The Zen Millionaire’s Secret to Creating Abundance | Ken Honda on Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "The Zen Millionaire’s Secret to Creating Abundance | Ken Honda on Impact Theory".
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So, I think wealth is an attitude. If you feel like you're so happy and so content with what you have, you are already wealthy. But if you have to struggle every day and you cannot find happiness either in your business or in personal life, I think you're not wealthy even if you have billions in your bank account. Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. Today's guest is best-selling author Ken Honda, an international phenomenon trained by the Warren Buffett of Japan. He's written more than 50 books on personal finance and sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. His work bridges the gap between money management and self-development, and he's the first person from Japan to be inducted into the Transformational Leadership Council. By putting his own theories into practice, he was able to retire at just 29 and now spends his time writing, speaking, and publishing on what he's learned about money and human nature and helping people develop a healthy and sustainable relationship with their finances regardless of the economy. Ken, welcome to the show, man. Thank you, Tom. I feel so honored to be here. It's early in the morning and in the evening, this is more fun doing this. I love that, man. Obviously, in Japan right now, for anybody wondering, so time zones for us are very, very different. One thing I wanted to talk about is that, how much of what you're doing, do you think, is uniquely Japanese? I have been to a lot of places in the world, and there are few places where I felt the cultural difference more palpably than in Tokyo.
Influence Of Zen On Money Management
How Zen teached him about money & happiness (01:42)
I'm just curious how much that has influenced the way that you think about money. As you said, my mentors have been teaching me so many things about money, but from a very different perspective, mostly from Zen approach. Western people tend to think that I need more money to be happy, but instead Zen approach is, how can you find satisfaction in what you have? It's not a matter of how much money you make or how much money you have. It's more about your attitude toward money. The relationship you have with money gives you happiness or miserable life. You really have to be careful with what you have. What are some of the tenets of Zen? I studied Zen. I got really hardcore into Taoism when I was younger, like way hardcore, which led me then to studying Buddhism. I would definitely never claim to say that I practiced it, but studied Buddhism a fair amount. Zen, I found, maybe the most intriguing but confusing. What are some of the core tenets of Zen? I had this opportunity to meet my mentor later on his name is Waihe Takeda. When I asked him to teach about money, he said his first lesson is forget about money. I'm so confused. One of the things that I found super confusing, and where I was going is the notion of a Zen Cohen. This is something that people probably in the US anyway be tangentially familiar with. The most famous one we talk about is what is the sound of one hand clapping? There are many Zen Cohen's which are beyond confusing. Of course, the idea is once you understand the absurdity of the question itself, and of course I'm doing this from a logical perspective in Zen is meant to be very different than that. Just to get people an anchor point, once you understand the absurdity of the question, then it's like you're a step closer to enlightenment. When he said forget about money, what was he trying to get you to? What does that mean? Because obviously it's not truly forget that it exists. So what does he mean? I think he meant about where I focus, because if you want money, you have to forget about money. You have to forget about what you can give to other people, how much service you can give out to the world, and then you receive money. He was telling me not to focus on money because money is the end result of what we get after surveying the world. Instead of focusing on what you get, you have to really focus on what you give. Our life is in the middle of giving and receiving. Unless we receive well, unless we give well, we can receive. So we are in the cycle of appreciation or resentment. Either cycle you're in, your life exists. If you start appreciating your life about everything, including money, your life will be filled with money and appreciation. If your life will be filled with resentment, anger, fear, around money, and also around life, your life will be also surrounded by fear and resentment and anxiety. So he taught me how to focus instead of just getting the end result of money. He was very well respected because he was talking about philanthropy. So I'm teaching about happiness and money ever since. And the idea that he's been so incredibly successful obviously lends a lot of credence to the things that he says. And one of the things that I wanted to understand better about his teachings to you and your teachings, you've written so prolifically. What is it like, how does it get that big? How does the topic sort of expand so far? What is it that people are getting wrong? And what are some of the universal principles that are going to lead people to, I'll say wealth and it's probably worth defining. How would you define wealth and then we'll go back to those two questions. In my mind, wealth is an emotion. It doesn't really matter how much you have, how much you make. Because I've interviewed over the course of my career, I've interviewed many millionaires and billionaires. And some of them are very unhappy and very upset with everything. I'm sure you've met some happy ones and very unhappy ones. So, and also among the people who are struggling with life, they're also happy people and unhappy people. So I think wealth is an attitude. If you feel like you're