Lessons from a master, Jiro Ono

I have been re-watching the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” for the past couple of months. I've seen it at least 10 times, probably more, while writing drafts for this article. I've watched it alone, with my wife, with friends, and I don't tire of it; I've recommended it to everyone I know, and now I'm wholeheartedly recommending it to you.

This little gem of a documentary by David Gelb takes a look at the work and life of Jiro Ono, a Michelin three-star sushi chef who, at 85 years of age, continues to work on his craft every day at his tiny restaurant in a Tokyo office building basement opposite a subway station entrance. His colleagues, his country, and at least one very knowledgeable food writer recognize him as perhaps the greatest sushi chef alive.

I have watched this film in fascination, trying to extract lessons from this master. What have I learned from him? And what questions do these lessons open up for me?

You Must Fall in Love With Your Work

“Once you decide on your occupation,” says Jiro, “you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”

Jiro himself is enormously happy with his work; he is a blissful craftsman who truly enjoys his work, which keeps him vital in his old age.

However, it's crucial to note that he doesn't say “find work that you love,” as if suggesting one goes on some romantic quest in search for the perfect job, but rather he tells us to love the work we have chosen.

This means to consciously and voluntarily cultivate love, much like we do in a marriage. This is different from a teenage crush whereby one gets struck in the head by a random force and goes temporarily mad, only to wake up to disillusioned weeks or months later. Jiro's path to joyful work requires a lifetime of devotion.

This brings to mind a more common conception of work some of us have: We tend to categorize jobs as being either “passion work” or “work just for the money.” Then we tell ourselves that passion work is a pipe dream and we must endure a lifetime of mindless toil until the day we retire and begin to enjoy life.

What would happen, I wonder, if we consciously and purposefully loved the jobs we feel condemned to do “just for the money”? Could this perhaps completely revolutionize our relationship with work, increase our quality of life, and diminish our hunger for retirement?

Specialize, Simplify, Go Deep

Sushi is by definition a minimalist food, and Jiro has taken this simplicity to another level, not only in his sushi-making technique, but also in the composition of his menu. Unlike other restaurants of its kind, Jiro's does not serve appetizers. Rather, they create a daily menu of about 20 pieces of sushi per person. He serves sushi only, and no other dishes.

Moreover, his restaurant has only 10 seats. This allows the staff to focus on preparing top-quality sushi and serving each client the best possible way, noticing little details like how much they eat or if they are right- or left-handed.

Jiro's eldest son, Yoshikazu, who is a sushi chef in his own right but still works with his father as the heir apparent, says that at the restaurant they try to repeat the same thing every day. What's left implied is that mastery results from this constant repetition.

This focus goes beyond the confines of work: Jiro repeats the same routine every day, down to standing on the same spot to take the train. He dislikes holidays and wants to return to work as soon as possible.

It seems to me that Jiro increases his creativity by going deep, rather than wide — start with an automatic daily routine, pursue a narrow focus at work, and within that narrow focus, the combination of talent and hard work open up a universe for creative exploration.

This reminds me of that mad genius William Blake, who wrote in “Auguries of Innocence”:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

With happiness like that, who needs vacations?

Loving Your Work Requires Sacrifice

If we stick for a moment with the “passion work” scenario I mentioned earlier, I notice that some people tend to assume that doing work you love is free of difficulties and that everything will be well in your life if you just switch careers. It is not. Doing work you love may cost you dearly, especially in the initial stages, and everyone choosing such a path should be willing to pay the price of admission.

In my case, pursuing studies in the humanities and striking out on my own instead of finding a place in academia meant I have to work longer hours and make less money compared with people working in established organizations and with perhaps fewer years of education.

I have made peace with that fact because I am doing work that I love, but the trade-off is evident. Today I aim to increase my income to a more comfortable level by cultivating focus and honing my skills, but it's a steep climb. Still, this was a conscious choice that I do not regret.

I know this may seem to contradict a little bit what I said earlier about loving the work you've chosen, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that loving your work can at times be difficult, but if you persevere you will find yourself rewarded for it.

In the case of Jiro, the demands of his job kept him away from his family while his children were growing up. He also had to struggle against poverty; when he got married he had no money in the bank, and years later his kids had to save for months before they could afford a Coca-Cola.

