second focus on the plan.

3. The 3rd point I would want you midshipmen to take note is to have the proper attitude – towards work and the people you work with. As member of the generation Z, you have all the information at the tip of your hands. Now all you must do is to go online, search and “poof” – information overload.When it comes to success, we often think that those who are blessed with brains and high IQs are bound to be successful and that those whom we consider slow won’t even make the cut. 2 words “FAKE NEWS”. You may be able to know everything but if you do not know how to deal with people, you will fail. Because the work onboard is not a one man show.

December 20th 2009, I was promoted to2nd officer because of an emergency (the 2nd mate onboard was sent home).When I received a letter of recommendation,I went to the master and I honestly told him that I am not yet ready. His exact words “Joey, you may not have enough knowledge yet, but you can always learn. I know that you are still young, but I can see how you work with the people onboard and we are here to assist you.”For a Filipino being able to experience that same support from a Norwegian captain means a lot. But the struggle was real- I had to read our manuals, learn from the experiences of my master and I mastered the job. Cadets and cadets, you can be the most brilliant in class or a graduate of the most prestigious university but if you do not possess the right attitude shipping companies will cease to hire you. If you do not know how to deal with people, you won’t further in your career. If you think respect is associated with fear, then you should be in the military and not onboard ships because working onboard requires team effort and you need to be a team player for you to succeed.
My goal as I deliver a speech is to inspire you and inculcate 3 main points towards achieving success:
1. Create your life’s blueprint – which means you take charge of your life becauseif you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
2. Focus on the goal – head to wherever you want your ship to be. (take actions)
3. Right Attitude – your attitude will determine the altitude of your success.

I may have considered myself successful in the path that I have chosen because of the help of those people whom I will forever be grateful. They have opened my eyes to the reality that life is what we make it. We are all given 24hrs a day so let’s make the most out of it.
Lastly, I just would want to stress this out. When you have already found your voice and achieved success, please inspire others in finding theirs. Let’s us strengthen our bond as Lacsonians in giving birth to a new breed of seafarers. We must be maritime professionals and industry leaders armed not only with skills and knowledge but with the right attitude to rise above others. That is my goal now, so please help me, help you and let’s help others.
To my beloved alma matter, thank you very much for this opportunity – I will forever be grateful.
To the graduates, Sail on and achieve your dreams, the battle has just begun, you have some work to do.

And to all of us gathered here, may we enjoy the rest of the afternoon.