Lessons on Resilience from 3 Elite Japan Athletes


As we enter the heart of December, many of us will naturally both reflect on what has come before – and plan for the year to come. It is always hard to believe whenever we approach the end of a year, but the end of 2021 feels particularly sudden. Looking back on this year, it is not surprising to understand why. The story was all about COVID, staying home, vaccinations, and social distancing. It seems crazy to think that we are almost approaching the SECOND year of the descent of COVID on the world. This virus has changed our lives in ways we never thought would have been possible.

Against this bleak backdrop, however, there has been hope and resilience. We gained strength from the stories of community spirit and individuals realizing their entrepreneurial potential. The widespread adoption of flexible work and normalization of mental health struggles changed many lives for the better. 

Even so, the global battle against the coronavirus still wages on.

In Japan, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games brought much excitement to many in the country and around the world with medal wins and new world records.

Despite the political controversies, Tokyo 2020 made history by being the first time the Games have been held behind closed doors with no public spectators permitted due to the declaration of a state of emergency in the Greater Tokyo Area.






During a time when the need for tenacity has never been more important amid the ongoing pandemic, who better to speak on this subject of resilience and resolve in the face of gruelling hardships and unexpected obstacles than world-class top athletes?


Elite athletes have to constantly overcome setbacks in their careers. Through the process of battling numerous challenges to reach their goal, these athletes confront difficult paths and contemplate every option with dedication, passion, and resilience to make the best choice and emerge a winner. In particular, resilience not only reflects an ability to “bounce back” from going up against a crisis or setback, but also the skill to adapt to abrupt and potentially long-lasting changes. 

トップレベルのアスリート達は、挫折を絶えず乗り越えなければなりません。 これらのアスリート達は、目標を達成するために多くの課題と戦うプロセスを通じ、困難な道に立ち向かい、勝者となるために最善の選択をし、専念・情熱・回復力を備えたあらゆる選択肢を検討する必要があります。特に、回復力(Resilience)は、危機や挫折に立ち向かうことから「立ち直る」能力だけでなく、突然の、そして潜在的で長期にわたる変化に適応するスキルにも反映します。

In this article, I share what I have learned from speaking with 3 top Japanese athletes: Koji Murofushi, Olympic hammer throw gold medallist, Yokozuna Hakuho, one of the greatest Sumo grand champions in Japanese history, and Dai Tamesue, the first Japanese sprinter to win a medal at a World Competition track event. Their words about the mindset required to persevere and overcome setbacks to achieve success have stayed with me during these challenging times brought on by the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. 

Read on for some essential tips and my key takeaways on how to develop resilience and an ironclad resolve just like these amazing athletes – not only for sports, but also for success in life!

今回の記事では、オリンピックのハンマー投げ金メダリストである室伏広治氏、日本史上最高記録の大相撲グランドチャンピオンの1人である横綱白鵬、そして陸上競技の世界大会でメダルを獲得した日本人初の短距離走者である為末大氏のトップアスリート達と話すことから私が学んだことを共有したいと思います。 世界的なCOVID-19の大流行によってもたらされたこれらの困難な時代に、成功を達成するために挫折に耐え克服するために必要な考え方についての彼らの言葉は、私の心にとどまりました。


Table of Contents

Koji Murofushi 室伏広治氏

Koji Murofushi (Olympic hammer throw gold medallist)

Koji Alexander Murofushi (born October 8, 1974, in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture) is a former Japanese-Romanian Olympic gold medallist hammer thrower and sports scientist. He has been among the world elite since the 2001 World Championships, where he won the silver medal. During the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, he became the first athlete from Japan to win at the event, was crowned world champion in 2011, and went on to win a bronze medal at London 2012 at the age of 37. Koji served as the Sports Director of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and most recently has been appointed commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency (JSA). He also actively supports younger athletes in his role as a professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. 


室伏広治氏(1974年10月8日、静岡県沼津市生まれ)は、元オリンピックの金メダリストハンマー投げ選手であり、スポーツ科学者です。 彼は2001年の世界選手権で銀メダルを獲得して以来、世界のトップアスリートの1人になりました。 2004年のアテネオリンピックで、優勝した日本人初のアスリートで、2011年に世界チャンピオンになり、2012年ロンドンオリンピックで37歳で銅メダルを獲得しました。室伏氏は東京オリンピック・パラリンピックの組織委員会でスポーツディレクターを務め、最近では日本スポーツ庁(JSA)のコミッショナーに任命されました。 また、東京医科歯科大学教授として若手アスリートを積極的にサポートしています。

Murofushi’s Tip #1: Be focused to achieve mastery. But, understand the importance of taking breaks.