Things have changed today, Jiro shares a good relationship with his children, who learned their craft from their father, but it took years of sacrifice and hard work to get there. Jiro himself had to endure being slapped or kicked during his learning years, but he didn't quit. He's had apprentices, however, who only lasted a day in his kitchen.

The point of this, to me, is that the kind of bliss Jiro finds in his daily work can't be achieved through quick solutions and four-hour workweeks. It takes hard, intense, concentrated, and often painful work. Dream jobs don't simply work their magic because you find them; they do because you marry them for life and they reward you for your efforts as years go by.

I am not suggesting, of course, that citizens of 21st-century Western democracies with different cultural prejudices put up with unfair or unsafe work conditions, but Jiro's tale is a reminder that love and sacrifice can reward us in transcendental ways that cannot be reduced to quick formulas for easy success. His path may not be for everyone, but I believe it's at least worthy of examination.

Jiro Ono to All Newbs: Be Tough

I was planning to wrap my review of the documentary about Jiro Ono with a nice, nearly clinical summary of all the extra “lessons” I had managed to extract from the film (one was “surround yourself with other specialists,” another one was “it's not really about the money” and the last one was “success loves a rebel”).

However, life recently gave me a boot to the head in the form of a burglary. Because of the patchwork of insurance we have, and the supposition that the storage we used was a safe location (fences, cameras, key access, security), we had minimal insurance on that one place. The work gear we had painstakingly assembled through the years is mostly gone.

As I sit down here with a blank page, a discarded draft and an empty feeling, I am reminded that one big lesson I learned from Jiro is that in order to find success you need to be tough.

Life inevitably deals us losses and setbacks, and however much we can do to minimize them, ultimately nothing lasts forever. The only question left, if you think about it, is how to continue living even when the deck is stacked against us.

“Be tough” sounds like the right answer to that, and we all think we know what it means. But what does that mean exactly? “Tough.” Um, as nails, you say? Do I need to make myself rigid and unbendable and pointy? That sounds a bit dumb. Metaphors are great until you try to apply them in a practical way.

No Home to Go Back to

When Jiro was 7, his father lost his business and took to drinking and disappeared from his life. At the age of 9, Jiro was turned away from home and told that he had no home to return to. Jiro had to learn to work hard just to survive. And that attitude has always stayed with him.

Having never forgotten that harsh lesson, Jiro applied a similar approach to his children's education. No, he didn't throw them out into the street when they were in elementary school, but when they were in their late teens and he began to teach them his craft, he was stricter with them than with his other apprentices.

His older son, Yoshikazu, says that for the first two years of his training he wanted to run away. Jiro, however, explains that he treated his kids more strictly out of concern for their future. That's what we usually call “tough love.” (There's that word “tough” again.)

When Jiro's youngest son, Takashi, left his father's restaurant to open his own in another neighborhood, he reports Jiro told him “now you have no home to return to.” Of course, this was not a child but a fully grown man equipped with the necessary skills to make it in the world. “If he weren't ready, I wouldn't have made him go,” says Jiro. What he meant to convey, he explains, is that failure wasn't an option.

Jiro acknowledges that when he says things like that people often disagree with him, but he insists he is right. And I have to agree with him: success is not an easy business. Furthermore, he adds: “Nowadays, parents tell their children, ‘You can return if it doesn't work out.' When parents say stupid things like that, the kids turn out to be failures.” I have to say, I know a lot of people like that.

This of course reminds me of the whole discussion of spoiled children who are unable to tie their own shoes and what is to become of our world as these people grow up and begin to take charge of our world (I shudder in terror).

Last time I wrote about this film some people argued that Jiro didn't love his children, but to me, someone who works to provide for you in your childhood, teaches you the skills you need to be successful, and pays careful attention to make sure you have a future, is giving you tremendous amounts of love, even if you mistakenly believe “love” is only hugs and kisses and lollipops and cookies.

When people claimed Jiro didn't love his children I remembered the poem “Those Winter Sundays” by the great Robert Hayden. I am not sure I can paste it all in full here, but in case my editor says no, you can both read and listen to it here, with permission from the copyright holder. Then you can come back to the article while considering “love's austere and lonely offices.” And maybe this Thursday you can say “thank you” to the person who made banked fires blaze for you.

How I'll Deal

In any case, back to the subject of the indispensable quality of toughness—what is “tough”?

