Littlethings4all

Learn, laugh and reflect

Understanding Japan (2): Structured mentality

By Eddy Montilla.

DRUM

An old axiom says: “We do what we think”. But if you are not entirely convinced of it, you can confirm it by watching some enormous Japan’s steel structures: They are safe, hermetic and framed like… the way people think in that country.

     The common use and selection of a word over others in a region is not something done at random or on a whim, but this selection represents the way of being and thinking of the people who live there. If you travel to Japan, frequent words that you will hear are “omou” (think), “yotei” (plan), “shinpai” (worried) y “anzen” (safe). These words can give us a clue about the basis on which Japanese personality is forged and established: Japanese people can only find peace of mind when all things are under control (I mean, everything is well planned and safe). Therefore, if possible, their activities should leave no room for improvisation. Let’s see an example:

     In Japan, the beginning of a new year is not in January, but in spring, when the fiscal and schools year really begin and new employees will make their “debut”. During this time, you can go to any ceremony and the person in charge of delivering the introductory speech will make quickly reference to the end of the winter, and above all, the arrival of the spring and well known Japanese cherry blossoms. In that regard, everything, every word is planned throughout to a point that you will find books to write speeches for all occasions: funerals, weddings, etc.

CHERRY-BLOSSOMS-2

     This kind of fixed and schematic mentality is instilled into Japanese people at early age until it becomes a feature of their personality and something very common. As a result of this, things should be inside a foreseeable frame. If something is out of it, anxiety and some kind of sense of unease will be haunting them, sometimes with terrible consequences. So, they will be working, as many hours as necessary until the unexpected and new situation turns into an old one, that is, something that can be handle according to the “handbook” they have for each case.

     Compared to other ways of thinking, the Japanese mentality provides one of the best chances for success thanks to its constant emphasis on planning, security and logical answers for problems. In fact, it has been the key that has kept Japan for so many years with a solid economic growth despite its situation after the Second World War.

     The other side of the coin, however, does not seem to be so good. Trying to keep everything under absolute “control”, trying to find perfection everywhere has created “uncontrollable” levels of stress that have pushed more than 30000 people every year to commit suicide for decades. If Tanaka, to cite an example, forgets the keys to open the place where a party will be held and Kawauchi forgets the drinking glasses, because of the delay that this situation creates, even though it has not started yet, the party will be considered a failure. And the most important thing: Since Japanese people do not forgive as quickly as they say “gomennasai” (ごめんなさい=I am sorry), Tanaka and Kawauchi will face tough times. Without any intention of falling into stereotypes, in the same situation, but with different people in a Latin American country, the party had probably started right there: in front of the closed door. Someone who, by the way, was not the person in charge of the drinking glasses would have gone to the house of a supposed friend near the place to get them and… at the end, everybody would have gone home joking about the problems they had to start the party, laughing and saying that they enjoyed the party a lot. This story can teach us that flexibility during contingencies is as important as planning.

     Japanese mentality shies away from uncertain situations. However, uncertainty might also be a “friend” when it comes to inventions. Note that most of greatest inventions that have changed the world have not come from Japan, but from USA, England, France, Italy and other European countries. Japan has improved them, as it has done with cars, bullet trains, etc.

     Finally, we can conclude that if some aspects that characterized the way of thinking and acting in other cultures, like a good dose of humor, flexibility and certain amount of drive in the face of the unknown is added to the Japanese mentality, we could have found an incredible method of thinking that can solve not only many of your personal problems, but can help to have a better world too.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

January 15, 2017 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, coaching, Countries, Culture, Education, Journalism, News, Opinion, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tell me the answer: What is the best move when you do not know what to do?

By Eddy Montilla.

STRESS

A waiting move, because any precipitous action leads most of the time to failure. A waiting move is typical of analytical games, especially of chess. It is used when the situation is not clear, so you just make a move that will not compromise your position until you can see something better.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Blogging, coaching, Education, Life, Personal Experience, Personal Motivation, philosophy, Spirituality, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A good laugh: The smart student

By Eddy Montilla.

CHICKEN

“This is my drawing, Miss Beetle.” A boy said to his teacher.

“A blank page?”

No! It is a fast chicken eating corn grains, but it ate all of them already.”

“And, where is the chicken?”

“It ran away!”

