Richard Eyer Smith's Excellent Adventures in Paradise

Monday, December 6, 2010


Lots of people, when I tell them my profession, say, "Air traffic controller. Wow! That must be very stressful." My standard reply is, "It has its moments."

This post is about one such moment. I've labeled it Million Dollar Day because, over the course of my career, the FAA paid me more than a million bucks to keep planes from running into one another. On just this one day, I earned all one million dollars of it - and then some!

Los Angeles Enroute Center in the late 1970's was undergoing a transition. We had been using an old type of radar that displayed airplanes as "blips" of light on the scope. To keep track of the blips, we used little plastic markers with callsign and altitude grease-penciled onto them. We'd push these "shrimp boats", as we called them, over the blips to keep track of everybody. It was primitive, but it worked.

The newer system we used was computerized. It displayed a glowing data block of information next to the blip showing callsigns, altitudes and other information. Like all new computer programs, ours was "buggy" and it frequently failed. When this happened, we just flipped back to the old system. Not a problem.

That day, I sat comfortably in front of my radar scope. My sector was mostly arrivals streaming into Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Denver Center handed me a lovely "string of pearls", planes already lined up along the airway. My job, not very exciting, was to sit there and not mess up the handiwork of my fellow controllers.

My assistant controller and I were observing this pleasant flow of air traffic; then - poof! - my radarscope went blank.

As I said, this was not particularly unusual back then, so I just pushed a button and watched as the scope filled with little flashes of light. These blips represented a dozen or so aluminum tubes flying, literally, thousands of people miles above the Arizona desert.

I put target markers over the flashes and counted my blessings. This traffic was routine and easy to control.

South of my sector, in Albuquerque's airspace, I noticed a swarm of dots, like a legion of ants, beginning to inch their way north.

"Give Albuquerque a call and see what's up," I instructed my assistant.

The Albuquerque controllers were probably going into a holding delay - not something that would effect my traffic. As their jets approached my sector boundary they would turn back to the south, keeping clear of my pretty line of airplanes.

"Albuquerque doesn't answer," my assistant said. "Something's wrong."

Rather than turning south to stay out of my airspace, the mystery targets just kept marching north. In violation of every ATC rule ever written, the invaders broke across the boundary line and streamed into my sector like the Mongol Golden Horde.


Miles above Flagstaff, fifteen planeloads of my movie-watching, peanut-munching fellow citizens were wandering out of control over the Great American Southwest. Unless I came up with a plan, many of them were about to die.


This was bad. Beads of sweat formed above my lip. I fumbled one of my shrimp boats, then righted it on the scope.

The insurgents were storming up from Albuquerque's airspace. I didn't know their altitudes nor which way they were going to fly. All I could do was begin steering "my" flock of airplanes away from the menacing invaders.

My throat tightened as I began barking out instructions. I was now in a deadly game of dodge 'em with these huge jumbo-jets. I knew that if I messed up, and any two of my little blips touched one another, there was going to be a shower of body parts raining down into the Grand Canyon.

I took control.

"United Fifty Five, turn right heading three five zero, vector around unknown traffic."

"Continental Twenty Eight, turn left heading two zero zero."

"Delta One Seventy, turn right heading three six zero."

"Attention all aircraft, numerous unknown aircraft entering the area from the south."

"American Thirty, traffic eleven o'clock, ten miles, northbound, altitude unknown. Turn ninety degrees left to go behind."

My beautiful string of pearls had become a crazy mish-mash of careening, swerving humanity. The pilots, realizing that something had gone dangerously wrong, snapped to attention, looked out their windshields, listened up and flew their airplanes.

My hands shook, my voice cracked and I just kept going. I turned planes sharply to the right, then snapped them back to the left. I stayed in command as the phalanx of invaders flew north through all my traffic, then turned back south again on their deadly march through my sector.

The chaos continued for ten minutes; then fifteen; then twenty. My mind spun with the sheer complexity of time, space and altitude.

And then, as quickly as this teffifying jigsaw had begun, it was over.

Finally, all the errant jets straggled back into Albuquerque's airspace.

I'd kept my cool, kept on task and nobody died that day.

I don't really know what else to say.

It happened, it's over, and, thank God, everyone survived. Things easily could have turned out differently.

Cold beer, anyone?

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I've done a little time at sea, and, to paraphrase Dickens, there are the best of ships, there are the worst of ships.

