Tag Archives: Self-Development

Keep stacking up your skills!


Keep developing your skills to be of great value and service to the world!

Keep stacking up your skills to be of great value for others!

Keep stacking up your skills! The more skills you develop, the greater service you can provide the world! 📚🎶💻📝🖌🛠⚖💉🎬🎥🔬🔭⚽️🏄‍♂️🧘‍♀️🏃‍♂️

Find areas that you have a strong desire to learn. For example, I enjoy reading, writing, creative writing (poems and 2 unpublished novels), government affairs, business law, marketing, graphic design, music (produced concerts in the past) and building start-ups. Speaking wasn’t a favorite subject of mine, but I’ve grown to like it. To overcome my nervousness, I took up acting when I was a teenager up until my early twenties and speech classes while in college. ❤

Positive Masters is an e-commerce store at http://www.positivemasters.com that provides lifestyle practices, creative writing, apparel, accessories, and fashion to boost your happiness and counter any stress, anxiety, or sadness you may be facing. We offer free shipping for purchases of $50 or more! 👕🛍

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The Valuable Lessons I Learned as a Pearl City High School Charger!


The Valuable Lessons I Learned as a Pearl City High School Charger!

The Valuable Lessons I Learned as a Pearl City High School Charger!

Since I was asked to write for my Pearl City High School’s 50th Anniversary Book (1971-2021) by my former teacher, Mrs. Arlene Aranita who I reconnected at a funeral for a close family friend, Mr. Eric Kanemoto who was my soccer coach, Cub Scout Master, and Pearl City Highlands Intermediate School teacher, and my dad’s really close friend, I thought I could hit two goals in one strike by writing about for the Positive Masters’ blog. For those of you unfamiliar with Hawaii, Pearl City High School is located in Pearl City on the island of Oahu, State of Hawaii. The draft of my article is as follows:

The education and life skills taught by our teachers in our public grade schools are extremely valuable. High School is the last phase for us before we enter the “real world.” In the Fall of 1989, at thirteen years old, I entered Pearl City High School, home of the mighty Chargers. I was excited to be a part of an institution that has helped to develop productive citizens in the professional sectors, trades, and non-profit arena. Our school has also produced politicians, entrepreneurs, movie stars, musicians, and influencers in other creative fields.

Many of my childhood friends from soccer, scouting, and other community organizations that I was involved with attended Pearl City High School, a number of whom I still keep in touch today. While a Charger, I played for the varsity soccer team for four years, played the trumpet in the marching band for four years, volunteered as a member of the Interact Club, served as a member of the Computer Club, participated in an after-school math group led by a math teacher, and was a participant of the Homecoming Court in 1989 and Senior Prom Court in 1992. I expanded my network with students of different backgrounds and interests. Public school gave me an opportunity to learn from personalities who faced different challenges in their lives, which helped me tremendously years later when I became a lawyer in 2001 and a politician and businessperson in 2002.

Besides building relationships with people, I learned about many subjects such as social studies, history, English, math, science, computers, music, and Japanese language. My best grades were in social studies, followed by English. I was average in math and science. My worse grades were some Ds and Fs from band and my last year in Japanese language, which caused me some worries in regards to my chances of getting accepted into the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the only university I applied for. Fortunately, I got accepted, where I received my bachelor’s degree in political science, and then continued on with my education at Gonzaga University School of Law where I attained my law degree. I sincerely wanted to learn the language of my ancestors but remembering the strokes to write kanji was challenging for me. As for band and marching band, well, I kind of joined them because that’s where most of the student body hung out, not to mention the cute girls.

Some of my teachers in high school were extremely influential in my life. During the first semester of my Freshman year, my social studies teacher, Mr. Wagner had us read portions of U.S. Senator and World War II veteran Daniel K. Inouye’s biography, which sparked my interest in equal rights and politics. All of my English teachers such as Mrs. Aranita, Mrs. Chun, and Mrs. Abe were strict in a good way and very inspiring. They truly wanted the best in us. English teacher, Mrs. Abe recommended that I audition for the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, which I did and was chosen to perform in plays with my fellow cast members before Intermediate schools around Oahu, Hawaii. I ended up acting in theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a few local television commercials and programs.