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Blogging, Culture, Fun, Funny stories, humor, Jokes, laugh | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton did not fail. Her political team did

By Eddy Montilla.

hillary

For winners, things turn into a bed of roses or, at least, can be seen through rose-tinted glasses. Even your enemies will become your friends, by the way, suddenly. But don’t lose if you don’t want to be surrounded by detractors and people who are not able to tell you how to win, but will surely give you a string of reasons for which you were defeated. Hillary Clinton’s defeat during U.S. Presidential elections is not an exception. From journalists to politicians, from a barber in his barbershop to his clients, many people in general were trying to explain why she lost to Donald Trump, on the grounds that she could not recruit enough voters from the Hispanic sectors, she could not attract women’s votes, etc.

     And the question is… What’s new about all of this? Are not the same things that sank her in 2008 against Barack Obama? We all know that Hillary Clinton has never been a charismatic political leader. She is, in fact, the product of hard work, a lot of money and fame. So, those reasons mentioned before, are somehow her political weakness, a ballast that she wanted, but couldn’t drop it.

     When the most evident part is only thought, subtleties cannot be seen or understood. These subtleties happened just days before the elections and cost Hillary to be out of the White House today. I am referring to the moment when her double-digit lead was reduced to 4%~5% after the FBI director, James Comey, decided to reopen Hillary Clinton’s email server case. This mere lead could have been enough for a politician like Obama, for example, and perhaps, even for Bernie Sanders if he had been in Clinton’s position, but not for her because Hillary Clinton had proved in the past that she is not a person who can unify her party around her.

     And how did her political team respond to this delicate situation? With two terrible mistakes: First, to counteract by attacking the wrong target, Donald Trump’s wife, instead of attacking Trump directly. Second, to rest on its laurels by considering the lead as enough for a victory. These two mistakes were, in my opinion, the real reasons that made that election night one of the longest, if not the longest night ever for Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, Countries, Journalism, News, Opinion, Politics, Think piece, Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Curiosities: Why does your body shiver when you are cold?

By Eddy Montilla.

cold

I could not use my bicycle last night because of the rain, so I decided to go home by bus. While waiting at the bus stop, I noticed two things about the girl who was in front of me: One, she was wearing a miniskirt and boots despite a temperature between three and four degrees. Second, she was shivering.

     “Social conventions and male chauvinism dictate cruel rules sometimes” I thought. “If you are a young girl, people expect you to show your legs even in winter and extend the length of your skirt some centimeters annually as you are getting old until the day comes when you cannot even see your feet.” Then my thoughts went back to the second observation: Why does your body shiver when we are cold?

     On very cold moments, your body temperature drops from its normal parameters (from 36°C to 37°C) to lower values that can lead to hypothermia, a dangerous condition because of a long exposure to cold. After moving or running for a while, you take your coat off as soon as you feel hot, right? And you do that because friction and movements produce heat. Sometimes, we do not remember this fact, but our body does, and that’s why it shivers: As an attempt to protect you by raising the body temperature.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Anatomy, Articles, biology, Blogging, Culture, Curiosities, Education, general knowledge, Health, Journalism, Life, Medicine, science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The crucial mistakes of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil

By Eddy Montilla.

sao-paulo

Those who have watched the fireworks can understand better the turbulent career in politics that Dilma Rousseff has had in Brazil. A dazzling display of fireworks lits up the sky, people enjoy them and, minutes later, they cannot even remember their colors and shapes. Something similar happened to Brazil’s first woman president. If the almost incredible and efficient shinkansen cleaning system in Japan is subject of study in Harvard University, Rousseff’s case should be also studied because of its oddity. How could this lady go from a loved president to an impeached one, from a removed president from office to a forgotten president in her own land. Her two crucial mistakes can tell us the answer.

     First: Her inability to show, especially when dealing with problems that involved men, that she could be a person of strong character like anyone else In Brazil, corruption and bribery have always been acting like a pair of lovebirds. If during her presidential terms, problems related to these aspects had a huge impact, the reason must be found in her excessive gentleness towards some government employees, a mistake that was used by her political adversaries to take advantage of it. When she had to act like a hangman (in a figurative sense), she took an indulgent stance.

     Second: Not to be surrounded by people loyal to her. During difficult times for a president, loyal people will help him or her to stay standing. That was not Rousseff’s case since the more imminent her removal from office was, the more difficult to find people at her side was. In politics, of course, it is hard to foresee who is going to be loyal and who is going to be a traitor because the last one can be from your chef to your vice president.