so happy and so content with what you have, you are already wealthy. But if you have to struggle every day and you cannot find happiness either in your business or in personal life, I think you're not wealthy even if you have billions in your bank account. But that doesn't mean that you don't have to have money. That's what I like about your approach is there is a recognition. So part of the reason that I think that people continue to strive for money. I lived the nightmare of money can't buy you happiness. I had heard a thousand people tell me that money wasn't going to buy me happiness, that, you know, pursuing money outright was going to end up being a problem. And I still had to do it. And when I ran into the wall of, oh, really, truly money cannot buy you happiness. How is it that I ended up here when all the people told me that this was going to be the outcome? Why did I have to walk this path? Like, why couldn't I just accept their wisdom? And I realized that one of the things that people don't talk about is that money really is powerful. Money is you call it energy. I'll call it power like money gives you the ability to close your eyes. Imagine something that you want to create and then open your eyes and actually be able to do it. And if you have the skill set, of course. And so there's real utility in money. And when people talk about, and I've heard you say before, I don't want to get too spiritual, like I want to keep this grounded. And I think that that's really important because if you tell people, hey, forget about money because money doesn't matter, there's going to be a turn off. But if you tell people, hey, forget about money because it's going to reorient your mindset, it's going to change your behaviors. It's going to align your behaviors to something that's actually going to allow you to generate actual money. Then I think that it draws people in a little bit more. So with that context, I want to go back to the two questions. So what are the mistakes that people make and what are some universal things people need to understand if they actually want to be wealthy in the way that you just defined? So I think most of us, the biggest problem I think especially today is that we are so afraid of money.
Why Do People Get Scared of Money (08:32)
And so as much as we want money, we are so scared of it. So why do you say that? I think that that hit me is very counterintuitive. Why do you think people are scared of money? It's because of a money trauma. I call it money wounds that we've had since our childhood. We used to have some unless your parents are perfect. And unfortunately, it's not the case in any culture. So we've been scolded about money. We spent too much, we wasted money, what we denied a correct lesson or a soccer lesson or ballet lesson or piano lessons because it's expensive. Some of my friends were taught, "You are not worth it." That's a big blow. So we've been denied so many times around money. So that's why as much as we want money because we feel money can buy happiness or money can buy at least freedom. But at the same time, money abused us for so many ways. So as much as we want to get close to it, but if we get too close to it, we get burns or they hurt. So for a lot of people, money is a mystery person.
How To Improve Your Relationship with Money (09:53)
So how do they begin to change that relationship? I'm assuming some of this is going to be just narrative around how they talk to themselves about money. What do you advise people? You have to start watching your language. My mother used to say that. And then around money, especially a lot of people say, "I was ripped off." So there are so many negative language around money. And my mentor, Waheh, said, "You have to use positive words around money. Otherwise, money will not like you." And I really thought it's very cute. And then in my book, I talk about, if money were a person, who would it be like? Is that a person, a gentle person or a hungry person? So just, you have to pay attention to how you relate to money. If you just feel like money is just a thing, you don't care. But if you don't care, you end up being in debt. So you have to be very careful and respectful for money. Some Japanese people, actually one of my students, made houton in a bed for a wallet. It's so cute to show respect. Why do I rest? Please money and credit cards. Please rest here, too. So it's like a little cat bed. And then you're supposed to put your wallet into the bed. So it's just a metaphor. But unless you show respect to money and the money coming in and money going out both ways, you cannot feel peaceful around money. Especially this hard time of economy, you have to really pay close attention to your emotions. Most of us are so controlled by anxiety and fear and money. That's why I do things which are now really true to us in order to survive. So we feel like if we have no money, we cannot survive. That means your death. So the funny switch is turned on. I think it's a survival mechanism. You know, 200 years ago or 300 years ago, everybody was a farmer. Nobody's, you know, probably don't use much money. But now, unless you have money, you cannot buy food. So money and survival are so tied in your system. So as people begin to tell themselves a new narrative, they build the futon bed for their wallet. They think about who that person is. And they, I'm guessing a lot of people are going to think of that person as abusive or, you know, they wander off and they don't have a good relationship with that. So how do they begin to change their mindset around that? How do they begin to turn that narrative? Do you tell them to imagine somebody who is kind or gentle? What is that process? So the sense we've been abused, we feel like we've been abused by this person. We're a little scared of this person, right? So I think the first step is actually the step that my mentor, Hetake, taught me. That is, Arigato, your money. Thank you money. When money comes in, either in a form of government check or a salary