As I face my own personal disaster, I have a few ideas on what constitutes “toughness” for me:

1) Tough means that I accept loss, that things are gone, that there is no use in tormenting myself with “coulda, woulda, shoulda” thinking. After a brief period of mourning, I must move forward decisively.

2) Tough means that, having accepted my mistakes, I can learn from them and do better next time. People in denial keep making the same mistakes over and over.

3) Tough means that, even having learned my lessons and after the best precautions, loss will happen again, as loss and pain are inevitable parts of life, but I must move forward because “I have no home to go back to.”

4) Tough means that I commit to rebuild, perhaps in a fresh new direction, but I will rebuild. Earlier today I was watching a video of someone passing through Chicago, and as the narrator mentioned the wonderful modernist buildings, I remembered how their style of architecture developed as a response to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

5) Tough also means that I choose to keep a positive outlook and that I will not let the thieves steal my happiness along with my possessions.

Truly, for some moments after finding my things robbed I felt like searching high and low for the culprits, and I wanted to wish the worst of curses upon the criminals, but then I realized I was much better off nursing my pain with a shower, and good sleep, and bacon for breakfast, and focusing on moving forward instead of being stuck in the past or obsessed with destructive emotions like wanting to take revenge on invisible targets, or flogging myself for having misjudged the risk.

Real toughness, it seems to me, is a resilience that does not make us hard like the nails of the popular idiom. It's more a kind of springiness, like that of trees bouncing against the wind. They bend back and return. Toughness, for me, is a refusal to dwell in misery and negativity and doom then things go bad, as they often do.

Please note that I'm not advocating denial, sedation, or other forms of escapism. On the contrary—the “tough” mind-set knows that pain is unavoidable. Let's face it and get used to it. Savings will be wiped out, businesses will fail, investments will crash, our trust will be broken, our health will falter, our loved ones will die or we will leave them behind.

These are facts of life, and while we can take measures to minimize their damage, we can't fully escape them either. The only thing we can do is go forward.

Jiro's movie ends with the words of Yoshikazu, Jiro's eldest son, who says of his tough-love father: “Always look ahead and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. That's what he taught me.”

Let's do that, then, and damn the torpedoes.

More about...Psychology, Career

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Pauline
Pauline
7 years ago

Very inspiring story. I have met a few people like this chef who just love what they do, usually a manual craft, and do it so well their love is contagious. It is harder now, to fall in love with a corporate job, especially when you want to go fast, ascend, skip steps. All the opposite of the mindfulness and slow process described here. I am hoping to find that drive one day.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Pauline

I interviewed a career coach once and she told me that a lot of people confuse dissatisfaction with their job with dissatisfaction with their career. Some people, she said, love what they do but don’t love where they’re doing it.

I think I’ve reached that point. I love what I do, but I don’t love how our company has been treating us in the past several months. I’m not quit ready to strike out on my own, but I wonder if I’ll be happier in the long run leveraging my career into self-employment.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I don’t know that self-employment is for all, but it is for me, problems and all, though it is not without traps. In self-employment you can also fall into unpleasant deals– I recently had to part ways with a client who interfered so much with our work that the quality of our output suffered and all the work that went into fixing things ate into the profits. We were trapped and losing sleep about this situation for several months… anyway, long story, will save for a different article. 😀 One thing I’ll be discussing in part 2 though is the… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I’m looking forward to hearing more, El Nerdo 🙂 Right now I appreciate the security of a regular pay check and have loved the jobs I’ve had with corporations. Both of my parents were self-employed at one point in their careers, so it’s definitely not a decision I’ll make lightly.

William @ Drop Dead Money
William @ Drop Dead Money
7 years ago

Very valuable advice, also for those contemplating striking out on their own or starting something for a side income. If you are, it is wise, as El Nerdo says, to pick a narrow specialty and focus on being a hero to a few, rather than just another vendor to many.

Justin@thefrugalpath
7 years ago

I find that my day goes by better when I actually try to like my job. The days that I am miserable at work take forever and just puts me in a bad mood. Our culture is taught to love what you do, which is important. However, there are some jobs that just need to be done to make society function smoothly.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago

I think not everyone can be a 3-star Michelin chef but you’re right, if we can really put our mind in our work instead of wasting time complaining about it we will enjoy it more. JD had this story about working at two fast food chains when he was in highschool (or thereabouts). The McDonalds was well-run and everyone was happy in it and did their best. The Burger King was poorly managed and nobody cared and everyone was miserable. Just this past weekend I was watching the documentary “Happy” and one of the featured people is a short-order cook… Read more »

John Foster
John Foster
7 years ago

The movie is currently available for free on Amazon Prime.

