From Minimalism To Tech

4 Financial Lessons From Kōhei Uchimura

Posted in Money on November 20th, 2017

Competitive gymnastics may be one of the most difficult sports in the world while also coming with severe consequences if someone makes the wrong move. Gymnastics inherently involves out-performing the competition, meaning that as their competition evolves, they must evolve and they have to impress judges by being a step ahead of their competition when trying to win awards. This means they can’t just be good – they must be exceptional. Some of us argue that Kōhei Uchimura of Japan is history’s greatest gymnast, as the winner of 15 gold metals, 10 silver metals, and 5 bronze metals. In addition, Kōhei Uchimura competes in Japan as well, which is one of the top countries in the world with gymnasts along with Russia and China.

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The Lessons

1. Measure success by results. Winning awards in gymnastics means beating competition; this is reality. If we’re gymnasts, we cannot be “as good as” our competition – we have to be better, or we lose. Americans may be triggered by loss, but the rest of the world understands loss is part of life. Kōhei Uchimura uses moves that outdoes his competition and impresses judges. He trains for these moves and he constantly works to improves. If he only did the same as his competition, it would mean little. Kōhei Uchimura understands capitalism: one must be the best and one can only be the best by defeating the best. We are not all equal and we never will be. As the Soviet Union discovered the difficult way, by enforcing equality on everyone, society stops producing and eventually collapses. The same would happen if you awarded every gymnast with a gold metal. Not only would a gold medal lose meaning, you’d stop seeing new artistic moves and human feats.

One example of this in practice is with information: regression to the mean means that some information should never be shared with others. We should only share some information selectively and only after pre-qualifying our audience, while never sharing other information. People think that sharing information is good because of Google, yet Google has actually amplified regression to the mean and increased the payout of some information that most people are not aware of. If you know some special information, you know that you cannot find them on the internet. That information now has tons of value. Despite what many people think, there is more information no longer being passed around on the internet and this is growing. Piracy is one reason why we’re seeing this new trend (piracy really enforces regression to the mean), but the other reason is that some intelligent people are beginning to realize the effects of “abundant information” – and none of these effects are good. In fact, as I teach on one course about security, in some case revealing information you learn may expose you to the type of people who will steal everything. Learn and stay silent and realize that a price is another man’s obstacle, not your obstacle. If you disrespect your money and your value, share everything you spend money to learn. If you respect your money, stay silent. The latter person will do better in money, even when it changes.

2. Learn from a mentor. Kōhei Uchimura’s parents both engaged in gymnastics, giving him an early edge since he started training at age 3. That alone would not have been enough. Kōhei Uchimura also trained with a mentor, Naoya Tsukahara, in his teens, which helped him learn additional skills that he would later use. In health and fitness, we often run into ruts and mentors can help us see past the rut, or help us learn techniques that strengthen us, or allow us to build additional skills. Mentors don’t just help us save time, mentors show us living examples of people who have moved past these obstacles.

Find a mentor and show yourself worthy of them. Do not waste their time by asking pointless questions. Only seek mentors when you’re stuck and always be ready to exchange something of value. In Kōhei Uchimura, it may have been spotting or assisting with moves, in our case, it may mean paying money for assistance. Our financial world can challenge us, especially when other related challenges affect our finances. Mentorships allow us to see the world in a way we wouldn’t have considered.

3. We are what we practice. Kōhei Uchimura practices moves daily and eats in a manner that matches his need. Both show that he practices in a manner which increases his results and his skills come from this practice. Kōhei Uchimura refuses to practice on a full stomach, so he eats once a day. This helps him, so he uses it instead of following a standard pattern of eating throughout the day. Kōhei Uchimura practices moves that others can’t do, or struggle with doing, as these increase his odds of winning awards. Since gymnastics is a competitive sport, one must be better, not equal. Kōhei Uchimura does these daily. What do we do daily?

We are what we consistently do. We are nothing more and nothing less. If we want to be something, how is that reflected in what we’re doing today? No one falls into success – they work at success.

4. Discipline creates wealth – even wealth others never grasp. Many people consider gymnasts to be some of the most attractive people alive, and this shows us a form of personal currency that opens doors. Gymnasts can earn sponsorships, they can earn medals from winning, and they can even win awards with financial payouts. But they can also win awards in life that most people don’t win on a daily basis, such as benefits socially. Kōhei Uchimura is no exception: he understands his place and uses his understanding to make more than just financial benefits.

If you are physically attrative, you have access to a rare form of financial capital. Use it. If someone tries to demonize you about this, consider that no one says a scientist is evil because he uses his financial capital (brain power), or a plumber is evil because he uses his financial capital (kinesthetic power). We all have advantages in life, and as we work and leverage our advantages, we should use these to increase our living standards. Monetizing your physical appearance may lead to opportunities that you have never experienced. Physical beauty is a form of capital in the same manner that intelligence is a form of capital and neither is inherently good nor evil.


Some people believe that they have what they are born with and cannot improve (fatalism). Stay away from them. Some people believe that others have more than they have and that they should take from the people who have more to create equality (socialism). Stay away from them. Others recognize the truth: we are what we consistently practice and exceptional results go to the people who continue to practice exceptionally and life will never be fair to everyone. We can either live in this truth and reduce our pain, or we accept a fake reality that will create a lot of pain in the future. Kōhei Uchimura shows us that we should consistently practice, improve, aim higher than others, and be ready for the moments that we have to show our skill.

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