Tag Archives: happiness

Succeed, Fail, and Come Back


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Let’s succeed, fail, and come back.  Anytime we take action on a goal, we expose ourselves to attack and even failure, but the rewards are tremendous in that we gain ideas, knowledge, skills, relationships, and heck, even success.  I say succeed until you fail, and fail until you succeed because the comebacks are some of the best feelings ever!

Since I was a child, my parents have always encouraged me to try many things. “If you don’t try, you will never know” was the lesson I learned.  So I participated in many sports, school clubs, and community organizations.  When I grew up, I went after my goals in law, politics, and business.  I even made an effort in my love life.  Did I win?  Yes, many times, but I also had my share of losses.  I’ll tell you a few of my experiences.

When I was attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1995, I broke up with my first girlfriend.  I was so sad that my grade point average plummeted from a B average to a D average at which time I was placed on probation.  If I didn’t raise my grade point average, I would be kicked out of the university.  I went to visit one of the university’s counselors.  “What do you want to be?” she asked.

“I want to be a lawyer,” I answered.

She looked down at my grades on the transcript and then she looked back at me. “Do you like working with people?”

“Yes.”

“Why don’t you become a social worker?”

I was quiet. I wonder what my expression may have looked like?

For the next couple of years, I attained mostly all “A”s for every semester except for a few “B”s here and there.  I brought by grade point average back up to a B average and graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a B.A. in Political Science.

In 2001, I ended up attending Gonzaga University School of Law and graduating with my J.D., passing the Hawaii State Bar Association’s examination, and today, I’m a lawyer.

In politics, I ran for a Hawaii State House seat in 2002 for a community I was unfamiliar with.  I was told that I would likely lose because two of the so-called front-runner opponents were well-known and professionally established.  I was only twenty-seven years old, just out of law school with very little experience, and no name recognition.  Plus, the demographics were not in my favor, and another opponent was young like me with a similar background so we would cancel each other out.  However, I had typed out my strategy and platform for bettering Hawaii many years before while in college so I was mentally prepared.  My front-runner opponents bragged about their experience while I focused on what I was going to achieve for our community and the State of Hawaii.  To counter my opponents’ name recognition, I walked door-to-door around my district 3 times, which was about 20,000 visitation of homes until I burned holes in my pants from the constant rubbing of my bag filled with brochures.  I won the House seat by a good margin.

Years later in 2010, I ran for the Lieutenant Governor’s race and loss, but the newly elected Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith M. Kaneshiro recruited me to become a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and Legislative Liaison because he had watched me in action as the House Judiciary Chairman as I took on very controversial issues like same-sex marriage while he was an attorney with my Senate counterpart, his good friend who I had some disagreements with but I alway tried to be professional with him.

In 2015, I resigned from the Honolulu Prosecutor’s office because of a driving under the influence charge, which I have won the civil side of the case in 2016 because of false information and wrong-doings by the police, but still awaiting an appeal from the higher court on the criminal side of the case after a district court judge ruled that my testimony was not credible, which did not make sense because I didn’t testify in the trial.  Despite it being a traffic crime, he sentenced me to prison with maximum fines and community service, much more than what I’ve seen when I litigated criminal cases such as assault.

Instead of worrying about my legal woes, I dedicated 100% of my efforts into the private sector.  I had ended my Internet retail business in 2012 after 10 years but I was still involved with a couple of business partners in an event production company since 2014.  I then helped to build a night club, assisted an agricultural company in its goal to build a value-added agricultural processing plant, joined a team to build an aviation company, partnered with another group to build a consulting company for foreign investors, and several other projects.  Meanwhile, in my role as a litigating and transactional attorney, I took on a few clients who were undergoing a business partnership split.  In my 2 years since leaving government, I experienced a business partner who took all the money and left the rest of us with nothing, another who didn’t sign an agreement that would give me a tiny share of the company after I helped build it, and another who had child custody legal issues so the company was placed on hold.  To some, these losses could be seen as a failure.  I may have not made money from these ventures, however, I gained a lot of skills, built new relationships, and have come up with ideas for when I make my return to these sectors.  There are many “wins” within such failures.

On the bright side, the aviation company and consulting company for foreign investors are moving forward with business partners that make a great team, and I’m still working on my creative writing projects and taking on some legal work.  With any start-up company, there is a risk of losing time and money, but there is also the opportunity to create new services and products that will generate more jobs and revenue for our community.  It is for these reasons that I continue my journey in these arenas.

Both “success” and “failure” are just as important.  Wins are fun, but if we always got what we wanted in life, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much, and life would become boring.  For it is the experiences of the journey that makes us appreciate the wins.  We gain ideas, knowledge, skills, and relationships regardless if we succeed or fail, therefore, by the looks of it, we still win even when we lose.

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Gratitude Prayer and Meditation.


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I like to do a gratitude prayer to the universe in the morning, followed by a meditation. I start off by lighting a pair of candles on a display with stones and an oil diffuser. Then I start an app on my smartphone that plays soothing sounds of water and calming instrumental music.

In my gratitude prayer, I express my thanks for my loved ones, the ability to experience life, useful things I have, the beauty of nature, and much more. Throughout the day, I would continue to be thankful for many things.

I meditate by clearing my thoughts and breathing slowly. After some minutes in emptiness, I envision what I will accomplish for the day.

