The Happiness Decision: Samurai Book Review

Be absolutely determined to enjoy what you do.  –Ben Hogan

  • You don’t have to “feel”happy to put your mind in happy places.
  • Focusing on happiness is a decision.
  • It’s possible that happiness is a habit of turning your mind to positive places.  There is also a key role for tears.  Sometimes you need to wring out a wet towel before putting it in the dryer.
  • The happiness decision may help you learn more.  Earn more?
  • Learning more may help your happiness.  It’s an unvicious cycle.

I’m back in New York and writing out of the Writer’s Room.  It has a lot more sunlight than the cave-like atmosphere of a manga cafe. My laptop, copies of the books in the post and two of my samurai notebooks. Samurai notebooks are more fun to review when you fill it with fun, personally thought provoking and inspiring material. What is in your notebook is a happiness decision.

For a few weeks now I’ve been walking around with two Japanese books in my “man-bag” and realizing that there is a strong connection between the two books but not quite being able to put my finger on it.  Today I finally realized what was the connection.  Happiness is a decision and it can help you transform everything that you do, especially with learning and transforming your life.

My dose of soy sauce translation of the two book titles are:  Only Do Good Things with Your Brain by Ken Mogi (脳にいいことだけをやりなさい!)and Speed up Your Information Rate by 10 Times with the NLP Speed Reading Method by Naoya Matsushima (情報量が10倍になるNLP速読術).  (Keep in mind that I am in day 457 of a 595 Japanese immersion experience.  Some day I will throw more English resources at you.)

Only Do Good Things with Your Brain by Ken Mogi (脳にいいことだけをやりなさい! )

Ken Mogi is a Japanese brain scientist and prolific writer and talk show host.   This book is slightly more technical, so I find it hard to keep really give the full meaning of it to you.  (I am also only in the middle of the book.  Yeah, I break the rules but at least I tell you!)  But it is pretty clear from on of the first drawings that Mogi believes that happiness is, in part, a decision. Part of the reason I picked the book is because it has pictures  (all is fair in love and reading!).   The first picture shows a happy person with the happiness lgauge on full blast.  The illustration below that is an unhappy person (fumes emanating all around him) with the happiness full gauge on low.   The final illustration on the bottom shows a person changing a control gauge (like an old fashioned volume control) from bottom to high.   The phrase at the bottom reads:  脳の中にある「幸せど度」いつでも変えられる or “You Can Always Change the Degrees of Happiness in Your Brain.”

How do you do this?  The second illustration tells you how.  It hows a person who has built a happiness house:

  • The foundation is “elimination of negative thinking.”
  • The supporting pillars are:  positive thinking, love and gratitude, the body’s energy (breath, position, etc), and “grabbing big power” (?)  「大いなる力」とのつながり。
  • The roof is goals for living.
  • There is a nice yard around the house and that is labelled, relationships with people.

All of these things interact and Mogi spends the rest of the book describing certain techniques for developing happiness.  Just looking at the picture makes me happy.

Speed up Your Information Rate by 10 Times with the NLP Speed Reading Method by Naoya Matsushima (情報量が10倍になるNLP速読術)

Matsushima’s book is a guide to help busy, overwhelmed or under-motivated readers increase their reading speed and increasing their information retention.  Matsushima, being an NLP guy, emphasizes the importance of getting in the right state of mind for reading and argues that one of the reasons people have problems with reading is all the negative associations they have with reading.  He offers several exercises for using breathing and body posture for changing your state of mind before reading.

But what is most interesting to me is that he asks readers to pick a happy moment and think about and feel it with all the senses before commencing with reading.   Happiness is an active decision that can help you learn more and experience joy through learning, if I follow Matsushima’s book correctly.

This happiness decision might be worthwhile in other areas.   In  100 Ways to Create Wealth, the authors explain that you should always “move to the part of the work that you love.”   This is a happiness decision that can result in improved efficiency, service, and even the ability to more easily transition to work that you love.

If you make the happiness decision then maybe you can experience more creativity in your life. Self-loathing and criticism aren’t going to help you. I finally got around to getting out my Japanese guitar books. Learning through love. Trying to make the happy decisions. Many birds, no stone. Online Guitar Lessons

I will warn you that the day I made the connection with all of this happiness stuff,  I was grouchier than the Grouch.  I also believe there is a role for crying and other forms of expressing other emotions.   Sometimes you need to wring out a soaked towel before you put it in the dryer.

But it’s nice to be able to make more decisions to move towards happiness.   Heck, it might even get addictive and help to you to transform the world.

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9 Responses to The Happiness Decision: Samurai Book Review

  1. Dear Taijuando,

    Is there a small change that the work of Naoya Matsushima is also available in English? Looks really interesting to combine NLP with speed reading.

    Best regards,


  2. Chestbrah says:

    Just curious, are you think silver spoon is worth it and if you will be fluent by the end? I just started a couple days ago and I'm trying to figure out if it's a good investment or just good

    Marketing. Awesome blog btw

    • taijuando says:

      I definitely think it's worth it and my fluency is definitely a lot better. I was pretty time pressed at the beginning so I am playing catch up. I am definitely enjoying Japanese more and reading Japanese for things that I want to know more about. I would definitely say do all the shadowing that he asks. I was doing a lot of my flashcards in a quiet space and I think that held me back. I have 130 days left. It's kind of interesting to have a limit like that. It's worth it, you have to do the work/play, and don't do it slavishly. What I really appreciate is all the links you receive and the self-helpish quotations. At first, it was kind of annoying but then it starts to become part of your internal attitude. It has helped me improve other things in my life. Enjoy it! Are you doing Vanilla or Big Boi (I am doing Vanilla because that's what came out first, even though I already had all the kanji and a lot of sentences under my belt.) Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  4. Chestbrah says:

    cool, thanks for the info, much appreciated. I am doing Vanilla because I'm a newbie. yeah i kind of actually like the motivational emails also. it must be working well for you if you are able to read Japanese books about NLP! It's hard to imagine that shadowing is an effective language learning tool but I'm just going to follow the program, do the exercises, and see how it goes.

    Im also taking Japanese classes at university and doing a study abroad next next year, so I'm hoping after a year of silver spoon i will be ready to rage my study abroad.

    • taijuando says:

      I miss some of the finer points in the reading….I read in different modes … sometimes I read real carefully and turn stuff into cards etc and sometimes I just skim….use the kanji and context to quickly guess what a word is and move on…my thinking is that I will get other chances to meet that word…and when I am reading for fun, I want to keep it fun…shadowing is just one technique in a palette…when I shadow a little bit I notice that I am listening in a different way…good look with all your studies!

  5. taijuando says:


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