Through the inspiration of my English teachers, I continue to read and write to improve my writing skills, a lifelong process that’s still occurring. Besides writing for my work in law and government affairs, I wrote two unpublished novels. The first is Princess Cupcake, which takes us on a journey of a young politician, Ken who leaves his body while he sleeps to travel to a realm of the dead where souls are trapped because they were unable to accomplish things while they were alive. While there, he falls in love with a young woman, Kaylee and becomes a target of a dark force upon discovering the secrets of what happens after you die and how the living can affect the power of the dead. My second unpublished novel is Princess & the Terrorist. Struggling with the new realities of living in a war-torn Iraq caused by the American invaders two months earlier, 12-year-old Mustafa becomes friends with Amira who is the same age as him, while recovering at a hospital after they were nearly killed by a suicide bomb. They’re torn apart when Amira’s well-to-do family yanks her out of the hospital to flee Iraq to the United Kingdom. With both of his parents killed by the war and no one to care for him, Mustafa gets placed in an abusive orphanage. Through the help of his best friend, Mustafa runs away from the orphanage with a five-year-old boy he protects from a gang of older bullies. In consideration for shelter and a salary, they join the Freedom Fighters of Iraq, a militia rebelling against the Americans, Iraqi government, and their coalition. Years later, Mustafa and Amira, now in their teens bump into each other on a street in Baghdad, Iraq. They fall deeply in love with each other. However, they’re no longer the innocent kids who met at the hospital, daydreaming of flying away to enchanted places on a magic carpet. In a war destroying everything it touches; its grips are quickly closing on Mustafa and Amira. Creative writing and storytelling has played a huge role in comforting my soul.

I really enjoyed playing for the Pearl City High School Chargers’ varsity soccer team. We were lucky to always be one of the top teams in the State of Hawaii, consistently winning the Oahu Interscholastic Association title and continuously playing in the semifinals for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s state championship tournament, even coming in second place in a state championship match.

An important life lesson that classes and sports taught me is how to handle losing, a much more valuable lesson than all the wins I achieved. In life, you’ll get knocked down but you have to get back up, grow from your failures, and keep going. My Pearl City High School soccer coach Ron Mata told us to be tenacious like bulldogs that bite and never let go. If you have a vision of what you want in your life and in the world, you have to put in a lot of work, thousands of hours of work. Every day, attack your small goals, which will add up over time. In time, you’ll be able to achieve some big wins!

Happiness is what I wish for my fellow Pearl City High School classmates, alumni, teachers, and staff. As best as you can, don’t be fixated on things you can’t control. Rather, focus on what you can control. Keep developing your mind, body, and soul. Always be grateful for all the good things in your life. Spend time with positive people who lift you up. Cherish your time with your loved ones. If you have visions of what you want, go for them now!

With Warmest Aloha,

Jon Riki Karamatsu

Positive Masters is an e-commerce store at www.positivemasters.com, which provides lifestyle practices, creative writing, apparel, accessories, and fashion to boost your happiness and counter any stress, anxiety, or sadness you may be facing. We offer free shipping for purchases of $50 or more!

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Part 3 of 3: Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.


Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation. It's a super power that will expand your gratitude .

Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation. It’s a super power that will expand your gratitude power, another super power, making your positive lifestyle even stronger.

Part 3 of 3: Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.

From the middle, you can see the connection between dark and light because from the middle, you can see everything, dark, light, and all the shades in-between. If you can see the light when you’re in darkness, even a glimmer, then you can be grateful in your darkest moments.

