Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Man Behind Honda

Let me give you a great example of a man who understood the power of real decision, someone who once decided, would not give up. His name is Soichiro Honda: founder of the Honda Corporation, the maker of Honda cars and motorcycles.

Mr. Honda never allowed tragedy, problems, challenges or the twists and turns of circumstance to get in his way. In fact, he often decided to see some of the biggest Obstacles in his way as mere hurdles in the race to reach his Goals.

In 1938, Mr. Honda was a poor student who had a dream of designing a piston ring that he would sell to and manufacture for Toyota Corporation. Every day he would go to school, and all night long he would work on his design, up to his elbows in grease. He spent what little money he had on his project, and it still wasn't finished. Finally, he hocked his wife's jewelry to continue.

After years of effort he finally designed the piston ring he was sure Toyota would buy. When he took it to them, they rejected it.

He was sent back to school to suffer the humiliation of his teacher's and friend's telling him what an idiot he was for designing such a ridiculous gadget. Was he frustrated? You bet. Was he broke? Yes. Did he give up? No way. Instead he spent the next two years continuing to find ways to make the piston ring better. He had the key formula to Success.

He decided what he wanted. He took action. He noticed whether it was working or not, and when things weren't working out. He kept changing his approach. He was flexible in the way he went about things. Finally after two more years, he refined his design, and Toyota actually bought it!

In order to build his piston factory, Mr. Honda needed concrete, but the Japanese government was gearing up for World War II, so none was available. Once again it looked as if his dream would die. It seemed no one would help him. Again did he quit? Absolutely not! He had decided to build this factory. Since giving up was not an option, he got together a group of his friends, and for weeks they worked around the clock trying different approaches until they found a new way to manufacture concrete.

He built his factory and was finally able to produce his piston rings.

During the war, the United States bombed his factory, destroying most of it. Instead of feeling defeated, Mr. Honda rallied all his employees. He said, "Quickly! Run outside and watch those war planes. What they'll do is drop their fuel cans out of the sky. We need to find out where they drop them and get those Cans, because they contain the raw materials we needed for the manufacturing process. These were the materials they couldn't get anywhere in Japan. Mr. Honda found a way to use whatever life gave him. Finally an earthquake leveled his factory and he was forced to sell his piston operation to Toyota.

But God never closes a door without opening another one, so we need to say alert to see whatever new opportunities life presents us....

When the war ended, Japan was in total turmoil. Resources were scarce in all parts of the country - gasoline was rationed and in some cases nearly impossible to find - and Mr. Honda couldn't even get enough gas to drive his car to the market to buy food for his family. But instead of feeling defeated or helpless, he made a new decision. He decided he would not settle for this quality of life. He asked himself a very powerful question: "How else can I feed my family? How can I use things I already have to find a way to get there?"

He noticed a little motor he had, one that was the size and type to drive a traditional lawn mover, and he got the idea of hooking it up to his bicycle. In that moment, the first motorized bike was created.

He drove it to and from the market, and pretty soon his friends were asking him to make some for them too. Shortly thereafter, he had made so many 'motorbikes' that he ran out of motors, so he decided to build a new factory to manufacture his own. But he had no money, and Japan was torn apart. How would he do it?

Instead of giving up and saying, "There's no way", he came up with a brilliant idea. He decided to write a letter to every single bicycle- shop owner in Japan, telling them that he thought he had the solution for getting Japan moving again, that his motorbike would be cheap and would help people get where they needed to go.


Then he asked them to invest. Of the 18,000 bicycle shop owners who received a letter, 3000 gave Mr. Honda money, and he manufactured his first Shipment. And then he was success, right? Wrong!

The motorbike was too big and bulky, and very few Japanese bought it. So once again, he noticed what wasn't working, and instead of giving up, he changed his approach again. He decided to strip his motorbike down and make it much lighter and smaller.

He called it The Cub, and it became a "overnight Success", winning Honda the Emperor's Award.

Every one looked at him and thought how "Lucky" he was to have come up with this idea. Was he lucky? May be, if L.U.C.K means Labor Under Correct Knowledge. Today Mr. Honda's company is one of the most successful in the World. Honda Corporation now employs over 100,000 people - all because Mr. Honda never gave up.

From the Book "Awaken The Giant Within"

"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped" - Anthony Robbins

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