A few weeks ago, Cath and I spent seven days cruising the lovely Caribbean Sea aboard the GTS (Gas Turbine Ship) Celebrity Summit. On board this splendid ship were about three thousand people from over thirty five different countries.

The goal of the passengers was to relax and enjoy. The goal of the crew was to make money by helping the passengers relax and enjoy. These thousands of people got along well with one another. There were no fiery political debates, no righteous religious testimonies or heated ideological conflicts. Other than a few rowdy conga-lines of off-key merrymakers, people were well behaved and delightfully cordial to one another.

Think of it: thousands of people from thousands of places around the globe have worked over many years to build, provision and maintain this beautiful ship.

All this marshaling of human capital and material resources was for the sole purpose of giving other folks a pleasant vacation. To the extent that the workers succeed, they are able to make money to raise their families and enjoy their lives.

Is it just possible that cruise ships are mankind's greatest accomplishment?

And then, there's the other side of the nautical equation. A number of years ago, in connection with my job as an air traffic controller, I was flown out to an aircraft carrier. It was stationed about one hundred miles north of the US Virgin Islands as part of an international naval exercise.

Now, I can tell you that landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier are truly thrilling experiences. My heart beats a bit faster just remembering that day.

I can also tell you that the awesome blast of jet engines, the unforgettable smell of kerosene and the precision of the deck crew during launch and recovery periods is mind numbing. It's like watching a magnificent ballet . . . but a ballet that has gone terribly wrong.

While below decks, a feeling washed over me: I am in the presence of incredible evil; pure and unadulterated evil.

This remarkable work of engineering brilliance has but one purpose. It is designed to kill people. Lots of people.

Here, just as with the GTS Summit, thousands of people had labored, combining their singular talents and best efforts. They had built a technological masterpiece. This thing is beautiful in its display of creative genius. But in this instance, everything has been done for the purpose of spreading death and destruction.

To this day, I feel a chill at the memory of such an amazing display of humanity run amok . I know many will argue the need for such things. I say to them, I have seen the instruments of war and the instruments of peace, and, as we say aboard the good ship Summit, I'll have another piece of strawberry cheesecake, please.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


"I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam." - Popeye

Wow! Nine posts in one month. But then nothing. The flash of an idea: Trump Network marketing . . . then nothing. Excitement, enthusiasm, a whir of activity followed by a quick shift of interest and then - you guessed it - nothing.

I've been here before. In fact, this is who I am. I stumble onto an idea, I pursue it like mad for a brief time and then I stop dead in my tracks. I've done it many times before.

Here's an example: Elder Rap. About five years ago, I came up with the idea of creating a type of Rap Music for older people. I invented a persona, El D'Rage, and wrote some "songs". I recorded a studio CD and made music videos. I put together a website and then I started to perform on stage.

El D'Rage was interviewed by the press and stories were written. selected one piece - Warrior Nation - as "Song of the Month". In less than six months I had a solid start as the world's only Elder Rapper.

Then I moved to a new city, shifted my focus to my new job and I just quit the music. Elder Rap came screeching to a halt.

My Novel
Here's another example. In the late nineties, after retiring from the FAA, I decided to write a book. I took a creative writing class, joined a writing group and, by God, in six months I wrote a novel, Radar Contact Lost.

Once it was published, I set out to promote it. I did lectures, book signings and gave classes. I was interviewed by the press and articles were written. In short order I was acclaimed by the press as an up-and-coming local author.

Then I moved to a new city, shifted my focus to my new job and I just quit the author biz. Radar Contact Lost came screeching to a halt.

In my career as an air traffic controller, I never stayed more than seven years in any one location. I worked successfully in some very busy facilities, but grew bored with each one and moved on to yet another ATC job.

I've lived in more than twenty five different homes in the past forty years. I've bought countless cars, I've hosted seven exchange students and owned seven dogs. I've run three hypnotherapy practices.

Tell me; can you find a pattern here?

So, as I see it, here are my options: now, at age sixty-five I can attempt to change my personality; I can grow up and I can settle down and focus. Or, I can accept who I am, be grateful and come up with ways to use my "flighty" personality to grow and succeed.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The Tortoise and the Hare. Aesop hit the nail on the head.

After their fabled race, the Hare always reminded himself, "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!"

