Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mental Strength Based on Vision and Passion

Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan, tells us the importance of vision and passion. It is not just a slogan. It is not just beautiful and fancy words. His personal history gives us clearly about bitter actuality walking the course to be successful.

Yataro Iwasaki was born in Lower Class Samurai family, who normally could not get education provided by local government that time in Japan. That did not discourage him at all when he was young. He educated himself while he was selling birdcages to support his family in his teens.

Later, he nominated himself to study in Edo (Tokyo) and could learn there. His academic achievement drew higher-class management, and he was selected to be an Edo business staff of the local government. His father was arrested when he was in Edo for street fight with higher-class Samurai. He came home to save his father and appealed his father's innocence to his government. He was fired. He was fired several times in his life. This was his first time.

He and his father were put in a jail for a while, after he was released, he reclaimed his innocence and expertise and hired back. Higher-class Samurai colleagues did not like Iwasaki sat in a higher position than them. Iwasaki was again accused of no reason and fired again.

Ryoma Sakamoto, who later became the central figure in Meiji restoration, picked up Iwasaki and Sakamoto and Iwasaki became independent partners, giving birth to "Kaien-tai", the first modern trading company in Japan. "Kaien-tai" later became "Mitsubishi Corporation". His humbleness made him say that he was just fortunate. He would not be able to keep going without passion and vision.

It may not be just Mr. Yataro Iwasaki who talks about "Vision and Passion". Successful leaders emphasize the importance of emotional strength, putting aside smartness. Iwasaki was later calling himself a stubborn, inflexible, bungler. He lost his positions given from his master several times. That made him an independent entrepreneur. Once he believed in himself, he did not change, no matter who tried to persuaded him. One example is that a son of Samurai family became a merchant. His family and friends stopped him because it is downgrading himself. He believed that Samurai would one day give ways to merchants. Society changed as he predicted.

In the era of rapid change such as Meiji restoration, modernization of Japan from Samurai, Shogunate days, there appear miraculously prominent people like Mr. Iwasaki. He might call himself stubborn, inflexible bungler. People today calls him venture business entrepreneur in Meiji Era. He tried everything he saw the future. He failed some, but he was successful in changing the society. Being called a person with "Iron Mental Strength", the foundation supported his mental strength was Vision and Passion.

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