or commission or whatever the money you receive, you say, thank you, Arigato, thank you money for coming in. Because in these days, it's so rare to find you and then pay you. Somebody pays you, right? Either it could be government or your husband, wife or your clients. There are so many other people who do the similar job that you do, but they chose you to pay you. So like there are meetings and reasons to appreciate for the money. So when money comes in, just say, thank you, Arigato or Danke, or Seshe or whatever your language or mercy, you know, and then when you spend money, also, Arigato, you know, because you're getting something for the money. And what I said, Arigato in, Arigato out. So it's almost like a credit key teaching, you know, work scene, work stuff. So he said, Arigato in, Arigato out, if you do it for two months and then come back. So like, I wanted to have some stock tips or like investment tips or I expected something different. But the thing I got is Arigato in, Arigato out. And I practiced for two months and I felt genuinely happier. So I recommend anybody, you know, just try it at least because it doesn't cost you anything. And once you start appreciating money coming in, money going out, you start appreciating about other things. So this Arigato in, Arigato out opens a door to a new life, which is full of appreciation. And I think we definitely need that. What has said appreciation melts fear and anxiety. So if you start, and if you keep appreciating money coming in going out, you cannot worry about money at the same time, because a human mind can focus one thing at the time. So what has a very interesting, unique trick of sort of like changing our, why are in our brain?
A change of mindset (15:13)
So once you start appreciating, it's so funny because one of my students said, oh gee, can I forgot to worry about money for a week, because you focus on appreciation. Yeah, I think this is really powerful, is a very important first step. And when I think about my own journey, I won't say that I had a negative view about money. And if you had asked me to describe what money was, I probably would have, whoever I could think of that was like glamorous and exciting and powerful. Like that was my vision of money, which is why I was chasing it so hard. Ultimately, coming to understand, okay, I'm making more money than I've ever made, but I'm not happier than I've ever been. And the neuro chemistry that I want to feel like this is not taking me there. And so I began to, what I began to do was change my behavior. So I changed my story about money that what I flipped over into was the only thing that matters is feeling alive. So I'm going to stop chasing money. I'm going to start thinking about value. And so I had a very negative connotation around money. And I just said, look, I'm going to set that aside for now. And I'm just going to pursue fulfillment. I'm going to do things to add value to people's lives. I'm going to work to improve myself. That was a huge part for me was always wanting to get better myself. And what I found was I needed both.
Change your behavior (16:46)
I needed a change of mindset. I needed to stop thinking money was going to solve my problems. But I also needed to change my behaviors. And ultimately, I don't, I know, and is ever going to think their way to success. I think that you're, you, you have to think in a new way that is advantageous, but you have to act in a new way that's advantageous. So after you know, when you do the wax on wax off, like eventually we do find ourselves in a karate tournament and we really do have to fight. Yes. So what does that look like, especially now in this crazy economy that we're going through right now, let's get, let's go to that next phase.
How should people act with their money? (17:18)
So people are they're already, I got to money in, I got to money out, they've got the futon for their wallet, like they're in a Zen place, like they're doing good. Now, like you retired at 29, not just because you were thinking you retired at 29 because you ran businesses, you got very thoughtful about how to generate money and save it. How should people be acting with their money? So we get now how they should be thinking, but how should they be acting with their money? Thank you, Tom. I think it's a beautiful question. And I think that's exactly what we need to learn. Because once you start appreciating your life shifts to, for example, one of the readers on my book, she was a single mom with a low paying job, she was working as a secretary. And then she came to me and she used to complain about her low paying job. But after reading my book, she changed her attitude and she started appreciating about life and boss. And she realized that she didn't have a college degree, but she was hired as a secretary. So that's a big reason to appreciate her boss before she was always complaining about him. And I think the feeling really probably came across to her boss. And she got a big raise in a few weeks. So once you start appreciating, I've heard so many stories, I can even write few books on this. Once you start appreciating your boss, your clients, they appreciate you back. So in my 20s, the reason why I was successful was I was a little unique in so many different things. For example, when I was doing accounting consulting, I divided my clients to two groups. One, I do a regular job. The other, I always bring something whenever I got to meet them, just an irpti Japanese tea, like a book, or just not super expensive. So in six months, I got so many referrals from the gift-giving groups. I didn't ask for any clients, but they gave me so many referrals. And the second group, not so much. So I recommend everybody to start giving more, something a little extra, not like 30% more, but something to show appreciation. And it doesn't really matter if you're a florist or cleaners or business lawyers or a dentist. If you start giving something, you get more. So this is the law, I think. If you give more, you receive more.
