How to Become a Superstar

By Bo Sanchez


This month, Illustrado focuses on Art and Education.   Art and Education remind me of two words: core gift. I believe art and education challenge us to make the best of our core gift. Yes, everyone has this gift and if you want to succeed in life, you must discover, awaken, explore and use this core gift.

Here, I share with you the story of Ate Guy. I once got a body massage that I’ll never forget. I was massaged by “Ate Guy” (Not her real name). I call her “Ate Guy” because though she looks like a woman, I have a suspicion she’s really a guy. In fact, she has the strength of 10 guys in her little female body. But I’m getting ahead of my story.

One of my friends recommended Ate Guy to me, praising her skill to the highest heavens. My friend said, “Ate Guy’s singular mission in life is to remove your lamig (cold). She’s obsessed. She goes berserk when she finds lamig in your body. She’ll not stop massaging you until the lamig is pulverized under her fingers.”

With that glowing description, my wife Marowe and I contracted her services. On the agreed time, Ate Guy came to our house. The torment begins. I studied Ate Guy. She was 4’11. Mid-thirties. Bordering on thin. Girlish ponytail. Pretty harmless, I thought to myself.

My wife placed a mattress on the floor of our living room and lay down. She wanted to go first. As Ate Guy started massaging her, I sat a few feet away, writing on my computer. I looked at Marowe’s face: She was so relaxed. She appeared half-asleep. I got excited. I wanted to relax and sleep too. After two hours, my wife stood up and said, “That was great! Bo, it’s your turn.”

Oh goody. I lay down and got ready to relax too. Ate Guy knelt beside me and held my face. Ahhhh. Pure bliss. At least, for the first two seconds. After that, it was pure torture. Pure, unadulterated, CIA, KGB, Mafia, Yakuza torture.

During her massage, I reached levels of pain I thought never existed in human experience. Her little thumbs were like Jack Hammers. Like a Sumo Wrestler was massaging me. As I lay on the mattress being massacred, I mean, being massaged by Ate Guy, I wondered if I offended my friend who recommended her to me—that this was his way of revenge.

In the entire two hours, I groaned aray, aray, aray (ouch) the whole time. My wife came up to me and with a sly smile asked, “Do you like it, Bo?” I whispered to her, “I feel I’m being run over by a train again and again.”

Ate Guy was rich. After two hours of excruciating agony, it dawned on me that I had to pay Ate Guy for almost killing me. We live in a crazy world, I tell you.

My wife asked her how much we owed her. Ate Guy said, “P250 an hour.”

Two hours for Marowe and two hours for me. So we paid a thousand bucks for four hours of torment.

I wondered.   How much does this little woman earn a month? I asked her, “Ate Guy, how many prisoners, I mean, customers do you massage every day?”  She answered, “An average of four to five a day.”   I learned that she massages every single day. No day-offs.

“Isn’t that tiring?” I asked her. “That’s 10 hours a day.” “I like it that way,” she said, “If I don’t massage anyone, my body looks for it.” Aha! I knew it. She was a closet masochist.

“Do you advertise your services?” “No. My customers just recommend me to others.” “I’ll recommend you to others too,” I said. I started thinking of all the people who owed me money. “But you mean to tell me every single day of your week is full?”

“Yes,” she said. “Because I’ve got mga suki (regular customers)Some even want me to massage them three times a week.” “Three times a week?” I almost fell off my chair. These people need to see a psychiatrist.

That was when it all hit me: Ate Guy told me she was a former house helper earning PHP3,000 a month. Today, she takes home PHP50,000 to PHP60,000 a month. Much more than many managers I know.

No doubt about it. Ate Guy is a Superstar.

Be a Niche Superstar

How much do other masseuses earn? More or less PHP10,000 a month. Why does Ate Guy earn five times more? Because she stands out.

She’s dominated her niche: The niche of torture camouflaging as massage. Other massagers try to please everybody. They’re average. They’re typical. They’re all alike. They’re forgettable. Not Ate Guy. You either like her or hate her.

Fortunately, there are enough insane people in this world who like her to make her a Superstar. My wife is one of them. She invited her back. I’ve already noted the date of her return—and I’ve arranged to be as far as possible from my house on that day.

You too need to find a way to become a Superstar. But first, let me describe how problems create the phenomenon called Superstars.

