“Hardship before pleasure” is a Chinese aphorism that means enduring hardship before others and reaping the rewards after everyone else. It is a dictum directed toward politicians or rulers. But I believe not only statesmen but also company directors should take heed of this saying. Of course, as a director, you can still take a rest and go on vacation. However, you shouldn’t disregard this mindset completely, but retain “hardship before pleasure” in your mind. In other words, you should think up ideas before everyone else and conceptualize new things all the time. As a director, this is a constant and never-ending challenge.
By Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic Corporation