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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS: FINAL EPILOGUE (Part 1)

For nearly two years now I have been serializing my two SIMPLE SOLUTIONS books.  This is Part 1 of the FINAL EPILOGUE:

FINAL EPILOGUE 

RAINBOW VISIONS for Planet Earth and Humanity

The Appendix from Book 1 has been upgraded to an epilogue, with some adjustments, for this section is much more than a mere addendum. The concept of Rainbow Visions represents the concluding fusion drawing together the full contents of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS Book 1 and Book 2, providing the final stimulus to inspire the reader into making that crucial difference for Planet Earth and Humanity.


While much of what is presented here transpired in Hawaii, and, more specifically, largely at the University of Hawaii, this is a guide for anyone from any State and any Nation on how to make a positive difference. While the examples are taken from the world of academia, the strategies should conveniently extend into the real world, for the intelligence and dedication quotient elsewhere surely cannot be as high as what I had to face.

I’ve always been strongly influenced by colors. I still marvel at the beauty of a rainbow. In Nuuanu where I live and Manoa where I ponder over simple solutions, I see a rainbow almost every day. The full spectrum represents the importance of a balanced life, advantage of broad skills and an open attitude. The consequence is Rainbow Vision.

Surveying my life, I’ve found that my greatest accomplishments came as a necessary reaction to failures. Mistakes, bad fortune, call it what you want, are, in reality, a beneficial, and maybe almost necessary, stimulus for success. There is something about embarrassment, physical ailment or hopelessness that forces you to try harder, think out of the box, maintain perseverance and strive for triumph. In a way, then, this book is for those who have something yet to prove. Some of you might have been a loser most of your life, or, perhaps, unlucky.

The first example might sound like too much like bragging, and while it has something to do with underdog status and not giving up, more so is the notion of compassion, for if you need to be driven, it is more important to focus on your surroundings and those around you, than you, yourself.

The most noted public school in Hawaii is McKinley. But that is because it is one of the oldest. The nationally respected private school is Punahou, from where came Barack Obama, Michelle Wie (early golf fame) and Steve Case (AOL founder). Punahou regularly provides a number of students each year to Stanford University and the Ivies. I’m sure there must be some, but I don’t know of one person from McKinley, before or after me, who went to Stanford as a freshman.

Well, a couple of my close friends played on the high school tennis team, and, as they were desperately looking for any able body, I was coaxed into joining them some time in my junior year. Only my left wrist was broken, so I could still use my right hand. Picking this sport up for the first time, I think I must have played something like 398 out of 400 days, and when the season started as a senior, I was third singles, which meant I was the 5th best player on the team. (I might also add, no one used sunscreen in those days, so I am now feeling the effects.) (Incidentally, in my days, balls were only white, and, amazingly enough cost about the same for a can of balls as today.  This is the only commodity I know that hasn't changed in price over half a century.)

I’m going on pure memory here, but McKinley normally did not win any tennis matches against Punahou. They gave scholarships, and almost all of their players had been playing since birth. Well, one remarkable day, I proceeded to lose 6-0 and was behind 5-0, when something happened, and I eventually won the match. That was the pinnacle of my tennis career, and you would think giving the full effort was the point, and to some degree it should be, but I also a couple of weeks later slaughtered someone from another private school, Mid-Pacific, 6-0, 6-0, and this was, actually, the more important lesson. My opponent was so distraught and embarrassed—a factor here being that people were watching—that I learned never to again humiliate anyone at any time. These lessons come from experience and provide something called maturity, but more significantly, with my now more responsible attitude, the 0-6, 0-5 comeback was of secondary importance.

There is a second example, and I again use a sporting case, first, to maintain some consistency, and second, because I’m not a good athlete. I am a really mediocre golfer. I drive the ball far, but in all directions. My handicap has wavered around 18 all my life. Well, a couple of years ago, I tripped, at the Ala Wai Golf Course—supposedly the busiest in the nation—and separated my shoulder. I could not play for at least six weeks.

