Deepening Your Humanity by Accumulating Experiences and Learning From History Can Be Useful for Management (Part 3 of 3)
World Teacher's Message No. 302

The Question:

Could you give us some hints to convince a person who thinks he is always right and cannot accept the advice from the people around him that he is under negative spiritual influence?

Excerpt from Q & A session during the lecture, “The Principles of Negative Spiritual Influence” given at the Special Lecture Hall on December 1, 2018.


In the last issue, I said that young promising stars in the organization need to learn from history.

Mr. Kazuo Inamori, the founder of KYOCERA, has written more than 40 books. I’ve read a lot of them and noticed that he repeats the same stories over and over in his books.

The company he entered before he founded KYOCERA is called Matsukaze Industry, which was a shabby firm with only several employees. Mr. Inamori mentioned that he was about the only employee left at the company after his colleague who entered the company in the same year with him took a job at the Japanese Self Defense Forces. It was a miserable experience for him. He was turned down by most of the companies he applied to. He applied to Panasonic (then Matsushita Electric Inc.) and was rejected.

He begins with the story when he didn’t get into Kagoshima Daiichi Junior High School which he had applied to, then he later failed to get into Osaka University. He didn’t have a choice but he studied engineering at Kagoshima University. He mentioned this over and over again.

Even after he turned 80 years old and was well-respected, he gathered CEOs from 6,000 companies and taught them about management at Seiwa Clam school which he founded. Although he didn’t have to talk about his failures so much because he already wrote about them in his books, he kept repeating these stories again and again.

He kept failing to get into schools or companies of his choice over and over. He ended up working at the company that no one including his parents had heard of.

He mentioned that his father owned a small printing company which printed ads in Kagoshima Prefecture and he had to help his father when he was young. He repeats the memories that he is not so proud of over and over in his books.

He created billion-dollar companies such as KYOCERA, but he still talks about the miseries in his life.


When You Use Someone Who Is Smarter Than You, Your Academic Background Has Nothing to Do With It

So why does he keep sharing his miserable stories? Well, he wanted to tell the company CEOs that success has nothing to do with their innate ability.

I don’t know how difficult it is to get into Kagoshima Daiichi Junior High School. I assume that it is a prestigious junior high school in Kagoshima. It might be a junior high school that is affiliated with a university or a top school in the region. He mentioned that he failed to get into Kagoshima Daiichi and later to the University of Osaka. I’m sure many people who work at prestigious companies in Kansai area went to either Osaka or Kyoto University.

Even though Mr. Inamori had worked for an unknown company, as his company KYOCERA became huge, he had to work with a lot of employees who went to either Kyoto or Osaka University at KYOCERA.

He needed to use people who were smarter than him. He is telling them, “I wasn’t so smart that I failed to get into Osaka University. I wasn’t not good enough for Kyoto University either” and “I went to Kagoshima University and created KYOCERA.”

People who were working under him might belittle him saying, “he is not that great.” But he wants to tell them that there are many entrepreneurs who didn’t enter university or finish high school, or even elementary school. Being successful in business has nothing to do with one’s educational background. People can grow to be successful over the course of their lives.


Discard Your Inferiority Complex and Make Efforts to Become a Good Businessman

He wanted to say, “You may think that you are no good because you didn’t study hard in the past. But it is never too late to study management.”

Mr. Inamori proved that even a graduate of Kagoshima University can create a multi-billion company. Mr. Konosuke Matsushita, a founder of Panasonic didn’t finish elementary school. There is nothing to be ashamed of that. Even if you graduate from engineering department of Tokyo University, you might end up working at Hitachi as an engineer and become a section manager at best. When compared to that, it is such an accomplishment if you create your own company and grow it to a multi-billion company.

What Mr. Inamori wanted to tell the CEOs is to discard an inferiority complex if you have one. Instead, study management and make an effort to become a good businessman.

He emphasizes “passion” and the “amount of effort and time you put in” as the most important issues. He says if you don’t believe in passion or diligent effort, people will lose their will to go on. People might say, “Passion or effort has nothing to do with it. It’s all about ability or academic background”. Mr. Inamori denies it. He teaches a valuable lesson and we all should learn from him.


People Who Have Never Failed Before Will Not Notice the Dangers That Lie Ahead

CEOs need to possess a different skill set other than superior ability.

They need to know the secrets of human nature because they need to deal with many different types of people. They need to know what other people think, the difference between men and women, and the differences between age groups such as people in their 20s, 80s or 90s. CEOs need to ponder the question: “If those people hear this word how do they feel?” and listen to their voices like an echo.

If you have never gone through hard times, you cannot get to the root of human nature. There is nothing scarier than an impeccable, thoroughbred and faultless person who has never failed before. It is believed for a long time that you should not entrust a person who has never experienced failure with war or company management. It is dangerous. This kind of person will not notice imminent dangers.

On the other hand, a person who once experienced a failure becomes cautious. In the old days, if a person got burnt by touching a hot kettle, he would be very careful the next time. You will not know about failures until you experience it first-hand. I’m stressing that it is better to be cautious and it will be your asset if you can understand other people’s feelings.


If You Are a Company CEO, You Need to Look at Failures

A person who is full of pride and under negative spiritual influence cannot face failure.

There is a person who is full of pride and has been successful and also a person who is a perfectionist. I know the latter type; the perfectionists don’t necessarily have a perfect background. It is his personality.

He is fastidious and thinks “why would I fail?” and he is full of himself. Objectively speaking, he often fails, but he can’t see that or he tries not to see it.

In positive thinking, there’s an idea that if you don’t see failures, there’s only success.

If you don’t look at darkness, there’s only light. Just look at the light. This is the basis of positive thinking. Sin is a shade. If you put a shade over a lamp, you won’t see the light. However, if you remove the shade, there appears a bright light. Sin is like a shade. This is what Mr. Taniguchi, the founder of Seicho-no-Ie (a Japanese new religion that has spread since the end of World War II) said.

For some cases, it is encouraging and uplifting to think that a shade is covering your light and the light shines brightly if you remove the shade. To think this way actually enhances your ability to withstand and make you feel good. I think it is okay to think this way for your convenience.

However, it is not that easy to think only positively when it comes to managing other people at the company.

When your employee comes to you and says, “President, we have a multi-million-dollar deficit this year”, a very optimistic president might say, “It is just a lost period.For sure we will make a profit next year”. He might be right and the economic situation might turn around, but an employee would want to say, “President, even if you say so, we have 70 million dollars in deficits. It is very likely that we will go bankrupt.”

For example, Rizap, a fitness gym franchise that recommends training your body by avoiding carbs and just eating meat has been quite popular and they have many gyms in Japan. They expected a profit of $150 million in March 2019. However, just the other day (at the time of this lecture), they made a downward adjustment of $70 million in deficits. There is a huge difference between $150 million in profit and $70 million in deficit.

When the deficit becomes $70 million, generally speaking, some of the franchises are likely to go out of business. If the company CEO wishfully thinks, “It is just a lost period. We will flourish again.”, he will face a harsh reality. In a dog-eat-dog world, other companies try to copy your business style. Looking at stores that frequently come and go in urban areas, it is obvious that there are fierce competitors out there.


Accumulate Experiences and Learn From History and Other People’s Life

I had broadened the topic a bit. In a nutshell, I think it all comes down to the lack of experience. It is very important to accumulate experience. If you are short of experience, strive to learn from history or from other people’s life.

In this respect, some novels, movies and TV dramas can be useful. I think it is important for you to determine to elevate your humanity.

Deepening Your Humanity by Accumulating Experiences and Learning From History Can Be Useful for Management (Part 3 of 3)
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