The youth no longer bows to those who are in power. They stand up and shout with all their will. They stand up tall and show them that they have power, that they have control, and that they can be excellent and even more. The young no longer set their sights on easy marks or even aim for goals too close at hand. They become the greatest as they reach up high and remain eager to use every skill that they have. James Benedict is one of the greatest. He doesn’t fear what others say or do. But, he pursues what he desires. What do you expect? He is simply just the greatest.
Setting a goal is something that we all need to do. We mark an X on the calendar and select a time to arrive. James Benedict arrives with purpose. He explores and starts something new. He experiences valuable lessons as he continues to strive for excellence. Then, he goes to his destination with achievement within his sight. The word excellence becomes important as it remains significantly your own. Personally, the one-word definition for excellence is simply you.
James Benedict strives for excellence.
When one strives for excellence, good things come their way especially when they maintain a positive attitude. The strive for excellence was natural for James Benedict. He knows that he was born to be somebody, born to excel, and born to enjoy all the things he does well.
“It actually started in school. I was born to be excellent and competitive. I was trained by my parents to always be prepared. It’s just so natural to me. I actually like to be the best most of the time. I don’t like letting myself be the second if I can be the first. It’s something that started in school because that’s where I discovered my competitiveness and whatnot.”
Reaching higher impacted his perception of taking control of his own life, of his own future. James Benedict knows he can do anything he sets his mind to. He feeds his soul with the fact that he can be better. He leans into it and becomes the master of his own fate.
“I can be better. My future can be better. It should be better than now. I experienced some kind of comfortability in life, especially now. But, of course, my wanting to be called excellent means me wanting for more, me wanting for better. That becomes my motivation to do more, to be more, and to act more.”
As a student, James Benedict understands the importance of education.
Education builds you up for your own future. It’s the key to success, the key to freedom. James Benedict also acknowledges that education will make a person relevant and overcome discrimination. He knows that we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that fundamentally alters the way we live, work, and relate to one another.
“For me, the importance of education refers to our ticket to go out of poverty. Not just poverty, but it will allow us to be whole as a person. Without education, we would be so ignorant about so many things. And, education isn’t just about acquiring knowledge in school. It’s about acquiring skills that we need necessary for our survival, for the fourth industrial revolution characterized by massive creative destruction. And, I say that education is important because, without it, we’ll be something less. It sounds so bad. But, it’s just the reality. You find it hard to get a job without an education. Like, everything is unequal for you without it.”
The massive creative destruction refers to the process of industrial mutation that continuously revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, and incessantly creating a new one. In the name of convenience, people have created so many tools and utilities that look like solving some problems. However, it has actually ended up hurting the ecosystem by creating more problems.
Going to different schools shaped James Benedict into the person that he is right now.
James Benedict studied in a public school during his elementary days. The Claudio Sandoval Elementary School remained the central institution in Coron, Palawan. Then, he moved to Manila to study in another public school, Ramon Magsaysay High School Manila under the Special Sciences curriculum. After that, he pursued his senior high school program at the University of Santo Tomas under the Accountancy and Business Management strand. Currently, he is in college, studying Economics at the De La Salle University – Taft.
“Let’s think of it as differences in socioeconomic classes. So, I started my elementary and secondary years at public schools. We all know that public schools have free education. It’s most probably one of the places where you interact with marginalized people. UST, it’s a semi-rich school. So, it’s where the rich and the poor interact. So, it’s in the middle. Then, in La Salle. That’s where the richest of the rich study.”
“There’s this shift – from the marginalized to the richest of the rich. So, in that way, I was able to empathize. I was able to communicate. I was able to relate to people belonging to different classes. So, I think my experience in those relationships with these people, hearing their stories and knowing their personalities made me become a holistic person. Because I was able to empathize, able to connect, and able to relate with these people.”
James Benedict on the power of the youth.
The youth has seen so much. We are survivors of the world that has gone mad. We fight for our future and against the woes of the people seated on the throne. When united, the youth has power, they sing a chorus with their own voices and will. James Benedict tells us that there are people that consider him ‘too young,’ despite being a successful twenty-one-year-old.