Murofushi-san’s motto of “One Throw, One Intention” (ittou ichinen 一投一念) represents his belief that it is important to put your spirit into each task and focus to make the best effort. Murofushi-san emphasizes that he follows this guiding principle in everything he does, not only while he is competing. The best thing to do, he says, is to learn from your reflection and by watching yourself. For example, in the most literal sense, by taking a video of yourself performing. What you see is almost always very different from what you imagine yourself to be, and by practicing, rehearsing, getting feedback from others, and also critically examining yourself, you can achieve much greater results in a more focussed manner. 

As much as it is important to be dedicated, Murofushi-san also stresses the importance of knowing when to take a step back. Often, it is only by taking a break from an objective and doing something else completely different, that you can return to it refreshed and with a different perspective to push yourself to the next level. In Murofushi-san’s experience, he was almost 38 when he won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics, and in the previous year captured gold at the World Championships. He continued to actively compete until he was 41.

However, hammer throw involves throwing a 7.26kg (for men) metal ball attached to a wire and spinning three or four times before releasing the ball. While being spun and thrown, the force on the wire can reach more than 350kg! As the physical abilities critical for successful hammer throwing decline with age, it was certainly not easy to accomplish what Murofushi-san did at his age. He shared with me that when he was competing, his hands were often so swollen from throwing that even his wedding ring would not fit!  

To achieve these results, Koji contributes his success to the fact that he took a year off after participating in each Olympic Games. Although he had anxiety about not competing for a prolonged period, the effects of long years of continuous hammer throwing had taken a toll on his body, and he needed to take a long break. He reflects that it was important for him to experience something other than hammer throwing and to recover from the repetitive physical and mental strain. These breaks were precisely what he needed to come back to hammer throwing with a fresh perspective and renewed strength, helping him break new world records. 


室伏さんのモットーである「一投一念」は、あなたの精神を各課題に注ぎ込み、最善を尽くすために集中することが重要であるという彼の信念を表しています。 室伏さんは、競技中だけでなく、すべての行動においてこの指導原理に従うことを強調しています。 彼によると、最善の方法は、自分自身の省察から学び、自分自身を観ることです。それは例えるなら、文字通りの意味で、自分のパフォーマンスをビデオに撮ることです。 目にするものは、ほとんどの場合、自分が想像しているものとは大きく異なります。練習・リハーサル・他の人からのフィードバックの取得・そして自分自身をじっくりと観察することによって、より焦点を絞った方法ではるかに大きな結果を得ることができます。

専念することが重要であると同時に、室伏さんはまた、一歩離れてみる時期を知ることの重要性を強調しています。 多くの場合、目的から離れてまったく別のことをすることによってのみ、リフレッシュして別の視点で目標に戻り、次のレベルに進むことができます。 室伏さんの経験によれば、2012年のロンドンオリンピックで銅メダルを獲得したときは38歳近くで、その前の年は世界選手権で金メダルを獲得しました。 彼は41歳になるまで積極的に試合を続けました。

しかしながら、ハンマー投げでは、ワイヤーに取り付けられた7.26kg(男性用)の金属ボールを投げ、ボールを放す前に3〜4回回転させます。 回転させて投げている間、ワイヤーにかかる力は350kg以上に達する可能性があります! ハンマー投げを成功させるために必要な身体能力は年齢とともに低下するため、室伏さんが彼の年齢でメダル取得を達成することは確かに容易ではありませんでした。試合の間、彼の手はしばしば投げることによって非常に腫れ、結婚指輪さえも入らないと私に話してくれました!

これらの功績を達成するために、室伏さんは各オリンピックに参加した後、1年間休みを取ったという事実が彼の成功に貢献しています。長時間の競技に不安を感じていたものの、長年のハンマー投げの影響で体に負担がかかり、長い休息が必要でした。 彼は、ハンマー投げ以外にもいくつか経験し、繰り返される肉体的および精神的緊張から回復することが重要であったと考察しています。 これらの休息はまさに彼が新鮮な視点と力を取り戻してハンマー投げの競技に戻るために必要なものであり、彼が新たに世界記録を更新させるのを助けました。

My Takeaway私の学び】

Although the lockdowns and covid-era “new normal” have been difficult for many of us, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. So many of us are caught up in the hamster wheel of everyday routines and focussed on our work and obligations, that it is hard for us to grind to a halt and take a break. However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to do just that. Resilience means more than just ‘bouncing back’ because if one attempts to ‘bounce back’ without taking time to recover and rest from each effort, the likelihood of burnout is high. We may find that our performance will surprisingly improve after an extended time away if we can change our view.  