Gift more and receive more (19:53)
And then there is one more extra reason to appreciate about. So your life would shift. So your whole energy would be so different and so content. And I think people want to do business with happier people. People don't want to go with people who are very depressed. So the people with the radiance of appreciation often attracts more people and more opportunities. So this is not a new age or spiritual thing. It's a practice to appreciate more. So what you appreciate appreciates. And I think it's so simple. So start appreciating about money is a first step, and then second step is start appreciating what you have. And if you start sharing what you have, I call it gift, all of us have gifts. I've written probably like half of my books, 20 books on how to discover your gifts and monetize them. Because we are born, each of us is born with a special gift and something to be shared with this planet. And if you can find it, and if you can improve it, and you can polish it and just share with a society, I think that translates into money. So I wrote a national bestseller, Do What You Love and Make Sure Money Follows You. So it's very important. You have to have both. So talk to me about that. So the hearing you, I've heard you say that before that you've written that many books on finding your gift. So one, I'd like to know what that process is. I'm not a big believer, and I get this is, it'll be interesting to see you're taking this. I'm not a big believer that we're born with something. But I think that we can polish like you're saying and really turn that into something. How do people find it? And then how do they polish it? Now I taught probably personally over hundreds of thousands of people, you know, through seminars and my coaching, I do a big advance a few thousand people at a time. And I do a lot of Q&A's. So I have this track record of how people found their gifts. And some people find them when they're very young, you know, when your five or six or seven, your neighbor finds out that you're very good at chess. And then he ends up being champion. I've interviewed the Japanese champion once. And some geniuses are found that way. But most of us are not that way, right? We're not Olympic athletes, or we're not superstars. So most of us are not born with only one gift. We are born with several mediocre gifts. Like I was, I think I had a gift of speaking, I had a gift of teaching, I had the gift of making jokes, I make, I make jokes all the time. Money could be very boring. So, and money is, there are so many funny stories, especially couples, but anyway. So, you know, so there are many gifts, small gifts, but you have to multiply them. And then you become one and only. So, so I know where you're going with that. Before we get to how you chain them together, how do you find them? Because that what you just said really resonates with me. You've got minor gifts, mediocre gifts. I think it was your exact phrase. I love that. Okay, so you've got these mediocre things inside of you. How do you, how do you find them? Like, I don't, I don't know that people, and I know what you're the three things that you chain together are, and that'll be really interesting to hear you talk about that, especially the third one which you haven't mentioned yet. How do people identify that? And maybe you walking us through how you found your three will be super useful. So, you know, some people find it by coincidence.
How to find out your gift (23:46)
Some people find out that your, your friend would say, hey, Ken, you're good at speaking. Like, what? You know, because gifts are funny thing. It comes so naturally out of you. So, you don't even notice it. So, even if you're good at singing, you're good at speaking, you're good at connecting people, that's another gift. Yeah, I think you have the special gift of connecting people too. So, if you have, even if you have so many gifts, you don't realize them unless you, you recognize them. And oftentimes, I do guide people to find their gifts. And in the process, they realize like, oh, gee, all these years I've known that I had the gift, but I never recognize it as a gift. Because how do you guide people through that? Do you have them ask themselves questions or survey their friend questions that people can go through? Literally a thousand? Yes. So, for example, one of the questions is like, when you're small, what, what were the nicknames? And then the nicknames have strong something. By the way, my nickname was a teacher because I was like teaching kids, other kids. So, like nicknames have certain characteristics already. Or like when you're kids, what were you scolded for? When I was small, my mother used to say, you know, you talk too much. Don't talk. That means I had the gift of talking because I want to express myself. So, when you're scolded about something, that is a gift. But you thought it's a negative. It's your, actually, it's your fault flaws instead of thinking it's a gift. So, there are thousands of questions. And then when you just show a light on that, you realize, wow, I just never thought that I had so many gifts. And then once you kind of like recognize one by one by one, and then start sharing without thinking much, you know, you don't have to be at this point. You don't have to be strategic about what's going to happen because it's, you know, fun things will come out. You never know. I've seen so many fun miracles happening to people's lives. So, you discover certain gifts. And then once you realize the gifts will come out on its own, it's a so interesting organic mechanism that because you're so inspired by sharing your gifts because more you share, your people love it, love it. And you know, your listeners who love your shows, they're waiting for your shows. They'll be upset if you just get a sick leave or something, right? So, that people give you energy. So, once this cycle starts and you appreciate them for supporting you, it grows and grows and grows exponentially. And then when that happens, you don't want to stop. And then at some level, it will translate into money. So, that's- Let's talk about that.
