365: Day 210 – Surviving 1000 years

“…doing one thing and doing it well — a very Japanese approach to business.”

I came across this article this morning. It served as a reminder of the importance of thinking long-term and never living above your means. This mochi shop in Japan has been around for a thousand years. It is almost inconceivable to imagine that the focus and dedication have lasted a millennium through many generations. Clearly, culture plays a large role in the continuity of something for so long. Someone once told me that culture is making a full stop at a stop sign when there is no one around. You do something because you’re a part of something bigger and for the greater good, not because someone is watching or enforcing things.

When I went to Japan, I fell in love with the country and the peace I felt walking around a few cities. I suspect it has much to do with their culture, and I wish I had what I felt there at home. Maybe it is because Japan has a much older culture that has matured over many centuries.

It seems I’m going off on a tangent now. I’m trying to say that in the U.S., we’re unfortunately taught (particularly in business school) to focus on maximizing value, which often leads to focusing on the short-term game. Companies must constantly evolve to stay competitive. It’s rare to hear someone here focusing on tradition over profits.

As a person, I want to think about what I want my legacy to be and how I can best prepare for future uncertainties. In my lifetime, I have already lived through three major events that have rattled the economy: 9/11, the Great Recession, and now this COVID-19 Pandemic.