Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Takatoshi Shibayama

Intro Banner of Takatoshi Shibayama

Takatoshi talks about his path to finding true happiness and contentment in his career, his secret to landing roles within the best finance companies, what reaching the peak of financial success taught him and the life lesson that has brought him the most joy.

Takatoshi Shibayama is the Head of Sales for Copper, a crypto prime brokerage and custodial service. He runs blockchain education on the side, educating enterprises and business leaders on the power of blockchain. He is also the host of Future Design Podcast where he converses with visionaries to empower listeners with perspectives on how we can challenge the social norm and build a better future.

Takatoshi talks about his path to finding true happiness and contentment in his career, his secret to landing roles within the best finance companies, what reaching the peak of financial success taught him and the life lesson that has brought him the most joy.

Takatoshi Shibayama is the Head of Sales for Copper, a crypto prime brokerage and custodial service. He runs blockchain education on the side, educating enterprises and business leaders on the power of blockchain. He is also the host of Future Design Podcast where he converses with visionaries to empower listeners with perspectives on how we can challenge the social norm and build a better future.

Previously, Takatoshi was an analyst and investor of distressed corporate situations for 17 years. He started his career with investment banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, later joining the US hedge fund Davidson Kempner Capital Management, and co-founding 3D Investment Partners in Singapore with nearly US$1bn in Assets Under Management.

Previously, Takatoshi was an analyst and investor of distressed corporate situations for 17 years. He started his career with investment banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, later joining the US hedge fund Davidson Kempner Capital Management, and co-founding 3D Investment Partners in Singapore with nearly US$1bn in Assets Under Management.


Takatoshi Shibayama – Financial/Cryptocurrency expert, CEO Blockshine Singapore, Head of Sales APAC at Copper | Custody, Prime and Settlements for Digital Assets

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today, we are speaking with talk Hitashi should be Alma talk a is the head of sales for copper, a crypto prime brokerage in custodial service. He runs blockchain education on the side, educating enterprises and business leaders on the power. Blockchain. He is also the host of a future design podcast, where he can versus with visionaries to help empower listeners with perspectives on how we can challenge the social norm in build a better.

[00:00:31] Previously Tosca was an analyst and investor of distressed corporate situations for 17 years. He started his career with investment banks, such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs leader. Joining the us hedge fund Davidson, Kepner capital management, and co-founding three D investment partners in Singapore with nearly 1 billion in assets under management.

[00:00:56] Amazing. I'm excited to learn more talk Hitashi. Thank you for joining us on fresh blood, please. Could you tell us a little bit more about your story and getting to where you are today?

[00:01:06] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:01:06] Yeah it's a very huge honor for me to be here. Thank you for inviting me to your show. So I guess. Life story is quite long. Now that I've been living 43 years, so a lot to unwrap there, but I guess I could start off by talking about my childhood. I was born in Japan and I moved to the U S when I was five and I stayed there for about 10 years and moved back to Japan graduated university in Japan and then moved on to working for investment banks. 

[00:01:36] Jolie Downs: [00:01:36] Okay, really quick. I want to know what that was like. Cause that's a big, that's a big thing to happen. Five, you moved to the United States and then 10 years and you moved back to Japan. What was that like? The back and forth for you?

[00:01:47] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:01:47] Yeah.

[00:01:47] As a child, I remember going to the U S it was such a life-changing event for me that even at age of five, I still remember very clearly when I landed in the U S and I was, I come from a very kind of suburban town in Japan and I landed anything. JFK. And I lived in long island in New York and I just remember just going down the road, the highway and just looking around, there's wow, there's so much space in this country.

[00:02:14]The highway so wide, there's so much nature around and Atlanta to my house. It was big, compared to any average size house in Japan, us houses, even if it's like a normal house, it was big. It was like, it has a front yard backyard even has a pool and back yard. And I was thinking, wow, this is insanely huge place.

[00:02:32]And I remember going to school back in those days and now, obviously I didn't speak a word of English and just trying to adapt to everything else was such a challenge for me. I remember being excited going into a new school and trying out new things. But yeah, all of course there's a language barrier, I do remember having, struggles, obviously making friends, communicating with students in the school and.

[00:02:56] But I think I picked up the language pretty quickly. I remember the teacher told me about after six months, I was fluent by that time. So yeah, that was great. But I just, I remember because the neighborhood I used to live in a, which is lake Grove in long island, and it was a very, and this is.

[00:03:15] Eighties, early eighties. It was a very American society, meaning it was very white I was the only Asian person living in that whole neighborhood or even probably the whole district. And I used to get a lot of stairs and a lot of people look at me, looking at me from afar. And I was thinking yet I must stick out because I don't belong here.


[00:03:36] Jolie Downs: [00:03:36] You deal with that? That's a big, that's a big thing to be dealing with at a young age.

[00:03:40] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:03:40] Yeah.

[00:03:40] Yeah.

[00:03:41] I never really experienced that in Japan, obviously. So I just thought, this is what it is. I just took it as it is because people, of course, if you're, living in a place where all is, just the same ethnicity, I must be, something interesting to them or something different for them.

[00:03:59] I didn't think it was like racial. It was five, so I don't know, understand all these kinds of things. So maybe it was some kind of racial thing. I have no idea, but just getting the stairs all the time was a little bit weird to me. And, but I thought, I'm a foreigner in different countries I just have to take it as it is.

