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About the Author
In 1986, Okawa founded Happy science as a spiritual movement dedicated to bringing greater happiness to humankind by uniting religions and cultures to live in harmony. Happy Science has grown rapidly from its beginnings in Japan to a worldwide organization. The spiritual workshops Happy Science offers are open to people of all faiths and walks of life and are rooted in the same principles of happiness that inspired Okawa’s own spiritual awakening. Okawa is compassionately committed to the spiritual growth of others; in addition to writing and publishing books, he continues to give talks around the world.
Read an Excerpt
Set Virtuous Aspirations
Aim for Success that Brings Happiness
The universe offers an immeasurable array of guiding principles of success. So in this chapter, I would like to introduce seven essential secrets to becoming an effective leader, particularly for young professionals as well as others who aim to become successful leaders at work.
These days, the words success and happiness are often used synonymously. But as we look into people's real lives, we may find that success and happiness can mean different things to different people. For example, some people in the world of business are willing to gain advancement in their career lives at great cost to their families' happiness, while there are also others who willingly give up prospects for career advancement to protect their family's happiness or their own inner fulfillment.
When we consider these things, it could seem odd to say that happiness and success go hand in hand. But many people still regard them as synonymous ideals, and I also agree that there are some aspects of success that can be unified with happiness.
As the founder of Happy Science, I developed my philosophy of success to offer guiding principles that can help us merge success with true happiness to as wide an extent as possible. The following secrets of success are based on my belief that happiness is not just a result or outcome we attain when we reach the pinnacle of success; happiness can be also experienced constantly as we advance along the path of success. In the same way, our journey to success should also let us savor the inner fulfillment of happiness, and this is the kind of success I constantly hope will be fostered and grown throughout our societies and the world.
Aspire to Spread Happiness through Your Leadership
According to a commonly accepted method of success, we need to make many sacrifices to climb to the highest heights of success. So, there are many people who set goals of advancing to high positions of power and status so they can achieve successful careers as policymakers, government ministers, presidents or prime ministers of nations, head executives of corporate institutions, artistic geniuses, and many other types of vocations.
In many of these cases, the rise to such positions requires much hard work and tearful sacrifices made by a countless number of people. If the efforts and sacrifices of these supporters are requited in some way, then their sacrifices will have been well worthwhile the hardship. But the reality is that they sometimes receive little repayment for what they contributed, even when the people they worked for become successful.
As we aspire to become successful in our own careers and goals, we do not want our successes to be the result of many people's unrequited sacrifices. Rather, we want to see that our success leads to other people's successes and our happiness leads to many other people's happiness.
Then first and foremost, we need to ask ourselves, for what purpose are we striving to reach our goals — what are the underlying aspirations or mindsets of our hearts? This is the most important step of attaining the kind of success that brings true happiness. If we find that our wish to succeed lacks consideration for others' welfare so much that we don't mind treading over others and making them unhappy as long as we attain wealth and influence of our own, then this mental attitude will lead us away from the ideal shape of success.
There are many books on this worldly kind of success that promote the use of aggressive methods, which can often be an effective way of reaching our goals. For example, by applying aggressive sales and marketing tactics, we can take a failing product unwanted by customers and still achieve top sales results. Doing so can lead to a stellar performance, which can help us gain the favorable recognition of our superiors and eventually a promotion at work.
But, as I said earlier, this idea of success goes against the ideal kind of success that I encourage everyone to aspire to. Rather, our advancement to higher positions of power and a greater state of wealth should produce beneficial value to those around us, to our societies, or, on a larger scale, to the growth and prosperity of national and international economies around the world.
When our only aspiration is to be promoted to higher places, we start caring too much about avoiding making mistakes. The goal becomes making sure that we don't fail while we're in our position, even if this can potentially lead to problems after we leave our post. We stop caring that our neglectful actions could eventually come to light at some point in the future and put people in difficult or problematic situations, and we do this because all we're thinking about is finding ways to escape from making mistakes now.
So, let's say that you are promoted to an executive position in a manufacturing company you are working for, and you face the temptation to cut costs on pollution prevention, as this will help increase the company's overall revenue. When we face such a situation, we need to resist making the wrong decision of cutting corners for the sake of business profit, even if we believe that no one will notice. It is the heart and intention that we put into our decisions that is crucial, especially when we work in positions of responsibility.
The same principle of aspiration holds true for those who hold public offices. Public officials are often guilty of valuing their career longevity and their own career advancement over being honest about their mistakes. They are reputed to conceal their mistakes, gloss over issues that have gone wrong, and avoid getting involved with policies that carry a risk of failure. In their hope to preserve their public reputation, they settle on inaction and deferment as their method of escape.
