To Enjoy Life, Follow These 3 Easy Rules

For the last year and 10 months, I’ve been writing a weekly column every Friday for the Nikkei, Japan’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times. The title of the series was “Omoshiroku Ikiru,” which translates as something like “Living a Fun and Interesting Life.”

I wrote a little bit about business, technology and leadership, but mostly I covered far more personal matters: how my wife and I are raising our five boys; my hobbies and enthusiasms; and the efforts I’m making to give something back to my hometown.

These are rather unconventional topics for a business newspaper, but the articles were widely read and shared by everyone from stay-at-home moms to big company CEOs. When the time came to write my 83rd and final column, I decided that the best way to sign off would be to sum up my recipe for a fun and interesting life in three easy-to-follow rules. That’s what I want to share with you today.

So here are… My 3 Rules for Enjoying Life

#1 Stay curious

Stay curious throughout your life. Trying new activities and learning new things will broaden you as a person and make your existence much more fun. I know this from experience. When I hit 40, I decided to change my lifestyle completely. I took up the game of Go, became a keen mountain hiker, took up competitive swimming and began snowboarding too. A rich life should not follow a linear continuum. You should make abrupt and complete changes of direction from time to time.

#2 Enjoy friendships and family

Meeting new people and building the bonds of love and friendship makes life more interesting and enjoyable. Joining forces with people you meet enables you to achieve things which you could never do on your own. The more people you know, the more possibilities open up in front of you.

That’s certainly true of my company, GLOBIS. Its growth has been driven by my meeting, and building ever deeper relationships with, all sorts of stakeholders—shareholders, customers and employees.

At the same time, I take my relationship with my family more seriously than anything else on earth. Raising five kids while running a business was tough, so I cut back on things like corporate entertaining and golf. The joy I get from being with my boys has always been the most precious thing in my life.

#3 Be grateful for what you’ve got

Taru o shiru” is an old Buddhist saying in Japan. It means something like “to be aware that you have enough” or “to be satisfied with your lot in life.” It’s important to be happy with what you’ve got and take a glass-half-full rather than a glass-half-empty view of life. 

Being in good health makes me happy. So does sitting around the dining table with my family. So does sleeping in a mountain hut among other climbers, all packed together like sardines. So does a simple glass of water when I’m thirsty.

If you learn to be grateful for all the ordinary things, the sense of satisfaction you get from life will deepen immeasurably. The real joy of life is right there in front of you among all your little everyday experiences.

You only live once, so you’ve got to enjoy life. Remember—Stay curious; get the most out of your friends and family; and be content with what you have.

If you follow these three simple rules, then every day of your life—and every minute of every day—will be fun and interesting. I guarantee it because I’m speaking from experience!

Do you have any of your own personal guidelines for getting the most out of life? Share them with us on social media.

Photo by Eric Isselee

Mr. Yoshito Hori established GLOBIS Management School in 1992 and GLOBIS Capital Partners in 1996. In 2003, GLOBIS started its original MBA program which, in 2006, received accreditation from the Japanese Ministry of Education and gained “university” status. GLOBIS started a part-time MBA program in English in 2009 and a full-time MBA program in English in 2012.

A Harvard MBA graduate and former Sumitomo Corporation employee, Mr. Hori founded the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Japan Chapter in 1995 and became the first board member from Asia in charge of Asia Pacific region in 1996. He also served on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s New Asian Leaders Executive Committee and Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership, as well as the Harvard Business School Alumni Board from 2005 to 2008. Currently, Mr. Hori is a board member of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), and serves as co-chair of WEF’s Global Growth Companies.

In 2008, he launched the G1 Summit – a Japanese version of the WEF’s annual Davos forum. This led to the foundation of G1 Summit Institute in 2013, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

Just days after a huge earthquake struck northeast Japan in March 2011, Mr. Hori launched Project KIBOW to support the rebuilding of the disaster-affected areas. The following year Project KIBOW was incorporated as the KIBOW Foundation, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

An avid enthusiast of the Japanese game Go since age 40, Mr. Hori has been Director of the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) since June 2013.

Since October 2013, Mr. Hori has hosted a weekly TV program in Japan called Nippon Mirai Kaigi (Japan Future Conference). He has authored several books including Visionary Leaders who Create and Innovate Societies, Six Dimensions of Life, and My Personal Mission Statement.

Mr. Hori received his BS in Engineering from Kyoto University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

He is an avid swimmer and enjoys spending time with his family, especially his five sons.

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