How they monetize (26:43)
So, there's a gap there that I think a lot of people fall into and don't know how to get out of. So, let's say that they do the exercise, they, you know, think about what they were into when they were young, they think about what they got scolded for, nicknames, all of that stuff, just saying that they find interesting and they go, "Okay, cool. These are the things that I think that I'm, it's a mediocre talent, but I'm willing to polish it and make it bigger." How do they monetize that? Like, how do they actually turn that into money? Yeah. So, that is a miracle and also a fun part of life because we never know. One of my students was an insurance salesperson and he didn't sell a lot because he didn't want to push people. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that. And one day he was told to do cold calls. So, he had to go to the one big house where there was a German shepherd and then he knew that he loves dogs. And you know, some people, dog lovers, dogs know, you know, who they are. So, when he was in the house and he didn't, and it says be aware of dog, but he didn't really care. So, the dog, the dog didn't really shout at him and bark at him. And the owner, grandmother, was so impressed because everybody was harassed by this dog, you know, male man and a telly-reman. And so, she thought, "It's interesting. So, why don't you come up to my house and have a cup of tea?" And then he was invited in and then she fell in love with this guy because, you know, whoever her dog loves this person means he's a good man. And then she was a head figure in this entire neighborhood. So, he could sell so many insurance policies. And later on, he found this dog club. And then, so like, they do only barbecues, you know, they do nothing but with dogs, you know, by the Riverside. And they go on a trip. And so, all he does is not selling insurance. But since he he's surrounded by so many people, you know, there's a need for insurance, he gets it. There's another insurance salesperson who she loved cooking. So, she kind of like did the cooking classes, right, for free. And the cooking classes grew. And she ended up being the cooking class teacher, but she sold so many insurance policies on the way. And she found more passion in cooking. So, he she quit the insurance business. But in the process of expressing and finding who you are, have been money follows you. So, forget about money is that teaching. But, you know, at the same time, don't forget it completely. You have to make both ends meet. So, that's, you know, I have this accounting consulting background. So, I'm a very practical person. So, you have to make sure all the bills are paid in appreciation. And at the same time, grow your energy. Most biggest problem that we have is that we are depressed with our lives. So, we don't have hopes. We're not excited about our lives. That's why I think it's- Dude, talk to me about that. So, how do people flip that around?
Getting Old (30:04)
You know, you have to take a look at life in a different perspective. That's why I'm teaching. For example, one of my- in my seminars, I take a lot of questions. And it was in thousands of people. So, in the box, I couldn't really see the person who asked me questions. And she said, "I'm too old." And she sounded very young. And I couldn't really see. How old are you? And she said, "I'm 23." And everybody's like, "Ooh." And then she said, "I'm the oldest- oldest person in college. Everybody's like 19, 20. And I'm an- I'm an old grandmother." It's like people are laughing. And she felt- she felt so old and she saw out of date. And then I realized that I don't know who- how old you are, but you're 35, 45, 55, 25, or 5. You are the oldest in your life. Right? So, I heard a seven-year-old boy saying, "Oh, I'm getting old." You know? So, if you're oldest at your age and from your future, you are the youngest looking back 10 years from now. So, you are the oldest and youngest at the same time. So, some people start old. So, don't compare with other people. Some people start young and then successful in their 30s and 40s and they collapse in their 50s. So, don't compare yourself with other people. Just look at yourself and focus yourself. And if you focus on who you are and what will come out of your life, and the best thing I can give you is, "I want you to be curious about your life. What is inside me that is going to be turning to money or turning to something that will please and entertain so many people?" And it could be your writing, could be your cooking, could be something else. For me, it was speaking and writing. I never knew I could write and I could speak until I was 33 or 4 when I studied writing. So, you'll be surprised by yourself. I was surprised by myself. I didn't like writing speak. So, it's interesting. There's a few things in here that I want to try to pull apart.