[00:04:14] And I just went with it. Of course, as I grew. Started to understand there are certain nuances to those stairs and people coming up to me and saying, oh, I saw this Chinese guy over there, Z or brother, that kind of very childish like comments obviously.

[00:04:29] But yeah, I had to, there's a lot of that things. And then also in school, I felt like I didn't achieve. Privileged as some of the other kids probably had. And that was a little bit of a yeah, it was a little bit stressful for me in that sense, but, usually it was fine, I actually loved My childhood living in the states.

[00:04:47] I think the biggest issue for me was actually going back. 

[00:04:50] Jolie Downs: [00:04:50] Next question. Cause that's a big thing. Going back as another huge you call, another culture shock going the other way. And did you retain, how your language, was it still fluent when you went back? 

[00:05:00] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:05:00] Yeah.

[00:05:00] So I attended a Saturday Japanese school and this was subsidized by the government and I attended it on Saturday every morning for. Three, four hours. And was I able to attain it? Not so much because I was very immersed in the American school system friends and everything.

[00:05:17] So my Japanese level didn't really exceed five years old, even though I went to school. So in that Saturday school, there was quite a divide. So there were a lot of kids from Japan who are living in. Kind of Japanese neighborhoods, I would say. And they retained the culture, retained the fashion, the you know what every Japanese kid will do retain as if they were in Japan.

[00:05:41] And now as a kid, very immersed in American culture, I looked different. I act different. I speak different. There was a little bit of a clash in that school. And and I expected that going back to Japan because I knew how Japanese kids. And then when I moved back, Yeah. Obviously there's a lot of bullying involved.

[00:05:58]Because for, I think for Japanese people that have this little inferiority against not being able to speak English or, having a mixed culture in that sense, so they tend to act in a way of bullying. And thank God, it was not the time of social media and all these things, because, if I leave the school, then it'll be gone.

[00:06:15] But but it, it doesn't follow you all the way home. Yeah, exactly. 

[00:06:19] Jolie Downs: [00:06:19] How did you deal with it though? Cause that's, you know what we all, so many of us have dealt with bullying and you know what, even as adults, sometimes we do still deal with bullies. How did you deal with that? Did you have anything that was successful for you?

[00:06:31] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:06:31] Yeah.

[00:06:31]So I know a lot of kids that break down in that sense, and I've seen a few kids that were in my school who did return from WellStar, Western cultures. And I thought that if I could maintain who I am, I am a mix of a better bit of American culture, Japanese culture, and.

[00:06:49] I was pretty happy of that, but I find that a lot of kids, they tend to choose. So some said, you know what? I reject Japanese culture. I'm just going to stay at American and just live my own life. And then people who said, maybe I should conform to Japanese society and they turned completely Japanese.

[00:07:08] And I thought that was a little bit sad because if you're not well, thing is, you're not completely American because you have this heritage and in, in order to embrace. Very important. Obviously there's a lot of there's a lot of mental courage in order to say, this is

[00:07:22] who I am. And honestly, being a teenager in that kind of very sensitive timeframe of your life, it's very hard to have a very strong, solid, platform for yourself to say, this is who I am.

[00:07:35] Yeah. But that, that was a little bit of a. A bit of courage and also a little sense of pride as well. I, and either, even though when I went back, I only spoke like a five-year-old level kid in Japanese. I knew that back in American school, I did very well in school.

[00:07:49] I had really good grades, so I'm sure I could, as long as I learned the language properly, I can perform very well in Japan too. So I had that sense of, the sense of. I would I say my 

[00:08:01] Jolie Downs: [00:08:01] It's a knowing you did it before. You could do it again.

[00:08:05] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:08:05] Yeah.

[00:08:05] exactly. And that's the confidence that I had. I try to be strong in that sense. And of course there's a lot of things that I could probably held down deep inside, the insecurity and not being able to make friends from the get-go and not be able to converse.

[00:08:19] And there's a lot of conversations that I. Get immersed too. Cause I don't understand the culture. I don't understand all the TV programs or music, all the kids that are doing. So it's just very hard to relate. And, for me it was like, if I try to ma make the effort and try to learn their language property, maybe they will open up, and that was the same thing. When I was back in the us when I was five years old. I was just saying, didn't know anything, didn't know the language, but you just have to persevere in that sense. And you just need to have that. courage to keep going, because you know who you are as you're inside is not how people view you.

[00:08:54]That's two different things. And I don't know why, but, I understood that in a sense, nobody knows who I am. So I just have to be who I am. That's the mentality I just had to hold, 

[00:09:04] Jolie Downs: [00:09:04] That's great. And I, sorry, I derailed you there. You went back to Japan and went to high school, essentially finished your high school there and then went into university.  Yes. And then where'd you go from there? Is that, so that's when you entered into the finance industry, 

[00:09:15] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:09:15] yes, exactly. 

[00:09:16] Jolie Downs: [00:09:16] This always a passion? 

[00:09:17]Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:09:17] I was a person that actually liked arts and doing things like music, really liked reading and all these things. And I didn't really have a clear passion of what I wanted to do when I grew up, it was just Those complete blur.

[00:09:33]At the time I just thought, you know what, I'm just going to get a job. Cause I don't have. I think I know what I want to do. So I'll just go with the flow and working for an investment bank at the time was a very prestigious job and I spoke English, so it was a very easy path to go because they were looking for a Japanese.

