Notable Japanese on Obsessions, Failures, and First-hand Lessons
Here are 10 celebrated Japanese and their thoughts on where to focus your obsession, how to recover from failure, the power of first-hand lessons, and much more!
1. Minoru Yoneyama on the blessings of failure.
“Even if I fall, I always get up larger than before. That was my motto, and it earned me the nickname ‘The Snowman of Echigo.’”
—Minoru Yoneyama 米山稔 (1924–2019), founded the sports company Yonex, largely considered the world’s top producer of tennis and badminton rackets and golf clubs, in the book Echigo no Yukidaruma Yonex Sougyosha Yoneyama Monogatari.
2. Keisuke Honda on where to focus your obsession.
“Don't obsess over success. Obsess over progress.”
—Keisuke Honda 本田圭介 (1986–), a Japanese professional football player, manager, and coach of the Cambodia national team, who earned over 90 international caps between 2008 and 2018, in an interview with Next Connect.
3. Haruki Murakami on the power of first-hand lessons.
“What you learn from others ends there, but what you learn with your own hands stays with you.”
4. Son Masayoshi on the pathway to success.
“You can't grow wings without a lot of thought, aspiration, and a crazy amount of effort.”
5. Hayao Miyazaki on how creators are born.
“Creators don't come from sitting in a room clacking away at a state-of-the-art computer, I think they come from an accumulation of more traditional things.”
—Hayao Miyazaki 宮崎 駿 (1941–), a producer, screenwriter, animator, director, and co-founder of Studio Ghibli; regarded as one of the most accomplished filmmakers in the history of animation (attributed quote).
6. Naomi Watanabe on how to recover from failure.
“Even if you fail, it’s important to switch gears and say, ‘I failed! Okay, on to the next thing.’”
7. Hideyo Noguchi on what makes a genius.
“A genius is one who studies three, four, or five times harder than anyone else.”
—Hideyo Noguchi 野口英世 (1876–1928), a prominent bacteriologist who discovered the agent of syphilis as the cause of progressive paralytic disease in 1911 (attributed quote).
8. Yoshiki Otake on using your talents to make a living.
“If you are good at one thing, there is a way to make a living out of it.”
9. Mizumaru Anzai on working hard to pursue your dreams.
“Life is short.
If there is something you like or want to do, you should try it.
If you work hard at it, someone will likely acknowledge you.
If they don't, it means that you haven't worked hard enough.”
10. Soseki Natsume on living your best life.
“There's nothing more painful than when what you're doing is not your purpose.”
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