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Random Lessons I've Learned This Week

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!

This has been a busy week. I’ve launched a few new Web sites, moved to a new apartment, gave a few tours of the island to help people from China, the USA and Russia discover Saipan, struck new business deals with vendors here on island, and read a few good books. In all the ups and downs, I’ve realized that there have been some valuable lessons I’ve learned, and which I’ll share today.

Price and product are unrelated

I just finished reading a book titled No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent by Dan Kennedy, and have had the opportunity to put some of the ideas into practice in marketing Saipan to the world. One of the major lessons within this book is the concept that the price of a product or service is, and should be, considered separately from the product or service itself. In other words, if you are going to market your product or service to an upscale clientele for whom price is no object, then you cannot be bound by conventional thinking about what things should cost. Provided the value of a thing is communicated effectively, you can, for example, sell an umbrella rack for $6,000, a chocolate sundae for $25,000 (it’s infused with 5 grams of 23 karat gold flakes), or a fly fishing cruise for person and 27 of his/her friends for the low cost of $366,000.

These are all real-life examples of the price flexibility inherent in all business ventures, which the savvy passionpreneur would do well to emulate. Your paintings, your crafts, your exports to the world are as valuable as you and others are willing to agree they are.

People are simply fertilizer for your personal growth.

One of the most helpful attitudes I’ve developed over the years has been how to interpret, respond to, and roll with the unexpected situations that arise in life. The secret has been expressed in many ways by different people. The essence of it, however, is that everything that happens to you, through the situations and people you encounter in life, present opportunities for you to grow spiritually and emotionally.

People will often do things that upset you, anger you, disappoint you or make you cry. The key to moving forward is to remember that every one of these situations you encounter has been orchestrated to strengthen you or to teach you something. The people who get under your skin have been attracted into your life with a lesson for you.

It’s been said that you only get angry with a person when you encounter something in that person that mirrors something about yourself that you are unhappy with. Therefore, the opportunity in every situation that angers you is that you can then identify and change an aspect of yourself that the person you are angry with is bringing to the surface.

Are you angry at someone’s rudeness, lack of courtesy, spitefulness? It’s a sure sign that they are simply reflecting a part of yourself that you need to grow through. Ask yourself: “I’m mad at John, but what part of my own personality is John reflecting? Am I the same way with other people? Where is the lesson here for me to grow?”

Now, the converse is also important. Think about this. Have you ever been in a situation in which someone did something to you, and all your friends asked, “Doesn’t that make you angry?” but you didn’t actually feel anything?

The fact that you could just blow it off, walk away, forget about it, or even forgive them, is a sure sign that there was no real reflection of yourself coming from that person. You had already grown beyond the pettiness they displayed, and so they weren’t pushing your buttons because there were no buttons there to push.

Just like the manure or fertilizer that farmers use to make their crops grow faster, people and the things they do, can serve the same purpose in your life. So, from now on, when you find yourself being royally ticked off by someone, just smile and remind yourself: “He’s nothing but fertilizer.”

How to get more done in less time

In the process of moving from one apartment to another, I was without Internet access for a few days. I ventured out to Java Joe’s coffee shop to make use of theirs. The unexpected move came at what I initially felt was a “bad” time. I was in the middle of designing a Web site for a client, and had a deadline to meet in doing so. “I work better at home,” I thought to myself. “How will I be able to do a site design in a public place with people walking around and talking?” Even so, I welcomed the opportunity to rise above the challenge and for a few days planned a two-hour slot of time during which to bring my laptop to work at the coffee shop.

You can likely guess what the result was. I got more done in those two hours than I typically do during the whole day sitting at home in front of the computer. With only a limited window of time (a purchase at the coffee shop comes with a password for two hours of Internet access), I was forced to plan in advance all the online tasks I needed to do, and then get right to work on each of them as quickly as possible. Sending e-mails, checking Web site statistics, handling customer service issues, fulfilling orders, fixing shopping cart software—tasks that often took the entire day—were quickly handled in just two hours each day, leaving me with more time to be more productive in other areas. (Of course, the challenge now is how to maintain that productivity now that I’m in the comfort of a new apartment with continuous Internet access!)

Anyway, these are just some random thoughts for your business ventures, and personal life. Enjoy the holidays!


Note: Ever wanted to direct your friends and family to a set of websites that revealed the best things about Saipan? Do what I do: send them to!

Note: Fans and followers of the book, Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan may now find copies here on Saipan at Fu Dogs & Qi (pronounced chi), Saipan’s only Asian Antiques Store, located on the first floor of the Nauru Building (the “360 building”) in Susupe.


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

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