But, he is fulfilled and it doesn’t stop him from reaching for more. Moments have existed where people invalidated his experiences and achievements due to having such a young age. However, he knows that there is power in self-actualization. And, he is confident enough to know that he can be so much more.
“They were saying, ‘Parati nalang ganyan, wala na bang iba?’ Something like that. It’s almost the same every day. It’s almost the same criticisms that I’ve received most of the time. But, I handle it as a motivation to do more – to be better. I handle it as a motivation to discover things that I have yet to discover; to discover passions sleeping inside my head. So, I made these comments as motivation. I’m not a status quo person. I am more and I am better than myself right now. And, I can be someone that those people wouldn’t be able to imagine.”
As someone who is considered too young, James Benedict points out the misconceptions that a lot of people view the youth.
Being a young person doesn’t innately mean that he doesn’t see the injustices, the inequality, and the lack of support in this world. The youth is packed with energy, ready to take any risk. We want to learn a lot and fast, stand on our own feet, and live in a word of our own creation. Just like the youth, James Benedict is ready to scale dizzying heights and pull off new feats.
The youth yearns to prove everything scientifically, self-teaching and fact-checking on their own. We don’t fear, feel determined, and maybe even a little bit reckless. But, we rely on our efforts, strengths, and skills. Because, who else would want to believe in us if we don’t believe in ourselves?
“A lot of people tend to see the youth as someone who is powerless. They see youth as someone who can do things which include studying, of course. But, we can’t make decisions for ourselves. And, that’s too bad. Because, the young generation right now are engaged and inculcated with adequate knowledge, the adequate experience of what the surroundings have given us.”
“The environment right now is different from the environment during the 1980s or the 1990s. The environment right now made me realize that in an early stage… I think, it’s not necessary to say that we are too young to decide, that we are too young to think. It’s just that they can’t understand us because they don’t live in an environment that we are in right now.”
The different sides of James Benedict.
There is this theory that people are either left-brained or right-brained, meaning that only one side of their brain remains dominant. If you’re mostly analytical and methodical in your thinking, the theory says that you’re probably left-brained. However, if you tend to be more creative or artistic, you’re right-brained. But, the thing about this theory is that it really says that an analytical person cannot be creative. Or, an artistic person cannot think methodically.
James Benedict contradicts this theory. He is verbal, analytical, and orderly. However, he is also visual, creative, and intuitive. He speaks logically and is filled with facts. But, he also has holistic thinking, uses his intuition, and expresses himself through creativity. He isn’t one without the other. And, he just proves it with the different interests he devotes his time.
The right brain.
Young people are unique in their own ways but they have similar interests that feed their individuality and creativity. James Benedict has a lot of other interests. This, of course, includes fashion. It emanates from the mind, is viewed physically, and becomes an expression of inner beauty.
It seems as if before the pandemic, people are content wearing what is comfortable and functional. However, as the years pass by, we seek an outlet for our uniqueness. The pandemic redefined the fashion industry. Now, fashion enthusiasts like James Benedict update their wardrobes and gain confidence and style to fit their lifestyles.
“It started during the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, I was just an occasional dresser. I buy things out of necessity – it’s just out of necessity. It’s not out of my wanting to wear that dress or wear that outfit. I used to wear an outfit over and over. Then, during the pandemic, I realized that I have the time. I had time to focus on myself, I had time to look in the mirror and see what was better for me. Then, I started online shopping. I would try different dresses and pair them with different trousers. And, just like that, I started going like, ‘Oh, it could be better. I could be better with my style.’ Mid-pandemic, I started to search on Pinterest for outfit inspirations and daily OOTDs. From then on, I started to fantasize about wearing different outfits and looking for a better look, for a better style that would fit my body, my comfortability, my face, and whatnot.”
Mastering one’s personal fashion style would require clothing that would emulate their uniqueness. It would take a lot of trial and error. Sometimes, it would take years to figure out what one would actually like and what would fit their personality. Fashion keeps evolving and one’s taste will continue to expand. James Benedict admits that he has yet to master his personal style. However, he knows he will get there in time.
“I have not yet mastered my personal style. But, I think, I’m getting there. I started wanting more on my comfortability side before looking at the aesthetics of the outfit. My outfits are more formal-casual. It’s like an on-the-go multipurpose outfit. It’s usually an outfit you can use for meetings, parties, and attending classes among others. So, I think I’m getting there. I think it could be better. But, I’m getting there naman.”