Resilience means more than just ‘bouncing back’ because if one attempts to ‘bounce back’ without taking time to recover and rest from each effort, the likelihood of burnout is high. We may find that our performance will surprisingly improve after an extended time away if we can change our view.  

各国のロックダウンとCOVID時代の「ニューノーマル」は私たちの多くにとって大変なことでしたが、おそらくそれは不幸中の幸いです。 私たちの多くは、日常生活で歯車に巻き込まれ、仕事と責任に集中しているため、立ち止まって休憩するのは難しいです。 しかし、コロナ禍により、私たちの多くはまさにそれを行うことを余儀なくされました。 回復力とは、単に「立ち直る」だけではありません。各々の取組みから休息して回復する時間無しに「立ち直る」ことを試みると、燃え尽き症候群の可能性が高くなるからです。 考え方を変えることができれば、久しぶりにパフォーマンスが驚くほど向上するかもしれません。

回復力とは、単に「立ち直る」だけではありません。各々の取組みから休息して回復する時間無しに「立ち直る」ことを試みると、燃え尽き症候群の可能性が高くなるからです。 考え方を変えることができれば、久しぶりにパフォーマンスが驚くほど向上するかもしれません。

Murofushi’s Tip #2: Gain a wide perspective by always taking on many different challenges. 

Although it is noble to specialize and master a discipline, one risks becoming too narrow-minded by fixating only on a single skill set. Murofushi-san’s life and career revolve around the hammer throw, but he stresses the importance of taking on many different challenges and gaining diverse experiences to strengthen resilience.

For Murofushi-san, the challenges that he immersed himself in outside of hammer throwing inspired him to discover and develop new training methods, helping him take his career to the next level and push through barriers. His never-ending quest to learn more, improve, and reach for the next challenge has led him to acquire a doctorate in graduate school and opened up the chance for him to become a university professor. To the younger generation and especially other athletes, he advises that it is never too early to be trying something new, as you never know where that new pursuit will take you. 

室伏氏の ヒント2:常にさまざまな課題に取り組むことで、広い視野を得ることができます。

専門分野を習熟することは立派なことですが、単一のスキルだけに固執することによって、考え方が狭くなりすぎるリスクがあります。 室伏さんの人生とキャリアはハンマー投げを中心に展開していますが、回復力を強化するためには、さまざまな課題に取り組み、多様な経験を積むことの重要性を強調しています。

室伏さんにとって、ハンマー投げ以外に心を集中させたことは、新しいトレーニング方法の発見と開発に閃きを与え、彼のキャリアを次のレベルに引き上げ、障壁を乗り越えるのに役立ちました。より多くを学び、改善し、次の挑戦に到達するという彼の果てしない探求は、彼を大学院で博士号を取得するように導き、彼が大学教授になる機会を与えました。 彼は、若い世代、特に他のアスリートに、その新しい追求はあなたがどこに導かれていくか誰も解らないので、何か新しいことを試みるには決して早すぎることはないとアドバイスしています。

Koji Murofushi as the Japan Sports Agency (JSA) chief.

My Takeaway私の学び】

The current uncertain environment reminds us that we must make the best use of our time by getting creative to expand our options. Who knows when taking that new class, learning a different skill, and trying out various opportunities may lead to life-changing discoveries? At the very least, diversifying your experiences and knowledge will allow you to be more resilient by opening new doors when others close. Even if we think we have found our strengths and specialty, nobody knows what will happen ten or maybe twenty years from now. The world can unpredictably change upside down as it has recently, or maybe our personal situations will drastically change. Years from now, it is always better to have more options to choose from instead of having only one (that may very well become obsolete). However, it takes time to maximize your potential. Even when you do not know which path to take, it is best to take on more challenges whenever you have the chance to broaden your future choices.

Even when you do not know which path to take, it is best to take on more challenges whenever you have the chance to broaden your future choices.