[00:09:50]College students who spoke English fluently. So I got into JP Morgan as a FX option trader and which was completely out of my league because I took political science as a degree in university. And then I don't know why they would hire me as to do some, complicated

[00:10:09]Financial products. And an investment bank. So obviously, as you can imagine, I didn't really last, very long in that position. So I was fired in about year and a half and I was forced to rethink what I want to do. And but I still wanted to be in a finance industry. I think looking at. I wa I wanted to stick to it.

[00:10:33]I chose a path and said, you know what? I can just back out just because I had a job that was not appropriate for me. There must be something in finance that I can do. And, I wanted to prove to myself that I could stick it and I could 

[00:10:49] Jolie Downs: [00:10:49] You didn't let that firing puts you down. You were like, I'm going to figure this out where the right places for me. 

[00:10:54] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:10:54] Now it took about three months to find a job.

[00:10:57] And and during that time, I researched the whole industry finance industry and tried to figure out what is potentially suitable for me. What is lucrative? What is, what are people looking at? And at that time in, Japan was going through a lot of financial pressures. And by the government and they were looking at banks and they were asking the banks to dispose a lot of the non-performing loans, which means loans are in default held by the Japanese bank that they've racked up during the 1980s bubble that Japan experienced.

[00:11:26] And it took them about 10 years to decide what they were going to do.

[00:11:30] with these defaulted loans. And a lot of it American. And probably European investment banks were acquiring bulks of these portfolios of distressed loans and trying to recover them. The Japanese banks didn't really know What to do with them.

[00:11:45] They just left them there to rot, but these American banks figured out a way to re-engage re-engage with the borrowers and come up with a restructuring plan. Companies so that they can pay those loans back in some way or form. And that was very intellectually stimulating for me because you have to learn law, you have to learn, proper forecasting company's cash flows.

[00:12:11] You have to learn about their business. So there's a lot of elements in there that I thought it would be very Interesting.

[00:12:16] and academically interesting.

[00:12:18] for me to pursue. I got into that first by being the loan collector of these portfolios,

[00:12:25] Jolie Downs: [00:12:25] What was that like?

[00:12:26] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:12:26] was actually. Honestly looking back, I think that was the most enjoyable time for me in my career.

[00:12:34] It was, yeah. So I get to meet so many different people in Japan. I traveled cross the whole country, meeting these companies and they were talking about their problems about, back in the eighties, Japanese banks had all these salespeople had quotas that they had to meet and they were pushing loans to people, even though they didn't want it.

[00:12:53] And they have to. Yeah, collateralize their houses or their company's buildings and all these things. And, a lot of sad stories obviously, but. You get to feel the person, and you try to come up with a way to help them in a way I wasn't coming at it as a position, as a debt holder and telling them, you got to pay me back now, it was more like, how can we help you so that we can get rid of your debt?

[00:13:15]That was my mental approach. Maybe some others weren't thinking like that. But for me, that was a way for me to help them out of this situation and, learning about their business models and Their cashflow is going scraping through them so that I can find something that they can potentially, improve in their business so that they can generate some cash to pay back their loans.

[00:13:36]That, that really, and that was like in my early twenties during that time. It really stimulated me. And in a way that to learn about business, learn about finance, learn about in all these restructuring laws and everything is, there was a really boatload. Of information that I need to absorb, which really stimulated me.

[00:13:54] And yeah, and I just looked back at it. 

[00:13:57] Jolie Downs: [00:13:57] And basically in the end there. So essentially you were going to these people who were in debt and owed money and you were going in there and you were helping them figure out how to restructure what they were doing so that they could make extra money and pay the debt down. So essentially you were leaving them in a much better position than they were because they had these new systems that were now producing more money.

[00:14:16] And I would imagine better productivity around. 

[00:14:19] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:14:19] Yes. That's right now. 

[00:14:21] Jolie Downs: [00:14:21] thing to be doing. Yeah, that's gotta be feeling good.

[00:14:23] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:14:23] Yeah.

[00:14:23] It almost had a, philanthropical kind of in a way, or, it's just very soul nourishing in that sense, because it was not like cutthroat finance. It was more, human skills, they are building at the same time. 

[00:14:36] Jolie Downs: [00:14:36] Oh, it's fantastic. Much better than just give me your money. Your else.

[00:14:39] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:14:39] Yeah, exactly. And we'll just force you into bankruptcy. Yeah.

[00:14:42] so Yeah. That was a great time. I did that for about two years and then I moved on to the investment side. So, with the knowledge that I have, I can go through the borrower's information and have a sense of how the borrower's going to react or how they're going to think and potentially, what kind of restructuring plans they can, we can think for them.

[00:15:01] Then I can make better projections on at what price shall we buy these portfolios of bad loans. I spent about, let's say seven, eight years doing that after that investing in these distressed loans, but in 2008, that kind of came to a screeching halt with the global financial crisis.


[00:15:19]Jolie Downs: [00:15:19] So another, was that another Lego? I would imagine because so many people were at that 

[00:15:24] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:15:24] Yeah.

[00:15:24] no, I was I was completely subject to that. So the company, so the investment banks were using their own balance sheet or their own money to invest in these portfolios. It was not external money, like a fund. The global financial crisis hit and all these banks had to scale back from all these investments into these risky assets.