In my home country, Japan, high-ranking officials are often instructed on their first day in office to postpone issues that could be handled the next day. They begin their first day as public servants deferring decision-making altogether so as to avoid making mistakes and getting involved in complicated issues. And they continue to do so throughout their terms in office. As a result, the issues at hand that need to get resolved do not get addressed properly, and this endangers the well-being of the citizens who are ultimately the ones who suffer the most because of their officials' inaction and indecision.
Seeking success for personal protection is like wanting the head executive position in a company solely for the power and wealth that comes with it, and this mindset should raise concern. It is true, of course, that we are promoted to higher positions of responsibility and recompensed with greater wealth as a natural reward for our achievements. But though these rewards serve as report cards acknowledging the quality of the work we have accomplished so far, the "A" grade we earned does not improve our intelligence to help us perform better in the next semester. Rather, the "A" is the result of our efforts from the previous marking period or semester.
In any position you hold in any career you choose, the premise for your desire to succeed should be an aspiration to fulfill as many people's happiness as possible and work for the sake of other people's benefit. But if achieving your aspiration might result in spreading unhappiness and forcing sacrifice on many people, heaven will not want to bless you in your goals, and you will need to either change your aspiration or stop seeking promotion. It is my hope that an increasing number of people who achieve success will live and work with virtuous aspirations of success.
Live Your Life with Positive Purpose
To become a successful leader, you need to set an aspiration for success in this world that does not bring harm to those around you. Your aspiration should be based on a desire to make your time in this world as meaningful as possible as you use your abilities and God-given talents to the fullest possible degree while, at the same time, contributing to transforming the societies, countries, and world around you, no matter how modestly, into ideal societies for all.
Though we may not have the power to change the entire world in an instant, we certainly are capable of contributing a bucketful of benevolent work to humanity's river of ideals.
This aspiration may sound old-fashioned and unpopular in these modern times; it may remind us of the morals we learned in history lessons and the ancient fables that we read long ago in childhood. This idea of success may seem out of sync with the pleasure-seeking times that we live in today. But the spiritual laws governing humankind unmistakably exist, and this is a truth we will understand as plain as day on the day we perish from this world.
And when we do, we'll also see clearly that our lives fall into one of two basic groups: lives lived with positive purpose and lives lived with negative purpose. Which of these groups we fall into is determined by which of two forms of success we aspire to achieve. If we choose to live with a harmful aspiration, the authority, wealth, or status that we achieve will mean that we have committed greater misdeeds due to the greater extent of our influence, and therefore we'll ultimately reap graver consequences for ourselves. At that point, however, we'll no longer have the choice to redo our lives in this world.
There are many books that encourage us to realize our goals even at the cost of taking others down as an essential method that leads to success. But these approaches are often inspired by ideas focused on the self, and they tend to lack a heart of love for others. They may be effective principles for achieving self-oriented forms of success, but this is not the ideal or true shape of success we want to realize in this world. This is why having the right aspiration is a key principle of success and essential to building a strong foundation for a successful life of leadership.
Develop a Life Strategy and a Set of Tactics
Understanding the Difference Between a Strategy and Tactics
The second secret to becoming an effective leader is to outline a strategic plan for your life and then devise a set of methods for fulfilling it. A strategy, in general, is the broad aims and goals we want to accomplish in the future. So a life strategy is a master plan that serves as our essential guide through our lives. The methods or tactics, on the other hand, are shorter-term ideas that determine specifically what needs to be done and how to fulfill our strategy. To help distinguish between them, you might think of your strategy as the conceptual element of your plan and the tactics as the tangible elements that you can see happening as you are carrying them out.
Finding the distinction between a strategy and tactics may be hard to do, and this, in fact, is often the reason why highly talented people find themselves not succeeding. They usually confuse the methods with the strategy. They mistakenly prioritize working on the specific techniques and tactics in front of them over working strategically toward winning the long-range victory. An incisive aptitude allows them to pay close attention to technicalities and details, but this often leads to focusing on smaller issues and neglecting to keep their sights firmly set on the bigger picture. Their thinking pattern resembles technical experts or those who work in very specialized jobs.
This trait could make it difficult for them to succeed when they work in positions above others. But working with a boss who can put their skills to good use may allow them to find the path to their success.
So the ability to tell the strategy apart from the methods is essential to success, and this ability can be cultivated through effort. To better understand the distinction between developing a strategy and devising the methods, let's consider a basic example of a girl in elementary school who wants to grow up to be a doctor.
If she is to achieve her dream of becoming a medical professional, going to medical school will be an essential strategic goal. So as part of her strategy, she will need to determine her principal choice of university and set earning admission to that university as her primary goal. To decide which university she wants to attend, she will need to begin by looking at a range of undergraduate universities offering degrees in premedical education or other qualifying majors and determining the ones that best suit her or her parents' financial capacity.
If she or her parents are able to afford a higher rate of tuition, she can include many private institutions in her list of options. But if this is difficult to do, her choices will mainly come from state universities and community colleges that offer premed courses.
