If we think of dreams as being something you hold in your teens and 20s, and cast aside as you enter your 40s, 50s, and 60s, then this reminded me how blatantly Toyota’s approach casts such definitions aside.
Regardless of your age, whether you’re young or old and experienced, there are always things you can do to pursue your dreams, and everyone in this company is given opportunities to freely tackle these challenges, along with, of course, a place, time and resources to do so. Though taken on to varying degrees depending on the person, the fact is that an environment exists which allows them to pursue their dreams, and there is an endless stream of people willing to work to that end. Having rich resources like this is, as you can imagine, quite exceptional.
I feel as though this year, 2020, with its various challenges, marks a new era in which a different type of individual is needed to pave the way for future generations.
The people who are part of a company that enable such an environment, they have the qualities that are needed, and they are pursuing their dreams, regardless of age. Seeing that gives me courage as well, and makes this reporting more rewarding. To put it another way, you really can’t make people. I think that’s why, in Toyota’s case, the company’s efforts to develop people stand out.
Even the kids at the Toyota Technical Skills Academy, they reply straight away when you ask where their strength lies: ‘Our colleagues!’, ‘Our people!’.
Of course, there’s a lot in technical aspects, but I think the key is the spirit that wants to tackle challenges, of living for the sake of others, of living for something greater. There are very few people who pursue their own happiness, or ask what you can do for them, seeking to gain from others.
Above all, it’s taking pleasure in giving to others, in giving not receiving, and here you have a steady procession of such people. From the beginning, my reporting has given me a sense of just how strong that core is.
Mr. Wakata is a perfect example. He has experienced some pretty tough times, being in zero-gravity for half a year – that’s a very long self-isolation, in zero-gravity. And yet, when he tells me that he loves sleeping like this, or some other strange thing, with that joyful, sparkle in his eye, it makes me realize that this is how our future is made. He is going to take many people towards happiness. I realized it is these people who make things happen. People with dreams make things happen, no doubt.