‘The knife made with craftsman’s spirit and techniques’ – a typical catch copy in Japan. I grew up with such things and didn’t pay much of attention.
But recently I realized that is it. When the spirit and techniques come together, the magic happens. You must have both to realize the high performance.
Spirit is your mindset. How you see and think.
Techniques are tools. They are to make your work more productive.
Another old saying in Japan is ‘Know how to use a fool and pair of scissors’. Everything comes in handy when rightly used. If a good user use a tool, he will do a great job. A poor user won’t achieve the same result with exactly the same tool. The best scenario is, of course, the best user with the best tools.
Spirit, or mindset, is like a computer operation system. It regulates how things should work. Application software is a tool, techniques. Even though you purchase the top quality, the most expensive software, if your OS can’t cope with it, you won’t be able to do anything.
Spirit, just like the computer OS, keeps being upgraded. Your perspectives and the way of thinking keep evolving. You choose the right application accordingly. As your mindset improves, you see more effective way to use tools.
We can access so much information today. Lots of schools, classes and workshops to learn knowledge and skills. Millions of products to improve your life. Many useful tools are available.
But are you aware of the condition of your mindset? If your mindset is not really taken care of, it’s like you are chasing the latest apps for your Windows 95 you have been using in the last 20 years.
Japanese craftsmen have known the importance to work on both spirit and techniques. All top performers including athletes, actors and musicians know it. Successful teachers and businessmen know it.
You can look for tools all over the world, but you need to look into yourself to improve your mind. You need to work on inside and out. Both are essential.
If you feel you are not achieving as much as you wish in spite of the effort you are making, you may want to think about your OS. Are you working on your mindset as much as tools?