Competition is For Suckers (32:30)
So, one is Peter Teal talks about competition being for suckers. And he says, "You want to go somewhere where there's no competition." And you've talked about if you identify one gift, you might not be unique. Maybe there are a lot of people that share that gift. And then you said, "But if you can find two or three gifts and you put them together, then you may be one of the only." And so, you've said the gifts that you had that you've taken the time to polish are you can write, you can speak, and you consider yourself a healer.
And you said, "Once I put them together and if I misspeak how you define healers, let me know." But you're saying, "I help people heal their past traumas about money to change the story the way that they think about it." And I thought, "Well, that's actually really interesting." And it does make you an incredibly unique voice. And when I was first looking at you and researching you for the show, it was like that puts him in this very unique category, unlike, because I sense the economy has taken the hit that it's taken, I've been trying to find people that have a really useful voice in finance to help the average person through this. I don't want to bring in high-level investors that are going to talk about gold and all that shit. It's like that does not help the average person get through what we're going through. So, seeing you bring those three things together in this incredibly unique way, I think, is interesting. So, we've got that, the "find your unique place." And then we've got this other concept you're talking about, which I think is insanely important. And I want to know if to you these end up coming together, which is people are depressed about their lives. And they're depressed about their lives because of how they look at it, the frame of reference, the story they're telling. So, this is my mission. Like getting people to reframe their life is like what I think about day and night. So, how do people, you obviously gave us what I'll call the tip of the iceberg just now in terms of how they can begin to reframe and get out, but that unique gift of turning yourself into sort of a unique commodity. Do you see these things coming together in any way? Yes. I think you said it so beautifully. One of my favorite seminars I do, at least here, you know, I do, this is a retreat center I have, is reading your life's script. That means that you write yourself or... Yes. Or I don't know who wrote it, but definitely there is a life script. When you look at your life, there are so many series of events that shifted your life and also made who you are. And mostly, what I found is among all the negative events that you had, that your father was killed in war or your parents got divorced or you got sick when you were like eight or ten. So, among all these negative events, there is a seed over your life purpose. So, if you find your life purpose, you will be very different forever because once you know, you are born to do, not like, you know, almost like enlightenment, but it's like a slight enlightenment. Wow. I think I was born with these hardships because I think maybe I meant to do this. You know, I was in this abuse, I was brought up in this abusive environment. My father is wealthy, so he had money and fame, but we are miserable. So, that's why that set me to this journey to find happiness, the quest for happiness and money that turned me in that turned me who I am. Can you give us a little background? The story with your dad, I think, is very, very interesting.
Tragedy, Trauma, And Triumph
Ken's Father (36:03)
You know, my father was a very successful accountant, but he was a very samurai type of guy. He never cries, he never just smiles, he's just a very rigid guy. So, I was in this environment where we knew we had money, but we didn't have the safety in our house. So, I really wanted to know why people are messed up that way and then why can't we cannot find peace and happiness in our family?
Finding Peace and Happiness (36:31)
So, that was the real start of my life. Talk to me about the time that you came home and found your dad crying.
Family Suicide (36:49)
That was super intense. Yes. I think I was 8 or 9 years old when I came home and I saw my father crying like a baby. He was really crying in the kitchen. I was super surprised and my mother took me aside and just explained what's going on. But I was in total shock because I've never seen my father or man crying. My mother taught me that my father's friend, not best friend and an excline, committed suicide. I sort of knew what suicide mean, but it's not only his life. He killed his entire family and after he killed himself. We call it family suicide. That was the first time I learned about the term family suicide. It was very particular in Japanese culture. In order to save his family from the disgrace of bankruptcy, he killed entire family and also he killed himself. He came to my father a few days before to ask for a loan. He had the money, but he didn't give it to him because the money he loans to his client, his friend, would go directly to loan sharks. He was recommending to file bankruptcy and after bankruptcy, he was going to give the money. The money can be used for the family. But he is a samurai guy, but so he didn't tell him that he has the money, but he said, "No, I'm not going to loan the money." So he regretted, regretted, regretted after the family suicide and that really triggered him into going into alcohol. So killing the entire family because of money really scared me, giving a lot of nightmares for days. Sometimes I still sometimes get that when I hear news that somebody lost jobs and millions of people losing jobs. So I'm feeling a little restless about what's going on. That's why I'm more inspired to help other people to find peace and happiness. But he really didn't recover from that and he passed away 17 years ago. But I think my father's generation and my grandfather's generation, I feel like they're giving me powers and inspiration for me to share what I know.
