Finding the right role model to create the economics of happiness

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Last Saturday, I attended a talk called The Economics of Happiness: From Global to Local, given by Shinichi Tsuji. It was a part of Gaia Education’s Ecovillage Design Education program given in Japan this year.


Shinichi Tsuji is an anthropologist and a professor at Meiji Gakuin University. He is also known as an environmental activist and one of the promoters of slow and localization movement. He has inspired many people to shift their lifestyles toward sustainable ways of living. He appears in a film The Economics of Happiness, too.


It was great to participate in his talk at this timing, because he was one of my role models 10 years ago; a successful person as an opinion leader. In 2007 there were several leaders in the sustainable movement who were all in their mid-50s, and I envisioned myself becoming like them by the time I reach their age; which is now.


Having said that, around 2008 I became influenced by Masanobu Fukuoka, and I detached myself even from that idea of success; being successful in a sustainable way, and decided to live simply, leading a self-sufficient lifestyle. I stopped caring about becoming an established writer, and shifted my focus to walk my talk. The fact that I didn’t put any energy into promoting my books was the reflection of my way of thinking at that time.


Then, as I described in Chapter 1 of Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity, I grew out of that mentality after 2012, and now I would like to be more influential as an opinion leader to make a difference.


Another word, I have gone around the circle and went back to the stance I had 10 years ago. Or more precisely, I have climbed one round in the spiral: My attempt to practice the sustainable way of living in the last decade has contributed a lot to who I am now.


Therefore, for me, it was symbolic to take part in a talk of a person who has once again become my role model.


One of the ways to be successful is to model someone who is already successful. For sustainable prosperity, choosing the right role model is important. You don’t want to model financial tycoons or superstars as recommended in conventional motivational success philosophies, instead, you want to model people who have accomplished their goal of creating a positive influence in the society.


Dr. Tsuji talked about the present state of the world; how it is divided by globalism and nationalism, but neither trend will take us anywhere, we need to walk on the third path, localization.


I feel that the localization movement is somewhat pushed aside by the rise of nationalism, which pretends to be the mainstream anti-globalization movement, but it isn’t so different from globalization since both of them have destructive nature. The localization movement needs to regain power and take our position back as the true alternative to globalization.


In order to do it, each one of us can become as effective as opinion leaders like Dr. Tsuji, and my book introduces methods to do it.



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