IN the Hollywood movie The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a dad who struggled to financially make ends meet.
Gardner was so broke and homeless that he and his toddler son slept at a train station toilet to survive the night. Eventually, Smith’s character rose to become one of the top New York stock brokers, establishing his own brokerage firm with offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
Much like the story of Gardner, Spectrum Investments Inc. (SII) President Carl Dy also started from the bottom.
Armed with nothing but his life motto, “To be better than before, be better than others and be better than expected”, he literally clawed his way to the top.
DY considered himself not a smart kid growing up: he almost flunked high school and nearly got kicked out of his freshman year.
Dy practically believed he was a failure, as he grew up in an environment where his future was defined by academic success. He was made to believe that he would not make it big because he was not as smart as the others who were bound for success.
For him, passing school was the ultimate challenge. Going overseas to study in an Ivy League university felt almost like wishful thinking; a dream that is hard to achieve both academically and financially.
At 12 years old, Dy was given the opportunity to work in an uncle’s hardware store in Binondo: not inside an air-conditioned office but out under the hot sun as a bike delivery boy.
“I never felt unaccomplished just being a delivery boy,” he said. “At that time, I enjoyed the freedom of biking around Chinatown getting to see different stores and meeting different people.”
For Dy, his sense of accomplishment was immediate.
“As soon as you deliver a package, there is an immediate accomplishment.”
He earned P50 a day and got paid every Saturday a stipend of P300 per week.
“It was empowering,” he said. “It was sweet. I no longer have to depend on others for the things I want. I just have to wake up every day, go to work and deliver goods. If I wanted P1,000, I just have to wake up, go to work for 20 days and I could have the money to buy the toy I wanted.”
Dy said he would dream a lot while riding his bicycle around Chinatown during his days as a delivery boy.
“I would dream of buying myself a nice school bag, new school shoes and, of course, the toys that my parents were not able to buy for me due to lack of budget”, he said. “I was a young boy that time. Life was simple.”
THE turning point in Dy’s young life started during his college days when he was introduced to assets and liabilities. An asset is something that puts money into his pocket and where liability is something that takes away money from it, he explained.
“I have learned that the secret formula to be wealthy is to build and grow your passive income, which is an idea I was truly blown away with. So I started studying more about it,” Dy said. “I also firmly decided that I would grow my passive income and what better way to do it than through real estate.”
Like his parents who are also into sales, Dy started working as a property consultant for Ayala Land Inc. He was one of the youngest in his group and one of the last to make an “ice-breaker sale”.
He didn’t think it was going to be hard—he almost threw in the towel and considered real estate was not for him. He remembers having such difficulty convincing his clients to trust him as he had no experience. All he ever wanted to do was to close a sale regardless of the client’s needs and financial standing.
Yet, Dy believed it was a one-sided selling strategy. Years of experience has taught him that the client’s needs and interests are the priority, closing a sale is a by-product of being able to give more value to the client.
He didn’t give up.
After years of trying to learn the ropes, he decided to put up SII, a property portfolio advisory company. Fast forward 25 years later, Dy pursued his dreams of going to an Ivy League school. This time, he aimed not just for a university in Hong Kong or Singapore but all the way to the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.
DY, currently a property speaker and is a top resource for Philippine property information, credits his success to the belief not to allow other people to define who he is “if you failed once or a few times in your life”.
“It does not mean you are a failure. God uses challenges to prepare you for a bigger purpose,” he said. “If nine people say you are a failure, and one person said you will succeed, believe in that one person who gives positive reinforcement.”
He also dreams big
“God has big plans for you—if you are struggling right now. Keep on praying and believe that God has big plans for you and me. We just have to anchor on Him and know that there is a better tomorrow.”
Dy said in his journey he has met two kinds of people: one will discourage you, while the other will encourage you.
“Choose to be with people who inspire and pushes you to be better,” he said. “It may not be the easiest at first, but in the long run it will level you up and make you better.”
Finally, Dy advices: “Don’t stop growing. And always be curious.”