現在の途方に暮れるような不確実な環境は、私たちが時間を創造的に最大限に活用して、選択肢を拡大しなければならないと私たちに思い起こさせます。そのための新しいレッスンを受講し、別のスキルを学び、様々な機会を試すことが人生を変える発見につながるかもしれないことを誰が知っているでしょうか。少なくとも、多様な経験と知識は、他の選択肢が無くなった時、新しいチャンスのドアを開くことで、より回復力を高めることができます。 例え自分の長所や専門的能力を見つけたとしても、この先10年後、20年後のことは誰にもわかりません。最近のように世界は予想外の混乱に落ち入り、あるいは、私たちの個人的な状況も劇的に変化するかもしれません。数年後、1つだけではなく、より多くのオプションを選択できるようにすることをお勧めします。(因みに、1つのスキルだけでは非常に時代遅れになる可能性がありますよ。)ただし、潜在能力を最大限に活かすには時間がかかります。例えどちらの道を選ぶべきかわからない場合でも、将来の選択肢を広げる機会があるなら、もっと挑戦することが最善の策だと思います。


With Koji Murofushi and his wife.

Hakuho 白鵬力士

Hakuho (Yokozuna Sumo Grand Champion)

Hakuhō Shō (born 11 March 1985 as Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal) is a professional sumo wrestler (rikishi) from Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian People’s Republic. Making his debut in March 2001, he reached the top makuuchi division in May 2004. In May 2007 at the age of 22 he became the second native of Mongolia, and the fourth non-Japanese overall, to be promoted to the highest rank in sumo, yokozuna. As yokozuna, Hakuho has set many records in the history of sumo. In 2009, he broke the record for the most wins in a calendar year, winning 86 out of 90 bouts, and repeated this feat with the same record again in 2010 when he established the second-longest winning streak in sumo history. He also holds the record for the most undefeated tournament championships. He is the longest-serving yokozuna of all time, having fought his 1000th bout as a yokozuna in July 2020, and most recently set the record for most wins in sumo with his 1,048th career victory.


白鵬翔力士(1985年3月11日生まれ)は、モンゴル人民共和国ウランバートル出身の相撲力士です。 2001年3月にデビューし、2004年5月に幕内にトップで昇格しました。2007年5月22歳でモンゴル出身力士として第2位、外国人力士総合第4位となり横綱に昇格しました。 横綱として、白鵬は相撲の歴史に多くの記録を打ち立ててきました。 2009年、彼は暦年で最も多く、90試合中86連勝という勝利の記録を収め、2010年に再び同様の功績を繰り返し相撲史上2番目に長い連勝を確立しました。彼はまた、大会全勝の記録を保持しています。 彼は2020年7月までに横綱として1000回目の試合を戦った史上最長期間の横綱であり、最近では彼の相撲経歴において1,048回目の優勝で相撲史上最高記録を打ち立てました。

Hakuho’s Tip #1: The key difference between a “great athlete” and a “grand champion” is in the mindset!

When Hakuho seized a record-extending 44th top-level championship after outlasting fellow yokozuna Kakuryu at the 2020 Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, the 35-year-old credited his mental strength: “I was able to regain calmness and I think I was able to move very nimbly.” 

Sumo wrestling has its origin in the Shinto religions and all ceremonies in the sport are related to purification. With over 2000 years of history, sumo has at its heart principles of dignity and courtesy. It is not only considered to be Japan’s national sport, but more importantly, it is also a religious ritual. All religious symbols, myths, and ceremonies associated with sumo purportedly have an inner, psychological meaning related to the awakening of the Higher Self in man. 

Perhaps it is unsurprising that Hakuho, legendary record-breaking grand champion, stresses the importance of the right mindset to set apart ‘great’ from ‘the greatest.’  



相撲は神道に端を発し、競技の儀式はすべて浄化に関係しています。 2000年以上の歴史を持つスポーツとして、相撲はその中心に尊厳と礼儀の原則を持っています。 それは日本の国技であると考えられているだけでなく、さらに重要なことに、それは宗教的な儀式でもあります。相撲に関連するすべての宗教的シンボル、神話、儀式は、人間のハイヤーセルフの目覚めに関連する内面的で心理的な意味を持っていると言われています。


My Takeaway私の学び】

Hakuho tells me that in sumo, it is all about respect. Although Sumo wrestlers, called Rikishi, may look big and cumbrous, winning fights involves a sleek combination of strength, agility, speed, craft, technical skill, and flair. Each bout may only last a few seconds, but much preparation and concentration are required leading up to that moment in the ring. 

For Hakuho, everything that sumo does in life outside the ring is ultimately reflected inside the ring. If you live a life without being clear about what, why, and how you plan to achieve, this will all be reflected in the moments you need that focus the most to perform – whether that will be to compete in a ring or to deliver a dazzling business presentation. Having a plan – a process – and the correct mindset to execute it is important. Never forget that you are the one who should take control and responsibility for your own actions and life.

