Congratulations, young global leaders!
I am extremely honored to be here today to help you celebrate your graduation from Waseda Business School.
I am also a graduate of Waseda University. It’s been almost 20 years since my graduation ceremony. At that time, I was wondering what I could do for the world.
If I could go back in time and talk to the Chiaki of that time, I would tell her these two lessons.
First, “Focus on daily (pause) tiny (pause) decisions”
Ambitious people tend to focus on big decisions, like which school to enter, which company to work for, and maybe to whom to get married. We spend a lot of time contemplating and analyzing these big choices. We believe it has huge impact on our lives. But is it true?
After graduation, I applied to the Asashi Shimbun to become a journalist. My application was rejected however, and I felt like I had failed. It was from that experience that I started my own company, Loftwork. Now, I’m happily running a company with 150 members with a global network.
One reason why I can successfully run my business is because I have my own rules that I genuinely follow when I make small decisions everyday.
First, I choose to depend on my own feelings, not on the authority. Second, when I am debating between two choices, I try to consider how I can get both.
Having such personal discipline helps me to be consistent and maintain the vision with more ambitious tasks.
A big decision doesn’t happen everyday. Instead, we live by making small decisions every minute of everyday. Such personal decisions make up our lives and lead us to where we want to be. Please make your own discipline and welcome the serendipity that comes from your intentional tiny everyday actions.
The second lesson is “Imagine a doughnut,” a donut that surrounds you.
You all must be very smart, the brightest minds are in this room today. Still, what you can do alone is very limited. Instead of looking into yourself, asking what are my core skills, what am I most competent in, let’s imagine what you could do with the people around you.
When you meet an interesting man, consider what you want to do with him. When you meet an inspiring woman, design what could be the next step to collaborate with her. Such actions will create your unique collaboration network in the shape of a doughnut ring around you.
The center of a doughnut is a hole. That means you could be nothing, which is both anything but something!
Thank you again for inviting me to speak to you on this very special and exciting day. And please let me be a part of your charming doughnut network.