Using Japanese Wisdom to Help You Get Through Life After High School (2023)

Japanese Wisdom to Help You Get Through Life

Using Japanese Wisdom to Help You Get Through Life After High School

Graduating from high school and beginning the route to college is an exciting period in a person’s life. As you say your final goodbyes to the familiar corridors of high school, you open the door to a world of limitless possibilities and new experiences. You may also find yourself on the verge of a future packed with both wonderful potential and terrifying uncertainties. This time also serves as a prelude to adulthood, when you will have more independence, more responsibility, self-discovery, and personal progress.

In the middle of the world’s tremendous influx of technical developments and rapid change, how about a quick introduction to seven profound Japanese ideals for a happy life?

The seven notions listed below are ageless, and they can greatly assist you in shaping both your professional and personal lives. These ideas do not claim to be the secret formulas for professional and financial success. However, they are excellent frameworks on which to build your thoughts and behaviors in order to live a well-rounded, successful life. Let’s get started.

7 Japanese Ideas for Living a Happy Life:

  • Ikigai
  • Shikata ga nai
  • Wabi-sabi
  • Gaman
  • Oubaitori
  • Kaizen
  • Shu Ha Ri


The first and most well-known is Ikigai. There are various books and articles about Ikigai, and there is evidence that this notion has assisted individuals in living long, happy, and meaningful lives. Ikigai literally translates as “a reason for being.” Ikigai assists you in discovering your purpose-driven career. You can use Ikigai to determine whether your intended career will be meaningful. These four parts come together to form this concept.

  • What you excel at
  • What you enjoy
  • What the world need
  • What you can be compensated for

Ikigai believes that your career should include these four components in order for you to live a meaningful and joyful life. Reflect on your hobbies, talents, ideals, and the world problems you desire to tackle to find your Ikigai. Consider your interests, skills, and activities that offer you joy and fulfillment.

Prioritize pursuing a career that resonates with your Ikigai above just focusing on financial stability or cultural expectations. This alignment will provide a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction since you will be doing something that is in line with your interests and contributes to the larger good.

Shikata ga nai:

Shikata ga nai is Japanese for “it can’t be helped.” It emphasizes accepting events beyond our control and the ability to adapt and move forward in the face of adversity. Uncertainties and setbacks are unavoidable as you traverse the post-high school age. Adopting the Shikata Ga Nai philosophy allows you to acknowledge these difficulties and understand that some things are beyond your control.

Instead than concentrating on what cannot be altered, concentrate on finding solutions, adapting to new situations, and seizing opportunities as they arise. You acquire resilience and adaptability by adopting a Shikata Ga Nai mindset. Instead of being overwhelmed by unexpected occurrences, you learn to see them as chances for personal growth and development. This approach enables you to recover from setbacks and tackle future uncertainties with confidence.


Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that emphasizes the beauty of imperfection. It serves as a reminder that nothing is flawless, which is what makes life fascinating. It teaches us to appreciate life’s fleeting nature and to find beauty in simplicity and genuineness. Wabi-sabi can be used to anything, including art and relationships. It might help you appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, even if it isn’t flawless.

After high school, you may have a few setbacks and errors. Instead of becoming dejected or concentrating on these setbacks, embrace the wabi-sabi attitude. Recognize that these events contribute to your development and character. Learn from them, make the necessary modifications, and press on with renewed zeal. Finding beauty in every moment builds resilience and gratitude, allowing you to manage an uncertain world with grace and positivity.


Gaman translates as “endurance.” It is the capacity to endure adversity with patience and forbearance. In Japanese culture, gaman is frequently regarded as a virtue. It serves as a reminder that if we have the strength and determination to do so, we can conquer any hurdle. Gaman represents resilience and endurance in the face of adversity. It encourages people to stay strong and keep self-control even in difficult situations. Gaman encourages you to be devoted to your goals, stay focused, and overcome temporary challenges as you embark on your path after high school. You can navigate the world’s challenges with courage and grace if you cultivate a resilient mindset and keep your determination.


Every person is unique. In every biological, social, and psychological element, you are vastly different from your peers. Your life pathways and goals are distinct from those of others. So, comparing yourself to someone is not only foolish, but also incorrect. Oubaitori emphasizes the same point, saying, “Don’t compare yourself to others.” Oubaitori serves as a reminder that we are all unique individuals who should not be judged by the standards of others. When you embrace Oubaitori, you get self-confidence and acceptance. You will realize that everyone of us has been endowed with a set of abilities that can lead to a successful existence. As a result, you’ll live a contented life, capitalizing on your inherent abilities and progressing toward your ultimate purpose.


You may have heard of Kaizen as a concept in business management, but it can be applied to many aspects of our lives. This Japanese philosophy translates as “continuous improvement.” The core premise of Kaizen is that no matter how wonderful we are, we can always better ourselves and our life. When you set goals after high school, adopt the Kaizen philosophy. Divide your ambitions into smaller, more manageable tasks and concentrate on consistent progress rather than immediate perfection. You can achieve incredible outcomes by adopting this approach and constantly improving your skills, knowledge, and abilities.

Kaizen encourages us to develop a growth attitude, which is critical for long-term success. Accept challenges, solicit feedback, and consider setbacks as opportunities for advancement. You may handle the challenges of life after high school with confidence and resilience if you believe in your potential to learn and develop.

Shu Ha Ri:

Last but not least is Shu Ha Ri. It translates roughly as “Learn, Detach, Transcend.” In any field, Shu Ha Ri explains the levels of mastery. It emphasizes the significance of studying, breaking away from traditions, and finally becoming a master in your chosen profession. You can adapt to Shu Ha Ri when you enter a phase of continual learning and skill improvement by being open to new knowledge, approaches, and viewpoints. Seek advice from mentors and experts, and immerse yourself in learning and growth possibilities. As you go through the Shu-Ha-Ri stages, you move from reliance on others to independence and, eventually, mastery. You gradually establish your own distinct style, innovate, and contribute to your chosen field. You will realize along the way that mastery involves effort, perseverance, and a lifelong commitment to learning and progress. This understanding will teach you patience and resilience, as well as the will to achieve mastery rather than settling for modest victories.

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It is reasonable for graduates to feel overwhelmed and afraid of making the incorrect choices in the face of an uncertain world replete with exponential breakthroughs and inventions. And the concern is not unfounded. Some significant life decisions are reversible, while others are not. However, be certain that the career decisions you make at this stage may be difficult to reverse later, but it is always possible. So, go ahead and make the decision your heart desires.

Incorporate these Japanese ideals into your thinking to find guidance, inspiration, and motivation as you navigate this stage of your life with confidence and purpose.

Remember that the road after high school isn’t about having all the answers or avoiding failure. It’s about embracing uncertainty, learning from mistakes, and staying committed to your goals. So, take a brave step into the unknown and let these Japanese principles guide you


  • How can I locate my Ikigai?
  • What should I do if I fail out of high school?
  • How can I strengthen my resilience and adaptability?
  • What if I’m hesitant to take risks?
  • How can I embrace the process of learning?



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