     You do not cry over your mistakes, but learn from them. In Brazil, sooner or later, other women will hold the presidency of that South American nation. This is my recommendation for them: Be ready to become a hangman (in a figurative sense), if it is necessary, be careful of opportunists and traitors if you do not want to be forgotten or leave through the back door as Dilma Rousseff had to do.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

November 29, 2016 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, Journal, Journalism, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Think piece, Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thought of the day: Planning

By Eddy Montilla.

PLAN

To plan your life and work will not solve all your problems, but it will lighten your burden because a lack of planning leads to the beginning of chaos.

November 27, 2016 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, coaching, Culture, Education, Life, philosophy, Phrase, Quotes, Social, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thought of the day: Change

By Eddy Montilla.

change

Only two things are unavoidable in life: Death and change. About the first one, it is almost nothing what we can do. As for changes, specially these days when we undergo constant transformations at a rhythm that our society had not been seen or faced with in the past, you should be smart enough to accept them, to accept their existence and reality to avoid failure and great stress. And after that, be wise to adhere to those changes that really matter while putting the others far away from you.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Blogging, coaching, Education, Family, Inspiration, Life, philosophy, Phrase, Quotes, Spirituality, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tell me the answer: Why are the elderly happy when they see young children?

By Eddy Montilla.

elderly

Because these young children become a mirror in which the elderly can see how long they have lived and that makes them feel happy. Besides, they enjoy the fact that for each life that comes gradually to an end, there is a new one growing strongly.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Blogging, coaching, Family, Life, philosophy, Spirituality, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus’s ideas (1): About family

By Eddy Montilla.

jesus

The reasons for family problems have barely changed. Perhaps, because we try to conceal them, they come these days in different wrappings, but in essence, we are talking about lack of communication, education, serious financial problems, etc. Without denying some progress, the truth is that they are still there, as present as snow in winter and heat in summer. Jesus seemed to have an explicit or implicit answer for everything. If we turn to him looking for some advice about family problems, at first, things do not look very encouraging since few things are written about this topic. However, these few things are enough to solve most of our problems. Let’s see them:

     Lead a normal family life: The almost nonexistent information about Jesu’s family for almost three decades can give us the first clue. If nothing was said during this long period, it is because nothing out of the ordinary happened, it is because he had a normal life, and remember that about normal things, writers do not use their ink to write. Forget about being a superdad, a supermom or a superson. The daily family relationship that you cultivate with your family will make balance to live in harmony.

     Inclusion instead of exclusion: It seems that people like geometry when it comes to family relationships. They make a circle and put themselves in the center of it. Then, make another circle for their wives and sons; another circle for their parents, brothers and sister, their grandparents and so on. We are talking about concentric circles in which people are put per family relation grades, circles that instead of bringing people closer, make them grow further apart. Jesus’s proposal was indeed a more difficult task, but with better results. For him, there was only one circle, and everybody has an opportunity to be part of it, especially those who fight for a better world, those who suffer and struggle in life every single day, those who show compassion, etc. Jesus did not have the limits and concept we have about family ties. Thanks to his attitude, he could see in John, his disciple, a son for his mother when he was dying on the cross, so that she did not have to suffer for the prejudice of those times when living alone for a widow or just widowhood itself represented difficult times in a woman’s life. Do not build a wall around a handful of people who sooner or later will not be at your side forever no matter how much they want to. Extend your horizon until you can see in any person a possible father, mother, brother, etc. Then, you will always have a father to admire, a mother to call and a brother to talk.

     Put first what is first: And what is first? God, so simple like that. Until now everything looked fine, but when we reach this point, people consciously or not, want to turn the page and run away. Why? Because this point about putting God above all things seems to be difficult to understand for many people and the first part of the Bible, with its multiple rules, instead of helping to clarify the situation has made some kind of “biblical risotto”. But if you can put the mystical aureole aside from this idea, you will see that when God comes first in your life, somehow, what you are doing is putting your family and other people first because it means to do first what God said via Jesus: to love your neighbours as yourself. And if you can do that for your neighbours, you do not have to tell me how much you will do for your own family.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, Family, Journalism, Life, Opinion, philosophy, religion, Spirituality, Think piece, Writing | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment