Do You Talk Things Up?

The Japanese are known for being diligent; they have the term gambarimasu (to do one's best). Their entire focus is on how to produce great results for the benefit of many. In contrast with the West, where people tend to talk things up.

Nick Kemp talks about how Japanese people focus more on working hard for the greater good.

Do you talk things up?

So for example, if you’ve done something well, do you say: I’ve crushed it? When you’re working hard, do you say: I’m hustling? When you’re quite good at something or you have a certain level of expertise on something, do you call that your zone of genius?

When you have a challenge ahead, do you taunt it with the expression: bring it on? Now, positive self-talk can be quite helpful, but I think these expressions are more about the ego. 

One thing I learned when I lived in Japan, is how the Japanese do not engage in this kind of talk. They don’t talk things up, they only use one expression when they’re talking about challenges or working hard.

That expression is gambarimasu; gambaru. Which we could understand as “to do one’s best.” I found that in Japan, the Japanese really don’t talk – they don’t talk things up. They focus on the task at hand. They put their energy into that.

So that was a powerful lesson for me: rather than talk things up, I think it’s far more positive and far more effective to focus your attention and energy on the task at hand. Or at tasks in the immediate future. 

I think there’s one key crucial point: when the Japanese do something, they often think of the greater good. So instead of talking things up, maybe we could focus on the task at hand and working for the greater good.


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