Why Problems Create Scarcity, And Scarcity Create Superstars

When I taught this message in one of my preaching engagements, I placed a number of ladders on stage. I told the audience that life offers many ladders to climb, and that ladders represent opportunities for growth. A Superstar is a person who’s able to climb to the top of a ladder.

Do you have problems in your work or business? Each problem is like a step on the ladder. Each problem is an invitation to become a Superstar. Superstars are Superstars because they can solve problems.

That’s why I say problems are wonderful. Without problems, there will be no Superstars. (I wish to thank the brilliant Seth Godin for these insights.)

Example? Imagine that you and I can pick diamonds in our backyards. Would you and I be wealthy? Of course not. In fact, women will stop wearing diamonds, period. Why? Diamonds are Superstars precisely because they’re scarce. If they’re no longer scarce, why bother?

Diamonds are scarce because of the problem of getting them. You have to build underground tunnels and excavate them from beneath the earth. Think now of the many problems of becoming a great singer, a great artist, a great chef, a great businessman, a great priest, a great father, and a great mother.

Problems create scarcity. And scarcity creates Superstars.

Here are the reasons why you need to be a Superstar…


The Rewards of Superstars


People go to Superstars. People watch Superstar movies. People read Superstar books. People eat in Superstar restaurants.

Let me ask you: When you see an empty restaurant, with two waiters sleeping on the tables, would you go there? Not likely. Something in your brain says, “The food there must be awful.”

But when you see a restaurant filled with people, with a long waiting line outside, you’ll say, “My gosh, I better try that restaurant.”

Before you think that this article is just about money, let me also say that Superstars are more emotionally fulfilled. They feel they’ve found their place in the world. They feel they’ve found their mission in life. And Superstars can serve God with more impact.


Skill and Spirit make a Superstar


Do you want to become a Superstar? Read on. To become a Superstar, you need skill and spirit. For example, Ate Guy studied for six months in a technical school. Not satisfied with that, she enrolled again in another school for two months on specialized massage. But her most important education is the years of massaging almost 60 hours a week — year after year after year.

But what made her develop her skill? Spirit. When you really think about it, Superstars are a little bit crazy. Superstars are obsessed!

At the end of the day, it’s Spirit. Passion. Fire. Love. In Japanese, they call this Otaku. For example, Ate Guy hates lamig with an almost neurotic obsession. Once, Ate Guy had a patient whose lamig was stubborn. She ended up massaging this man for four hours straight—free of charge—until she got rid of his lamig. I pity the man. Probably became a paraplegic. But no wonder Ate Guy is a Superstar. Only people with spirit do those crazy things.

Let me give you an example from my life. Once, I had 14 meetings in one week. But despite that hectic schedule, I was still able to write eight long articles. How did I do it? There’s only one answer: I’m crazy. I love writing. I love crafting words. How much do I love writing? Others get high on drugs. I get a high choosing the right adjective for a sentence. I’m nuts!


Why Do People Not Become Superstars?


I’ve met people who aren’t Superstars even when they could have been. They could have been Superstars in their businesses. They could have been Superstars in their careers. They could have been Superstars in their service for God. But they’re not. Why?

I see three reasons.


  1. Wrong Theology – Some people think that God wants them to remain small, insignificant or humble (a distorted definition). Please, throw that rubbish way. Stand out! Create waves. Be the best that you can be! Use the core gifts that God gave you and develop them to the hilt. Because you owe it to your Maker to become a Superstar.

Here’s the second reason…

  1. Wrong Psychology – Some people believe they deserve to be small, to be failures, perhaps because they were treated poorly or suffered some trauma. Friend, be aware of this inner programming and reboot! You deserve to be a Superstar because you already are one – you’re made in His image. God created Superstars. Get used to it!

Finally, the third reason.

  1. Wrong Strategy – People fail to become Superstars because they climb the wrong ladder. Let me shock you: If a ladder will not make you a Superstar, quit. If you have no hope of reaching the top of that ladder, get off that ladder. Why? Because you’ll always be mediocre – average. And in business, average is death. In jobs, average means you’ll be the first one to be retrenched. Even in relationships, average is risky. To be good enough, is not enough. You’ve got to be remarkable. You’ve got to be phenomenal. Choose a ladder where you have Spirit and Skill to make you a Superstar.


Friends, the world needs Superstars. You owe it to the universe to become one. No one benefits if you play small. You only live once. So go full throttle. Live to the max!



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