Yozka
Yozka
7 years ago

“striking out on my own instead of finding a place in academia meant I have to work longer hours and make less money”

As the wife of an academic, I’d love to know where these high-paying, low-hour jobs in academia are! He works constantly for so little; we’re always wondering if he should bail into the private sector. This was probably just a rhetorical flourish on your part, but I think things are tough all around.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  Yozka

Hi Yozka, I get what you’re saying, but we have a circle of artist/academic friends, and the tenure-track folks are the one-percenters of our world! I mean, many of us teach or have taught or are looking for teaching jobs just so we can eat. And these are adjunct jobs I’m talking about– no benefits, nothing. The tenure-trackers are buying homes while the rest of us are looking for ever-cheaper rentals (some even couch-surf on occasion). My wife and I decided to skip the teaching thing and focus on the creative work, and make it work come hell or high… Read more »

Holly@ClubThrifty
7 years ago

I watched that on Netflix the other day! He was almost obsessive about his sushi. Very entertaining stuff!

Sheryl
Sheryl
7 years ago

While there are definitely some things about how you are describing Jiro’s career that I wouldn’t be on board with in my own life, there’s a lot of great messages here. I might not be intent on on loving a job I do just to pay the bills, but I am intent on liking that job, and I take pride in doing it to the best of my abilities and always trying to improve.

Nuvo@Web Design Brisbane
[email protected] Design Brisbane
7 years ago

Very inspiring story. By the way, It’s really true that citizens of 21st-century Western democracies with different cultural prejudices put up with unfair or unsafe work conditions.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago

Ha ha, yeah, hm, I think my sentence construction was confusing? I didn’t mean that this doesn’t happen, I meant that I wouldn’t suggest that we let it happen. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

getagrip
getagrip
7 years ago

While not having watched the movie, I will say that he is narrow in a major aspect of his work, not necessarilly all his work. He is not just a chef who sits before his stove or cutting board and processes food. He has to consider his vendors, plan deliveries, order staples, cator to customers, ensure his rent is paid, etc. even for the small business he has since his stand and sushi are only as good as the raw ingrediants and location he choses. I am sure he has taken not just years, but decades, in finding ways to… Read more »

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
7 years ago

It does seem like America is obsessed these days with “finding your dream job” and not ‘settling’ for anything. But this post brings up a great idea, which is, find love and joy in whatever it is that you do. Make the job you have now your dream job. I think there’s a lot of job disatisfaction today and I think it’s because our expectations have gotten so freaking high and unrealistic!

Martin
Martin
7 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. I will definitely check this movie out in the next few days. I have long thought that the ‘follow your passion’ camp of self-help gurus were not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. Thanks for sharing what seems to me to be wisdom around the idea of work.

leaf (the indolent cook)
leaf (the indolent cook)
7 years ago

Yep, I’ve watched this documentary and it is gorgeous (wrote a blog post about it too!). I was also struck in particular by his love for what he does, and the immense care and effort that he puts in. It’s really quite touching and I hope that there will always be people who are so dedicated to their craft.

MJ in Milano
MJ in Milano
7 years ago

One of the best posts ever. The whole “finding your passion” idea is fraught with problems, not least the anguish that comes from searching and wondering. Thank you for an inspiring post.

HKR
HKR
7 years ago

Thank you for sharing this; it really resonates and puts a different light on the mentality of work. Probably not a movie I would’ve picked for myself, but I’ll be watching for it now 🙂

Danny
Danny
7 years ago

What an incredible post! Thank you for sharing. So many lessons to be learned.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
7 years ago

Sadly for William Blake, that stanza is used in the first Tomb Raider, and every time I read it all I can think of is Angelina Jolie.

