Beating the fear of cold calling, and other lessons kids taught me

Part 2 of an article I wrote and published on GLOBIS Insights about my volunteering for a business competition involving local elementary school 
http://e.globis.jp/article/508

What I learned about business from 75 Japanese fifth- and sixth-graders (Part I)

A recent article I wrote and published on GLOBIS Insights about my volunteering for a business competition involving local elementary school children:http://e.globis.jp/article/503

Inspiring view ー 感激な眺め

On my morning run today, I decided to tackle a hill near my house. My wife calls it a moun’ain in the Colorado dialect she learned while living there. As it’s about a 3-kilometre drive up winding roads to the top, I am beginning to think she might be right. I haven’t managed to run all the way to the top yet, but I will likely be dropping my t’s too,when I do. If I don’t keel over first. 

今朝、また家の近くにある丘を走って見ました。妻は合衆国のコロラド弁で「モウンエイン」っていうのですが。

Today on the road ahead of me, I had to do a double take. I was expecting to see beautiful autumnal views. I wasn’t disappointed. 

今日は紅葉の景色を見るのを期待していて、がっかりしませんでした。


But the biggest surprise was this man making his way up the hill. 
けれども…目の前に驚いたことがありました。足一本で松葉杖を使っている男の人が登っていました。


I struggled to run 1.5k uphill. It looked like this man was aiming for the top.

1.5キロの上り坂途中まで苦労していたが、その男の人は頂上を目指していたではないかと思います。

Today, I just said konnichiwa as I ran past him on one of the steep uphill curves. Fleetingly, I felt guilty as I went past. But then I thought, the kind of person who has one leg and climbs a moun’ain on crutches is not the type of person to wallow in pity or make excuses. 

今日は「こんにちは」しか挨拶しなかったが、彼を通り抜けたら、一瞬、罪悪感を感じました。一瞬っていうのは、多分足一本で松葉杖を使って登山するような人が言い訳や文句を言わない人だと思います。

What a cool and inspiring guy. I’m hoping I see him again so we can talk. 

なんて素晴らしそうな人ですね。また、会うと良いですね。今度、ちゃんと会話をしたいと思います。

Quality Time with the Kids ー 子供と充実した時間

One of the perks of being your own boss is being able to spend more time with the kids. 

When I was in Tokyo, I didn’t get home until after 7:00, which after eating dinner left very little time to do anything else with the kids. 

Now, I’m at home when the kids get back and can do lots more things with them. I’ve started teaching my daughter phonics again – after an 18-month hiatus. And recently, I also discovered this great app called Epic, which has thousands of picture books in English. My older two love it when I read stories to them on my iPad. 

個人事業主として一つの役得は子供と過ごせる時間。

東京に住んでいた時は毎晩7時以降帰ってしまい、一緒に晩御飯した後に他にほとんど何もする時間がなかった。

今は、子供が帰ったら、既に家にいるから、一緒に色々できている。最近は長女に英語のフォニックス(単語の読み方)を教えるのを1年半ぶりに再スタート。また、Epicという数万冊の絵本を持つアプリも発見して、子供達に毎晩英語の読み聞かせをしてる。子供も私も大喜び。

Am I a digital native after all?

The other day, I was looking at a Polaroid snap, and without thinking, I tried pinching outwards to zoom in and get a closer look…

Eat and Run: Book Review

  

Whatever the problem in my life, the solution had always been the same: Keep going! My lungs might be screaming for oxygen, my muscles might be crying in agony, but I had always known the answer lay in my mind.

Not a bad solution to live by. 

Scott Jurek doesn’t do things by half. He gives his best and just keeps on pushing further and further. I first learned about AQ: Adversity Quotient (a theory developed by Dr. Paul Stoltz) when studying for my MBA a few years ago. Jurek epitomizes this never-say-die spirit.

We meet Jurek as he is vomiting, lying prostrate on the searing ground of Death Valley, his brain being cooked in the heat of one of the hottest places on Earth. He is attempting to run the Badwater Ultramarathon — 135 miles of pure scorching hell.

For those who have read Born to Run, you will know Jurek as ‘El Venado’ or The Deer. Jurek is one of the greatest ultra runners of all time. 

It is not often that he succumbs to the elements nor to his own inner monologue telling him to stop, asking why is he putting himself through it. And as we soon find out, this is not going to be one of those times.
We get an insight into the mind of an elite runner and learn that he is no different from you and me. He too gets that inner voice that says, “It’s ok to stop and have a rest. Just this once.”

The next morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. I could hear music. It was the siren song of a warm bed, a cozy couch, a few hours of reading, or listening to music, or just being. No one was forcing me to run. No one said I had to. No one was going to die if I just relaxed a little. Those were the lyrics of the song. It was the catchy, terrible tune that had seduced so many runners to drop out of races. It was a melody I could not afford to listen to. The song was calling: Rest. You just ran one mountain. No need to do another.

The difference is that he didn’t succumb. He doesn’t succumb. 

Jurek didn’t start out as an athlete. At school, he was a bookworm and spent most of his time studying. In fact, his route into running actually came through skiing. At his high school graduation, he gave the valedictory speech and left his peers with four key messages:

  1. Be different
  2. Help others
  3. Never let others discourage you from achieving your dream
  4. Do things while you are young

Good advice indeed from an 18-year-old. Sounds more like something a 41-year-old might say to his kids! He took his own advice, even if he admits that at the time of his speech, he didn’t know what his dream was. 

As an adult, Jurek remains an avid reader and a student of life. Through various encounters during his time as a runner, he has shaped his own development.  His visits to Japan and to his bookshelf exposed him to the principles of Bushido. He likens the emptiness of the warrior’s mind in battle to the importance of remaining in the present when running a race. A wandering mind loses focus, and in a 100-mile race that can be dangerous. 

His studies do not rest solely with philosophy. He also studies the effects of the foods he puts into his body. He started out as a meat-eater, became a vegetarian and is now a vegan. Jurek cites studies that link the Western diet with the three most common causes of death in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer and strokes. He has studied through trial and error and lots of reading the effects of various foods on his performance. This book is not just for runners, but for those who care about what they put in their body. He ends each chapter with a recipe that he himself cooks up for himself or for his friends.

The healthier I had eaten, the faster and stronger I had become. Was it a coincidence that sick people were being served starchy, crappy food?

If you like running, Eat and Run will give you lots of practical tips, from how to breath to what training to focus on. If you like Born to Run, you’ll love this book which has more of a flowing style. If you care about your body, you’ll learn some quick and practical recipes, including a good one for chia seeds. And if you like autobiographies, Jurek gives you a clear insight into his mind.

Willpower

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mahatma Gandhi

Hidden strength

Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.

Scott Jurek, adapted from William James

Livin’ on a Prayer

It has been hard to motivate myself to get out and run lately with first of all seemingly endless rain from the middle of June until the first half of July, and then unbearable heat of over 30 degrees every day since.  

Yesterday I ended up walking back halfway through my 24km run with the Mercury hitting 34 degrees. 

This evening I forced myself to go out again for 12km. There’s no sun of course at night, but the temperature was still 29 degrees Celsius. The heat got to me again and I only managed 6km. But still, it’s better than nothing. 

I’m over 100km for the month and will have to work hard to run 46km over the next five days to achieve my monthly target of 150km. 
Every cloud has a silver lining. At the end of this evening’s run, I was greeted with a message from Runkeeper telling me I had got halfway towards my year-long goal of running 2,015km: only 26 days behind schedule. Last year, it wasn’t until October that I managed to run over 1000km for the year.