I then went to a driving range and could hit a ball, but only with some pain. But I played the following week anyway, and shot a 76, the best in my life. A week later, a 78, the first consecutive 70’s scores ever. Then, I began to crush the dimpled spheroid harder with each passing week and my scores rose into the 90’s. Was there a lesson to be learned? Sure, don’t swing too hard. Did I change my game? No.

Well, about a year later, I happened to join Kenji Sumida’s golf safari to Las Vegas and environs, playing 7 days in a row, on some days through 36 holes, in temperatures hovering close to, if not beyond, 100 °F. I did about average, for me. It was physically a strain, and the whole experience was agonizing, but, in an odd way, enjoyable. I’m scheduled to undergo the same torture in a couple of months.

Well, the first time I returned home and played, I had a 74, the best in my life, again. Mind you, I’m accomplishing all this at an advanced age. Ken Watanabe, one of my current heroes (similar to LESSON #2 below, Ken generally beats me and is in his mid-80’s), and who was also there when I had that original 76, signed the card, which I mounted. It proudly sits in my campus office. The point, I guess, is that you need to suffer through hardship and pain to improve your game. Have I finally learned my lesson? Maybe it was the frequency of play, or, more likely, the lesson to practice a lot. But nope, I am again in the 90’s.

Will I change anything this time? Perhaps some combination of swinging less vociferously, compounded by more practice, might work. But one final point to all this athletic overachievement and why I am not yet on the Champions Tour. The camaraderie and exercise are what are important, not the scores themselves. In undertaking your mission for society, enjoy it. And, it is indeed true that the journey should be more satisfying than the conclusion. Life is more important than death.

So on to more important matters. For the rest of your life, you can mostly continue doing almost nothing, do something the right way, or make everything worse. While the first option is better than the third, you can’t get to the second if you do zilch. While adversity helps, the best way, I’ve found, mostly depends on two things: good attitude and a personal goal. For me, it was a sincere desire to help others and work with them for a more progressive humanity.

Part of life, of course, is that we all have ups and downs. Some things will go wrong no matter how successful you are. On any given day, the worst baseball team can beat the best, Chaminade can embarrass Virginia in college basketball and your toilet bowl could overflow.

  So, if you have an IQ, started at a low socio-economic level, and have any kind of physical, ethnic or cultural defect, this book is just for you. Should you be so lucky as to start with more, than you already have an advantage. It will merely be a matter of absorbing the essence of the message and lessons to succeed in your quest by thinking simply with good conscience.

Some might be intimidated by the arena in which I operated, for how many will grow up to be a full professor in engineering, plus a research director of a sustainable resource institute? There is something chosen to being entrusted to do good things for humanity, although I think it was more actual effort and some luck. I regularly receive a wide variety of communications from those in the nuclear industry, academics from China, mining engineers from Australia, specialists from dot.com companies and those from the military-industrial complex, all wanting to work in solar energy. Yes, life is unfair, and, there are already too many who are just plain dissatisfied…but it could be worse. Remember, the most awful of conditions can bring out the best opportunities.

Soon following the completion of the Final EPILOGUE,  I will begin serializing SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS.

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The Dow Jones Industrials, made a comeback, up 65 to 12,267, with world markets also all up, especially the Japan Nikkei, jumping 135 to 9,576.  If you can recall, the Nikkei was just about 39,000 (the Dow all-time high was 14,165 on 9October2007) at the end of 1989, crashed, then recovered to 18,000 in June of 2007, then fell again.  Back in 2010 (mind you, the Nikkei is in Yen, while the Dow in U.S. dollars), the Dow and Nikkei pretty much tracked each other at around 10,000.  However, on March 11 (Great Tohoku Earthquake), the Nikkei dropped 1015 to 8605, but has been slowly recovering.


Gold was unchanged at $1494/toz, while the NYMEX is at $109/barrel and Brent Spot at $122/barrel.

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