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Iconic ‘Happy Money’ Author Ken Honda’s Next Project: ‘Happy India
Drawing an analogy with the Indian way of life, Honda explained: “You are born with a gift – to teach, to speak, to write, to create business
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At the recently held BW Businessworld Dialogue, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief Annurag Batra engaged best-selling author and star influencer Ken Honda in an engrossing chat about his iconic book ‘Happy Money’, his philosophy and life lessons, and, of course, his abiding interest in India
Blurb: “You should be able to receive money with a ‘thank you attitude’; you should be able to spend the money with a ‘thank you attitude’. If you can do that, you'll start a cycle of appreciation. And you will enjoy a flow of ‘happy money’”
Blurb: “Friendship is worth millions and billions. Even if you lose everything, you can get it back, in a short while. So that's why I think friends and networks are far more important than the money in the bank”
Best-selling author and star influencer Ken Honda is on a mission. After his iconic work ‘Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money’ sold 9 million copies worldwide, Honda wants to capture India in a new book, tentatively titled ‘Happy India’.
During his maiden visit to the country, Honda is hugely influenced by the Indian way of life. India’s generosity and spiritual quest have touched him.
It was, however, his playbook for happiness, and the ability to channel “smiling money” to spread cheer and happiness that was the talking point at a BW Businessworld Dialogue, where Chairman & Editor-in-Chief Annurag Batra engaged the author in an engrossing chat about his book, his philosophy and life lessons, and, of course, his abiding interest in India.
“If you want to travel fast, travel solo. If you want to travel farthest, travel in a group, have a network” said Honda, quoting an African proverb.
Drawing an analogy with the Indian way of life, Honda explained: “You are born with a gift – to teach, to speak, to write, to create business. Everyone has
a reserved seat in the train. You occupy your seat and do your dharma. Else you are kicked out of your seat”.
The globetrotter had an interesting contrast to share with the packed hall in the Capital when he contrasted the questions he usually encountered in the US with those in Japan. “In the US, I am often asked, ‘How I can get more ‘Happy Money’? In Japan, on the other hand, people often ask me: ‘How I can satisfy myself with the money that I have’?”
When he is not addressing power-packed seminars, workshops (he makes it a point to return the fees for those who fail to attend), or podcasts, Honda follows his other passions. India, for one.
During his current visit here, along with his daughter, he has already had a slice of India. He finds this land fascinating for its vibrant hues, and he wishes to take up his ‘Happy India’ project next. His followers and readers here, however, would probably yearn for more “money lessons” – if the audience questions asked at the BW Businessworld Dialogue are anything to go by.
Excerpts from the chat:
Ken, what were your impressions of India before you landed here? Have these impressions been strengthened? Or have they changed?
I have known India – Bollywood for instance. I also have this strong interest in pursuing India’s spiritualism and spiritual teachings. But I didn't know who the real Indians are. But (I discovered) you’re so generous and kind. That impressed me so much. I would love to travel to other places as well. I've never been to southern India.
Is there something about Indians that disappointed you?
What surprised me was that some people love to jump queues here. I was at the airport and I noticed this. This doesn't happen in Japan. Second, Indian drivers probably like to honk too much. In my 30 years of driving, I would have honked, maybe, 10 times!
Ken, your book ‘Happy Money’ has sold 9 million copies. How did you become an author?
Initially I started writing for my friends. I was initially writing booklets, and people loved it. I then hired a printer. I was calling my friends who got interested in my booklets. From 500 to 3000 to 5000, and the number increased. By the time it got to a hundred thousand copies, a publisher called me and asked
me to write a book, which I did. At the time, I didn't think I would be able to write. It was almost 21 years ago.
Tell us more about your book ‘Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money’.
There's a saying in Africa: “If you want to travel fast, you should travel solo. If you want to go the farthest, you should find your friends and go together”.
Friendship is worth millions and billions. Even if you lose everything, you can get it back, in a short while. So that's why I think friends and networks are far more important than the money in the bank.
You must share with us the incident when a lady came to you at a party and asked you to show her your wallet.
Yes, she said: ‘Can I take a look at your wallet?’ I gave her my wallet. She pulled out everything and started counting. She then exclaimed: ‘This is good; this is amazing’. She gave the wallet back to me, and said: ‘You passed the test’. I said: ‘What kind of test?’ She said: ‘All your money was smiling. That means you must be making other people very happy while receiving money.’ That's what I call ‘smiling money’.
On the other hand, if you're making money by taking advantage of other people, that is ‘sad money’ or ‘angry money’.
Let’s assume you are a savvy business man. If you try to do a business deal that works for you, but your clients are not happy about it, the money that you get out of it is ‘unhappy money’.
You should be able to receive money with a ‘thank you attitude’; you should be able to spend the money with a ‘thank you attitude’. If you can do that, you'll start a cycle of appreciation. And you will enjoy a flow of ‘happy money’.
However, if you make a lot of money, but it has a bad energy – like being associated with any criminal activity – that money carries a ‘bad energy’.
It’s said that we should ‘stop looking for happiness’. That's when you find happiness. How do you find happiness?
Let me suggest that you should become a millionaire. The goal should be to make enough money so that you don't have to worry about it.
If you want ‘happiness’ it implies that you are an unhappy person, right? That's why you have to change your attitude and how you feel about life. And then if
you can transform your relationship with money, you can transform your life incredibly.
Is there a playbook to make ‘happy money’?
Yes. By using your gift, you have something in your heart that will, that's ready to come out. So many books are inside my heart, which I didn't know they existed. Until I was 34 I never knew that I could write. My parents didn't know, my friends didn't know, my wife didn't know that I could write.
So once you find your gifts inside you, you can improve upon them. My gifts are speaking and also writing.
I have so many great friends that I can rely on. Even If I lose everything, it's okay. My friends will send me money. That should be the attitude. That’s why networks and friends are important. That's why I'm not worried about money. So don't rely on your bank account, rely on your friends and good friends and wealthy friends. Once you have like five wealthy friends, you are okay. And so that's why I want to introduce you to the concept of ‘joint accounts’.
Do you have a bucket list – of things you wish to do?
I haven't been to South America and Africa. And I have only touched down here. So I wish to travel and do more.
You should enjoy every moment. So instead of just going after a ‘to-do list’ if you can just create a bucket list called a ‘happy list’, it will be good. So I hope you just create your own ‘happy list’ and start following it.