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Learning Life From the Japanese

BETTERHUMANS

10 Japanese Concepts For Self-Improvement and a Balanced Life

10 Japanese Concepts For Self-Improvement and a Balanced Life

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Japan: Learning About A Holistic Life

The Japanese culture is rich and benevolent.

We can make use of some of the concepts listed below to gain perspective in life and appreciate the holistic beauty and humanity imbibed in the surprising country.

Key Takeaways

  • Omoiyari: embed compassion in your life, work, and product design.
  • Ikigai: live with purpose and passion.
  • Wabi-sabi: be grateful, see beauty in imperfection.
  • Mottainai: embrace essentialism, and live sustainably.
  • Shin-Gi-Tai: keep a healthy body and a sound mi...

Omoiyari

Omoiyari means caring and showing sincere consideration for others.

Japanese fans made the headlines in 2018 when they tidied up a football stadium after the game.

Omoiyari is also manifested in the designs of products. For example, Japanese hi-tech toilets have a wa...

Ikigai

Ikigai is the Japanese term for the state of well-being induced by devotion to enjoyable activities, which leads to a sense of fulfillment, according to Japanese psychologist Michiko Kumano.

It is said that in Japan, people who have a purpose in life live longer.

Your iki...

Wabi-sabi

Wabi-sabi is a concept that encourages us to embrace our imperfections and accept the natural cycle of life.

Everything in life, including us, is in a state of flux. Change is the only constant, everything is transient, and nothing is ever complete.

By prac...

Mottainai

Mottainai means respecting the resources we have, not wasting them, and using them with a sense of gratitude.

Uniqlo uses “Mottainai: Old Clothes, New Life” to achieve zero waste.

The concept invites us to be grateful and intentional about our actions and think of wa...

Shin-Gi-Tai

Shin-Gi-Tai translates as “mind, technique, and body.”

Mind, technique, and body are the three elements for maximum performance used in martial arts.

The framework can also be applied to building habits. The framework can be mapped to the Fogg Behavior Model, which is express...

Shu-Ha-Ri

Shu-Ha-Ri translates as “follow, breakaway, and transcend.”

It is a way of thinking about how to learn and master a technique. There are 3 stages to acquiring knowledge:

  • Shu: learn the basics by following the teaching of one master. Imitating the work of great masters al...

Kaizen

Kaizen is a method of continuous improvement based on the theory that small, ongoing positive changes can be significant.

Kaizen reminds us to let go of assumptions and perfectionism. It teaches us to take an iterative, progressive approach to change.

This concept is vital to...

Mono no aware

This concept describes having empathy towards things and their inevitable passing.

This concept reminds us that nothing in life is permanent. We should willingly and gracefully let go of our attachments to transient things.

Omotenashi

Christel Takigawa, the ambassador for the Tokyo 2020 bid, popularized this concept in her speech to the International Olympic Committee.

The concept is all about offering the best service without expecting a reward. It’s an important part of Japanese culture and deeply rooted in how Japanes...

Ho-Ren-So

Ho-Ren-So translates as “report, inform, and consult.”

The concept forms the basis of all communication, collaboration, and healthy information sharing in a Japanese organization. It focuses on the roots of the communication line, streamlining the flow of information, and preventin...

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