Encouraging entrepreneurial success on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, CNMI*!

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

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"Is the message getting through?"


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!

A few days ago, someone asked me if, given the weekly articles I write, and the consulting, seminars and talks that I do, if I believed my message was getting through. So, prone as I am to bouts of over-analysis and verbosity, I’ve decided to answer this seemingly simple question with an entire column. To answer, however, I first have to answer a few other questions. First, what exactly is my message? Second, how would I know if it is really getting through?

What is the message?

First, I’ll say "the message" is not mine alone. There’s an entire self-help/empowerment industry with books, audio and videos that’s been built around getting this sort of thinking adopted by increasing numbers of people. I’m just one of many messengers. (Check out www.selfgrowth.com as a place to start.) My life has been devoted to promoting this broad message, an aspect of which is the preamble to my column.

Think, speak and act differently (i.e. positively, constructively, creatively). Take matters into your own hands. Don’t wait for handouts. Plan and build for the future. Create something of value. Exchange that value with the world (it’s the only way to control your prosperity). Start your own business. Use your passion and natural assets (everything you need is here) as the basis of your product, your business, industry and economy. Teach others, especially the children, to do the same. Rinse and repeat.

For the message to get through, it’s important that people come to associate a consistent, and repeated message with what me and what I preach. Therefore, every book and every blog, every poem and every project is created and offered with the message in mind. The message also extends to matters of personal health where I advocate what some might consider a radical approach to health and wellness: that neither health nor illness is random, but predictable and therefore controllable results of specific beliefs and actions, and despite what “experts” say, things that have been in place since the beginning—water, sunlight, fruits and plants—not drugs—are all you’ll ever need to cure any disease. (Check out www.watercure.com and www.agelessadept.com as places to start)

What are the challenges to the message?

Such a message is necessary because, as people and populations endeavor to survive, succeed, prosper and grow, they are often hindered by old ways of thinking, old habits of dependency and passivity, short-sightedness, a pervasive employee mentality, issues of low self-worth, and are misled by advertising campaigns that promote consumerism over self-sufficiency, industry lobbies which put their members’ profits over people, and medical principles and practices that are focused not on really helping and healing, but on selling a particular product or service for as long as possible.

We live in a society where capitalism trumps common sense, and where sales are more important than safety. So, cigarette companies are allowed to sell products known to cause death. Meat companies are allowed to sell E. coli-contaminated, antibiotic-laced, steroid-injected products that cause tens of thousands of deaths each year that are never publicized.

In addition, ways of thinking that keep people in bondage are promoted as normal and desirable at the cost of real freedom. These are just some of the obstacles.

Is the message getting through?

So, now that we know what the message is, and what the obstacles may be, in order to determine if the message is getting through, it would need to be shown that people are changing limiting beliefs and behavior, resisting old programming and habits and adopting different, more empowering and liberating ones. So, is the message getting through?

Absolutely! (What did you think I would say?) And here’s the proof: When I hear a radio interview with the Ladera School principal hopeful about edu-tourism being a potential Saipan mini-industry, and what they are doing to create it; when I speak with the Marianas Dive Group founder about the scuba diving experience here on Saipan being a world-class attraction for tourists, and what the group is doing to promote it; when I read about MyTenda.com using the Internet to sell uniquely Saipan products to those overseas; when I receive an e-mail announcing the new website of a local vendor selling island handcrafted jewelry and accessories; when workshop participants stop me in public and tell me they’re thinking of starting their own business; When people show up for the recent “cook-in” for healthy eaters that the Pacific Island Food Co-op did at NMC; when someone downloads the New Saipan Agenda at www.newsaipan.com; when I see that the number of bloggers on Saipan is now well over 120; and welovesaipan.com is still on the first page of results on a Google search for "saipan"—all of this exist as proof that the message is in fact getting through. All that is needed now is for the trend to continue, and the numbers to increase.

Support the message! Things I’d love to see and see more of

So, yes, the message is getting through. The proof cited above is by no means a comprehensive list. Evidence abounds that not only indicate but, once known more widely, would add to the momentum of the adoption of the message. So, since we’re on the topic, here’s my own wish list. I’d like to see:

1. Reporters, writers, columnists, photographers, radio and television producers and hosts seek out images and stories that highlight more proof of the message and document it all for us and the rest of the world to see.

2. An increase in business ownership among the indigenous population. I’d like to see 50 people contact Tony Pellegrino and take him up on his offer to mentor local residents in business development and growth. (email Tony at tonypell@saipan.com or call 322-9221)

3. A reduction in consumerism, and more focus on producing our own. Rather than blindly accept the increase in consumerism as an indication of progress and prosperity, I’d like to see the recognition that self-sufficiency is always a better model for a sovereign nation.

4. A ban of certain so-called food items. Just because something can be chewed and swallowed doesn’t make it real food. By the same token, just because something can be sold, doesn’t mean it should be sold here. If people can be denied entry into a country, then so should certain products proven to harm life. The Philippines recently banned meat from the UK. If anyone has any details on Yap’s ban of canned food of several years ago, please let me know. I know that flies in the face of the free market system, but it’s a personal peeve of mine that free market = free to kill. (Check out www.newstarget.com as a place to start).

5. An education campaign in schools based on a different paradigm of health—one that recognizes that health generally deteriorates once a Western diet is adopted, and when corporate interests are placed before public health—one that offers instead a different understanding of how to achieve and maintain health. There is, in fact, an alternative food pyramid that helps teach the principles of health in a sensible, truthful, real world way. (Check out www.honestfoodguide.org as a place to start)

6. More workshops on self-help and personal development, as well as how to launch passion-centered, Internet-based businesses. (Uh, guess I’ll have to do my part on that one! See event notices below.) Did you know that over 1.3 million people worldwide use eBay as their primary or secondary source of income? Have you noticed the number of garage sales on island? I had a dream in which Saipan become known as “ebay island,” boasting the greatest percentage of population earning money through Internet sites selling unique products to the rest of the world. Hmmmm.

And, number 7 on my short list of things to do to support the message is

7. The leaders’ message

Of critical importance to the CNMI recovering from its present situation and facing the future with hope is the example set by the leadership. Finally, but most importantly, therefore, I’d like to see a “We may be down, but we’re not out” type of speech and series of public service announcements sponsored by the administration—one that inspires hope in the recovery of the economy and not a “woe is us, we’re doomed” mentality. Film and record it, and air it every day on radio and on television, and publish it in the newspaper every week. (search “greatest speeches” at www.libraryvideo.com or www.inspirationalspeakers.wordpress.com as a place to start)

As an example, here are the closing remarks of a speech to the nation by Harry S. Truman delivered in 1947 (see wordpress site for full transcript):

“…After all, there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people themselves. Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system, and it is up to you to support and make it work.

It is your problem, my friends, your problem no less than it is mine.

Together we cannot fail.”


* * *

Thanks for the question, Ruth. Now speaking of doing my part…

EVENT: Today, Wednesday, Oct. 3, I’ll be sharing a message on “Education” with the student participants of the Student Career Exploration Day sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. It will take place at the Saipan World Resort’s Taga Hall. Registration and buffet begin at 11:30am, and the meeting begins at noon. Cost of the meeting is $15 per person for Chamber members, $20 per person for Chamber guests, and $25 per person for the general public.

EVENT: On Sunday, Oct. 7, from 1:30pm to 5:30pm at the Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe, I’ll be sharing a message on “Leadership” as part of the Success for the Filipino Community series. Admission: $2; presented by Rico "Dr. Love" Cardoniga; to register: text Ladyvir Canape at 989-4958.


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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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