Many students and youth are experiencing family problems and tend to think of their lives very negatively. Please give us advice on how to think positively about life.
Lecture given 9 September 2016 at Happy Science Special Lecture Room
There are a surprising number of people whose family situations are unfortunate. But most people hide it, so it is difficult to realize unless you know the person very well.
I remember once in elementary school a classmate suddenly disappeared overnight with their whole family. Their family shop had gone bankrupt and they were running away from mounting debts. It was unfortunate that the parents failed in their business, but the whole situation was beyond the child’s control.
The Japanese film “Control Tower”, which was directed by Takahiro Miki, follows the romance of a high school girl as she and her family flee from debt collectors. They end up in the northernmost part of Hokkaido, but the debt collectors keep pursuing them and the girl has to leave again and part with her sweetheart.
It’s very painful. People who experience family circumstances like that are like tragic heroines, and I feel sympathetic for them. I see these children who have to run away from their parents’ debts and it makes me think, “how bright their future would have been if they had been born into a better family”. Family illness is another situation like that.
Sometimes crime is involved. It is said that in Japan 3 people out of every 100 become criminals. Criminals themselves are held accountable and that’s fine; but what if your siblings or parents become criminals?
Starting life from a ‘zero’ mark is better than starting life from a ‘minus’ mark. It is very difficult. Life is like a handicap race.
Speaking of handicaps, here is an example: former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s mother was the daughter of the founder of Bridgestone Corporation. His mother was obviously wealthy, and gave him financial support of about US$150,000 per month. He used this to finance his political activities. We can clearly see that his family situation is on a completely different level, so much so that it became the subject of public gossip for a long time.
Parental Influences Are Seen In People’s Ideas About Money
I am currently teaching ways to become wealthy, such as the laws of success and successful management. I feel I have the right to teach these things because it all comes from my personal experience, but during my father’s youth he was an activist for communist ideals and believed that “having money was a crime”.
Eventually my father began his own business, but he didn’t succeed as a manager. It was because his idea that “wealthy people cannot go to heaven” conflicted with the spirit of capitalism. He didn’t do enough ‘trial and error’ work and his administration management was insufficient.
My family house is still standing as it was, but back in the day we had a small shack about 100m away and another hut a little way further. My father built this with the intention of starting a factory.
People say that businesses fail within 3 years, and indeed my father’s business only lasted 3 years. He blamed his circumstances for his failure, but according to my mother’s objective side of the story, my father became a company president not wanting to work under other people. But his workers slacked off when he wasn’t around and kept making useless products.
Things were convenient back then, and the president himself had to go to Osaka to promote his products. But while he was gone, the workers began to slack off. I don’t think my father had studied much about administration management. In the end we were left with a 20-year debt.
They were hard times, and my mother also had to work to repay the debt. I began to want more attention, and became a ‘bad kid’ in my days before elementary school. I was ill-natured, it seems.
Awakening to the Power of the Mind
During my university years I came in contact with great minds such as Benjamin Franklin and Sontoku Minomiya, and realized that people can change by changing their mindset.
For instance, if your field is small and you think you’ll never make as much money as a mega farm, then that’s the end of the story. But if you use a small backyard to carefully plant different crops according to the season like Sonyoku Ninomiya, you’ll start to accrue capital and it can gradually grow. It’s all about the way you think.
Shoichi Watanabe once said, “Time is money; but money is also time”. In other words, if you have money you can buy time.
A scholar needs books for study, and that isn’t cheap. More importantly, you need space for those books. Mr. Watanabe said that living in a small one-room apartment is restrictive for your intellectual life. The family would gradually occupy the father’s study and the books would have nowhere to go. He said that this is one of the reasons why university professors, who used to have research space provided for them at the faculty, are unable to continue their activities after retirement.
When I read these things in my youth, I realized that I could buy time and space with money. So that became my goal, and after setting this goal it became true. Grand thoughts translate themselves into reality.
Indeed, it is impossible to store sufficient research material in a small city apartment, and the library is not always available to you. They close at night and on holidays, so people who like to work at night find libraries inconvenient. They also have a limit to the number of books you can take with you, and while some groups are demanding libraries to expand, they are far less useful than they seem.
Mr. Watanabe said that some countries have university libraries that are open until midnight, but Japan has no such service. He also said that curating his own small library was his dream as a scholar, and it made me want to begin writing my own books.