Having a plan – a process – and the correct mindset to execute it is important. Never forget that you are the one who should take control and responsibility for your own actions and life. 

You can learn valuable lessons from difficult experiences in life. Whether it is the ongoing pandemic and its ensuing economic or social impacts, being able to cope with the physical and mental pain of such situations allows you to gain strength from these experiences. You can take these lessons into other challenging situations you encounter, to remind you that you can cope with adversity when required to.


横綱白鵬にとって、相撲は土俵以外での行動はすべて、最終的に土俵の内側に反映されます。 何を・なぜ・どのように達成したいのかを明確にせずに人生を送っている場合、これらはすべて-土俵で戦ったり、または素晴らしいビジネスプレゼンテーションを提供できるかどうか-ここ一番の瞬間に反映されます。計画(プロセス)と実行、それを達成するための正しい考え方を持つことが重要です。あなたが自身の行動と人生の責任は、自身でコントロールすべきであることを決して忘れないでください。



Hakuho’s Tip #2: It is never a one-man show. It is important to seek out, be grateful for, and give back to others.

Japan is well known as a collectivist society, where complex cultural schemes have been developed for people to get along and maintain balance within society. In sports, such collectivism is evident when individuals are sometimes sacrificed for the team and the team requires the individuals to sacrifice themselves to win the championship. Although sumo may seem a very individualistic sport with only one wrestler in the ring against an opponent, it has very social roots as a traditional Japanese sport. 

To train to become a successful Sumo wrestler involves huge personal sacrifice, with young hopefuls joining a stable (heya) as young teenagers and living and sleeping there, training 7 days a week and carrying out all tasks involved in running the stable, including the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping until they begin to rise the ranks.

Moreover, Sumo wrestlers prioritize respect and compassion for their opponent and fellow sumo – at the end of every match, they do not tease the other wrestler for losing, and will always bow to express their gratitude regardless of the outcome. 

Hakuho knows better than anyone else what he needs to win in a competition. However, he often credits his father, an Olympian who held the highest ranking in Mongolian wrestling, as the reason he was able to continue to persist and push through the gruelling training.

Although Hakuho has expressed a desire to remain active and has already begun scouting young wrestlers to join the Miyagino stable, which he currently belongs to. He plans to take them with him after his retirement when he becomes an independent stable master (oyakata), thereby continuing to give back to the sumo world by training the next generation of wrestlers.

白鵬力士ヒント2:それは決して「one-man show」ではありません。関わり合うすべての人に感謝し、そして恩返しをすることが重要です。




横綱白鵬は、大会で勝つために何が必要かを誰よりも熟知しています。 しかし、彼は過酷なトレーニングを辛抱強く続け、最後まで貫くことができた理由の一つとして、モンゴルレスリングで最高位を獲得したオリンピック選手である父親のことも認めています。


My Takeaway私の学び】

After meeting with Hakuho, I was reminded of my visit to the Musashigawa stable, run by oyakata (stable master) Musahigawa Mitsuhide, former yokozuna Musashimaru. Watching the young wrestlers train during their morning practice, you get the sense that the stable is much more than simply training quarters, but truly represents an important place of community, collaboration, symbiosis, and team spirit. The wrestlers intimately understand the need to work together and help each other to reach their goals, whether it is to keep the stable running smoothly or to achieve their next milestone.

Sumo Practice At Musashigawa-beya 武蔵川部屋の朝稽古 – Rachel Leng

In the world of sumo, a yokozuna is considered a presence existing in a higher realm for whom true value can only be brought out through winning a tournament. However, as Hakuho reminds us, success in the sumo ring can only happen with the support of many others both in and outside the ring, from fellow wrestlers to the audience, to the teachers and doctors that tend to wrestlers. 

We often make comparisons between ourselves and others. When going through a difficult time, this tendency is usually exacerbated. Why is someone else doing ‘better’? Why are they able to do certain things while you are stuck doing something else? In these overwhelming situations, it is important to acknowledge that what someone else has achieved in life may not be right for you.

Focus on yourself and your performance as that is all you can really control. Nonetheless, do not underestimate the importance of seeking out, being grateful for, and giving back to others where possible. After all, humans are naturally social and community-based beings. Anyone’s success and wellbeing are intricately connected to the happiness and support of others. Nothing is ever achieved in isolation. And, perhaps the secret to it all is, you may be surprised by what you can achieve by giving wholeheartedly to benefit others!

Focus on yourself and your performance as that is all you can really control. Nonetheless, do not underestimate the importance of seeking out, being grateful for, and giving back to others where possible.