If a state university works best for her and her parents, then the final deciding factor will be based mostly on where she currently lives. And, after she has narrowed down her choices of universities in this way, she will move on to the next step of looking into which middle schools and high schools will best prepare her to gain admission into the university she has chosen.
In addition to determining the educational qualifications, another essential aspect of outlining a successful strategy will be to make sure that a career in medicine really suits her as a person. For example, the ability to do well in school is not the most reliable indicator of whether someone is compatible with a medical profession. Sometimes, students who decide on pursuing a medical career based solely on scholastic achievement find that they are unable to handle their first autopsy at medical school and pass out during the middle of the operation.
Another aspect of career compatibility is that doctors spend all day with patients. So finding a sense of fulfillment through constant contact with people is another quality she should think of as essential to this career. If she feels uncomfortable about being around and interacting with people all the time, she may want to reconsider her choice of career.
As my description so far indicates, gaining an understanding of and assessing her compatibility with the day-to-day aspects of her dream profession are key to devising a career strategy. Her strategy will need to be based on this assessment of her aptitude for becoming a doctor.
If she determines that she still wants to become a doctor, she is now better prepared to devise a successful strategy. So if we return to her educational strategy that I began discussing earlier, she will need to outline a plan that will successfully get her into medical school. This can be done by backtracking from her main choice of university to determine which high school and middle school will increase her chances of being admitted to each level of school above it. Some high schools offer curriculums designed for students pursuing premed programs in college, and these schools may be essential to her chosen university. Then, she could look into which middle school she'll need to attend in order to be accepted by her chosen high school.
In addition to this, she should determine her main academic goals for her grade school education. For example, she will need to focus a large part of her studies on performing well in math and science. As she outlines her general goals leading up to her dream career in this way, her overall life strategy will start taking shape.
The next step she will want to take is to determine her methods or tactics. Her methods are the detailed action plans that she will choose and alter as the need arises to increase her chances of success. This is what differentiates the methods from the strategy.
For example, how well she needs to do on her next exam and what her method of preparation will be, how she'll go about improving in her weak subjects, and how much improvement she needs to make in her strong subjects are all decisions about tactics. Hiring a tutor, for instance, is an example of a tactic she can consider.
Excerpted from "The Laws of Invincible Leadership"
Copyright © 2018 Ryuho Okawa.
Excerpted by permission of IRH Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 13
Building a Strong Foundation for a Lifetime of Success
Seven Secrets to Becoming an Effective Leader
1 Set Virtuous Aspirations 15
2 Develop a Life Strategy and a Set of Tactics 22
3 Receive Spiritual Guidance 30
4 Get Support from Others 35
5 Be Quick to Seize Opportunities 44
6 Develop an Unshakable Mind 49
7 Choose Your Best Life Partner 59
8 Summary: The Seven Secrets to Attaining a Lifetime of Success 72
Chapter 2 75
Developing Winning Strategies
Seven Keys to Continuous Success in Management and in Life
1 Look at Life as a Series of Battles 77
2 Gain Foresight to Win in the End 87
3 Analyze Your Competitors' Strengths and Weaknesses 95
4 Concentrate Your Strength to Bring About the Best Results 102
5 Use Surprise Tactics When the Odds Are Against You 106
6 Create a System for Continuous Success 111
7 Be Brave When Wisdom Runs Out 114
Chapter 3 119
Cultivating a Management Mentality
Five Keys to the Development and Prosperity of Your Business
1 Keep On Thinking 121
2 See the Big Picture as Well as the Details 128
3 Discover and Solve Bottleneck Problems 133
4 Always Be Mindful of Customers' Needs 137
5 Increase the Added Value of Your Products and Services 141
6 Summary: The Five Keys to Developing a Management Mentality 145
Chapter 4 149
Six Useful Perspectives during Transition Periods
1 Finding the Causes of Recession 151
2 Assessing the Societal Impact of Recession 155
3 Investing in Yourself 159
4 Reassessing the Value of Your Family and Spirituality 162
5 Discovering the Potential of Your Future Growth 165
6 Finding New Business Opportunities 168
Chapter 5 171
Optimizing Your Leadership Capability
Six Pearls of Wisdom for Taking the Middle Way
1 Discovering the Pitfalls of Optimism 173
2 Harnessing the Power of Wisdom 181
3 Thwarting Evil Intentions 185
4 Aiming for the Best in Managing Your Business 190
5 Knowing the Limits of Your Abilities 197
6 Using Wisdom to Take the Middle Way 201
About the Author 205
About Happy Science 206
About IRH Press USA 214
Books Ryuho Okawa 216
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A very impressive book that is suitable as self-help genre or business genre. It is not the most spiritual, yet the author weaves in spiritual concepts. Overall, I would recommend to family and friends. It is a great gift book for those of any age.