To practice this, all you need is ten minutes, but you can always go longer. It’s a good way to start your day with positivity and clarity. Sometimes I do a gratitude prayer and meditation at night or whenever I need to stabilize my soul after facing some challenges. There are studies that show how gratitude and meditation practices reduces stress and benefits your overall health. Have fun with your gratitude and meditation practice! Aloha!

20170421_004724#gratitude #prayer #meditation #peace #innerpeace #domesticpeace #worldpeace #buddhism #compassion #love #happiness

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The light is so much brighter when we’re in the dark.


The light is so much brighter when we’re in the dark. For it’s darkness that makes us appreciate the light. The challenges of life and the evils of humankind should make us even more grateful for what positive things we have in our lives, and the many good people there are among us. Let the force of darkness motivate us to maximize our daily practice of love and compassion.

Sending my warmest aloha,

Jon Riki Karamatsu

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Path to true love may start with your BFF


Path to true love may start with your BFF. With Valentine’s Day near, here is a nice CNN article on how important it is to have an intimate partner who is also your best friend. According to the article, “Friends enjoy spending time together, share similar interests, take care of each other, trust each other and feel a lasting bond between them. It isn’t a coincidence that these all happen to be qualities that also define successful intimate relationships.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/13/health/relationship-date-best-friend-partner/index.html

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Tim Ferriss on Depression and Thoughts of Suicide.


Linked below is an article on depression and suicide by Tim Ferris, an entrepreneur, investor, author, and podcast host who has studied and practiced self-improvement strategies and techniques that we can all incorporate into our daily lives in our quest for happiness. He is well known for his book “The Four-Hour Workweek” and his latest book “Tools of the Titans” is in the market.

All of us from time to time will face challenges that will make us sad, hurt, disappointed, and even angry. However, Tim Ferris, like my other favorite entrepreneurs/self-improvement coaches James Altucher and Marie Forleo – they encourage us to practice daily habits that make us positive and productive human beings.

In this article, Ferris wrote: 

Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.

Here are some of my coping mechanisms for making it through the day:

1) Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. E-mail is the mind killer.

2) Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh like this) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper.

3) Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.

4) For each item, ask yourself:

– “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
– “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”

5) Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.

6) Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.

7) TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.

8) If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.

9) Physically MOVE for at least 20 minutes each day. Go for a long walk, lift weights, take a free online yoga class (YouTube), anything. Ideally, get outside. I was once asked by friend for advice on overcoming debilitating stress. The answer I repeated over and over again was: “Remember to EXERCISE daily. That is 80% of the battle.”

10) Follow a diet that prevents wild blood sugar swings. This means avoiding grains and refined carbohydrates most of the time. I follow the slow-carb diet with one cheat day per week and have done so for 10+ years. Paleo also works great. Don’t forget to eat plenty of fat. High protein and low fat can give you low-grade symptoms of rabbit starvation.

11) Schedule at least one group dinner with friends per week. Get it on the calendar no later than 5pm on Monday. Ideal to have at least three people, but two is still great medicine.

12) Take a minute each day to call or email someone to express gratitude of some type. Consider someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time. It can be a one-line text or a 5-second voicemail.

Congratulations! That’s it.

Those are the rules I use, and they help steer the ship in the right direction.

Routines are the only way I can feel “successful” despite my never-ending impulse to procrastinate, hit snooze, nap, and otherwise fritter away my days with bullshit. If I have 10 “important” things to do in a day, I’ll feel overwhelmed, and it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day. On the other hand, I can usually handle 1 must-do item and block out my lesser behaviors for 2-3 hours a day.

And when — despite your best efforts — you feel like you’re losing at the game of life, never forget: Even the best of the best feel this way sometimes. When I’m in the pit of despair with new book projects, I recall what iconic writer Kurt Vonnegut said about his process: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.

Tim Ferris’ link to his article is here: https://www.google.com/amp/tim.blog/2015/05/06/how-to-commit-suicide/amp/

“Failure” and “success” are both wins because we made an effort to embark on a journey by working on an opportunity. What makes “failure” and “success” both a win is when we appreciate what we’ve learned, the skills we’ve developed, and the people we’ve built relationships with. So even on our hardest day when we feel worthless, like Ferris wrote, we can list the things that are making us anxious, and choose to work on that one thing that would make us feel accomplished for the day and make all the other things on our list less important or easier to knock off later. Exercise, meditate, write our goals down, listen to music, take a walk, spend times with positive friends, or do an activity that will boost our happy chemicals and make us feel more accomplished. The small wins and accomplishments mean a lot, because when we achieve many of these small wins, we will eventually achieve the huge wins! On our goods days, we could rack up a dozen or more wins a day, but on our toughest day, even if we just make an effort to accomplish one very important task, that is a super huge win – huge! 

Sincerely,

Jon Riki Karamatsu 

 

 

 

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President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama


Yesterday President Barack Obama made his farewell address. I’m very proud to see history being made in that President Obama is the first African American U.S. President, and also the first U.S. President from Hawaii.

My favorite moment from President Obama’s farewell speech was when he thanked Michelle for being his best friend and wiped away a tear from his eye.  I admire the love between the two of them.  Having a loving, smart, and compassionate partner like Michelle is what many men yearn for, including me.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of Barack and Michelle, clearly showing how much they love each other.

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m thankful for many things, here are some of them:

  1. Lucky to have an opportunity in life.
  2. My mom and dad for all their love and support.
  3. My family and friends.
  4. My ancestors for paving the way for me and others.

Like many of you, I’ve lost a number of loved ones, and I’m thinking of them today. Have a great day and keep living life to your fullest!

Love, Jon

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