Gambarō: Let’s Bravely Produce Effort

The featured image here is me crossing the finish line of the 2008 San Francisco Marathon.

In the Japanese language and culture, there is a unique word, gambaru which I translate to mean “bravely producing effort”. This word captures something deeply essential in Japanese culture, and is a deep value held in Japanese society.

The variant I placed in the title is Gambarō or “let’s (together) bravely produce effort”, which is where the magic starts to happen. When we do this together, we can each inspire one another to more greatness.

There is a range of human experiences between discomfort and pain. For, me, the idea of pain is the body telling you that it’s being harmed. When you see high performing athletes, they will be exploring this range of experience. They need to go far beyond discomfort in order to compete, but they should not exceed their physical capacity or they will become injured.

The ability to spend time in that range between discomfort and pain is where all growth comes from, and all competitive advantage. This is the reason why “Gambaru” becomes meaningful in life, because when we strive to go beyond, we advance human understanding and we inspire others to do the same.

How do we achieve this? I think of course courage is the foremost characteristic that enables us to do this. But we need more than just courage. We also need discernment. If you simply do it from courage, it’s very likely that you will just use brute force to exceed all thresholds and begin harming yourself and possibly harming others. But perhaps the most important thing you will need is to be de-traumatized.

Why is that? Because the single greatest thing that clouds are judgement around whether we are in discomfort or in pain is trauma. Trauma will make discomfort seem like pain and can even invade comfort and make comfort seem like pain. If you push yourself and your organization too hard, you will cause more trauma which will in turn be harder and harder to recover from.

I’ve been contemplating the relationship between “Gambaru” culture and that of “Kaizen” which essentially means “continuous improvement”.

The relationship is that it seems to me that without the courage to experience discomfort, we will not get the opportunity to grow and improve exponentially.

At gumi Cryptos Capital, we value and aspire to bravely produce effort together. We associate the value in doing so to go beyond just economic benefits but in the advancement of human culture and technology.