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*Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory.

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The New Saipan--What Matters Most


The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!

>As I search for the thoughts I wish to share in today’s column, I’m challenged to write something that matters. I’ve always felt that everything I do has to have some purpose. Perhaps I’m naive, but I would like to think that everyone who shares his or her opinion in a column like this does so with the belief that that opinion serves some greater purpose—that it somehow matters what they say, and is really helping others.

Identity, Purpose and Survival

There are only three basic questions every person on the planet is ultimately asking themselves every day:

1. Who am I?

2. Why am I here?

3. How shall I survive?


In other words: Identity, Purpose and Survival.

The order of importance of these questions in your life varies depending on your current situation. For many people, basic survival is so much at the forefront of daily life, that there is little opportunity to indulge exploration of the other questions.

With that as a starting point, it would seem appropriate that anything we do with the stated purpose of helping others should help them answer those questions. Don’t you think? Everything else would be mere distraction.


What’s News?

As I was listening to "the news" last week, I learned that the day’s top stories included the war in Iraq, Lewis Libby’s sentencing, and Paris Hilton’s court case. It struck me that we’ve all been forced, and have therefore come to accept what others have decided "news" should be. Coming as it does every hour on the hour, the repetitious nature of "the news" has tremendous impact on one’s thoughts, moods, beliefs and expectations. In fact, it’s probably the single most important factor in shaping public thought, mood, belief and expectation, and explains why any government intent on shaping the minds and moods of the masses makes sure they control "the news" that is released to the population. That, along with the ads on television and radio, create a distorted perception of "Who I am, Why I am here, and How I shall survive." For the most part, our current concept of news breeds a fear-based concept of the world and our place in it, avoids serious discussions of one’s real purpose, focuses on the negative and salacious, and encourages the development of only the rudimentary tools of survival (i.e., working for someone else).

So, if this thing we call news is so important as to be offered every hour on the hour on radio, at least three times per day on television, and fill the pages of newspapers, and magazines, shouldn’t it be answering at least one of the three most important questions every human is asking? In other words, if it’s not helping me to form an identity, find my purpose, or aid my survival, what role is this thing we call "news" playing in my life? Simply distraction? Something to think about, perhaps.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with distraction. Entertainment in various forms serves an important purpose. However, without intending to minimize the personal significance of a judge’s decision to her and her immediate family, the outcome of Paris Hilton’s court case does not answer any significant question in my life.

Perhaps it’s time to demand a new definition of what news is and does. I’ve often thought "news" should serve some greater purpose. My entire Passion Profit Philosophy and Formula, my personal mission statement ("I share what I know, so that others may grow") and by extension, this column, all share that belief. Everything I write, therefore, is intended to help answer one or more of those three most important questions. So, if you find the answers to identity, purpose, survival important in your life, I’d like to think that you can look to me, my books and my column for some help:

Who am I? At times in this column, I offer insights into the true nature of reality, the power of thoughts and words in shaping that reality, our place in the universe, and concepts which mold the understanding the spiritual component of one’s being in the search for one’s identity.

Why am I here? At other times I offer encouragement to seek first one’s purpose (i.e., as creator, savior, guru or guide) as a starting point in the journey of turning one’s passion into profit.

How shall I survive? At other times I offer specific information, inspiration and ideas of ways to generate income in the interest of economic survival.


Dealing with Change

In an effort to address the issue of economic survival on a national level, I’ve recently introduced something called The New Saipan Agenda—a philosophy that encourages establishing viable businesses and industries within the CNMI which respect The 10 Commandments of Paradise*.

As part of that Agenda, the New Saipan ActionTank (an evolution of the think tank) is committed to help realize that philosophy. The ActionTank is about action in the face of change.

For those who are frightened by the concept of change, keep in mind that in life, change is sometimes beyond your control. What you can control, however, are your reactions and responses to the change. The New Saipan ActionTank, therefore, is not here to change things. It is here to help with the transition given that change is already occurring. So, when we speak of change below, we are speaking about the response that we choose.

I suggest, therefore, that the necessary response in the face of change, and what the New Saipan ActionTank is committed to doing is to

1. Envision the change

2. Spark the change

3. Lead the change

4. Document the change


The strategy above, and the questions which follow can be used by anyone who wishes to participate in the New Saipan.

Envision the Change

What is your vision of what a new Saipan can look like? What’s your ideal scene? What can be improved?

Spark the Change

What can you do to be a catalyst for change? How can you get the ball rolling? How can you encourage or inspire others to bring about the change you envision?

Lead the Change

The best way to change the world is to be the change you’d like to see, and lead by example. What can you do to show others how it should be done?

Document the Change

In this time of distraction, it’s not enough to simply respond to change, it is important that your response be documented and exposed. This is vitally important, because without adequate documentation and coverage, people are left at the mercy of fear-based, passivity-inducing, daily "news" that neither empowers nor appropriately informs. How can we expose our efforts and accomplishments to the greatest number of people?

Evidence of Change

The strategy above is not unique to the ActionTank. There are examples and evidence of people already using it:

BeautifyCNMI!, concerned about the appearance of this island, took matters in their own hands and envisioned, sparked, led and continue to document the change on their website (www.beautifycnmi.com).

CAMI-CNMI (Coalition on the Anti-Stigmas of Mental Illness in the CNMI) concerned about the stigma associated with mental illness decided to envision, spark, lead a change in thinking and action that they too document on their website (www.beyondbehaviors.com & www.cami-cnmi.blogspot.com).

SAVE (Student Action for a Viable Environment), led by students and teachers at Hopwood Jr. High who were concerned about Saipan’s environment and the value of our young people’s input in addressing this issue, are mobilizing and empowering students to envision, spark, lead and document their response (www.greencnmi.blogspot.com).

Yes, the correct response to change is action. Complaining, assigning blame or finding scapegoats doesn’t serve the greater good.

In my own efforts, rather than complain about the existence of negative websites which cast a pall over Saipan’s image, I started a (weloveSaipan.com) site which now ranks #9 on a Google search for "Saipan," and offers alternate opinions on life on Saipan.

Rather than assigning blame for the relative absence of certain food choices for a health-conscious lifestyle, I started a Food Co-operative (www.pacificislandfoodcoop.org) that is helping a growing number of members here and on Rota order healthy items online from the comfort of their homes.

Rather than lament the need for more internationally-focused entrepreneurial thought and action, I started the Saipanpreneur Project (www.saipanpreneur.com) which is helping a few entrepreneurs market their goods beyond Saipan’s shores.

And, as I’m discovering, there are people already starting businesses and adopting lifestyles that respect the 10 Commandments of Paradise. Over the next few months, the NewSaipan ThinkTank will endeavor to envision, spark, lead and document such responses to help expose this New Saipan which is taking shape. I will share these with you in my column and on the newsaipan.com website.

It is my desire that being informed of these efforts will encourage others to change their dialogue, consider other options for responding to change, follow suit, and add to the momentum that is already building. And that, my friends, when all is said and done, will be good news. Stay tuned.

For more on The 10 Commandments of Paradise visit www.newsaipan.com

* * *

Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!


(Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of 12 books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit. Walt offers coaching and workshops to help people pursue and profit from their passions. Originally from the island of Jamaica, Walt has grown several successful businesses in the US, and now makes his home here in Saipan. To learn more about the Saipanpreneur Project and Walt’s philosophy and formula visit www.saipanpreneur.com and www.passionprofit.com. Send article suggestions, entrepreneur nominations and feedback about this article to walt@passionprofit.com.)


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WHERE IS SAIPAN?

where is saipan

Located in the western pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 12 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 14 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.

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