横綱白鵬と会った後、元横綱武蔵丸(武蔵川光偉)が親方を務める武蔵川部屋を訪れたことを思い出しました。 若い力士たちが朝稽古をしているのを見ると、部屋は単なるトレーニング場ではなく、コミュニティ・コラボレーション・共生・チームワークの重要な場所であることがわかります。力士たちは、部屋の運営をうまく維持するか、次の地位を達成するか、いずれであっても互いに彼らの目標に到達するために協力し合い親密になる必要性を深く理解しています。


私たちは自分自身と他人とを比較することがよくあります。 困難な時期を経験するとき、この傾向は通常悪化します。 なぜ他の人は自分よりうまくいっているのですか?なぜ私が困っている時に他の人は上手に特別の事ができるのですか?これらの困惑した状況で、自分以外の人が人生で成功したことはあなたにとっては望ましくないかもしれないことを認識することが重要です。



Meeting with Hakuho and his wife.
Konishiki,  American former sumo wrestler and good friend of Hakuho.
At the Musashigawa-beya with Musashimaru

Dai Tamesue 為末大氏

Dai Tamesue (Japanese Track Star)

Dai Tamesue is a former track star who made Japan’s Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney Games, the 2004 Athens Games, and the 2008 Beijing Games. He is the first Japanese sprinter to win a medal in a track event at a World Competition and is the Japanese record holder for Men’s 400-meter hurdles. He is the bronze medallist of the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton and the 2005 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki.

Tamesue started running professionally in 2003 and retired after 25 years of competitive athletics in 2012. He is now active as a TV commentator and is focusing on collaboration between sports and technology as Representative Director of Deportare Partners (Founded 2018). Assigned to Bhutan’s Olympic Committee (BOC) ambassador in April 2015, Tamesue also continues to support countries that are limited in Olympic medal experiences. He also runs (pun intended ^^) an online track and field training school, Tamesue Academy. 


為末大氏は、2000年シドニーオリンピック、2004年アテネオリンピック、2008年北京オリンピックで日本のオリンピックチームを作った元陸上競技スター選手です。彼は、陸上競技の世界大会でメダルを獲得した最初の日本人短距離走者であり、男子400メートルハードルの日本の記録保持者です。 彼は、2001年エドモントン世界選手権と2005年ヘルシンキ陸上競技世界選手権の銅メダリストです。

為末氏は2003年にプロとして走り始め、2012年に25年間の陸上競技を終えて引退しました。現在はテレビコメンテーターとして活躍し、(株)Deportare Partners(2018年設立)の代表取締役としてスポーツとテクノロジーのコラボレーションに力を注いでいます。2015年4月にブータンのオリンピック委員会(BOC)の大使に任命された為末氏は、オリンピックのメダル取得経験が少ない国々を引き続き支援しています。彼はまた、オンラインの陸上競技学校、「為末大学 Tamesue Academy」を運営しています。

Tamesue’s Tip #1: Analyse yourself objectively not to simply overcome your weaknesses, but to understand your strengths.  

Many in Japan know of Tamesue-san as a star sprinter, but few know about his beginnings as an athlete. He tells me that he was not always an athlete – in fact, his first after school club as a child was a reading club, and not related to running at all! 

However, when he discovered he had a knack for the track, he decided to pursue the training. Tamesue-san shares his belief that the most important trait to become a successful athlete is not any physical attributes per se, but to be a “thinker.” He constantly analyses himself objectively to identify his strengths and weaknesses and separates what he can versus cannot improve to focus only on what he can change. Although coaches will always push their athletes to go further, Tamesue-san advises, only you can decide what you need to transform. 

Although Tamesue-san has enjoyed running fast since he was young, it was not until he was 18 that he found his niche in hurdles. This change happened when he realized he could not be the fastest in pure sprinting, but felt he could excel in hurdling instead. He did not have a coach when he was young, but was inspired by Mr. Susumu Takano, Japan’s 1st Olympic medal sprinter, and was extremely self-motivated to constantly improve. Tamesue-san would devotedly take videos and observe himself running and training, and emphasizes that this process is of the utmost importance to understanding one’s strengths and improving. 


