What Young and Successful People Have in Common
World Teacher's Message


The Question:

My interests lie in the idea that a company’s value is determined by the company’s vision. But if a youngster like me tries to create new values, they can conflict with the company or organization’s vision. Do you have any advice for young people who want to create something new in an organization?

Lecture given 10 January 2010 at Happy Science Tokyo Shoshinkan


It’s true that the company vision can determine how the company actually ends up, but the vision itself is not something that is created in its perfection in a flash.

The vision is fixed only gradually, and it’s not something that is created by foreseeing the company’s billion-dollar future. It must go through innovation and grow per the size of the enterprise.

Business managers also change their minds when they get to know how the company works. At first, they might think, “Let’s just try to make a million dollars”, but as the company grows bigger, they’ll start to change. Some might feel a greater burden of responsibility, and others might awaken to public interest. They’ll do a lot of thinking and studying in the meantime.

That’s why it’s often wrong to think that the initial vision will decide how big the company will become. Not many people can do this, and it generally doesn’t happen this way.

Usually, they decide the general direction they want to go. When they decide the general direction, they can keep that vision for a few years until the company grows to a certain size. But after that, the company modus operandi will begin to change, so the company vision must change with it. The personnel will change so the size of the company will also change.

I know that some retired businessmen write rags-to-riches autobiographies about how they started on the streets with the one vision of creating the world’s best automobile, or the world’s best motorcycle, and that it all came true. It can seem that way to them in retrospect, but in reality, the vision is not enough to bring it about. Becoming the world’s best is not an easy thing.

It’s good to have an ambition, but at the beginning you should strive to find just some basic way to accurately communicate your ambition. Then the vision can change according to your experiences and the development of the company. This is proof that you are growing as a manager. This process lets you see many new things.

It’s all very fine if your making pancakes in a little shop and thinking “I’m doing this for the happiness of my country and the world!”, but for most of these people it’s just self-satisfaction.

But if this person developss a chain store and expands that all over the country, it may indeed end up being for the country and the world.

So please note that company visions have their own stages of progress, and need innovations along the way. It’s not all decided in one go.


Changes Alongside Company Size

If we take Happy Science, for instance, while there are some things that have remained unchanged throughout, there are other things that have undergone change.

In the beginning, during the 1980s our signs read “Happy Science: A Masters Course for Life”. You can tell we didn’t think we’d gather so many believers. It implies that while there may be few believers, the level of difficulty is very high.

Smaller cram schools have no choice but to survive through advertising their high level. They don’t have capital and they don’t have workers so they say, “We teach at a very high level with close teacher-student contact”.

I don’t remember ever asking for such a thing, but once Happy Science reached a certain size, one of my disciples went and erased the subtitle “A Masters Course for Life”. My disciples thought that it sounded too tough and unattractive, so they erased it without approval. I only discovered it sometime later.

In this case, the concept probably changed. When we had just started out, I used to check the membership forms myself, and our seminars required a competitive entrance examination. People who got 92 would be crying because the pass mark was 94. Then as Happy Science gradually spread around the country the exam became unnecessary.

When we ventured into spreading the Truth overseas and tried to get corporate status overseas, they said to us “Religions are meant to accept anyone in need, are they not? Your idea of ranking people and failing people goes against the idea of a religion”. I resisted at first, but as we grew even bigger I began to agree with that idea.

Happy Science is filled with people who study hard and read books, but as we expand our target audience we must learn to change the way we think. We used to emphasize ‘self-help’ but we’ve recently started teaching about ‘help from above’, and so our teachings are gradually expanding. It would be devastating if other religions taught things that we didn’t. That’s why we continue to expand.

So, while we emphasize the importance of a central axis, we have no choice but to expand as size increases. It’s a natural progression.


Concrete Results and Character Are of Great Import

You’re very young (speaking to the questioner) and so I’ll have to touch upon the question, “are you not being presumptuous?”

The answer is “Yes”. If a youngster makes suggestions to people 10 years older than he and starts talking about the company vision, he would be told off. Everyone will tell him that he is being presumptuous.

The orthodox method to overcome this problem is to achieve concrete results. People will start listening to what you say if you achieve concrete results that everyone can admit as being great.

The other method is ‘good character’.