What trauma teaches us (39:22)
What do you mean by that? You're saying, in that trauma, in the way that they got caught up in it, that gives you the power to? Yes, because I feel... It's interesting man. It's an interesting way to frame it. Yeah, I feel so much pain around him.
Turning pain into life-force energy (39:38)
I feel so much pain for my grandfather who died when he was 42 or 3 because of the war. So these three generations of unhappiness and despair and anger and resentment was all kind of like cleaning me and also gets healed and transformed and become this incredible amount of energy to be able to support people. That's why I think my books have been sold millions of copies because I love to help people who are in anxiety, fear, and resentment because in some area we are upset about not being fair. But unless we heal this pain that's inside, it's nothing to do with money. It's nothing to do with what's going on out there. It's nothing to do with politics. It's inside. It's the wounds and the money scars and all the generational block that have been handed down from my parents and negative beliefs around money and about life and work. They're also handed down from my grandparents, right? So it's being a generational block. So if you can turn all the pain into life force energy, you feel this inspiration in you that will keep you going. Otherwise you have to shut them off. Otherwise you have to shut them off. What do you mean by that? Because I know a friend whose father is also alcoholic and he doesn't want to remember any of his childhood. He doesn't want to just talk with his father. I either forget about it or you have to reframe it and be useful. That's very, very interesting.
Why friends are better than money (41:35)
You've actually talked a lot about friends. Having a good friendship network is actually more valuable ultimately than having a lot of money. I'm super that is such an interesting reaction to your daughter. I did not expect that. What are some other elements of building friends? I think it will help people. Why is friendship more protective, maybe the right word, than money? I always talk about how to melt money fear. I teach people make friends because they are the asset. They are the insurance for you when the economy breaks down. Everybody has a friend who can let you stay for a week or two. I counted the names. He is good. This guy is maybe two weeks. I calculated more than 50 friends. Then I can stay one friend at one week, second week. Then after 52 friends, I can come back to my friend number one and say, "It's been a year. How are you?" Without any money, I can live forever. I have enough friends who can support me. I have no fear and money because I know somebody will just take care of me. The feeling, I have no debt. I'm not in the near. I don't plan to follow bankruptcy. Even if I lose everything, I have so many friends and supporters who can help me. Whatever happens to me, I feel somebody is going to just catch me, protect me. If you have that feeling that somebody will not let you fall, you feel safe. It's not the government. It's not your insurance. It's not the money in the bank. It's your friends and people who care about you. If you have a complete trust in the future, you don't have to worry about money. People worry about money because they're worried about no money situation. I have interviewed so many millionaires who happen to be in no money situation many times.
The Impact Of Desires On Financial Well-Being
No-money situation vs. being afraid of it (43:54)
No money situation doesn't kill you. Worry about no money situation kills you. I think you'll have to explain to people the difference between no money and being actually afraid of the no money situation. What do you mean by that exactly? So say you run out of money, cash. Then you cannot pay the rent. You have to get out of your apartment and you say file bankruptcy, for example. Being in no money situation is not comfortable. I've never been one because I've been very careful. I've known people and friends who have been into a situation. They don't want to go back there again, but the experience didn't kill them. It's kind of depressing, but at the same time, once you lose everything, you realize that so many people are kind to you. One of my friends who filed bankruptcy on the night, he got a call from these five friends who just said, "Why don't you come to my house, have an extra room?" Then he just cried while he was on the phone. He was successful. He didn't care about his friends. He was so successful. People are so obsessed, almost like obsession, have this obsession of making sure that they will not be in no money situations. That's why they're not taking risks and start their own businesses. That's why they're not leaving their jobs. That's why they're not leaving their husbands and wives, because they're so afraid that one day you'll be in this no money situation, which is like, they're more afraid of no money situation than that. I'm just teaching people, no money situation is not. It could be a scary place, but that could be a great start for financial independence. Whenever I get an email saying I filed bankruptcy two days ago, I was sent back an email saying, "Congratulations, you are in the starting point toward financial independence, because they are." I think that reaction is really, really powerful.