日本では為末さんを短距離走者スター選手として知っている人は多いですが、アスリートとしての始まりを知っている人はほとんどいません。 彼はいつもアスリートではなかったと私に言います。実際、子供の頃の彼の最初のサークル活動は読書クラブであり、ランニングとはまったく関係がありませんでした。

しかし、彼は陸上競技の才能を持っていることに気づいた時、トレーニングを続行することを決めました。為末さんは、アスリートとして成功するための最も重要な特徴は、身体的特質それ自体ではなく、「Thinker(シンカー)」であるという信念を私たちに共有してくれます。彼は常に自分自身を客観的に分析して自分の長所と短所を特定し、自分ができることとできないことを区別して、自分が変えられることができるものだけに焦点を合わせます。 コーチは常にアスリートにさらなる前進を推し進めますが、為末さんはこのようにアドバイスします。何があなたの変化に必要なのかを決めるのはあなただけです。


Dai Tamesue consistently analyses himself objectively to identify his strengths and weaknesses and separates what he can versus cannot improve to focus only on what he can change.

My Takeaway私の学び】

We often hear about the importance of understanding your strengths and weaknesses to help you focus on and make the optimal life and career decisions. However, in real life, we can easily become complacent in our comfort zones and familiar routines. It is so important to regularly re-evaluate ourselves and circumstances to identify new areas where we can improve. You may find that an “optimal” situation just a few months ago, now requires change. Such realizations may have been made clear by the recent pandemic – what might have been an acceptable situation “pre-COVID,” could now be less than ideal in a “post-COVID” environment.  

For example, according to Tamesue-san, with the pandemic and lockdowns, athletes all over the world were forced to disrupt their usual training schedule and adapt to new programs while staying home. Yet, many athletes managed to achieve their personal best after the stay-home period. This appears to indicate that many training programs need to be changed to determine what is necessary and effective, and what should be reformed.  Ultimately, you could be anyone if you put in the time. The key, however, is not only to work hard but also to work smart by constantly analyzing your strengths and weaknesses objectively to find the best way to achieve your top performance. 

Ultimately, you could be anyone if you put in the time. The key, however, is not only to work hard but also to work smart by constantly analyzing your strengths and weaknesses objectively to find the best way to achieve your top performance. 

私たちは、あなたが職業を選び、最善の人生を送ることに集中し、助けになるのは長所と短所を理解することが重要だとよく耳にします。 しかし、実際の生活では、私たちは自分の快適ゾーンや慣れ親しんだ日常生活に簡単に満足してしまいます。自分自身と状況を定期的に見直して、改善できる新しい領域を特定することが非常に重要です。ほんの数か月前の「最適な」状況が、後に変更が必要であることに気付くかもしれません。このことは、最近のパンデミックによって明らかになっています。「COVID以前」は許容できる状況であったかもしれませんが、「COVID後」の環境では理想的とは言えない可能性があります。

たとえば、為末さんによると、パンデミックとロックダウンにより、世界中のアスリート達は、Stay Homeの期間中、通常のトレーニングスケジュールを中断し、新しいプログラムに適応することを余儀なくされました。 それでも、多くのアスリート達は、Stay Home期間中後に自己ベストを達成することができました。これは、何が必要で、何が効果的で、何を改革すべきかを決定するために、多くのトレーニングプログラムを変更する必要があることを示しているようです。結局のところ、時間をかければ誰にでもできることでしょう。 ただし、重要なのは、一生懸命取り組むだけでなく、常に自分の長所と短所を客観的に分析し、最高のパフォーマンスを達成するための最良の方法を見つけて、賢く取り組むことです。

結局のところ、時間をかければ誰にでもできることでしょう。 ただし、重要なのは、一生懸命取り組むだけでなく、常に自分の長所と短所を客観的に分析し、最高のパフォーマンスを達成するための最良の方法を見つけて、賢く取り組むことです。

Tamesue’s Tip #2: Aim for constant self-development to increase your options for the future, and always do what makes you happy, what feels right to you. 

In his book, Zen and Hurdles, Tamesue-san addresses the Zen mind, an understanding of the fundamental way of being, that he has acquired through his experience of accomplishing the epitome of success in the world of professional athletics. Tamesue-san credits the Zen mind in guiding him in a profession characterized by a single-minded focus on winning and extreme ups and downs.

Like our good days, bad days are inevitable. Tamesue-san emphasizes that to be successful and happy, it is necessary to aim for constant self-development to increase your options for the future. However, in the end, the most important thing is to find what makes you happy, and what feels right to you. 

To find this, one needs the courage to be imperfect and have a positive outlook to search for your niche by being open to new experiences, new ways of doing things. Tamesue-san advises that you should try not to be afraid of new activities or new routes to achieve your life goals. 

