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Five Life Lessons from Mr Kikuo Ibe, The Father of G-SHOCK

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We meet the man behind the famous watch faces.


Never Give Up 

“Never Give Up” is a lesson I learned as I established the G-SHOCK brand. I was hosting talks on the development story of G-SHOCK in various languages outside of Japan without an interpreter. I believe that being able to speak in the native language of the country I was visiting is the best way to convey my exact thoughts. However, the process was harder than expected. I had to practise hard for more than 4 months or so. I almost gave up because both speaking and reading the languages were difficult. But I always told myself to keep up with the spirit in the mantra, “Never Give Up”. After every conference, the guests would tell me that they enjoyed my stories as I delivered them personally. This continues to keep me motivated and excited for the next conference. 

Go with the flow 

I have never had a clear direction before. When I need to make a choice, it is decided by the elimination method of removing what I know I do not want to do. I would describe my way of living like this: Leaves fall into the river and flow while twisting and turning. However, I do every task in front of me with all my might. By trying to do my best, I discover the way forward and am excited about the unknown future. 

Value your instinct 

Not all my ideas come from systematic processes – some of them come instinctively. This is how the pure gold G-SHOCK concept model was born for our brand’s 30th anniversary. I had been pondering over the concept model for commemorating the special occasion for a few months when an idea suddenly popped into my head – combining the G-SHOCK with 18K gold. And by intuition, I believed that something new would happen by creating this concept model. I did whatever it took to realise that vision. As a result, I was able to develop G-D5000, a pure gold concept watch which was showcased at Baselworld 2015. This watch kicked off our development of the full-metal GMW-B5000 models, which was and is still a big hit with G-SHOCK fans. 

Showing respect for and gratitude towards others 

I can only do so much alone with my abilities and skills. A team is necessary for big dreams. Let’s take event planning for example A large-scale, successful event is possible only when individuals of different professional capabilities and experiences come together as one; when the team members respect each other and are thankful for each other’s contribution. It is always heartwarming when I witness such teamwork in action. However,  this attitude of respect and gratitude is not just limited to work but also applies to life. 

Instead of worrying about it, just do it. 

Instead of worrying about whether I can achieve something, I focus on my objectives. I just try it and troubleshoot things along the way. Although I do wish I were more meticulous sometimes, I am thankful that most things have ended well. Even if some results were not ideal, I always look ahead to the next thing to do better in instead of worrying about what happened. 

Written by
Poppy covers a wide range of topics at Billionaire, having spent the past 13 years at companies including Singapore Tatler, Her World Plus and Harpers Bazaar UK. She has a passion for fashion, jewellery and travel as well as an avaricious fascination with crime novels. Follow her at poppypskinner on Instagram. 

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