In 1932 a 7 year old Japanese boy, Jiro Ono, was abandoned by his alcoholic father. 2 years later, at the tender age of 9, Jiro’s family was so poor he was told to leave home and go find something to do. Jiro is now one of the world’s greatest sushi chefsand owner of a prestigious sushi bar that charges around US$350 per sitting.
Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
After Jiro Ono left home at the age of 9 he started apprenticing at a sushi shop and has been working the same job for over 80 years. He started working during the great depression in Japan and had to work hard just to survive. Many young people needed jobs at that time, which made him easily replaceable if he did not work hard enough. Jiro was on his own and worked even if his boss kicked or slapped him. He worked relentlessly every day and over time his consistency and hard work has paid off. Jiro now owns and operates a prestigious sushi bar called Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo.
Sukiyabashi Jiro is a 10-seater sushi bar where guest are served 20 pieces of sushi only, for 15 to 20 minutes. This 15 to 20 minute experience is priced at around US$350. Sushi lovers from around the world make a pilgrimage to the sushi bar, calling months in advance to get a reservation. In April 2014, American president Barack Obama dined there with the Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe. The sushi bar has been awarded the prestigious 3 Michelin star rating, and was profiled in David Gelb’s documentary titled “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.
Consistency And Passion
Jiro only takes time off on national holidays and funerals, spending the rest of his days dedicated to his work. He is such a perfectionist that he will even make his sushi different sizes for different customers so an entire party finishes the food at the same time. If his sushi tastes bad, he does not serve it. It has to be better than the last time. Jiro is a true example of mastery, perfectionism and a relentless quest for excellence. In Jiro’s own words:
You must dedicate your life to mastering a skill. This is the key to success. All I want to do is make better sushi.
The techniques Jiro uses are not a secret. He puts in the effort and repeats the same thing every day. He is critical of himself and sets the standard for self discipline. Jiro is always looking ahead and trying to find ways to make better sushi and improve on himself.
You can learn a lot from Jiro’s inspiring story and apply those lessons in your own life. Despite the hardships we all face in life, if you dedicate yourself to your craft you will succeed. If you work relentlessly every day on your craft, you will improve over time. If you are passionate about your craft, you will enjoy your work and you will seek excellence and perfection. Always look beyond and above yourself. Always try to improve yourself. Always strive for perfection.