[00:15:45] And they wanted to do a more stable job, like doing, being a sales or doing something. I let a more light in that sense. That's not a balance sheet heavy in that sense. So yeah, after 

[00:15:57] Jolie Downs: [00:15:57] deal with that time? Cause that's mean 

[00:15:59] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:15:59] Yeah, that was another time. Yeah.

[00:16:01]That was another wake up point for me. Cause then I got, let go and I have to think about what am I going to do next?

[00:16:08] And you know that, Yeah.

[00:16:10] And again, it was like three or four months of soul searching for me, what I should be doing next, where I should be going as well. And. At that time I was thinking, have I really reached where I want it to go? I went from loan collecting to investments at investment banks.

[00:16:26] What's the next step? What's a better step. And I was thinking anybody who's done investing would always want to go into hedge funds. And I haven't really achieved that yet. I got to do this cause the right time, because if not, if mass, some banks are not going to invest with their own capital, then hedge funds are the only place that they're going to be investing.

[00:16:42]So I send out a lot of resumes to different hedge funds and and then I wanted to pursue doing what I was doing, investing in the, these distressed companies. And I landed a job with a hedge fund that was based in Singapore. 

[00:16:59] Jolie Downs: [00:16:59] Is there anything that you feel has helped you land these jobs? Because you clearly, each time you've made a change, you've changed into something, a little different, which isn't always easy and you're getting jobs and really great places. Is there anything that you feel has helped you get these positions?

[00:17:13]Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:17:13] Yeah.

[00:17:13] I think That a lot of people use their achievements to. To get a good position in there next role. And for me, I was stuck to know why I want to do things. And it's not about like how I do things, because a lot of times when you get any, do these interviews, they always make, you do like a case study.

[00:17:31] So they want to know how you do things. But in the end, I always revert back to why I'm doing these days. And the why to me was always important because I wanted to help these companies, get get, get out of a tricky situation and that, being just very authentic to that kind of, I think it helped obviously they were more focused on my skillsets, obviously, but in the end I just wanted to hold on to that because if I didn't hold onto that, and then it's just it's just comparing scales to other people.

[00:17:58] And I think there's, there's. Dozens of people that probably has similar or even better skillsets than I have, but, if I didn't have the passion for it, if I will, if I didn't understand why I'm doing this, then, there's nothing extra that I can give in those interviews. So that's what. Yeah.

[00:18:16] really focused on quite a lot. And I know nowadays, you have your assignments and acts and everybody talking about, talk about the why and all of these things. But for me, I was more I didn't watch those kinds of videos and stuff and it was before the time of YouTube and stuff.

[00:18:29]But to me, if I didn't have passion into something, I couldn't do it. I just, I'm a person who just can do zero or 10. I can't do anything in the middle. And that's been very consistent throughout my childhood as well. So even at university, I took classes that I liked and I did spectacularly well in those classes, but the ones I was forced to take, I did spectacularly horribly.

[00:18:52] Horrible.

[00:18:54] Jolie Downs: [00:18:54] I understand this. 


[00:18:55] When that was that was really great answer overall. I think everyone can take a little something from the answer as to, being true to your why as to why you're doing it. Because especially in the interview process, you write everyone. There's a lot of people in there who can do the exact job, but the person who brings that little extra as to why are they there and what brings that passion to them and companies, people know that drives people.

[00:19:18] You can see that it's palpable. So yes, that is something really important. So you get yourself into the hedge funds and you start learning hedge funds, this whole new area. And then where do you go from there? What happened?

[00:19:30] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:19:30] Yeah.

[00:19:30] So I continue doing what I'm doing, but the tide has turned quite a lot since I started investing in distress credit or distress companies, because those type of opportunities that I saw back in the early two thousands were almost completely gone. And my role has expanded into looking at the broader Asia Pacific. Looking at different jurisdictions, learning different types of bankruptcy laws and all that. And what's interesting about Asia Pacific is that it's such a broad in, a region that you have country. Generally sophisticated, like Japan to other countries, there are still building their bankruptcy laws and all these other things, right?

[00:20:11] So it's a, it's not like where you land in us and, you have the same federal law for everything when it like in Europe, where a lot of the laws are very, somewhat similar to each other. And then it's more sophisticated. So it's a very difficult region to invested because of these laws are not really put into place properly.

[00:20:30] There's a lot of corruption. There's a lot of backdoor dealings that happen behind the scenes that you can't really see from public information. And it requires a lot more digging into, these companies who are the people behind it, which is quite interesting, but it doesn't really translate into returns, you know what I used to joke about all the time and for APAC is that you do a lot more work for little return. 

[00:20:55] Jolie Downs: [00:20:55] Yeah, 

[00:20:56] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:20:56] Correct. And 

[00:20:58] Jolie Downs: [00:20:58] not always the best 

[00:21:00] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:21:00] Not always you bet. Yes. And that was a frustration for me. But also at the same time, you get to learn different cultures, business practices, and that was very enjoyable for me.

[00:21:08]And And there's a lot of things that you can learn. I You know that my colleagues in the U S my colleagues in Europe are very, extremely intelligent people and I can learn from them and the culture of that company overall know about sharing information and being, it's not comparing who's better than who it's more about, let's make it as a company and share as much information with your colleagues as much as possible so that we all can actually.

