Adding Value to Society

Do business owners need to have kokorozashi (personal mission)?

To have kokorozashi means that you have to think not only about yourself but also about how you can contribute to society.
Tomoya Nakamura believes that it is essential for business owners to have intrinsic motivation: something greater than money. He explains that it is better to use one's capabilities not only for personal goals but also to serve others.

Nick: My next question is why do business owners need a kokorozashi?

Tomoya: Of course a business owner, I think, can run his or her company without a kokorozashi. Meaning if you have a business model, if you have clients, you can make money. But in the long run, we probably need intrinsic motivation.

To have intrinsic motivation, something like money could be too small, of course, money is important, we need money to conduct economic activities. However, if you gain enough money, it probably will not motivate you.

So, probably you should use your money, your capability, your energy for something bigger than money. That's the reason why we ask students to have a societal goal, not just a personal one.

Nick: So it's something bigger than yourself, bigger than your company, bigger than making lots of money, and involves adding some value to society.

Tomoya: If you want to buy a Ferrari, that's great. But I don't think many people will support you.

Nick: It's a pretty selfish goal.

Tomoya: But if you use that money to serve local people. I think many people would support you,  assist you, and help you in achieving that goal. So we think first fulfilling your personal needs are important but I don't think that's the end.

Nick: This seems to go back to the idea of Bushido. I don't know a lot about Bushido, but I do know one of the values of Samurai was to serve their community and their elders.

Tomoya: So the unique part of Samurai in Japan is that they had both responsibilities of the arm and also the government. So in many countries, the warriors and the governors are different. But in Japan, they were the same.

Even if you are a warrior, you need to think about community, you need to think about your people. So Bushido requires integrity. It's not just yourself to cash in for your clan to prosper, together with you.

Nick: I think it's something that the world desperately needs at the moment but we're very much focused on success and materialism. I think we need more businesses wanting to serve society.