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Japan is Better than the US

Instead of writing a million more posts about Japan, I'm going to finish it off here so that I can start writing other things. When you boil all of my experiences in Japan down, you're left with one common theme - Japan is way better than the US.

In America we're all so proud that we're such a tolerant society. We tolerate each other's differences because that tolerance is passed on to us and we get to do whatever we want.

Japan is different. More than tolerance, they have an overwhelming underlying respect for everyone and everything. It's almost crazy. The best example is the subways. In the subways there are advertisements hanging from the ceiling of every subway car. They aren't plastic, tyvek, or even laminated paper. They're just paper like a poster.

Treading Water Doesn't Get You to the Shore

If there's one long-term state that I won't tolerate for myself, it's treading water, putting out effort just to stay where I am. I want to either expend effort to move something ahead, or triage it and let it sink. If it's important enough to me to do, I'll put everything into it and do it right, otherwise I'll make the hard decision and reserve that energy for something else.

All forward momentum requires your effort and attention. Want your business to grow? You'd better be dedicating a huge chunk of your time to making sure that happens. Want to get healthy and in shape? Then you've got to be in the gym moving metal. Want your relationship to be more satisfying for both of you? Then you have to actively think about how to make it better and put that into action.

Autopilot is awesome on airplanes, terrible on humans. We each have a limited well of time, attention, focus, money, and other resources. When we go on autopilot, we tend to expend resources just to keep the status quo. We put enough thought and effort into our relationships not to get dumped, we earn and save just enough money to pay our bills, and we watch our diet just enough that we only get a little bit fatter every year.

That's what autopilot gets you. Scared to lose anything we have, regardless of how important it may or may not be to us, we spread out resources so thinly that we never have time to really surge forward in any way. When something great comes our way, we don't have enough in reserve to take advantage of the opportunity.

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