100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2015 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Foresight Inc.

President Koji Yamada

Message to young people
If you think about what you are good at and what you want to do for your career, you will never find the answer. You will find who you are only when meeting many different kinds of people and experiencing many different jobs. So, I recommend you act first, before thinking. I recommend you experience a lot of different kind of things, such as traveling and working part time, while talking with many different kinds of people. You repeat the practice, and you will slowly learn things about yourself. Also, you should find mentors in various fields. I myself have found a mentor for marketing, and another for how to live my life. I had periodical meetings with them, asked for advice, sometimes getting told off, and then grew up. I see taking on challenges and meeting people as the key to living life.

When I was a high school student, I was interested in becoming a lawyer, and I entered my university’s law department. Back then, the average age of those who passed the bar exam was, unlike now, above 30 years old, and I was studying for the bar exam after graduating, while working part time. Once, I was teaching as a part-time instructor in a class to gain some certificate, and I was unexpectedly popular. More and more companies and cram schools for university exams sent me requests to hold lectures for them, boosting my income to beyond ¥10 million a year when I was 27. I gave up on the bar exam when I was 30 and founded my company.

When I was a student, teaching wasn’t a career I was interested in, so I never imagined ending up as a teacher. But, as I gained popularity as an instructor, I felt good. Also, I found I was good at making easy-to-understand teaching materials, as I enjoyed making them. I was in a quandary making a choice between staying on the teaching job and pursuing my dream to be a lawyer. Eventually, I made up my mind to turn the teaching job into my career, as I thought I was good at it. Yet, working at a cram school as an employed instructor made it difficult to run a class my way, because there were a lot of restrictions and specific conditions to run classes in terms of schedules and teaching materials. So, I founded the company to offer my own brand of teaching.

When working on something, I put in more effort than anyone else to prepare for the work. For example, if requested to write a book about something, I would read all the books related to the subject. If there were 100 books related to the subject, I would read all 100. Then, I start working on a writing plan. People sometimes say I am doing too much preparation, but I always do it because doing so brings me the most desired outcome. Making this practice your habit improves your capacity and capabilities. Then, the possibility of failure will be reduced. Everyone says he or she wants success and some will make the effort for it. But, just making an effort doesn’t guarantee the desired outcome. The key to success is to put in more effort than anyone else, and to maintain the practice, I think.

This is a bit of a difficult topic to discuss, but I often think about the question of why people learn. This something that will never have an answer, but at present, I think people learn to grow. That means people grow up through learning. If that is true, I want to give my students classes not just to offer them information and knowledge, but to offer them something profound to help them grow up. This is the ultimate goal of my classes.


Foresight Inc.
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