7 Powerful Lessons from Ancient Japanese Wisdom

Josh Linkner
July 23, 2017

Josh Linkner

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, NY Times bestselling author and venture capitalist.

As we search for new approaches to our biggest challenges, we often seek the latest-and-greatest tactics from the hottest, cutting-edge research on performance. It feels like there's a brand new management approach, tech tool, or leadership style on a daily basis. Yet sometimes we can progress even more by learning from those before us.

While flavor-of-the-week approaches fade fast, powerful wisdom is ageless. Assuming you don't have spare time to travel to the ends of the earth or scour ancient scrolls, I thought it more efficient to share seven of my favorite gems. Many centuries old, these time-tested sayings are just as powerful as your new-fangled, web-enabled gadget:

1. If you do not enter the tiger's cage, you will not catch its cub. It takes some risk to achieve our goals. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We must get comfortable being uncomfortable if we want to enjoy outsized success.

2. Fall down seven times, stand up eight. There are many setbacks on the path to greatness. The most successful among us are also the most resilient and tenacious.

3. Don't let your daughter-in-law eat your eggplants. Even those close to you may try to take advantage. Stand up for yourself when others try to take too much, even your closest colleagues and advisors.

4. Dumplings rather than flowers. Put another way, substance over style. Don't be taken by shiny objects; instead, embrace people, opportunities, and partners with depth and character.

5. Even monkeys fall from trees. A great reminder that even the most skilled among us makes mistakes. If you're not screwing up from time to time, you're probably not pushing hard enough toward your goals.

6. A frog in a well does not know the great sea. It's easy to lose perspective, and think our own worldview is universal. Instead, we can't forget there are many external perspectives and options that must be explored and pursued.

7. Chase two hares, catch neither. If we lose focus and try to tackle too many things, we end up winning at none. It's often better to dive very deep into one area or pursuit than to go wide and shallow in many. When we try to be all things to all people, we end up being nothing to no one.

To achieve at the highest levels, we should certainly consider new advice, ideas, and thought-leaders. But at times, the ancient pearls can help guide us better than the most advanced digital GPS system. Embrace these powerful lessons, and make your own history.

The post 7 Powerful Lessons from Ancient Japanese Wisdom appeared first on Josh Linkner.

Josh Linkner

Want Josh Linkner for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
The 5x5 Decision Model
Josh Linkner
Josh Linkner
September 22, 2019
You've got a tough decision to make, yet conflicting interests and perspectives can render you frozen from taking ...
Five Big Questions to Gain Clarity, Sharpen Focus, and Drive Results
Josh Linkner
Josh Linkner
September 15, 2019
In our increasingly busy and scattered lives, getting clear and focused ...
The Unique Problem-Solving Approach of History Makers
Josh Linkner
Josh Linkner
September 08, 2019
For decades, transportation experts and city planners who studied traffic congestion ...
The 5x5 Decision Model
You've got a tough decision to make, yet conflicting interests and perspectives can render you frozen from taking decisive action. We’ve all been there. Having observed how the most successful people evaluate their options and then make a thoughtful decision, here's a framework that may be helpful when you’re trying to make a choice in the face ...
Read More
Five Big Questions to Gain Clarity, Sharpen Focus, and Drive Results
In our increasingly busy and scattered lives, getting clear and focused can feel like an insurmountable task. We live in an era of distractions vying for our attention the way high-strung paparazzi try to capture that perfect celebrity photo. Knowing that most of us can't take a three-month sabbatical to hang with monks in mountainous isolati...
Read More
The Unique Problem-Solving Approach of History Makers
For decades, transportation experts and city planners who studied traffic congestion in major cities came to the conclusion that not much could be done to improve gridlock. Based on available street widths, speed limits, and other constraints, they were correct. But Elon Musk approached the problem in a completely different manner. Instead of...
Read More
The Can't-Not
The promo for tonight's local news runs across your screen: "Two of the items in your pantry right now could kill you. Tune in at 11:00 to find out which ones." After hearing this announcement, you can't not tune in. When you learn about a hot tech company that offers unlimited days off, tuition reimbursement, cool offices, and a change-the-worl...
Read More
How Tiny Innovations Can Yield Gigantic Results
Gaining competitive advantage, better serving customers, and standing out from the pack can feel just about as challenging as running a double marathon barefoot. The difficulties are exacerbated if we find ourselves in mature industries with deeply entrenched market leaders possessing the resources of a small country. How can we compete and win ...
Read More
How Swapping Two Words Can Transform Your Success and Happiness
As the competitive nature of our world continues to increase, success can feel elusive. Whether your sights are set on landing a promotion, raising capital, wining that new account, or inventing a game-changing product, you'll need to break free from traditional thinking in order to seize success. The ones who score the brass ring are not nec...
Read More
Playing Guitar With Three Missing Strings
Studying jazz guitar in college, I had a professor that would force me to remove strings from the instrument. One, two, sometimes three strings had to be removed before I attempted a performance. You might guess that gutting half of my available resources would crush my ability to play, let alone be creative. Yet a surprising and counterintui...
Read More
How The Most Successful Leaders Respond
We all get provoked. An angry associate; a cranky customer; a snarling spouse. In these cases, the primitive part of our brain designed to protect us in the wild kicks in and our autonomic response is to recklessly fire back. We lash out, hit below the belt, and respond with uncontrollable emotion. That's where the problems begin. We end up s...
Read More
A Powerful Two-Step Approach to Drive Results
When we look to initiate change or growth, some sort of behavior shift is generally required. Want to sell more products? It probably involves making more cold calls, training more salespeople, or improving marketing efforts. Looking to remain relevant in the workforce? This objective will likely require more learning, reading, or skill developm...
Read More
What a French Creole Cooking Term Can Teach Us About Customer Loyalty
After finishing an incredible meal in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the best part of the experience may very well be the lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap). While it sounds like a fancy seafood dish, a lagniappe is actually an unexpected gift. That special dessert, complements of the chef. The small box of chocolates for you to take home. Th...
Read More