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Let's Look on the Bright Side

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!

I believe that the Universe is perfect. In other words, when faced with what appears to be adversity, I remind myself that reality is often what you believe it to be, and, as Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity, failure, and heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” However, you have to look for it. The paradox is that unless you first believe Mr. Hill’s statement to be true, you will never find that equivalent benefit. To find it, you must, to use a trite phrase: look on the bright side.

But, what does it mean to “look on the bright side?” It doesn’t mean we roll over and passively accept the things we don’t like. We can still launch a response in protest, and struggle to right perceived wrongs. It doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge the direness of a situation. But it also doesn’t mean we don’t plan for what may be otherwise inevitable.

So let’s apply this to something close to home. Let’s pretend that we live in a land where some new law or regulation is being considered that will affect the local economy and everyone’s livelihood. You know, just hypothetically speaking.

In any such affront to one’s self-determination, the affected person, group, community or nation has several different options for response. In choosing my response, the question I would ask myself is, “Given that it appears there is a plan afoot that seems to march forward despite our protestations, what is my best course of action?” Any course of action comes with a distinct set of possible consequences.

Of sheep, soldiers and sowers

In response, one can submit, or one can protest and struggle. But each one alone has its flaws: Those who simply submit without struggle become like sheep to be led by the will of others. Those who merely protest without an alternate plan of action (“Plan B”) shall be caught woefully unprepared should the struggle not go their way.

Devising that alternate plan of action is the third tactic. I call it “sowing new seeds.”

But just as there are consequences to the lone strategies of submission and protest, those who only develop “plan B” (i.e. sowing new seeds), without doing a little fighting to create an alternate outcome of their choosing, miss the opportunity for self-determination that comes with struggle.

I suggest, therefore, that all three responses are necessary. One must proceed through life with a certain amount of acceptance of what is, a certain amount of protest to right perceived wrongs, and a certain amount of new seed sowing, so that one is not caught unprepared in the future.

Therefore, it would be important to devise alternate plans of action in order to survive the impact of the passage of that hypothetical new law.

Town criers, rabble rousers and seed-sowers

Every role a choice

In responding to that hypothetical new, unpopular law or regulation, some shall whine, some shall agitate, while some shall seek alternatives. As a free individual, I have the right to choose which strategy I feel more inclined to follow. Not everyone can, or should be protesting. Not everyone can, or should be agitating. Similarly, not everyone can or should be planning new strategy. Each response is a necessary role in the grand scheme of things, and for which different people are more or less suited.

And, when you judge my chosen response, remember:

I am not a “whiner” if I choose to voice my discontent. Someone needs to do it. I have simply chosen my role.

I am not an “agitator” if I choose to protest in the face of that same threat. Someone needs to do it. I have simply chosen my role.

I am not a “Pollyanna” if I choose to sow new seeds in the face of the threat. Someone needs to do it. I have simply chosen my role.

The poet in me prefers to think of the whiners as “town-criers”; the agitators as “rabble rousers,” and the Pollyannas as “seed-sowers.”

What I would do

So, if I were organizing a campaign to launch a response to some new idea, trend, regulation or law that I felt was not in my best interest, I would:

1. Assign people to the role of town-crier. Those people would write on blogs, comment on others’ blogs, submit letters to editors, and webmasters, submit comments and write position statements, and make sure they get in the hands of the appropriate agencies, government officials, and most importantly, the local, national and international media. (That last group is vitally important, since a public outcry heard around the world brings coverage that may make certain activities harder to push through silently.)

Now, just a note: Town-criers should not debate other town-criers. Their goal is to spread the word outside of the immediate community. Your letters are not intended to stir up controversy within the community, but to call attention from outside the community to expose what’s happening within the community. Don’t let them bait you.

2. Assign people to the role of rabble-rouser. Rabble rousers organize protests, sit-ins, marches, letter-writing campaigns and publicity stunts to create a story. They become the public personification, and the face of the movement. They appear on television and radio and the press in support of the cause.

3. Assign people to the role of seed-sower. These people plan what we will do if the activities of the town criers and the rabble rousers don’t bear the fruit we envision. They answer the question “How shall we survive, and what will we do if things don’t go our way?” Seed-sowers are the ones who will find the “seeds of an equivalent or greater benefit” in what others are “crying” and rabble-rowsing about. To do that, ahem, they need to look at the bright side. Now, do you get it?

Then, with all of us acknowledged to be on the same page, fighting for the same cause, we stop the infighting and direct our efforts appropriately and align with the forces that can really effect the changes or maintain the constancy we seek.

Totally unrelated

So, in completely unrelated news: the new Visa Waiver Program that will affect the CNMI is scheduled to effect June 1, 2009. According to the text on, “The following countries are designated for participation in the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program: Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport and Hong Kong identification card is required), Japan, Malaysia, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.”

Many people are fearful that the exclusion of China and Russia from thislist is bad news for the CNMI. But...

On the bright side, we will be forced to focus on new markets, which might prove more profitable, and a better fit in the long run.

On the bright side, visitors from China and Russia can still come here after June 1—albeit with a little more paperwork and hassle, which means...

On the bright side, we will have to raise the quality of the tourist experience here in the CNMI so as to compete with Guam and to make it a place worth visiting.

On the bright side, there appears to be the flexibility to revisit the issue, and re-instate China and Russia some time in the future.

On the bright side, with the new Obama administration comes a new head of DHS (Department of Homeland Security), and the need for funding to be approved.

Final word

There is a confluence of events here in this region that includes:

- Mariana Trench Monument

- Visa Waiver Program/Tightening Immigration policies

- Ongoing “Federalization”

- Article 12 re-vote in 2011

- Military buildup

- Departure of garment factories

- Departure of residents to mainland/Guam

These are just a few of the trends, intentions and movements which promise to change the livelihoods, lifestyle, economy and future of this region. The final outcomes of some of these trends may be close to inevitable. But just maybe, with the right strategy, they may be changeable, or at the very least, there may be a seed of an equivalent or greater benefit to be found. Choose a role.

*Note: If you’re a rabble rouser having trouble accessing the site, visit <> , download a copy of the regulations (Docket #: USCBP-2009-0001) and submit comments. You may also submit your comments and concerns to and

According to the Saipan Tribune, comments about the visa waiver regulations can be mailed during the next 50 days to: Border Security Regulations branch, Office of International Trade, Customs and Border Protection, Mint Annex 799 9th Street, NW, Washington DC 20001

And, if you’re a Pollyanna, stay tuned. You never know what new ideas may be announced here in this column that may speak of opportunity for you and yours!

Note: For more tips on overcoming your fears, acting on your ideas, changing the game, and creating a passion-centered lifestyle, visit!


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

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