Loved this post though, and love sushi! I’ll have to add this to my netflix queue

Amy
Amy
7 years ago

I saw this documentary too, and while I greatly admire the dedication and focus that Jiro has towards his work, I felt terribly sorry for his wife and kids. Someone who dedicates that much to their work lacks a sense of balance in their life, and while that way of life made him happy, I don’t think it particularly made his family happy.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  Amy

One of the friends I watched it with brought that up, in fact, wondering about missed birthdays and that kind of stuff. It did make me wonder, but it’s hard to reach a clear conclusion because the documentary doesn’t touch on that. There are in Japan people who overwork themselves to death though (this isn’t letting me link, but do a search for karoshi), so it seems to me that Jiro is not the only person who has to work all the time in his culture. However, while work kills other people, it seems to be keeping Jiro young, strong,… Read more »

KSR
KSR
7 years ago
Reply to  Amy

GREAT observation! And that’s the rub. When success happens it takes dedication and/or luck. Since we all can’t rely on luck, dedication tends to be the prime factor. When venturing on my own path, my husband was the only person I dedicated time to, everyone else was notified of my planned absence and temporary presence and knew that the importance (to me) of the project was to produce success for all–or bust. Thankfully, it worked out. But I will say this, I have an extremely cooperative and equally determined husband, that played the role of ambassador and fan, he understood… Read more »

Jacque
Jacque
7 years ago

I watched this video early this year and was incredibly inspired by his work ethic and dedication. On the other hand, as Amy pointed out, the brunt of the sacrifice was taken by his family.

It brings to mind a quote by Francis Chan:

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

kat
kat
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

“However, I’ll add— his relationship with his sons seems to me to be very loving one. ” I don’t know if there is a choice, though. In Asian cultures, as far as I know, you obey your elders. Even as adults, there is none of this “cutting out toxic relationships” concept. One cannot simply “cut” family ties, as easy as people do here in the West. Secondly, in Asian cultures, you’re responsible to maintain your family’s good name. Therefore any resentment or conflict within the family must be kept within the family and to the outside world, we must show… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  kat

I don’t know if I can recommend westerners to follow working their asses and sacrificing family, because people here are not built to withstand such treatment. Well, of course, neither can I, which is why I ended the article with more or less that caveat. About the family name, tradition, etc.– okay, but did you hear what Jiro said about his own parents while he was visiting their grave? Daaaaaaamn. He’s totally putting it out there. This is precisely the reason I stuck to approaches to work and kept the psychoanalysis out of the article — we really don’t know… Read more »

Kristin Wong
Kristin Wong
7 years ago

Really enjoy reading your analysis of things, Nerdo, and I’m putting this on my queue.
Reminds me of my mom a bit. She hated–HATED–her job when she first started it years ago. Didn’t enjoy the work; didn’t enjoy the people she worked with. But she had no other choice, so she decided she was going to love it no matter what. According to her, it worked, and she ended up truly loving her job, and even (most) of the people she works with!
She said when you can’t change anything else, change your attitude. I love that.

Lyn
Lyn
7 years ago

Reading posts like this reminds me how lucky I am that I love the work that I do. I fell into it by accident, encouraged by a boss that thought it might be a good fit for me. I’ve chosen to “go deep”, and although it’s taken some time, it’s really paid off. Someone asked me the other day if there was a subject matter expert that I could turn to and I realized that it was me! (Again, very narrow field). I’m in my mid-50’s with no desire to retire, so I generally delete all of those retire-by-40 articles… Read more »

Holly
Holly
7 years ago

Thanks for this, Nerdo! I’m in grad school and have recently been really down about my work. I really needed to hear this perspective and remind myself that I DO love the work that I have chosen, I just need to find ways to remember that when it feels too hard.

It’s amazing how reframing your attitude can totally change the situation. Great article.

Ivy
Ivy
7 years ago

I am wondering how to interpret loving the work I do in the context of a corporate career track. In a lot of companies, including mine, progressing up the ladder means changing what you do, in some steps rather dramatically – moving from selected tasks to more oversight work, adding responsibilities around clients, vendors, etc, adding people management, all depends on the specifics. What if you like what you do on the current level, but you don’t care about the added responsibilities one level up? I’ve seen people (e.g. in IT) refuse to be promoted to managers because they like… Read more »

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop
7 years ago

I definitely find el Nerdo’s thoughts as shared in this post highly intriguing. I’m going to make an extra effort to apply the lessons here. Also, I’ll check out the suggested film. Thanks!

Samantha
Samantha
7 years ago

Requested the film from the library – thanks for the recommendation!

This article is very interesting and I hope to see the film before you publish Part Two. BTW – how many parts? And when will the next be?