I am either wise or lazy, because I'm busy putting all my marketing tools in place . . . before I actually do any real marketing.

I have designed a "squeeze page" and hooked it up to a free Auto-responder. This will be my prime tool for building my mail list. Take a look! You can give it a try and get your free eBook.

The next thing I've done is put together a single-page letter: Trump Network Business Proposal that I attach to "A Note From Donald J. Trump," a personal invitation to explore the Trump Network from Mr. Trump. If you'd like to see this stuff, just e-mail me here.

I did meet with a person here in Puerto Rico, and it looks like there is an active community of Trump Networkers here. I'm still exploring my options while I search for my three "executives."

How are y'all doing building your business?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I am, among many things, a hypnotist. I have been in practice off-and-on for the past twenty two years. Here's a link to my hypnosis website. Over the years I have worked with many people on business related issues and I've taught "Hypnosis For Sales" classes.

One of the first things I learned in my hypnosis training was how to use scripted inductions and suggestions. As a hypnosis newbie, I found it very helpful to know just what to say, and when and how to say it.

"As you begin to relax, you can notice your eyelids becoming heavy, very heavy, and you...blah, blah, blah."

I just memorized a few scripts and used them over and over. Most of the time they worked beautifully - but sometimes not. Also, the more I relied on scripts, the more I found myself growing weary of being a "hypnosis machine" rather than a caring human being.

What I discovered was that I could be much more effective if, rather than droning on and on, boring my clients into a trance, I could use the behavior they presented in the office to intensify their experience. When they move in the "trance chair," for example, I might say, "Moving just so, that's right, perfect, more relaxed, deeper and deeper." In hypnotherapy we call this "utilization".

I think there is a connection here with network marketing. We like the comfort of a telephone script or a one-on-one dialogue. It feels good to have a set of pre-planned answers to objections. We look for a Magic Formula that will lead prospects, entranced, into our business opportunity.

Sometimes those things might work. We may give a "canned" response to a common question and move the process forward.

More often than not, however, we find ourselves fending off objections and giving scripted answers, but the prospect simply isn't satisfied. They fail to see the beauty of our products, the symmetry of our compensation plan or the wisdom of our upline. It just doesn't resonate with them.

As you read this, think of how you might be more successful by incorporating utilization into your discussions with prospects. Rather than enthusiastically sharing your business plan, find out "where they are". Learn what is going on in their mind. Explore what they value, what they want for themselves and then utilize what they present.

"I'm frustrated by my lack of ability to control my schedule," a busy mother might say.
Rather than jumping in with, "My opportunity will give you the ability to take better control of your time," you could identify her present emotion - frustration - and reply, "What does it feel like when you lose control of your schedule?"
Now you are entering her world, and that's where she lives and that's where she makes her decisions.

This can really work for you.
Give it a try!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I have no reason to post this video.

There's no excuse for it.

It has nothing to do with network marketing, Donald Trump or building residual income.

No, it has no place here, that's for sure!

It's just that Toroverde Adventure Park in Puerto Rico looks, without a doubt, like the most fun place in the entire friggin' universe!

Wow! Can you imagine "flying" like this?

I can't wait to go!

Are you in?

Monday, July 19, 2010


My first thought after I crashed the glider was, "Get out! This thing might explode!"


For a pilot recently transfered to the California High Desert, the thought of earning a glider rating is downright irresistible.

I drove out to the little Mojave Desert airstrip and took a demonstration ride. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. I had flown power planes for about ten years, but I'd never experienced the quiet, bird-like flight of a sailplane.

Oh, I was hooked!

The following week, I went for my first formal flight lesson.

"Bad news," the instructor said. "We don't have a pilot to fly the tow plane to get us airborne."

"Bummer," I said. "I really wanted to get started."

"I have an idea," he said. "You already have your pilot's license and you did seem pretty comfortable in the glider. If you like, I could fly the tow plane and you could just go ahead and solo today."

"Excellent!" I was going flying today after all.

Together, we pushed the glider to the end of the runway. While he went to get the tow plane, I did the pre-flight inspection. Then, just before the tow plane arrived, a car pulled up and a fellow got out.

"I'll hold the wing up, if you like," he said. That would be helpful, as it could be tricky getting started with one wing dragging on the ground.

I climbed aboard and as I continued my preparations, the tow plane taxied in front of me and the stranger hooked up the tow rope.

