Right Wood, Right Place

Do you believe in talent or hard work? This is the topic that has been debated since the beginning of history (I’m exaggerating). Making the topic even more complicated, some people say “Hard work is a talent itself.” One day, I found an interesting article related to this issue. Do you know the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (SME)? SME is just observing children with marshmallows to see their self-control or delayed gratification under various conditions. The data were later used in many follow-up longitudinal studies to make many people believe the power of self-control is the key to success, like better SAT scores, keeping in better shape, etc.

Whether or not hard work is a talent itself: it’s not subject to debate here, but it’s a plain fact that the result of SME has supported people who believe in hard work. Once I was one of them, but the article by Jessica McCrory Calarco in “The Atlantic” changed my mind. She wrote SME had come out biased results because the number of the subject children was too small (only 90) and—this is much more important—all the children enrolled in a preschool on Stanford’s campus. In 2018, the researchers of NYU improved the problems of SME and conducted some tests, and Jessica pointed out what we can learn from the result of their new tests is what is behind kids’ long-term success is not their ability but their social and economic background.

People change depending on the environment. There are no good or bad people, but people in various situations. In other words (by a little further extension though), it’s like “right people, right place,” and I believe the same thing can be said to wood for furniture. People sometimes ask how good the wood used for our furniture is. Of course, it’s good because it’s carefully selected by the professional suppliers who our purchasing manager trusts. What is no less important is, however, the keen eyes of the manager in charge of milling wood. Sometimes, the process is underestimated as rough cutting, but the very first phase of furniture production decides everything like the beauty and strength of finished products, the yield rate of wood, etc. Right wood, right place is the key to good furniture.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

Photo Credit: https://www.condehouse.co.jp/

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