[00:21:33] Make money. And there are hedge funds that are just very more cutthroat where, one person is tied to their own PNL and they get a percentage of the profits and all that. And if they don't prefer them, then they just get fired. The company I was working for, it was not like that.

[00:21:49] But but at the same time, I was doing this for 15 plus years and I was getting a little. Tired, I was starting to think about, and I, and at this point I was married. I had my first son and going into a different phase where I can't just stay in the office for a very long time.

[00:22:05]And Spend my time, as much as how I want to, I wanted to balance out family. I wanted to think about my career path as well,

[00:22:13] and also really dig into why I'm doing this. Where's my passion. And, as I went along, I was feeling a little bit burnt out in a way, as I said, there's a lot of work for very little return.

[00:22:24] So if I'm getting little returns from the work I'm doing, it's not very. And I wasn't really sure if I really wanted to continue this for much longer, because it just wears on you after awhile. And once you learn a lot of things and you're pretty comfortable with it, it starts to become all autopilot as well. 

[00:22:42] Jolie Downs: [00:22:42] exactly. And, I think a lot of people find themselves in this spot in life and that burnt out spot, and going through the motions. Just living, if you will, day to day doing that thing. And a lot of people stay in that burnout spot. What motivated you to move?

[00:23:00] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:23:00] Yeah. So I thought, I've gone. I started from being fired from, this particular job that I started off and I went into banking and I went to hedge funds, and I was working for one of the top hedge funds in the world. And I was thinking, have I made. And that, that question.

[00:23:14] And also am I enjoying it? Wasn't really matching together, it wasn't really jelling together. The more I succeeded in hedge funds or, in my career, I didn't the less, I actually enjoyed it. And to be honest, Yeah,

[00:23:28] I have this feeling of prestige, but then, I don't find myself really enjoying that too 

[00:23:33] Jolie Downs: [00:23:33] you weren't satisfied.

[00:23:35] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:23:35] And I thought maybe it's because I'm working for someone is maybe the problem. I just couldn't really understand it. So in 2015, with the help of another friend of mine, I started a hedge fund in Singapore. And I thought if I run my own thing, right then that's. Top class that I can even think of.

[00:23:56] And if I don't make it here, then I probably don't like this job in the beginning. So it was like my last, chip in and just going all in on my cards and saying, if this doesn't work and I'll just burn, and that's what. And I ran that fine for about two, three years. And we started off about 200 million raised and, from organic growth, we grew that into a 1 billion assets under management hedge fund, which is, in my view is really amazing.

[00:24:26] Yes, 

[00:24:27] Jolie Downs: [00:24:27] it's incredible. I think for most people's views 

[00:24:29] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:24:29] and we were doing very well. It returns were great, but again, I just couldn't leave this feeling that I'm not actually happy in what I'm doing. I've lost a whole passion about, what, when I first started, like being able to help people and work with people to get them out of like trouble situations that was very satisfying.

[00:24:48] But now I'm just, investing equities and investing in, bonds and things. And just for the sake of trying to make money, it wasn't really. It wasn't really satisfying and it was just numbers. And, I lost that core reason why I stuck to finance or in that particular investment style.

[00:25:06] And, I thought it, should I return to that? Or am I interest really done here and in, Yeah.

[00:25:12] So in 2018, I said, This is not working out for me. I'm actually not a nice person anymore. I'm always grumpy. And I was seeing myself interact with my family and I'm not really in a very good mood most of the time and at work, I'm not that happy either.

[00:25:30] Even though I grow this into a really large company that I wanted to make it into. So I said, you know what? Maybe it's time that I should just make a change for myself. And. Maybe I should just find something that I would, again, feel passionate about. And I left it, it was, for other people, like even when I spoke to my mom about it, she was like, you're at the, highlight it at the highest point that you could be in your career and why you just ditching that and just walking away from it.

[00:25:59] I don't understand. And I got the same. Yeah,

[00:26:01] Jolie Downs: [00:26:01] I do. I want to applaud you.

[00:26:05] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:26:05] I must've been nuts. I don't know, 

[00:26:08] Jolie Downs: [00:26:08] You were listening to yourself, you were listening to yourself and that's a gift.

[00:26:12] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:26:12] Yeah.

[00:26:12]And I struggled with that decision quite a lot. And one thing that I've really took to heart is what is it to be happy? And I thought about what is it to be happy?

[00:26:22] Is it something that I achieve? Is it something that I look for and grasp? Or is it something that. I shed with negativities so that I can come to this happiness state. And I actually thought it was a ladder. And you can always, cause I try to achieve happiness by getting all these privileges and growing a bit big business and earning a lot of money and all these things and it wasn't making me happy.

[00:26:49] So it's not something that I need to achieve. There's some goal there that I achieve and I become happy. It's not like that. It was. Shedding all the negativities in your life, the things that you don't like about your life to achieve that happiness. That's what I discovered when I was thinking about this.

[00:27:06] So I decided to leave the job. I decided to leave, a lot of things behind. I'm actually pretty happy. I earn way less than I used to before, and I could have been much more comfortable financially than I was before, but I left that, but so far right now, Talk about this at the end, but when I left, it it just felt like everything just dissolved all these negativities just dissolved for me.

[00:27:31] And I was actually quite content, I was happy that I wasn't waking up early in the morning to go to work and then coming back and then, having to, be trying to be a good father when I was in really in a bad. 

[00:27:41] Jolie Downs: [00:27:41] Yeah.

