Happy New Year and wishing you a splendid 2015! Over the holiday break, I was fortunate to travel to Japan and how interesting it was to really observe and learn about such a different culture and people.
In Japan, there is a word, omote, which refers to the public, formal, and conventional aspects of behavior. This can refer to ingrained patterns of behavior, such as how close to one another people stand, or who shakes whose hand first at a meeting. It also can allude to behavior in business affairs and events in a business setting. Ura, which is more valued, refers to the private, informal, and unconventional aspects of culture. Japanese people see this mode of behavior as more valuable and meaningful, however, one only acts this way with close friends or family members. I found this terribly interesting, as the way in which you conduct yourself is extremely important and specifically who with.
The Japanese value outside appearances very much. This is not to say that they do not value what is private and hidden, but much importance is placed on one’s presentation and appearance. To demonstrate this point, the Japanese businessman is compared to a Samurai warrior or kamikaze pilot in “The Idea of Japan,” “The Japanese know that you never come to a negotiation showing your true nature. To deal effectively with you, they must find this out…It’s a game of masks at which the Japanese are adept.”
Thus in saying so, what I found most interesting is this sense of non-public display of behaviour, how you interact with general public and how you act with close family and friends, was the “meaning” behind it. The importance of presentation and what it says about you and masking of one’s true nature to have it strategically unfold as one gets to better understand you, for me is all about meaningful connections and the value thereof, how these connections are earned, what image you portray and how one conducts oneself.
I think that a lot could be learnt from the Japanese culture on how we conduct ourselves and the relationships we build. In this year of 2015, I would like to focus on building meaningful relationships and believe that everything in life starts and ends with these relationships.
Imagine trying to build wealth without others. Imagine trying to be happy without others. Imagine trying to learn without others.
Our very existence starting from the womb has relied on our relationships to others.
But there are no rule books for relationship building. We grow up learning to read and write hoping our connection skills learned on the playground are good enough to get by.
If your wealth, education, love, and even happiness is contingent on others, imagine what would happen if you upgraded the way we’ve built and engaged your relationships? Your life would change right in front of your eyes.
I believe there are 7 principles for building meaningful relationships.
I’ve noticed these principles show up no matter what. I believe they are universal rules. They apply no matter what culture you’re in, where in the world you may be, or what time in history it is. They’re fundamental for life, love, and business.
- Our external relationships are a reflection of our internal relationships
- Focus your mindset on giving unconditionally
- Serve others how they want to be served
- A relationship must be give and receive (sometimes you can say no)
- Get on peoples maps…empathise
- Always make others feel safe
- Honour every behaviour because it has an intended positive outcome, no exceptions
Let’s strive to build better relationships in 2015, be it business, family or friends!!!