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This Single Reason Will Convince You To Go To Japan At Least Once In Your Life

This Single Reason Will Convince You To Go To Japan At Least Once In Your Life

What do you think of when you hear the word “Japan?” Do you think of postcard-pretty parks strewn with cherry blossoms? Do you think of sushi and other delicious dishes? Or perhaps Japan brings to mind your favourite J-Pop bands and anime shows? Maybe you picture the land of beautiful aesthetics — of origami crafts and ikebana flowers and gorgeous kimonos?

We could give you a thousand reasons why everyone should visit Japan at least once in their lifetime and be awed by the simple and mindful ways of living, the colourful folktales and local culture, and the minimalist decor, but simply put, the best reason is this: Japanese people are very polite.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/16228551621/sizes/l

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Source: Flickr

The Magic Of Omotenashi

“Omotenashi” or “Japanese hospitality” is a way of life in the land of the Rising Sun. The Japanese practise politeness and kindness not only to minimise conflict, but also to promote greater peace and harmony in this troubled world. They not only believe that kindness should be repaid with kindness, but also emphasize that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Whether you’re a foreigner or a native, a day in Japan will include several random acts of kindness.

Historical Traditions

Politeness

    Source: Flickr

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    The Omotenashi tradition can be seen in their formal tea ceremonies as well as the codes of conduct in martial arts. Omotenashi, which can be literally translated as the “spirit of service,” is closely related to the meticulous tea ceremonies which are considered a sacred ritual by most people. It not only involves the process of tea making and the right way of flavouring, but also the picking of appropriate bowls, creating the right atmosphere for the guests, decorating the place with flowers and lights, and treating guests with extreme reverence without expecting anything in return. The guest too reciprocates with kindness and gratitude.

    The ethical code of the samurais, also known as “Bushido” or the “Way Of The Warrior” also stresses fair play, control over one’s emotions, and respect for everyone — including one’s enemies. It is thus a complex code that highlights the need for discipline and adherence to one’s morals and honour, somewhat similar to medieval chivalry. This code not only governed all samurai battles, but also extends to cover day-to-day interactions with people in society. Omotenashi combines both traditions and offers a path to creating a happier and harmonious life, in tune with nature.

    Random Acts Of Kindness

    Oh - the politeness!

      Source: Flickr

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      If you’ve ever visited Japan, you’ll know that Omotenashi is infectious and can be observed everywhere. Foreigners too are at an advantage, for the Japanese culture stipulates that greater politeness should be shown to those outside one’s group — especially strangers and “gajin” or the “outside people.” You might remember random people bowing to you as they sat beside you on the bus and even when they got up. Those suffering from the common cold often wear surgical masks to prevent the spread of infection. If there’s some new construction work to be done in the locality, neighbours often gift boxes of washing powder to clean the clothes from the inevitable dirt and dust.

      If you’re planning a trip to Japan, don’t be surprised if a random stranger volunteers to help you with directions or offers you free advice. Restaurant staff will greet you with an enthusiastic “irasshaimase” or “welcome” and a bow. Even the machines practise politeness. Taxi doors open automatically, and if you’re waiting for a long time, the lift is sure to apologise. Even the toilet seat will spring to attention when you step in.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/15927296051/sizes/l

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      Source: Flickr

      A trip to Japan is sure to herald some spiritual growth in the visitor. Not only will it teach you to be more well-mannered, but it will also inspire you to be an empathetic human being and do your best to make the world a better place.

      Featured photo credit: Kristoffer Trolle via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on April 8, 2020

      Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

      Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

      Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

      Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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      Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

      However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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      The leap happens when we realize two things:

      1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
      2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

      Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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      Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

      My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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      In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

      “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

      Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

      More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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