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

Thanks Samantha,

I think just 2 parts. I was having a hard time keeping all my ideas within the word limit. I didn’t want to just list a bunch of things without analysis, so I’ll deal with other approaches/strategies in part 2.

When will it be published? I’m writing it right now (wanted to get comments first to adjust for part 2) but publishing schedule depends on the boss (and how soon I turn this in, anyway).

amber
amber
7 years ago

Important existential question: should I view this movie while eating my grocery store sushi, or will the pure excellence of the movie sushi make me resentful of the luxury I cannot obtain??

krantcents
krantcents
7 years ago

I always felt that if you love your work you will be good at it. If you are good at it, you will do well financially.

Kyle Richey
Kyle Richey
7 years ago

Great documentary, and an excellent set of conclusions drawn from it in this post. One of my favorite points: “…some people tend to assume that doing work you love is free of difficulties and that everything will be well in your life if you just switch careers. It is not. Doing work you love may cost you dearly, especially in the initial stages, and everyone choosing such a path should be willing to pay the price of admission.” I’ve chosen this path, passing up opportunities to work in the field I chose for college, and after 6 years I’m finally… Read more »

WordPress Hosted
WordPress Hosted
7 years ago

This is my favorite part of this great article. “You must fall in love with your work” And it really does!!!

Patricia
Patricia
7 years ago

Thanks for a great post, El Nerdo! And I love the comments and your responses to them. It’s rare to find someone on a huge fan blog who responds to comments. It shows that you care about the readers, and commented that you are going to tailor the part 2 because of feedback. Wow!

Kim
Kim
7 years ago
Reply to  Patricia

We love you, El Nerdo. You are definitely my favourite writer on GRS.

Claude
Claude
7 years ago

El Nerdo,
I feel this was the best article you’ve written to date on GRS. Very thought-provoking. Very well done. Looking forward to part 2.

GL
GL
7 years ago

This calls to mind MLK Junior’s ‘Street sweeper’ speech. Gets to me every time. I wonder what such an outlook on life would do for our society’s mental health? I know too many people who have slipped into depression because life didn’t bring them the job of their dreams.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  GL

I found it! I had never heard or read it, this is great! Excerpt: And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like… Read more »

Christopher Bright
Christopher Bright
7 years ago

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on “Jiro Dreams of Sushi!” I really enjoyed the film, and got a lot out of your comments!

Teinegurl
Teinegurl
7 years ago

El Nerdo,

Can all the movies you review be found on netflix or elsewhere?? I really wanted to watch your last one Queen of Versallies but i couldn’t find it. I’m interested in this one as well . Please let me know thanks

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  Teinegurl

Hi Teinegurl I watched Queen of Versailles at the theatre (tax deductible!) and it’s only touring in a few towns now BUT the DVD/BluRay come out Nov 13 (just found out) so it should be on Netflix in 6 more days! (and who knows, maybe streamable too). Jiro is DEFINITELY on Netflix streaming right now (also on DVD and BluRay). I’ve watched the stream only, but I’d love to see it on BluRay just because it’s so gorgeous. Anyway, you have options. Also one of the commenters (see above) said it’s streaming free on Amazon Prime. I’m not sure what… Read more »

Teinegurl
Teinegurl
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Thank you for the response! i dont know what amazon prime is either but netflix or maybe even redbox may have it so that helps thanks!

tm
tm
7 years ago

One of the best posts I’ve read on your site. Thank you!

Short arms long pockets
Short arms long pockets
7 years ago

So sorry that this happened to you. I admire and agree with the attitude you are adopting to deal with it. Toughness = Grace under pressure.

Paula
Paula
7 years ago

Thank you El Nerdo for this article. Your analysis of the movie’s lessons are right on. Like Jiro, my early life circumstances gave me the choice to be tough or expire. Despite all my failures, I’ve mainly been sucessful. An attribute that I have is the ability to continually work hard. This has never been a choice for me but a lifestyle and since I was little I’ve never known any other way. Jiro taught his sons mostly by the example of the high standards that he lives by. Also, he doesn’t waver from the absolutes that he knows to… Read more »

M
M
7 years ago

I’m so sorry this happened to you. But what a great attitude you have! Your point #3 on dealing with the loss is grist for my thinking today. You know, my dad was clear that once we finished college we weren’t to come home. Not that he didn’t love us but that he expected us to make a life for ourselves. At one point early in my independence, I hadn’t hear from him in about two months and I sent him a whiny note. His response was, “I have confidence in you. Since I hadn’t heard from you, I assumed… Read more »

Sheryl
Sheryl
7 years ago

In theory I like the tough love approach. It seems to lack the flexibility and the give and take that’s been so essential in managing to get by lately.

