Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business


The Wise Man Adapts Himself to the World;

The foolish man tries to adapt the world to himself, therefore all progress depends on the fool.

I've spent too much of my life trying to adapt to the culture, the traditions, the unspoken rules, the taboos of my environment, and what I thought was right while having never evaluated them myself. Somehow I got the idea sometime in my life that everything around me is more important than me.

But then I started to lose myself. I started projecting an image of "right" on my peers and then on my own, very impressionable children. What I teach my children through my actions will stick for a lifetime, so I took a deep breath and stopped. Stopped judging, thinking, acting according to what was "right".

In effect I stopped adapting myself.

I wondered what would happen if I started just being ME and indirectly start adapting my environment to ME?

What's so bad about adapting my environment, my company, my colleagues to ME? Am I a bad influence on them? I don't think so. Could they enjoy partaking in my ideas, thoughts and initiatives? I do think so.

I feel better now. I feel like I have purpose. I feel like I have more to offer. I feel like I'm no longer walking on the edge of the cliff, but through the grassy meadow. I feel like I can spread myself like strawberry jam on the dry toast of everyday life at the office, and sprinkle myself like Tabasco on the pile of spaghetti I call home.

Let's see what happens from here on out. :)

Ps.  I think the kids like "foolish dad" better.


Pareto, anyone?

Ruthlessly evaluating your own work habits is never a fun thing to do, but boy does it feel good to work smarter! With a change in my work schedule, and much more self-managed time on my hands I've sometimes felt a little lost as to what I should be working on next, what comes first, and most importantly, what I shouldn't do at all!

Sorting out my schedule, I turned to something I learned a while ago that just took on a greater meaning: The Pareto Principle. Some Italian guy named Pareto discovered that 20% of the population had 80% of the wealth in his country. Then other experts in their respective fields starting seeing that same pattern all over the place.

20% of the workers produce 80% of the result .
20% of the drivers cause 80% of the accidents.
20% of your clients make 80% of the complaints.
20% of your purchases account for 80% of your spending.

20% of my time at work produces 80% of my productivity.

So the next logical step here was for me to identify the 20% that I want to maximize. For me it was the time I spend at work right after checking mail, reading news, updating my social statuses. So in a seven-hour work day, this would come to about an hour and a half per day. That's when I first start my real work, when I still feel fresh and alert, and my objectives are very clear.

Now knowing that this is my daily 20%, I guard it and nurture it much more than I used to, letting it take priority over all else in my day.

What's your 20%? Finding it may help you to better establish your daily schedule and find your own peak zone-Give it a try!

Ps. 20% of this blog post contains 80% of the content. :-)


Constructing My Plans

Everything in life is a learning experience.

I've experienced this first hand this past week working on something that I've never done before--remodeling a Tokyo office floor into a seminar hall.
Through this experience the thing that stood out to me the most was the power of networking. If I had been offered this opportunity a year back, I would probably have said that I didn't have the skill, experience, or time to do the job.

But at the time that this opportunity presented itself, it was not in the form of an offer.

I've been working on tuning my senses to look for and recognize the hidden opportunities that are already all around us, just waiting to be found. Opportunities that will add value to someone else, and will in turn bring you the financial benefits you need.

So when I visited my dad's office where he conducts seminars, something clicked, and I saw an opportunity to add value to his business by upping the standard of his "seminar hall", which actually looked like an office which badly needed renovation. I pitched it to him on the spot, and he agreed to the idea but first asked me if I knew how to do this kind of work. I answered that I'll get the job done, while in the back of my mind I was scrambling trying to figure out how I was going to accomplish this.

I immediately called my friends who had some experience in this field, and following a few leads and recommendations, I was able to put together a team who was capable of the job. I was the contractor/architect, and I hired a foreman and two workers, with the use of their tools and vehicle for transportation.

It would take me more than a blog post to list all of the setbacks and subsequent wins throughout this project, but in the end we were able to meet our deadline and create the level of quality that we had originally planned, without any compromises.

So here's what I learned from this experience in point form:
1. Never underestimate the power of networking. You never know when you will need the skill or expertise of someone you meet.
2. Setbacks are just that. Learn from them and just keep moving forward.
3. Realize that opportunity to add value to others is all around you. Act on it now!
4. Trust and rely on other's strong points above your own. Working as a team means that each team member has his or her strengths. Let them lead where they are stronger than you.
5. Admit your weak areas to your team, and they will respect you for it, try faking it, and you will lose respect quickly.
6. Whether or not you feel it, act confident. Adjusting your physiology to the state you would be in if you were confident will affect your mental state to become the same.
7. Plan, plan, and plan some more. Preparation is where the bulk of the work is done. If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.