Neither of us saw the problem.

When I was ready, I kicked the rudder pedals back and forth, the signal for the tow plane to head down the runway and we were off!

In just a few feet, the glider felt light on it's wheel and then I was airborne.

Wheeee!! This is awesome!

We continued to accelerate down the runway with me holding the glider just a few inches above the ground. I waited for the tow plane to lift off.

Mid-field, and it was still on the ground. Three-quarters of the way down the runway and the tow plane still hadn't taken off.

"Odd," I thought.

Now, the runway end was fast approaching, the tow plane was racing along the ground and I was getting worried.

My concern changed to near-panic when I saw what was wrong. The rope had tangled itself in the tow plane's tail. With my weight tugging his elevator down, he wasn't going to be able to take off.

If I didn't pull the red release knob this second - THIS SECOND! - he was going to crash and then I was going to crash into him.

If I did release, he might be able to fly and then I . . . well, I'd go off the end of the runway. Then I would crash.

I yanked the rope release. The tow plane leaped into the air. I flew off the end of the runway and crashed into a patch of juniper bushes. Dust flew everywhere and I had that silly thought about exploding.

Luckily, I wasn't hurt. The glider only had minor damage and I went on to get my glider rating in the next few weeks.

I tell this story because it has a relationship to getting started as a network marketer. I'm at that point, skimming along, just ready to take off in this business. Just like that day in the desert, I have to make a decision. I have to take immediate action or this thing will never get off the ground.

I'm ready to fly!

How about you?
“Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.” -- Dale Carnegie, Author and Self Improvement Lecturer

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I peaked out at twelve.

OK, maybe "peaked out" is too strong, but one of my life's biggest successes came at Minnesota's Camp Foley For Boys in the summer of my twelfth year. (That would be in 1957, by the way - the greatest year ever for Chevy!)

One of my favorite activities at camp was going to the rifle range and practicing target shooting. I worked diligently in hopes of one day making the rifle team. I was good, but just not quite good enough to compete against the other camps.

That summer there was to be a big match against all the other camps - even the dreaded Camp Lincoln boys would be there. They'd won every match for the past decade, and this year they were better than ever. I wanted to compete, but I ended up missing making the team by just one point.

One lousy point!

The morning of the match, just as I was watching the big Camp Lincoln bus roll into the parking lot, the coach came up to me.

"Smith," he said. "Johnson's got the flu. You're on the team. Get your rifle. You're firing in round two."

A million thoughts raced through my young mind, and not all of them were good. Yes, I had worked hard and I had dreamed of this opportunity, but now that it was finally here I was trembling with fear and doubt.

I remember lying on the green mat, rifle in hand, thinking, "You know what? I'm going to do my best today - absolute best - and I'm not going to worry about the rest."

And that's what I did.

I took a breath, then let it out a bit. I aimed. I slowly squeezed the trigger. "Bang!" Again: breath, exhale, set my sights on the bulls eye and gently draw my finger to the trigger. "Bang!"

Twenty seven times in all. Bang, bang, bang...

When it was over, I stood, carried my rifle to the gun case and waited to see how I'd done. My nerves were really acting up. Had I done OK? Had I made a fool of myself? Had I let the team down?

"Smith!" It was the coach standing behind me. "I've got your target. Take a look."

"Is this a joke?" I asked.

There were two sighting rounds and 25 bulls eyes.

I had fired a perfect score!

No one in camp history had ever fired a perfect score. No one.

Well, no one 'til now.

So, you may ask, why am I putting this story in a blog about network marketing.

It's here because, all these years later, I still remember that sweet, sweet taste of success.

I'm ready for another bite.

Care to join me??

Monday, July 12, 2010


It's been nearly twenty years since Cath and I set sail on the S/V Polynesia. We boarded ship in St. Maarten on a breezy sunlit morning, excited to be embarking on an amazing week of sailing, swimming and socializing.

We whiled away the morning hours basking in the warm Caribbean sun and waited for our fellow travelers to come aboard. After enjoying a light lunch with newfound friends, it was time to weigh anchor and set sail for St. Barts.

We motored out of the harbour a mile or two, then the captain cut the engines. The only sound was the gentile "splash, splash, splash" of crystal clear water dancing against the hull.

For those of us who chose to, we took our places along the lines and slowly began to hoist the sails. As we worked together and the snow-white sheets unfurled above, the haunting sound of a bagpipe began to echo across the sea. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound."