Sorry about the break in. 🙁 It’s always a little heartbreaking when something like that happens and hopefully you and your family are able to get things up and running again quickly.

Sarah
Sarah
7 years ago

First — I’m sorry for the setback you are experiencing. It’s wonderful to read how you are coping and moving on by examining the lessons of success you have studied. Secondly — I’m grateful to my father for pushing me out of the nest at 14 to babysit, at 16 to get an after school job, at 18 to get a job to pay for college, at 21 — no more living at home. The support he gave was as important as the pushes he gave me at the right time to leave my comfort zone and work. One other… Read more »

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

What a bold article! This is the kind of writing that is going to bring me back to GRS (I’m an occasional reader).

Jacq
Jacq
7 years ago

Nerdo – a Nassim Taleb article for you along these lines: “Learning to love volatility”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324735104578120953311383448.html

“…natural or organic systems are antifragile: They need some dose of disorder in order to develop. Deprive your bones of stress and they become brittle. This denial of the antifragility of living or complex systems is the costliest mistake that we have made in modern times. Stifling natural fluctuations masks real problems, causing the explosions to be both delayed and more intense when they do take place.”

KSR
KSR
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

Ms. Jacq. Have you read a Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson? It’s not of your current economic interest and growing library, but a mind blowing good read (from many years in my past now) and mind candy to boot. Taleb’s writings always read, to me, with that Bryson-like perfectionism.

KSR
KSR
7 years ago

Damn.

If there’s anything I can do–I don’t know how in this format–let me know how.

Ivy
Ivy
7 years ago

Knowing your limits and what you can and can’t deal with, really helps in facing crisis, or even evaluating what precautions to take. I am literally these couple of days doing a home inventory for insurance purposes, finally got around to this after years of postponing it. And the process set me thinking back how we came to the US 12 years ago with 2 suitcases, $2k in cash and negative net worth in the six-digits because of the student loans we took on. Having been through this, the risk of losing our belongings through burglary, fire or hurricane somehow… Read more »

WWII Kid
WWII Kid
7 years ago

When the time is right, the mother bird pushes the baby bird out of the nest. Either it flies or it goes splot on the sidewalk.

There are going to be an awful lot of young people out there in the near future who are going to go splot.

I hope you can get back to a place in your heart where you feel secure again.

TEB
TEB
7 years ago

“buckle up buttercup”
“i’ll dust you off, but you gotta do the getting up”
” i made you a peach cobbler”

sh$t my mother said

CincyCat
CincyCat
7 years ago
Reply to  TEB

Adding to the list, my mother always said,

“Rub it in, you’ll be fine” (to minor bumps, scratches, etc.)

And, everyone’s favorite Dad-ism (said to his daughters):

“It’ll put hair on your chest”

🙂

Marsha
Marsha
7 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

Are you my sibling?

Lincoln
Lincoln
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

It’s all a balance. If you end up paying more in insurance and security than the property is worth, that’s a loss too.

Trying to get something replaced that was “covered by insurance” sometimes results in a smaller check than is expected, which is a different form of frustration. We filed an insurance claim on a valuable item a number of years ago, and insurance only wanted to pay 50-75% of replacement cost.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

…and we’ve visited the gun range as we ponder a “home defense” purchase and accompanying training (this was terrifying at first, but lots of fun.) I think it’s sad that so many of our responses to these sorts of events are to (quite literally) begin escalating an arms race. Besides, it’s impossible to keep a gun in a manner that’s both safe and quickly accessible. A gun safely locked in a safe with the ammo in a separate location is not going to help you when your home is being invaded. An unlocked gun with readily available ammunition is criminal… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Like many children, I was taught about guns from a young age. My parents had loaded weapons, and we were aware of that. We were also aware that our parents were the boss of us, and that you NEVER point a weapon at someone or something you don’t want to kill. We also knew that our parents loved us dearly, and made their decisions out of that love. If you don’t have those conditions in your home, then no, you shouldn’t have weapons there. But if you don’t have those conditions, you need to take a long look in the… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
7 years ago