Creating your own space requires a fair bit of money, so I started working as a way of building up my capital. The result: I have now published over 2000 books (at the time of the lecture). This is all thanks to the abundance of money I made to create space for writing and to buy books.
Having a Vision and Making the Effort to Become Wealthy
My childhood wasn’t particularly poor; it was a normal life out in the country, but I graduated from high school and university with the help of scholarships. I had to work during my university days too, so it wasn’t that easy.
Some political parties want to change the fact that there are a huge percentage of people unable to repay scholarship loans (NB: scholarships in Japan have to be repaid in the future), and have thought of making higher education free. This is a sensitive problem: it may seem like a good thing, but ‘free’ isn’t the best option. That is because, when poor people try to find a way to make do with the little money they have, it counts as legitimate effort.
As a student, I remember walking through every second-hand bookstore in Kanda and going back to the place that had the cheapest book in the best condition. This is all part of ‘effort’. I also remember sacrificing breakfast and lunch to spend the money on books. This is about prioritising what you feel holds greater value, and that is very important.
Making money begins with saving money, but you shouldn’t stop there: if you have a vision and you make the effort to become wealthy, it will come true.
How to Overcome Feelings of Inferiority
Positive thinking can be used to overcome setbacks and feelings of inferiority. If you try, it’s not too difficult to change your thinking and look on the bright side. If all you think about are your past failures and inferior characteristics, nothing will happen; but if you choose to look at your good parts you will realize your true assets. Assets refer to more than just money: it includes abilities and character.
For example, I’m very eloquent and talkative so during my student years many people found that annoying. When I starting my work in a company I was often told, “you’re a youngster with a loud mouth”, “you talk as though you’ve been here 10 years”, “just shut up”. But now my work is such that my words are capital, so being eloquent has become a forte.
Everyone has feelings of inferiority, but everyone also has something good about them. So invest your hopes in your strengths and try to improve them.
In resolving inferiority complexes, you can either take time and slowly work on them or just forget about the things you cannot change.
There is a famous story about Dale Carnegie of the New Thought movement. In his childhood he used to play around jumping out of a second-story window and lost his finger in an accident when it got caught. For a long time he was very embarrassed about his 4-fingered hand, but after achieving success, he wrote that he only remembers his missing finger once a month or so.
Great success allows people to forget their shortcomings, and frees them from having to think about those things.
People may think your missing finger is bizarre and you may have trouble finding a job or finding a marriage partner. But great success lets you forget about those things.
Habitual self-reflection is a very good thing, but if you let yourself drill your negative aspects into your mind it will become difficult to get out of that way of thinking. In the first spiritual messages I did of the Japanese monk Nichiren, he said, “don’t just think about pulling the nail out; instead hammer a positive nail in”. This kind of thinking is very effective.
If you are feeling down, read a book that makes you energized. If you read ‘success’ books your vibration will begin to rise and pull you away from darker thoughts. It will give you power to repel any spirits of evil and poverty that are approaching. You must realize that thinking has great power.
Changing Negatives Into Positives
In some cases, your family may have a large number of failed entrepreneurs or criminals. But in families where one person has achieved phenomenal success, it is often the case that only one part has flourished and everything else is falling to pieces.
A commonly used example is the German writer Goethe. It is said that Goethe was a genius, but he was the only genius and the rest of his family had no such qualities.
On a fruit tree we have to trim certain branches to get concentrated nourishment to the fruit. In the same way business failures, illness and early death can become enrichment for one’s success. It’s divine dispensation.
In general, healthy thinking and the accumulation of effort will open new paths.
The rest is about balance. Happy Science is doing a huge variety of activities and some of them are still incomplete. When an incomplete project is singled out it can seem like an utter disaster, but we also have many other ventures that are succeeding. Using this stability to pursue new challenges is not a bad thing. Having a work-in-progress can become a driving force for the organization.
The power of thought is great, but very few people have experienced it. They may know it in words but only 1 person in 10 has actually experienced the power of it. But it is true: thoughts have power. So if you continue working on something for 5 or 10 years you will come to realize that it has become a reality.
I’m sure there is a reason why someone is born into a particular unchangeable environment. Also, your success can change every other negative thing into a positive, like how a novelist can find unfortunate family experiences very helpful to his or her writing.
I think it is very important to change disadvantageous circumstances into advantageous opportunities.