The left brain.
The youth are smart, as mentioned above. We think and create any literate meaning that comes to us in contemplation. We satisfy our inner intellect and fulfill our purpose with knowledge. It also allows us to create a bigger impact in this society. James Benedict reflects that as he is also into business and a financial aficionado. Talk about multi-faceted!
“We had this activity in senior high school where we were tasked to manipulate the stock market through an app. It’s a mock stock market where you won’t need any money, just virtual ones. It’s a school activity. So, it’s graded. I needed to earn. But, I ended up losing. I ended up having a red. And, I don’t like my scores going down.”
“So, what I did was I studied the stock market in the Philippines. I realized it was too slow. But, I ended up putting up money in the Philippine stock market. It earned. Then, I discovered other financial opportunities such as the cryptocurrency and off-shore stock market, and I entered and studied along the way. When I mastered the art of cryptocurrency trading and stocks trading, that’s when I started my career as a financial aficionado. And, it all started out of a failing grade from that activity.”
Of course, his learning doesn’t stop there as James Benedict plans for his future endeavors. Cryptocurrency is becoming the next big thing in the Philippines. Investors already held up to 2% of their assets in cryptocurrency. Experts anticipate this to grow up to 5% in the next five years, given crypto’s positive outlook. It gains traction among investors building their wealth portfolio.
“My plans for the future is to have a three-part cryptocurrency multi-faceted system in the Philippines. The first one is an academy, a cryptocurrency academy. I want cryptocurrency to be known in the Philippines, not to be feared due to the stereotypes surrounding it. Like, it’s a scam, it’s just going to take your money… But, I earned something from cryptocurrency. So, it’s something I want to share with others.”
“The second one is consulting, investments consulting. I want to let people know that ‘Oh, you can earn more from investing here’ or ‘Oh, you can earn more from investing in this money right now.’ And, the third one is to have a third-party trading firm in the Philippines. It’s to trade other people’s money. So, if you’re tired of learning about cryptocurrency or if you’re old enough to learn the new technologies, give the money to us and we’ll trade for you.”
James Benedict had a specific moment that made him go, ‘Oh, I want to do this.’ Somebody had trusted him to trade their money for payment. Then, he thought to make it bigger. Although he has started to plan, he has yet to look for the time to pursue it.
“I really wanted to do that when someone offered me to ‘Trade our money and we’ll pay you.’ And, I accepted some. Then, I thought of making it big. So, why don’t I do this? I can do this. I just don’t have the time yet. So, yeah.”
James Benedict has a message for those people who are considered ‘too young,’ for those people who have their accomplishments and achievements invalidated by those ‘experienced’ people.
“Do not listen to them. You are more than enough. You are smarter than anyone else. Believe in yourself and follow your dreams no matter how big those dreams are. Dreams are free. You are not charged by the hour to pay for those dreams. Your dreams are meant for you. It’s up to you to decide on moving for those dreams, going for those dreams, and living in those dreams. It’s all about you at the end of the day. Do not care and do not give an F to those people. Do not ever hesitate to believe in yourself. Don’t think of them.”
The youth has a lot of potentials. James Benedict is just one of the greatest among them. He believes that there is greater potential to stand firm, stay true, and not fall prey to disbelief in one’s self. He invites everybody, not just the youth, to step out of the frame, and believe in our full potential.
Publisher | Richie de Quina & Gwynn Crisostomo
Editor-in-Chief | John Luke Chica
Senior Editor | Rapha Garcia and Angela Baltan
PR & Advertising Manager | Josh Austria
Digital Manager | Allen Esteban
Words by Angela Baltan
Photography | Pat Dy
Creative Direction | Hartman Communications
Wardrobe | Francis Libiran
Wardrobe Stylist | Brasty PH
Set Design | Rocket Sets
MUA | Lei Ponce
Hair | Diana May
Shoot Coordination | Events Embassy
Studio | Studio J Manila
Angela Grace P. Baltan has been writing professionally since 2017. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. Aside from that, she has an affinity for writing anything under the sun. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, the LGBTQIA+ community, and mental health among others.