El Nerdo, I’m so sorry that you were burglarized!! How awful – and incredibly frustrating! That said – I do admire your attitude. I also tend to be a “take action after a brief period of mourning” type of person. I’ll be anxiously awaiting future installments of yours to see if you “reinvent” your business, or what other next steps you choose to take to recover from this. Having this type of a setback is EXACTLY what other GRS-minded fledgeling entrepreneurs may encounter, and we could learn from your story. You may know this already, but most pawn shops are… Read more »

Student Loans Worked Out
Student Loans Worked Out
7 years ago

I confess – I barely skimmed this article. First of all, sorry for what happened to you – burglary leaves one feel very violated. Second – I think there ought to be a balance between spoiling your children rotten and providing a family security net. I *cannot* imagine telling my children “you have no home to return to”, it’s like saying: “you have no mother anymore”. family is family, and I shall always ALWAYS be there for them, success or failure. But yes – one has to find a wise way encouraging their children to search and find their own… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
7 years ago

Regarding your point about “mommy and daddy” refusing to let their kids mature, my grandmother took a similar approach with her oldest son (“you can always come back home”). Fast-forward 50+ years (post-age-18), and he was still living at home – and was unemployed – at the time of her death. He had never had to truly support himself in his life, and so he started selling off her furniture to eat. He even fought the bank’s foreclosure on her reverse mortgage (not enough $ in the estate to pay it off), but he lost that battle. Lord only knows… Read more »

Student Loans Worked Out
Student Loans Worked Out
7 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

As I mentioned, there has to be a balance. Also, this might be very individual. My parents *always* made it clear to all children that family will always back them up, we will *always* have their support (and a place to live, if needs be). Myself and all my siblings are doing fine: we are all married, have steady jobs, houses etc. For me, though, it was important to know that I have my parents’ support even if I fail – that made me take risks which I think paid off. Additionally, I think it is unfair to just blame… Read more »

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am
7 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

The expectation in my family was that when we finished college, we were out of the house. Now, would my mother and stepfather have let me starve? No. If I was truly destitute, I could have moved back home. But, in retrospect, it was a bit like being on a reality show. No one is actually in danger of starving on “Survivor,” but if you end up being rescued by the producers, you’ve lost. I didn’t want to lose. My cousin–a spoiled only child–is in his late twenties and still lives at home. He doesn’t help his parents with their… Read more »

Penny
Penny
7 years ago

I think it depends on the situation. I lived with my family a couple of times after college, but always for short transition periods (a couple of months before moving abroad, several months before leaving for grad school). It was a help financially but was mainly wonderful to get to spend that time involved in the day to day lives of my family, especially my younger siblings. I guess I never thought it was ‘enabling’ or ‘exploitative’ because I was always working, was never there indefinitely, always helped out around the house, and well, we all just liked each other… Read more »

Jen
Jen
7 years ago

Thanks for the note about the comment editing. We will check into any user issues.

-Editorial Elf

Jen
Jen
7 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Word from the tech geeks is that you have 15 minutes to edit your comment, after that, you are correct, it gets filtered as spam.

Please let me know if comment editing problems persist at the following email: @Get Rich Slowly Editors.org">contact@Get Rich Slowly Editors.org

Thanks!
-Editorial Elf

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
7 years ago

Sorry about your robbery, El Nerdo! Sounds like you’ve got a good attitude, though.

I will say those people who’ve gone back home in adulthood (and I know a few) confuse me, too. But maybe that’s because my dad lives over 2000 miles away and going home would be more complicated and expensive than practically any other option?

CincyCat
CincyCat
7 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Honey,

I’m of the same thought. What about those adults whose parents are now deceased (i.e. there is no where to go)? If they have not learned to recover from life’s setbacks, then they find themselves in a world of hurt. (See story of my uncle, above.)

Babs
Babs
7 years ago

A most excellent post and comments. So much to think about here. Loss and pain are unavoidable. I am 57 years old and I could fill pages with horror stories, stuff I never dreamed would happen when I was young and even more stupid than I am now. But I am too lazy. Resilience is necessary to bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Sorry for your loss but congratulations for your attitude. My company has a great independent insurance agent. He has been a great partner for many years. Be wary of alarm companies. I have found them… Read more »

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