“Once you decide on your occupation, 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 honourably.”

A wise advice from Japanese three Michelin-Star Chef Jiro Ono. Jiro is now in his 90s and is regarded worldwide as the greatest sushi craftsman alive. From the age of seven, Jiro started working in a restaurant to help support his family; in the early 1950’s after finishing his apprenticeship, he became a qualified sushi chef and opened his own restaurant. Later, his two sons followed in his footsteps.

In 2011, Jiro was the subject of a documentary by David Gelb “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. While watching this documentary, I had to take out my notepad and start taking notes to gain from Jiro’s perspective. I would like to share the lessons that inspired me and I hope that it will have the same effect on you and you will apply the lessons in your own life.

WATCH: Jiro’s Dream of Sushi with English subtitle


The first is lifelong learning. Jiro mentioned that sushi masters and apprentices embraced lifelong learning each and every day. Yoshikazu Ono, Jiro’s son added, “always look ahead and above yourself. Always try to improve upon yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. That is what I learned from Jiro.”

Do you know everything there is to know about your work, business/career? Another successful executive once told me to study for your ideal role/ position—ask where do you need to improve and what gaps in your game need to be filled.

The second important lesson that I learned is having passion and purpose. Jiro even in his old age leaves his house at 5am and returns home at 10pm. That shows focus and a strong work ethic. Jiro threw his heart and soul into his craft and he doesn’t feel like retiring.

Are you really passionate about what you are doing? Or are you only doing it because it gives you an income every 15th and 30th of the month? Is what you’re doing getting you excited to get up in the morning and help you power through the day? Are you fulfilling your purpose with what you are doing? If the answer is “NO” then do something else.

The third lesson is to set high standards. Jiro never compromised on quality from ingredients to staffing. Jiro made sure that what he produces is the best. Do you do the same? Do you have high standards or do you just let it pass? Remember your work is your autograph; you will be known by what you produce. Whether you are a business owner or employee, you will be judged by your output/results.

The documentary will make you crave for sushi and also inspire you to fall in love with your vocation; it will motivate you to seek perfection and to make daily tiny improvements. My thoughts and opinions are based on my own filters. Watch the documentary and see it from your own filters. I hope it adds value to what you are trying to create.

Until next time, STAY FOCUSED!

WATCH: The same documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi with director’s commentary

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