In his own life and career, Tamesue-san has not hesitated to dream big and venture into many different activities outside of athletics, even if they may not all work out as he initially expected. He was an advisor to Xiborg, a company with the mission to develop an artificial limb that can expand and contract with movement, making it more natural and less tiring to move. This invention would not only be important for athletes, but for all people who have a disability. 

Moving forward, Tamesue-san’s dream is to build a school that will enable more children to receive professional-level track training. Adapting from the coronavirus pandemic, Tamesue-san plans to include more use of AI tracking and analysis as well as digital platforms such as video and conference tools to reach and train aspiring athletes all over Asia. 


為末さんは著書 『禅とハードル』の中で、プロの陸上競技の世界で典型的な成功を成し遂げた経験から得た、根本的な「あり方」を理解する禅の精神について語っています。 為末さんは、勝利と極端な浮き沈みにひたむきに焦点を当てることを特徴とする職業において彼が導かれた禅の心を信じています。



為末さんは、自分の人生とキャリアの中で、当初の期待どおりにうまくいかなかったとしても、大きな夢を抱いて、陸上競技以外の様々な活動に挑戦することを躊躇しませんでした。彼は、より自然で疲れない動きに合わせて伸縮できる義肢の開発を使命とする会社、(株)Xiborgの顧問を務めました。 これは、運動選手だけでなく、障害を持つすべての人々にとって重要な発明品です。


Tamesue-san’s dream is to build a school that will enable more children to receive professional-level track training.

My Takeaway私の学び】

We all need to form our own path against resistance. Confidence and heart are perhaps the most valuable to support you on this journey. Anything is possible when you put time, effort, and belief of self into it. However, I do honestly believe that if you’re not having fun in the process, you’re not doing it right. Do what makes you happy, what feels right to you, because ultimately, it is your life and you have to live with the decisions made. Opposition is also inevitable – often the greater dreams you have, the stauncher the opposition – but know that without pressure, diamonds cannot form.

Do what makes you happy, what feels right to you, because ultimately, it is your life and you have to live with the decisions made. Opposition is also inevitable – often the greater dreams you have, the stauncher the opposition – but know that without pressure, diamonds cannot form.

When it comes down to it, though, if the pressure and stress are so great that you are simply not enjoying it anymore, it is a key indication that change is needed. While it is important to have grit and push through difficult times, if you do not feel there is any improvement even after 3-5 years, the chance of burnout is high and it may be time to make an important change. Having the flexibility of mindset to listen to your heart telling you what is right is essential to living a successful and happy life. When an opportunity is presented to you, take it seriously, believe in your preparation, and give it everything you’ve got. But it is even more important to have the self-awareness and courage to know when it is not right for you, and that you need to move on. Master this ability, and one day you may also be a champion.




Last Thoughts

It has been a while since I have had quiet time to reflect and write. It has been a difficult but exciting year as I had many opportunities to try challenging new projects and initiatives (more on that soon!). I have always been a fan of “diving into the deep end” – my personal preference is to approach new challenges by completely immersing myself in them to achieve the fastest learning curve in the shortest amount of time.

In this blog post, I hoped to share some of the lessons I have learned from those I have met along the way.

When we pay heed to the words spoken by top athletes and the journey they have endured, we find many hints that may help us all lead better lives. Their reflections and advice are also full of hints that could help us live through and emerge stronger from these difficult times brought on by the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.

Looking back on the challenges that 2021 has thrown at us, it is amazing what so many people have been able to overcome and achieve. Sometimes, we do not even realize what we are truly capable of until we are forced to move out of our comfort zone by being thrown into new waters. More often than not, we emerge stronger from discovering something new and gaining confidence in an ability we may not have realized before. Having the right mindset is key to turning negatives into positives.

As 2021 comes to a close, what have been some of your key takeaways or insights from recent experiences? I would love to hear from you. 

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




トップレベルのアスリートの言葉と彼らが耐えてきた旅を見ると、私たち全員がより良い生活を送るのに役立つヒントがたくさんあります。 彼らの省察やアドバイスはまた、世界的なCOVID-19の大流行によってもたらされたこれらの困難な時を乗り越え、自分自身をより強くするのを助けることができるヒントでいっぱいです。





About Rachel

Rachel Leng is COO and Co-Founder of SeiRogai, Inc., a Tokyo-based business consultancy & media production company. Previously, she was Leader of Business Development on the Investment Management team at a Japanese private equity fund, as well as Policy Analyst at a top think tank in Seoul, South Korea.

As an East Asia specialist and former Miss Singapore titleholder, Rachel is passionate about the potential of media to educate and raise awareness about history, culture, art, business, and societal issues to enhance mutual understanding.

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