[00:27:42] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:27:42] And, I was interacting with my family much better, and I took about maybe two years off and not do anything.

[00:27:51] And I thought about what sh what should I do with my life during that time? But I was really contented without no job, but obviously I have to continue. I was, 40 years old. And talk about midlife crisis right now. Everything happened exactly to the to, to, according to what midlife crisis should look like.

[00:28:08] And, but I didn't go out and buy a Porsche. I actually threw it away. 

[00:28:12] Jolie Downs: [00:28:12] That's fantastic. I love that. 

[00:28:16] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:28:16] yeah, 

[00:28:18] Jolie Downs: [00:28:18] So well, and you did the right thing. You gave yourself time to figure it out. That's exactly what you needed to do. You needed to figure out what was gonna fill that, that, that need inside that, that gives you that satisfaction. And what did you come to? What did you find 

[00:28:30] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:28:30] No. So I started investing, with my own money and things that I wanted to invest in. So if you're working for a hedge fund, you're actually restricted to what you can invest in because there's all these restrictions around, insider trading and. Being more inline with their hedge fund rather than investing in your own money.

[00:28:49] So I wasn't really allowed to invest freely. So I had that time to think about, Okay.

[00:28:53]I have some money now. So let me start investing in other things and, invested in equities and all over the world and looked at every type of asset class thousand exposed to. And I came upon investing in.

[00:29:07] But I thought, I have these, you can buy gold. I can bullions and you have to put it in a safety deposit box and you have to, if you're going to move, then you have to move this thing all around the world. And it's not very portable. And I thought, What is something better than investing in gold?

[00:29:22] That's more. And, there are ETFs and other financial products that reflects the price of gold, but that's not really cold because you can't Really cash it in for gold. So to me, that didn't really.

[00:29:34]Make sense to me. So just going through the internet and just reading up on other alternatives when I stumbled upon cryptocurrency now.

[00:29:42] Yes. There is an argument to say, yes, it can, Bitcoin and all these cryptocurrencies can be in a digital option for a gold because of its finite supply. And the way that it's created, and there's a lot of economics behind Bitcoin that does reflect what gold or a better version of gold in that sense and is portable.

[00:30:03]But what I came upon is that I found that, cryptocurrencies. It's not really, creating gold, right? It w it was originally created for a financial system that is not associated with the current existing financial system. And th and, Bitcoin was created in 2008 with the aim to become a digital cash.

[00:30:27] And it is not exposed by the monetary policies of central banks in the world where they're printing. Out of thin air and potentially causing inflation as we're starting to see today. And this was created so that, it was not regulated. It was not seen as a government type of money, but it was people's money. And, in this way you can have your own sound financial system that. doesn't get influenced by politics, by technocrats in the world that they think, the world should look this way. And when I thought about the use cases of this money, I didn't think about paying in Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies.

[00:31:08] I was thinking about, there are countries in this world experienced massive hyperinflation, like Venezuela or Argentina, or, Turkey, these countries. Always have experienced failing monetary assistance that they don't trust the government anymore and whatever they make in their own currency, they just inflates away into, paper and they always have to rely on converting their own currency into us dollars or gold or some alternative that doesn't inflate.

[00:31:39] And so my wife is is from Uruguay and she it's a country that's neighboring Argentina. And she used to tell me that they were because of these failed monetary policies by Argentina. People were going into Urugauy with suitcases of cash to bank in Uruguayan banks. And so that's the situation that people experience when you're living in these countries.

[00:32:04]It's hard to carry cash. It's hard to carry gold, but if it's a digital version of it, and if you can transport between countries without having to be exposed by the immigration officers and et cetera. To be caught holding bags for the cash, cryptocurrencies, the answer. And so with cryptocurrencies, you could keep it in your thumbnail and travel across borders, open up a let's say crypto exchange account, convert that into.

[00:32:32] Whatever local currency that is, and you can cash out. I'll give you an example. I have, my wife has a friend in Argentina and she was telling me that if she sells her house in Argentina, it's going to be in us dollars because everything that's high in value is priced in us dollars. It's not an Argentine pesos so if she sells it, she has to put it in a bank.

[00:32:53] And if you put it into bank account, there's a high likely chance that the government is going to confiscate it, to defend their own currency against because yes, so there's a lot of bankrupt bank runs all the time in Argentina because of this. And so she doesn't want to put it in a bank account, but there's no way she's going to hold a lot of these cash.

[00:33:12] So if she wants migrate into another country. She can't take that us dollars with her because it's a lot of money. And and, you get stopped because of that. So she was asking me, how do I transport this elsewhere? Cause I'm going to sell my house and get out of Argentina. Cause I can't stand this anymore.

[00:33:32]I told her why didn't you convert that us dollars when you get it into cryptocurrencies? You don't have to hold in a bank account for a long time. You just immediate when it hits the bank account, you have your crypto exchange account, you use that to convert into Bitcoin or whatever it is, put it in your thumb.

[00:33:49] And then when you migrate to another country, you can create a bank account and also a crypto exchange account and just fund that cash sorry, the cryptocurrency and that crypto exchange, convert that into your local currency. And then while I, you have your cash at the other end, 

[00:34:05] Jolie Downs: [00:34:05] really.

[00:34:07] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:34:07] So that's my kind of aha moment.

