"You are entitled to know that two entities occupy your body. One of these entities is motivated by and responds to the impulse of fear. The other is motivated by and responds to the impulse of faith. Will you be guided by faith, or will you allow fear to overtake you?"
- Napoleon Hill in "Outwitting The Devil."
Have you ever seen your thoughts from the outside? A while ago, my father told me that sometimes we are so close to the mirror, that we cannot even see our own reflection. Since we are so close, we have to step back and look at things from a different perspective. Sometimes we need to dive deep into our subconscious and see what kind of thoughts our mind is producing. How do you approach life? Is the world a metaphor for The Hunger Games? Mean, nasty, limited resources, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer? Do you feel oppressed? When you approach a business situation in Japan, do you approach it with doubt? Fear of rejection, failure, and lack of self-confidence? Do you feel attached to the outcome?
On the other hand, do you approach life with the faith that even though things are challenging, you will become more experienced and ready? Do you feel like the universe is infinite, and therefore there is an endless number of opportunities and resources? Do you approach a business situation in Japan with confidence, humility, calmness, and detachment of the outcome? Do you approach life with a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset?
Approaching Business in Japan with a Scarcity Mindset: The Zero-Sum Game.
Due to bad experiences and ignorance, most people see the world through a scarcity mindset. The average Jane or Joe will tell you that the world has limited resources, jobs, and opportunities. According to them, only gifted people can rise to the top while the rest of society has to fight for scraps. In Japan, every year, we have something called 就活, which translates to job hunting. Millions of students wear a suit and go to numerous companies with the hope of getting a job. While the top students and people with connections get favorable jobs, the rest need to compete with others to get a job. This job-hunting situation is what we call a zero-sum game. Only the top people can thrive while the rest fight for scraps. On a different note, only the best NBA Players, such as Lebron James, get paid a lot while amateur players get nothing; the chances of succeeding are meager. This is the mindset that the majority of people adopt.
It is effortless to adopt this toxic mindset since finding a scapegoat for your problems is more comfortable than to look inside yourself, take responsibility, and change your situation, which is ten times more challenging. To take responsibility in life means to put your ego to the side and to blame yourself for your mistakes. During my English teaching years, I remember having lunch with my coworkers and listening to their complaints. In their minds, Japan is a country were foreigners can only get two jobs, you are either an English teacher or a recruiter. A job different from those two is out of the question. They blamed the culture, Japanese people, the government, xenophobia, and the company they worked for. Since in their minds, there are only two jobs for foreigners in Japan, that is what they manifest in their lives through unconscious manifestation. If you believe in scarcity, that is what you will manifest.
If you believe Japan is racist and xenophobic, then your mind will be on the lookout for situations that validate your way of thinking.
Imagine approaching a client meeting with this way of thinking. If your mind is on scarcity mode, you will feel like you don't get this client, everything will end. Because of that, you are desperate and lower your price just to please your client. Scarcity prohibits you from developing self-worth and value, which leads you to become something that you are not. If the client denies using your product or service, your mind starts telling you that the client is racist, that you are not enough, and that being an entrepreneur in Japan is impossible. Again, it is easy to blame a boogieman for your problems instead of looking at them in the eye and solving them, just look at communist and socialist countries. That is precisely how communism destroyed my home country, Venezuela.
Approaching Business in Japan with an Abundance Mindset
Abundance is our divine right as human beings, every person on this planet deserves to live in abundance, but very few actually believe they can get it. If the universe is infinite and ever-expanding, that means that the opportunities and resources are unlimited. If you approach life from a competitive mindset (scarcity), you will not get very far. However, if you approach life with a creative mindset (abundance) and contribute to the human race, you will likely succeed. Because there is abundance in your life, an abundance of love, money, food, friendships, and health, you want to share it with your fellow man. After you fix yourself, solve your problems and get to that abundance mindset, you can start helping others solve their problems.
Creative geniuses, men and women of action are advocates of having an abundance mindset. What happens if your business fails? You get a lot of knowledge and experience. What happens if your significant other leaves you? You can work on your love life and find another person. What happens if the company rejects your job application or if your client refuses to use your services? You keep searching. Abundance allows you to detach yourself from the outcome of things and helps you to focus on taking action in the present moment. This is important since, without outcome, our focus automatically goes to the only thing that exists: the present. There is no past nor future, but only the now.
Imagine approaching a client meeting detached from the outcome. You believe in the product or service, you believe in yourself and live in the present moment. Because you live in the present moment, you listen to your clients' needs and pain points, outline a tailored plan for their business, and set a price that reflects your value and talent. Whether the client says, yes or no is irrelevant since you did what you had to do and did it well. This is the kind of attitude that you should have when approaching a business situation in Japan.
Learn Design Innovation in Japan with Brittany Arthur, Co-Founder - CEO at Design Thinking Japan.
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