Congratulations, You’re Sisyphus
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 8, 2013
By Hiroshi Mikitani
[Mikitani was born in Kobe, Hyogo prefecture, Japan. Mikitani attended Hitotsubashi University, graduating in 1988. While working for the Industrial Bank of Japan, Mikitani was transferred to the US and from 1993 studied at Harvard University, earning an MBA. Mikitani worked at the Industrial Bank of Japan (now part of Mizuho Corporate Bank) from 1988 to 1996. In 1997 he founded a consulting group called Crimson Group.
Hiroshi Mikitani is the outspoken chairman and Chief Executive of online shopping mall operator Rakuten. In 1997 Mikitani founded Rakuten. He was president from its founding, and in 2001 he also became chairman. In addition, he is also head of the E-Commerce and Banking Business Units and Head of the Development Unit. Among his other titles are also director of Kobo Inc., chairman of Rakuten Card Co., Ltd, chairman of Rakuten Travel, Inc., chairman of Fusion Communications Corporation, and chairman of Crimson Football Club, Inc.The company’s stock price is up on it successful expansion abroad: last year it acquired Germany’s Tradoria online mall, the UK’s Play.com online retail site and others in Indonesia and Russia. Rakuten also has a China online mall in venture with Baidu.com. It is moving into e-books with acquisition of Canada’s Kobe e-reader firm. At the same time, Rakuten is petitioning the Japan Fair Trade Commission to examine Yahoo Japan’s tie-up with Google as a net monopoly. Mikitani owns the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team. Rakuten donated $3.7 million to earthquake relief efforts and raised millions more via Rakuten Securities and digital wallet service Edy. 48 years Mikitani is billionaires and Net Worth $6.2 B as of March 2012. His this short essay is very encouraging and popular.]
In Greek mythology, there is the story of Sisyphus. Sisyphus is forced to endlessly try to push a rock up a hill. Although Sisyphus works so hard to push the boulder up the hill, every time the boulder falls back down just as he is nearly to the top. And so he must push the boulder up the hill for all eternity.
Sounds awful, right?
Wrong. It’s fun.
In fact, the story of Sisyphus is one that offers a valuable tip for success in business.
Although there are essential differences, business shares some similarities with this story. You are never able to see your next problem before you solve the one at hand, but there is always a next problem. And it is always much more difficult than the one which you faced before. Unlike Sisyphus, you are not constantly going up and down a hill, but you are constantly climbing one, never reaching the top.
The harder the problem that you face, the greater you grow as a result of trying to solve it. You scale a high peak, only to realize that there is a yet higher peak to scale. In other words, creativity and the problem solving process exist to help you to find new problems. You solve the problems before you, and aim for higher peaks. This is what business is all about.
I’m sure that some people might question whether this is really all that fun. I believe it is. Of course it is. Using your creativity to solve problems, and then finding new problems waiting for you when you are done – what could be more exciting than that? Whenever I run up against a particularly tough problem, I always feel intensely excited. I do not think of having to solve more problems as punishment – being able to solve new problems is a reward.