In fact, the more you practice being in the middle, you’ll be able to expand your gratitude practice because you can always see the good (light) in all your bad (dark) situations. This is definitely a super power to have! Here are my 10 examples of how suffering can expand your gratitude practice despite a challenging experience:

1. When a loved one dies, you’re grateful for the time you had with that person.
2. When your romantic relationship falls apart, you’re grateful to have had the opportunity to experience romance.
3. When you fail at a goal, you’re grateful for the lessons you learned from the failure.
4. When you face financial hardship, you’re grateful for every little thing you have that helps you get by.
5. When you provide value for others but get attacked by opposition or critics, you’re grateful for your ability to create value for others and evolve.
6. When facts in litigation aren’t believed by the trier of fact where you face fines, jail, and/or unfavorable rulings you’re grateful that you had the opportunity to tell what happened.
7. When you can no longer drive a vehicle, you’re grateful for public transportation and private sector transportation programs.
8. When your health declines, you’re grateful for still being alive and having what abilities you still have.
9. When you’re wronged by people, you’re grateful for all the positive people in your life.
10. When your life appears to be in turmoil, you’re grateful that you were born to even have a shot at life.

Positive Masters is an e-commerce store at www.positivemasters.com, which provides lifestyle practices, creative writing, apparel, accessories, and fashion to boost your happiness and counter any stress, anxiety, or sadness you may be facing. We offer free shipping for purchases of $50 or more!

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Focus on what you can control! Don’t let your anxiety control you.


Focus on what you can control! Don't let your anxiety control you.

Focus on what you can control! Don’t let your anxiety control you.

As soon as you wake up, express your gratitude for all the good things in your life and do a 5 to 10-minute meditation if you have time. Freshen up, listen to uplifting music, and have a nice breakfast. Avoid your phone and computer until you’re charged up with positive energy because there may be messages and emails in your devices that will raise your cortisol and stress you out before you even had a chance to mentally prepare yourself for your day. It’s like preparing yourself for a match in sports, you want to be mentally ready!

Then when you address your challenges for the day, attack the tasks that you can control. Understand the problems that you can’t control but push them to the side so you can achieve your wins for the day.

[I wrote this post for Positive Masters, an e-commerce store at www.positivemasters.com, which provides lifestyle practices, creative writing, apparel, accessories, and fashion to boost your happiness and counter any stress, anxiety, or sadness you may be facing. We offer free shipping for purchases of $50 or more!]

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Part 2 of 3: Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.


Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.

The middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.

Part 2 of 3: Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.

From the middle, you can see the connection between dark and light because from the middle, you can see everything, dark, light, and all the shades in-between. Darkness won’t consume you because you’ve trained yourself to see the light, even if it’s only a speck, which will make you appreciative of your life in your darkest moments. Nor will you be blinded by light and overlook the darkness hidden beneath it all so you’ll be ready for any negativity that could emerge.

In Part 1, we talked about how we humans are prone to judging others. We can also be very judgmental on our experiences, labeling them as either bad (dark) or good (light). When you experience suffering, you may feel tempted to label it as darkness, which may cause you stress, anxiety, frustration, sadness and/or anger, all negative emotions that pushes aside your happiness and negatively impacts everyone you interact with. From the middle, you’ll be able to see the light in even the most darkest of situations because you’ll be able to recognize the good that came out of a bad situation.

For example, when you fail at something, you’ll be able see the lesson in that failure, a lesson that will make you grow only if you embrace it. You’re able to use that failure as a huge motivator in your self-improvement process. 

When someone you love passes away, you’re able to be grateful for all the experiences you shared with that person. You know that your loved one would want you to be happy and that he or she would be so sad to see you suffering over his or her death. 

So live in the middle to always see the positive in every bad experience. You’ll also be prepared for anything bad that may arise from what you thought was a great situation.

[I wrote this article for Positive Masters, an e-commerce store at www.positivemasters.com, which provides lifestyle practices, creative writing, apparel, accessories, and fashion to boost your happiness and counter any stress, anxiety, or sadness you may be facing. We offer free shipping for purchases of $50 or more!]

