He famously told the school that their diploma had less value
than a movie ticket. While a ticket would give you entry to a
movie, he thought that a diploma wouldn’t get him anything.
diploma. He thought it wouldn’t get him anything.
He never gave up on his goal to design a better piston. He was
always looking at the problems with his older designs and
thinking about how he could make them better. All of his failures
were really opportunities to understand what doesn’t work and
how to improve.
his failures were really opportunities to understand what
doesn’t work and how to improve.
After many failures and many new models, he finally had a design to again show to Toyota. This time they liked it and made
a contract to buy many of them from Soichiro.
He now needed to build a factory to produce his pistons, but he
had new problems. Japan was at war and building supplies were
hard to get. Almost everything was being used by the government
for the war effort. Soichiro needed concrete for his factory, but it
was impossible for him to get any.
for his factory.
Just like when he was a child with bad grades, he always looked
for the opportunities in every problem.
the opportunities in every problem.
He couldn’t get concrete, so he developed a new way to produce
concrete. Of course, things did not go smoothly after he solved
his concrete problem. He finally built his factory, but it was
bombed twice by American planes.
The planes didn’t only drop bombs. They also dropped their
empty gas cans.
their empty gas cans.
Again, Soichiro found the hidden opportunity. Steel was also in
short supply, so he and his workers collected all the American
gas cans that they could find. Soichiro called them gifts from
Truman and used them as supplies for his factory.
Finally Soichiro’s factory that he had worked so hard to build was
destroyed by an earthquake.
By the time the war had ended, Japan was in a hard situation.
Now, gasoline was in short supply, but Soichiro was again looking
for opportunities in every situation.
Gasoline was in short supply after the war.
Needing a way to get around that used little gas, he attached an
engine to his bicycle. His neighbors soon found out and wanted a
motorbike, too. He had found a great business opportunity, but he
didn’t have the money to finance it. Again, he was creative. He
didn’t go to a bank and ask for a loan. He wrote a letter to 18,000
bicycle shop owners around Japan and asked them for support.
owners for support.
He told them that the country needed new ideas to rebuild and he
asked them to join him in helping Japan. 5,000 of them agreed.
owners helped him.
With the money he earned, he went on to design the Honda Cub
motorbike. Just like all of the other projects, his Cub motorbikes
had problems. They were redesigned again and again, but
eventually they became a big success all over the world. Over
time, Soichiro’s company produced 60 million Cubs, making the
Honda Cub the highest selling motor vehicle in history.
Honda Cub is the highest selling vehicle in history.
As everyone knows, Soichiro Honda continued his success
designing and producing cars. What most people don’t know is
that he owes much of it to his relationship with failure.
helped him be successful.
He once said, “Success is 99 percent failure.” Just like Jordan he
understood that failure is just a part of success. Like Edison
working on his light bulb, Soichiro knew that through failure, you
know what doesn’t work.
knew that through failure, you know what doesn’t work.
And from there, you move on improving, trying again and always
looking for what opportunity is hidden in life’s challenges and