To this day I cannot think back to that moment without a tear welling up in my eye. It was a sublime moment of setting out, together with my crewmates, on a magnificent adventure. So much lay ahead and so much was left behind.

The music, fixed in that place and time, indelibly signaled the promising start of a fabulous journey. Cath and I became bonded with some of our fellow travelers in such a unique way that, even now, we stay in touch.

Now, as I set out on this new journey of discovery, I can't help but recall that earlier time on the high seas. From somewhere in the depths of my mind, the bagpipe once again strikes up Amazing Grace and I scan the horizon for my upcoming adventures.

Will you be joining me?
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain, Author and Humorist

Friday, July 9, 2010


Hurry up and wait.

That's what they used to say in the Army and that's where I am now with my biz. I'm playing phone tag with some guy here in Puerto Rico and my contact in the States is gathering information for me, so there's not much happening today.

Last night, I discussed the Trump Network with my adorable but skeptical wife, Cath. She gets Donald Trump. She gets building a network. And she gets my approach to recruiting a couple of folks first. What she doesn't get is . . . well, me.

In the '70s we got involved with Amway. Like the vast majority of network marketers, we spent money, worked hard and, ultimately, crashed and burned. It was not for lack of effort that we went nowhere. Cath & I literally knocked on doors, hosted sales meetings, went to businesses to sell cleaning products and badgered friends, relatives and complete strangers.

Oh yeah, we worked it, Baby!

In the end, nobody below us succeeded, nobody above us helped and nobody but nobody would take our phone calls. "It's those Amway guys. Quick, hang up!"

Does networking marketing - does Amway - work? Of course it does. There are a boatload of folks who started with Amway back in the '70s when we did who have made enormous fortunes. Do Cath and I work? Well, we started out together more than 40 years ago and, yes, we definitely work! We also put in a ton of effort into our biz, but success eluded us.

So, Cath rightly fears that getting involved with the Trump Network could end badly. It's not the investment of money - we've got sufficient - nor the investment of time - God willing, we've got plenty of that, too. No, it's the nagging fear of failure once again. The "I really don't want to go down that path yet another time" feeling. That "I don't want to get all excited about something and then . . . nothing" feeling.

Know what I'm talking about?

So, for today, I sit and wait. I see the possibilities, hope springs eternal and all is well in Paradise.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


A week has passed since I started this blog. So by now, I'm a wealthy Trump Network phenom, right?

Not so fast!

Before I leap headlong into the Trump Network sea of wealth, there are a few things I want to check out first.

For example, shall I find a local sponsor, a big group in the US or just someone I feel a connection with?

The 'Net lists a few major organizations (Residual Income, Automatic Diamond Team, Etc.) and some individual folks (Denise Winters is one I ran across).

The only links to local folks I could find were "dead", so it either isn't very popular here or I'm just getting in at the ground floor. I haven't decided yet just who should be my sponsor - but whomever I choose: lucky them!

Next, I need a plan. Do I just take a leap of faith and sign up, or is there a better way? For me, I have to know I can actually sponsor someone before I send off my hard-earned cash.

I know, that's not the positive Rah-Rah approach you'd expect from a future fixture of the Trump Boardroom, but I have to see before I believe.

So, this week I'm rounding up stuff that I can show my small list of prospects and see if I get any nibbles.

I think Ivanka - perhaps my greatest inspiration in the Trump family - would be proud of my cautiously optimistic approach!

We'll see.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


What is it about Donald Trump? I've admired him for years. As a young man, I strolled wide-eyed through Trump Tower in Manhatten and thought to myself, "What sort of guy builds something like this?"

Another day, years later, as an air traffic controller, I watched Trump's Bizjet flit across my radar scope. "What sort of guy ownes a plane like this?" I thought.

Then there are the Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe pagents. Again, I asked, "What sort of guy gets to hang out with beautiful women like these?"

How about the many books he's authored? And, of course, "The Apprentice" and "Celebrity Apprentice". Who does that?

And don't forget his greatest achievement - his children.

Yes, "The Donald" is an icon.

So, when I wandered into a web site the other day proclaiming that Trump is now the head of a network marketing outfit, I, like so many others, was immediatly interested. "I can go into business with Donald Trump? Seriously?"


So, now what . . .