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Wisdom from Kazuo Inamori: How to Find Your Fighting Spirit

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Have an Indomitable Fighting Spirit and Never Give Up
Excerpt from "A Compass to a Wonderful Life" by Kazuo Inamori, Founder of Kyocera Corporation.

The phrase to "take on a new challenge" has a courageous, exhilarating ring to it, but attempting something new requires a fighting spirit strong enough to propel us over every hurdle to success. Without that spirit, those words become empty. In my opinion, if you aren't the type of person who keeps on trying, no matter what the obstacles, you shouldn't take on new challenges.

When the pressure piles up and difficulties multiply, it's only natural to falter in our tracks and waver in our conviction. The engine for withstanding such hardships is an unquenchable fighting spirit. We must keep stoking the fire of fierce determination in order to carry on until we succeed.

I often told my employees at Kyocera, "The real work begins when you think it's time to give up." This was based on my own experience when Kyocera was first established.

We must keep stoking At that time, I approached many companies without an appointment or invitation hoping to sell our products and develop new customers so that I could keep the company going. But as Kyocera lacked experience, as well as the reputation and credibility that comes with it, almost everyone turned me down.

The most humiliating experience was a visit to a major electronics manufacturer. Having no knowledge or experience, I went without an appointment and told the security guard I wanted to speak with an engineer in the department that manufactured vacuum tubes. He turned me away at the door, saying, "You can't just come unannounced like that."

We persevered, continuing to visit this company, as well as many others, and refusing to give up, no matter what difficulties we faced. The effect was like drops of water falling on an enormous rock. Although a single drop would never even dent the stone, a steady stream of drops will eventually bore a hole right through it.

If we continue to pursue a challenge with a strong will, the way will always open before us. Despite having been told that an unknown, inexperienced and unaffiliated company like ours could never do so, Kyocera succeeded in getting an order for its ceramic products from this very company. The same thing happened with other major electronics manufacturers too.

By taking on new challenges with an indomitable will, we continued to develop new customers and expand Kyocera's achievements. We succeeded in getting orders that no one believed we would get and made sure that we delivered our products by the date and according to the specifications promised, regardless of how impossible that might have seemed.

The key to these achievements was the belief that it was possible and the constant search for ways for solving each problem that arose. When faced with seemingly insurmountable difficulties, I kept seeking earnestly for solutions. "The methods we've used so far may not have worked," I would tell myself, "but there must be another way. I'm sure that we can find it." No matter how severe the situation, it's important to think things through to the end, looking at every possible angle to develop concrete methods for overcoming the difficulties.

Success in completing challenges is inextricably linked to this kind of creative ingenuity in solving concrete problems. It requires more than simply being strong, brave, and persistent. It also requires more than just believing in the possibility. We must carefully consider how we can overcome the difficulties with which we are faced until we come up with concrete solutions.

It is by believing in the possibilities no matter what the situation, refusing to give up, thinking persistently, continuing to innovate and improve, and working harder than anyone else that we will find our way through every obstacle and successfully complete the challenges we have taken on.