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Part 1 of 3: Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.


Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.

Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation.

Part 1 of 3: Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the light in every dark situation. 😊

Live the middle way. From the middle, you can see the connection between dark and light because from the middle, you can see everything, dark, light, and all the shades in-between. If you can see the light when you’re in darkness, even a glimmer of light, then you can be grateful in your darkest moments. 🌅

We humans are prone to judging others and our experiences. We label people and our experiences as either bad (dark) or good (light). From the middle, you don’t jump to a conclusion that someone is either dark or light, bad or good. From the middle, you don’t jump to a conclusion that an experience is dark or light, bad or good. 🌄

When a person lashes his or her anger at you, you’re tempted to label that person as a dark person. When you’re in the middle, you’ll see the light in even the most hateful person. You go deeper and have empathy for that person who may have suffered deeply at the hands of others. 🙏

For my career, my worst experience was working in a courtroom with an elder judge who was often grumpy and giving tantrums. I was so broken down by this man that my close friend Brandon took me to the beach in the middle of my workday to lift my spirit up. Being in the Vietnam War was his backstory. There was probably more to his story. He would break the law and give leniency to veterans of war. He was always kind towards beautiful women. In contrast, he would slam the book at ordinary citizens, even sending a kid to prison for a number of days for racing his car on a street. Instead of hating the judge like some of the other attorneys, staff, and citizens attending the hearings, I did my best to look deeper to see how he may have suffered emotionally from the war or maybe even by the way his parents raised him. By doing this, I could wish the judge happiness. ❤

[I wrote this article for Positive Masters, an e-commerce store at www.positivemasters.com, which provides lifestyle practices, creative writing, apparel, accessories, and fashion to boost your happiness and counter any stress, anxiety, or sadness you may be facing. We offer free shipping for purchases of $50 or more!]

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You can have a meaningful life through your attitude!


You can have meaning in your life through your attitude! If you have a positive attitude, you can find meaning in your life even under difficult circumstances.

Do all you can to have a positive attitude, a super power that will help you through your darkest times.

Having a Meaningful Life – Part 3 of 3. ❤

You can have meaning in your life through your (1) creativity, (2) experiences, & (3) attitude. ❤

Today, we highlight how your attitude has a role in attaining meaning in your life. If you have a positive attitude, you can find meaning in your life even under difficult circumstances. The foundation of this 3-part article is from Dr. Victor Emil Frankl (1905-1997), an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, & Holocaust survivor. He was able to have meaning in his life despite going through the horrors of being imprisoned in a Nazi death camp. His father died of illness & his mother, brother, & wife were killed by the Nazis. Dr. Viktor Frankl’s tragic optimism focuses on (a) affirmation of the meaning & value of life, regardless of circumstances; (b) acceptance of what cannot be changed; (c) self-transcendence in serving a higher purpose; faith in others & in something beyond our realm; & (d) courage to face adversity. 🙏

The following dialogue between Dr. Frankl & his patient, an elderly, depressed man who could not overcome the loss of his wife shows the depth one’s attitude has on one’s meaning in life:

Dr. Frankl asked, “What would have happened if you had died first, & your wife would have had to survive you?” 💔

“Oh,” replied the patient, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered.” 💔

Frankl continued, “You see such a suffering has been spared her; & it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving her & mourning her.” The man said no word, but shook Dr. Frankl’s hand & calmly left his office. ❤

This conversation brought tears to my eyes. My friends, no matter what you’re going through, no matter how tough it is, you have the ability to see the light & keep moving forward. ❤

[I wrote this article for Positive Masters, an e-commerce store at www.positivemasters.com, which provides lifestyle practices, creative writing, apparel, accessories, & fashion to boost your happiness & counter any stress, anxiety, or sadness you may be facing. We offer free shipping for purchases of $50 or more!]

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