Why desire is the cause of all suffering (46:07)
You talk about this pretty openly, just because I am wealthy today does not mean that I'm going to be wealthy at 50. Especially now in an economy where something I could never have imagined is happening, you go, "Hm, nothing is forever." One of the things, and this is bring it all background to Zen, where what I found so intriguing about Buddhism was the revelation that life is suffering. Once you realize, "Now I'm using my words, I don't know that any Buddhist would ever say what I'm about to say, but this was my interpretation of Buddhism." Once you realize that you're playing a game of neurochemistry, and when you suffer because you want something or you're trying to keep up with the Joneses or you have a negative story that you're telling yourself about your own self-worth, because what your parents said to you, not worth the money or they're shaming you for how you spend your money or whatever the case, whatever has happened to you, whatever wound you have, people begin to get a sense of self that is about that wound. They're not feeling good, and they're trying everything they can to escape that. It's like, "Okay, what is the original progenerator of this sense of suffering, desire?" That Buddhist notion of desire gives birth to all of your suffering and understanding the notion of attachment and that when you are obsessed with money, rule number one, forget about money. If you really want to make progress, that notion is so critical for people to understand, to ask themselves, "What is the physics of this situation?" The physics of this situation is you're having a biological experience, your brain is kicking off certain neurotransmitters and a cocktail of chemicals that makes you feel a certain way, either that certain way feels good or that certain way feels bad, and really beginning to understand what's happening inside your mind is the very thing that manifests the good feeling or the bad feeling. "Okay, well great. If this isn't about external stimulus, if it's not about, I have a lot of money and I feel good, I have little money and I feel bad, and it's what am I thinking and feeling inside myself and how much control do I have over that?" You really begin to understand and look, I think that the way you think is only one part of the equation, I don't think that Waihe became the Warren Buffett of Japan simply because he thought in positive ways, but until you get that part right, your behaviors just won't align with anything useful. That's what I found myself drawn to in your philosophy is that notion of taking this very Zen approach of having those realizations about the way that this is a mental game. Yes, exactly. You said it so beautifully. Culture difference too. I've been interviewed by so many different people from different cultures. One of the most often asked questions in America is like, "I talk about money container. Everybody's born with a certain size money container. It's what I say." American people want to know, "How can I make my money container bigger so I can be wealthy?" That is a typical question I get from North America. It's a totally different approach. It's not good or bad, but if you just totally shift, I teach Japanese people more American way. Don't be satisfied. Dream big. For North American people, maybe you don't need a big house. Maybe you don't need three cars. You could downsize and still find a fulfillment in life too. You have to really change perspectives. That way, you can really find out who you are. Without all the toys, you can be still happy. I think that's what everybody is experiencing.
Hypothetical Scenario: Losing All Wealth
What Wai Tsu would do if she lost all of her money (50:09)
What do I... Let me ask you. I was literally going to ask you that question. In researching you, I started thinking, "What would I do if I lost all my money? How would I find the way that I think about it? How would I create my happy life?" I began to think about what are the things that cost very little money but bring me an extraordinary amount of joy. What are those things for you? I think there are many B&B here. I want to be hired by somebody in this neighborhood. Whoever comes in, I'll do the chores. Meanwhile, I have a little chat with them. I asked them a few questions. Then they get lit up. "Wow, gee, I want to go home and just stop my something." I just want to be an old guy, just sweeping floors. I just have a friendly chat. Not as a famous person, just a regular guy, just exchanging ideas. Then, after 30 minutes of friendly conversation, he or she feels so much lighter, more fun, and more joyful. That's who I want to be. I'm okay with the race ball and some fish or some vegetables. I love that, man. That is fantastic. Where can people connect with you? I have not much information yet in English. You can find Google can KEN, Honda, H-O-N-D as in the car, and can Honda.com. I've been interviewed by somebody like you, who are so beautiful. There are some YouTube videos that are up. I am creating many free content, so how people can find gifts and all that. I'm trying to translate many of... I have stuck some books and also many work and a lot of fun stuff. So, being translated into English. I love it, man. Well, Ken, thank you so much for joining me on the show today. Really, really incredible. I think super powerful. I hope that people will dive in and watch the videos, which I have done. They're fantastic. Read the book, happy money, fantastic. Thank you, man. All right, guys. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe, and until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Thank you so much. As we leave the perfection of childhood, the hypnosis and the brainwashing begins, our well intention parents say, "Oh, you want to be an astronaut? You want to start a business when you grow up? You want to paint like Joe Michelle Basquiat? Be reasonable."