[00:34:10] I was thinking that's how cryptocurrency can work, and there's a lot of people in these kind of trouble situations that they have to rely on us dollars, but us dollars is also now not actually becoming the most stable currency in the world either. And there has to be something else and, crypto.

[00:34:27] Was it the answer for me. And also there's also countries that have restrictive capital flows outside of the country. So like China or Vietnam, there's a lot of countries that doesn't allow their citizens to take currency out of their country. And cryptocurrency can also help with that as well.

[00:34:46] Jolie Downs: [00:34:46] for that. You've made me look at it in a completely different way that I had not been. So that's really interesting. Thank you.

[00:34:52] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:34:52] no, no problem. Sorry. I just went into an, a tangent of a and hooks talk about cryptocurrencies but, so understanding all that and how it can help people, that kind of come, that, that became. The reason why I was so hooked on it, because I can think of so many business models around cryptocurrencies that can help people.

[00:35:09]And that's why I started in like in I started to think about let's, I wanna, I want to do something in cryptocurrencies. I don't need to invest in crypto. I was not interested in trading crypto and all that. What kind of business models can we create to help people in difficult situations so that they can alleviate th the situation that they're in.

[00:35:29] And that's how I started my own company called blockchain, Singapore. And we were creating a product. To enable those things to happen, where people let's say in Philippines there, people they're working all over the world and, a great portion of their GDP actually comes from their foreign workers, remitting cash back into, and sharing it with their family. So we were trying to create these systems where they can use cryptocurrency instead of using, the likes of you Western union, that they take 10% on each side for commission. And so yeah, that's how I got into the whole crypto blockchain world.

[00:36:06] Jolie Downs: [00:36:06] So interesting now, you've got. So many different things within this finance industry, and you've been incredibly successful in all of these different areas. And I really appreciate your story and how you shared it with us, the different realizations that you've had along the way. I'm curious, based on all of your experience, what your personal definition of success is, what does success mean to you?

[00:36:29] And based on that, what do you believe is key to having continued success throughout life?

[00:36:35] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:36:35] I think being true to yourself. Is the key to being successful. I think that you should not listen to what you know, social media says or what the big entrepreneurs say, or, big financial figures say in the world that, money and making big businesses make money and all these things to me, didn't really sit in well, Because I experienced that and it didn't really make me happy.

[00:37:01] And, but, I think about like when I started investing, as I mentioned before, like for me, like helping people, overcome like hard situations was something that some what I enjoyed and I F it was soul fulfilling for me. And even with the cryptocurrency, that's feeds my soul and staying true to that in China.

[00:37:21] Even if it doesn't make as much money, it doesn't really matter because you have to what, where you end up in the end. And I was thinking about like my deathbed, for some reason, I'm thinking about, I'm thinking about myself in the deathbed, re living, what I did in the past and what probably would make me feel.

[00:37:40] Don. I experienced this life in this body of tacos, you should by AMA what was it that made me really happy that I accomplished something is something that is, is that's that I've done what I wanted to do. It is thinking that. And it's not a measurement of, monetary success or anything like that.

[00:38:00]It's about did I do what I wanted to do? And a lot of people are just constrained to, I have to do this, but if I did I live freely so that I could, I just did what I wanted to do. I think that's, to me is the measurement of success and being true to that. And sticking by that, even though, there's a lot of negativities coming out your way, or you're not making as much money or et cetera, If I could do that, I think I'll be in a much better situation than how I was before, when I was always grumpy and angry and maybe I had, more money, but I think about me and it deathbed, I didn't do anything that I wanted to do, but I just have this money, so I just think about my end game.

[00:38:39] I was. Yeah.

[00:38:41] This lifetime list, life journey was not really worth it because it's not what you end up at the end. It's about looking through the, 80 or 90, whatever years that you lived and saying, was this journey really worth it? Was it fun? Was it a fun journey? And I really want to have a good journey in this life.

[00:39:00] I don't know what will come next. Maybe there's heaven or hell maybe there's reincarnation. I don't know. But. All I know is that this lifetime, this short lifetime that I have, I want it to make it the best. And I want to say I loved this journey. 

[00:39:15] Jolie Downs: [00:39:15] Yes. Oh, yes. I completely agree with all of that. And this is what we all need to be focusing on. Those are the questions that we need to be asking ourselves and thinking about. So thank you for that. Now, out of everything that you've done, what would you say has been your greatest success in and why?

[00:39:31] And what did you learn from it? And you can give me one or two. I know. Hey, it's hard when it's like, what's the greatest is how do you choose.

[00:39:39] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:39:39] I don't think it's an event. So I look at it in terms of, the progress of time the journey for me. So if I didn't really have. Down points, I would have never had the greatest points either. So you have to love them both. And I embrace it now in hindsight, of course, at that time I was not in a great situation and struggling, but in the end, that nothing.

[00:40:00]Eternal, right? So situations always change. But if you don't struggle at the time that you had to, you wouldn't have the, accomplishments later either. So you have to like, love them both. So I'm trying to love whatever happened in my life, even if there were regretful times or shameful times, or, enjoyable times.

[00:40:20] I'm trying to love all of that because as. Life is a journey, right? And if you don't love your journey there's no, there's nothing. So there's no single event or point in my life that I like to highlight and say, this was why I feel successful or not. I think it's the whole thing. And I it's.

