6 Ancient Japanese Techniques to Improve Your Motivation Today

Staying motivated can indeed be challenging in contemporary times due to various factors. The fast-paced nature of modern life, coupled with the constant influx of information and distractions, can make it difficult to maintain focus and drive. 

Additionally, the prevalence of comparison through social media and the pressure to achieve instant results can lead to feelings of inadequacy and hinder motivation. 

Fortunately, there are Japanese techniques that have been ingrained in Japanese culture for centuries to help people stay motivated — this is a testament to their enduring power and usefulness. 

These techniques are relevant and effective resources for fostering motivation and well-being.

A GIF of an actor saying “are you ready?”


Pronunciation: “kai-zen”

Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy rooted in the idea of continuous improvement. Instead of focusing on grand, daunting changes, kaizen encourages individuals to make small, incremental improvements over time. 

By breaking down larger goals into manageable steps, people can avoid feeling overwhelmed and maintain a sense of progress. This approach keeps motivation steady by emphasizing consistent effort rather than relying on bursts of energy.


Pronunciation: “ee-kee-gai”

Ikigai is a concept that revolves around finding a sense of purpose or reason for being. By identifying the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, you can discover your own unique ikigai. 

This alignment helps you stay motivated by engaging in activities that resonate with your passions and strengths, making your efforts feel more meaningful and fulfilling.


Pronunciation: “gahn-baht-teh” 

“Ganbatte” is a commonly used Japanese phrase that embodies the spirit of doing your best and persevering through challenges. It encourages a strong work ethic and resilience, which can help you maintain motivation even when faced with obstacles. 

The mindset of “ganbatte” reminds you to stay committed to your goals and put in dedicated effort, regardless of the difficulties you encounter.


Pronunciation: “moh-noh-zoo-koo-ree”

Monozukuri is a term often associated with craftsmanship and the art of creating things with care and attention to detail. Applying this mindset to your tasks means taking pride in the quality of your work and focusing on the process itself rather than just the end result. 

This approach can foster a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, helping you stay motivated by finding joy in the act of creation.


Pronunciation: “neh-mah-wah-shee”

Nemawashi involves the practice of seeking input and consensus from others before making decisions. When it comes to motivation, involving others in your goals and plans can create a sense of accountability and support. 

Sharing your aspirations with trusted individuals can provide encouragement, feedback, and a sense of community, all of which contribute to maintaining your motivation.


Pronunciation: “wah-bee-sah-bee”

Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic philosophy that embraces imperfection, transience, and the beauty of the natural cycle of growth and decay. Applying wabi-sabi to your pursuits can help you let go of the pressure for perfection and focus on the authenticity of your efforts. 

By accepting that imperfections are part of the journey, you can maintain motivation without getting bogged down by the pursuit of flawlessness.

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