Home > Teachings of Kano Jigoro Shihan > Words of Kano Shihan > Onore wo tsukushite Naru wo matsu (Do Your Best and Await the Result)

The meaning of onore wo tsukushite naru wo matsu

The Essential Point: You must first devote every bit of your own energy to your venture and then await success or accomplishment. It is foolish to blame failure on fate when you haven't yet used up all your strength. Before you hope for good fortune, first exhaust your own strength. Neither should you lament your bad luck in failing and abandon your attempt. Wait for accomplishment without giving up diligence or patience. The successful man carves out his own destiny as the result of efforts beyond the limit of effort.


The expression onore wo tsukushite naru wo matsu ("do your best and await the result") is the most important admonition to those who seek to achieve something in this world. * * *

Success is realized through a combination of talent and destiny. No matter how great one's talent, if destiny is unfavorable, then success cannot be obtained. And no matter how fortunate one's destiny, if talent is lacking, then success will surely never be realized. * * *

However, there are those in this world who do not make clear the relationship between these two, but instead tend to go to one extreme or another, and the ill effects of that ruin their whole lives. You must take care. There are people of superior perception and brilliance who are yet unaware of the relationship between destiny and success. They strain impatiently for success, calling on all the knowledge within them and applying all of their talents in an effort to realize a great achievement as quickly as possible. However, nothing can happen until its proper day has come. Thus, when they see that they have been unable to accomplish what they had anticipated, they lament how affairs did not go as they wished and immediately fly to the opposite extreme, claiming that people are ruled by destiny in all things. Despite their former passion and diligent effort, they give up on themselves and live the rest of their lives in disappointment.
There are also ordinary people who attempt to do something yet do not succeed, causing them to conclude that their own abilities were inferior and inadequate to the task. They do not think to advance further and work on refining their own abilities, but rather give up and never look back.
Then there are those who vainly rely upon destiny, as though they expect the heavens to rain down gold where they sit and gold to come welling up out of the earth in front of them, but never make any effort themselves.
These are all errors that arise from the failure to accept destiny, when you do not do your best and await the result. We must always keep this in mind.

In other words, the path we should pursue starts with doing our best. Before we wish for good luck, we must first bear our own responsibilities. What people see as bad luck is actually not destiny gone wrong. It may be that we have fallen short of doing our best. There is negligence in our method, inadequacy in our diligence, or deficiency in our knowledge and preparation. If the ends are then not achieved, the reason does not lie in fate. It lies in the person. When the responsibility lies in the person, how can it be anything but a mistake to blame fate?
It is said that the wise man carves out his own destiny, and it is also said that the sage transforms errors into good fortune. What these sayings mean is that results come from doing our best. When people have not done their best and then talk about their fate, this is not actually their real fate. When we have not done our best, how are we supposed to know what our fate truly is?
If we do our best and still do not achieve the results we seek, this means that our destiny is still not possible for us to realize. Just because our destiny is not possible, that certainly does not mean that we should despair. We should not fall into disappointment. We should exercise our abilities to the fullest, be diligent and patient, and await the result. We should not abandon the path that we are supposed to follow just because we believe our destiny to be a certain way. To give up on ourselves and then hope for good fortune is to be nothing but a dreaming fool. * * *
We should neither boast of good fortune nor feel frustrated by misfortune, but instead be diligent and persevere as we await the result.

Jigoro Kano, " onore wo tsukushite naru wo matsu " in Kokushi No. 62 (1903)