We can’t explain exactly what it is about a person with character, but they have this aura of virtue and good character. We can see this clearly in a democratic society. The simplest people can see when a particular person has character and charisma.

Concrete results can make people listen to you, but even without the results, a person with a charismatic aura – the air of a powerful leader – people will begin to accept your ideas. It’s a fair system.

Some people know how to overcome bashing by the press, and in a similar way some people learn to overcome surrounding criticisms. Not everyone in your company is a bad person, and some of the people who get angry at you may be looking at how you manage to overcome their criticisms. They give more ‘homework’ to the more able people to test them.

From your viewpoint, it may seem as if these criticisers are plotting your ruin and bringing down a huge weight on your shoulders. It may also seem like bullying or plotting from an objective viewpoint, but in some cases, this is a misunderstanding. Those strict people just want to size you up.

They’re looking and thinking, “Okay, he’s passed Stage 1, now let’s try Stage 2… Stage 3… Stage 4… Good he’s come this far.” It’s called the wisdom of age and people who are 10, 15 years your senior have the capacity to watch you like this. A 10-year difference nullifies any sense of competition.

As I often say, being respected and having a good reputation amongst your juniors is a virtue of character and a condition for getting promoted; but the people who get you promoted are most likely those who are above you.

In general people who rise in the ranks with surprising rapidity do so through endorsements from seniors and superiors. It’s no good if those below you speak badly of you, and being endorsed by them is important, but this alone is insufficient for getting promoted. You also need endorsement from above. You need both.

It is the sincere people who stand in good esteem with those both below and above. Insincere people, two-faced people, have a bad reputation on one side or the other. If a person always treats his juniors to drinks but badmouths his superiors, or if he’s always acting charades behind the backs of his superiors, his juniors will be watching.

This attitude will bring bad reputations from one side or the other. In contrast, people who stand in good esteem with those both below and above are sincere people.


Being Charming and Having Love for the Company

Other important traits are being genuine, earnest and hard working. It’s a strange thing but looking at people working in a company, we can tell those who love the company and those who don’t.

It’s really strange. Those who have love for the company have a sort of ‘protective membrane’ around them, like a spacesuit. Love for the company itself means the person has the awareness of doing something for the public good.

That’s why, despite the difficulties, a person with love for the company will try to achieve concrete results or use their virtuous character to get recognition.

Another important trait for getting endorsed by superiors is to be charming. People who have no charm generally don’t get promoted. People who get promoted most often have charm.

If you have a sharp tongue, you need to make them think, “But he’s still likeable”. You need to have charm. This is very important.

Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic, would often look at a person’s ‘luck’ when doing interviews for his company. Luck is always talked about in hindsight, but it’s really the sum total of the support you have received from others. You can also receive support from heaven. So, luck is actually the support you have been given from other people and from heaven.

And this is directly related to how much effort you put in when no one is watching. Prudence during solitary hours, is a classical virtue. People who work hard when they are by themselves are virtuous.

People who slack off, do bad things or use their money unwisely when no one is watching are not virtuous. People who are prudent during solitary hours often gather support from others, and think themselves lucky.


The Capacity to Feel Responsibility

We’ve entered the season for entrance exams, but the thing about entrance exams is, you either pass or fail them. When I look at the results my children bring in they’re all different. One school would give a fail at 80 per cent while another would give a pass at 20 per cent. It’s a really unreliable way of measuring yourself, and if you do so you’re clearly disadvantaging yourself.

Instead of looking at the raw result, it’s better to think like this. If you fail, regardless of the marks, you should reflect on your lack of effort and be grateful to your teachers and parents for their help and support. Even if you end up going to the school of second choice or third choice, you should try to find your heavenly mission in that result, and strive towards excellence in that environment. I guarantee that a path will be opened up to you.

People who, after failing their desired school, don’t feel responsible and instead blame their teachers, parents and their environment; those who continue to complain in their new school: these are the sort of people who end up in ruin.

This is a law. People who become great are those who feel great responsibility; and people who end up ruined are those who transfer their responsibility unfairly upon others.

People in positions of responsibility, such as company managers, must be people who feel responsibility strongly. They must be people who have strict expectations on themselves.

What Young and Successful People Have in Common
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