Thank God, It is Monday
“I tap dance to work every day,”
Jiro Ono is a master chef known for his excellence in making sushi, a Japanese food made of fish and rice. He loves making sushi so much that he looks forward to all working days. “I feel ecstatic all day,” he exclaims.
Jiro is 90 years old. He started apprenticing in a sushi restaurant when he was about 7 years old. He became a qualified sushi chef when he was 25, and started his own restaurant when he turned 40. His restaurant in Tokyo has the three-star rating from Michelin, and is supposedly the world’s expensive restaurant. His VIP guest included the US President, Barack Obama (Here is a snap).
Jiro is making sushi every working day for over 80 years now — excepting a brief period when he was hospitalized. He takes off only during national holidays (or when there is a funeral to attend).
Even at this age, Jiro’s enthusiasm for work has not diminished a bit. “In dreams, I would have visions of sushi. I would jump out of bed with new ideas,” he says in this beautiful documentary film on his life. “When I am making sushi, I feel victorious,” he declares.
The Japanese government gave him the Meikou Award, the third highest civilian award in Japan. The award was presented at a grand function. But he could not stay through the function — no sooner he received the award, he was back to his restaurant. “It’s too much of sitting around,” was his excuse to returning from the function earlier than expected.
When asked about retirement, Jiro says that he never feels like retiring. “I don’t think I have achieved perfection. I will continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.”
When we come across people like Jiro, we may think that they are gifted. Because they are talented and found their talent so early in life, and doing what they are good at doing, while leading a happy and successful life, accumulating wealth, recognition, friends on the way.
However, Jiros of the world are like everyone of us. They simply happened to be doing:
1) What they are wired for.
They are born with a talent, and they are sticking to it, building on it. Instead of wasting their energy on something else out of peer or social pressure. Warren Buffet says that he is “wired for investing”. Every one of us are wired for something.
2) What they are paid for.
Getting paid (or being recognized in any other way) is surely an important factor in finding happiness at work. Well, there are hobbies or social work that don’t have anything to do with money or fame.
3) What they would like to do forever.
Jiro says he is climbing to reach the top that never exists. For many, the fear about work is “what if I happened to be doing the same thing even after 5 years or 10 years.” For people like Jiro it is just opposite: “What if I am not able to do my work in future.” They are willing to take another birth if they will be allowed to do what they love to do.
Whether we experience Monday Blues or Monday Bliss depends on these three questions. If our current job or business is what we are wired for doing, what we are paid for doing, and what we would love to do forever, there is nothing we can ask for more.