[00:40:39]All the things that I did and, my, moving to the U S and going back to Japan and all these things affect who I am right now. That everything even, so I would say all those kinds of points that life-changing points in my lifetime was, a predecessor to, successful life that I feel like I'm having right now. 

[00:40:55] Jolie Downs: [00:40:55] Yes. Oh, I love it. I completely agree. And you're absolutely right. That the times of greatest challenge and difficulty, they lead to our greatest successes. It's the foundation for those successes. And I love that the way you put it that you find beauty and you love all of the pieces of your life.

[00:41:10] So I think that's wonderful. I'm curious. Have you ever felt stuck in life at any time? 

[00:41:17] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:41:17] Yeah. All the time. 

[00:41:18] Jolie Downs: [00:41:18] it? I feel like this is a familiar feeling for people. So what did you, what do you do about it when you feel that way?

[00:41:24] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:41:24] Yeah. So this is a little bit of a hack that I usually do when I feel stuck is I try something completely new. Now it could be anything, so every year I try to feel, I try to think about what new things can I do in my life. So about two years ago, I've started to play cello. I always played the guitar. So I always been a very music, loving person, and I played guitar since I was 14, but somehow, like when I looked back when I was a child and in school, I also picked up learning trombone at the time, and I regretted it because I actually liked the sound of the cello and it just had.

[00:42:08]I don't know. It's like, it's resonates with a tone of human voices. It's in the same kind of sound wave. So it just feels very warm.

[00:42:15] when I hear it. I went to my older son and he said, how would you like to learn cello? And I'll learn with you, but only because I wanted to play. 

[00:42:26] Jolie Downs: [00:42:26] So fun. 


[00:42:27]Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:42:27] So I started learning cello, so that's the one example, but every year I tried to do something a little bit new and then spice things up so that I can always feel like I'm active in doing something. So I'm not always doing the same thing over and over. Yeah.

[00:42:44] So also like sports.

[00:42:45] So I've been, athlete, I'll consider myself an athlete author my throughout my childhood. And then also that also contributes to who I am as well, because you're always, if you're doing sports, you always lose and you have to figure out how you can overcome it and to be a better athlete.

[00:43:00]That's like constant all the time. And I think. It makes you a better person as well. And just as you can challenge adversity. You can overcome adversity. And so I've been practicing jiu-jitsu for about 10 years now. And and this is also, I always find that it's a sport where even though you think you're at a certain level, there's always somebody better than.

[00:43:24] Even though the Lex experience or something, I'm also, I'm getting older. I don't have the cardio that I used to have when I was 16 years old. There's always this challenges, even though you get better, you still have, bigger challenges. Oh, I feel as you're getting better, there's more and more challenges because you don't see the challenges when you were either.

[00:43:41]Ripe, you don't see the bigger world of that sport when you're starting out. But once you get better and you acquire all these knowledges, more challenges, you see a lot more, difficulties in this sport to get better than you. And then it's also challenging for me as well.

[00:43:54] So I just keep up with that. Like podcasting. So I started this podcasting about ear and a half ago, and that was also challenged because I was very stage shy kind of person. I D I don't like to talk in public if I ended up in a large group of people, I'm usually the quiet one that doesn't really speak more of an introvert, 

[00:44:12] Jolie Downs: [00:44:12] how'd you get past it to get your podcasts out there? Cause I, I can contest it. There's a lot. There's a lot of emotions that come up when you put out a podcast.

[00:44:19] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:44:19] Yes, exactly. So I, cause, cause I knew that, being in this blockchain crypto world, I need to get on stage and cause there's a lot of conferences around it. So I actually took a lesson on public speaking and that actually made me quite confident. And that was that I put myself up to as well.

[00:44:37]And I learned all that kind of skill sets and to be necessary and to actually not be so frightened on stage. But, all this COVID thing hidden. And I was thinking, there's gotta be a better way to, for me to connect. Cause I don't like to do like virtual conferences cause you're not really in front of people in that sense.

[00:44:56] And I started taking recording this podcast in a studio, prior to COVID, but I had to bring it in. And buy all these microphones and stuff. And I had to learn how to do video editing. And I learned all that through, last year. Cause I knew nothing about equipments. I didn't know anything about the softwares and video and audio editing.

[00:45:16] So I watched tons of YouTube videos and read a lot of blogs and stuff to learn how to do all these things. And and then I could keep. With my public appearances, even though it's recorded. But it's still gets me activated to speak. And I want to keep this up because it's actually really.

[00:45:35] Engaging, it's very, you learn a lot of stuff. So mine podcasts encompasses all the kind of businesses and technologies that we're building today. So it's not just on cryptocurrencies, by a talk about AI or gene editing and all of these different things. And that goes along with spirituality and philosophical topics as well.

[00:45:53] So it could, because I feel that, we're building all these businesses and, the technologies with, if you don't have the ethical values to create. Something That's useful for people, not for profit, it changes humans in a way that's, it's for the betterment of society.

[00:46:08] That's the business that I believe we should be creating. So that's what I want the, that I talk about in my podcast now, how to be, become better as a human being, to create a better society. So you have to start with yourself and then project that into the world. 

[00:46:23] Jolie Downs: [00:46:23] Oh, we need more of that. So good. And where can people find more information about you if they want to, if they wanna learn about your podcast or learn about what you're doing? Is there any place that they.

[00:46:34] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:46:34] now. So my future design podcast is on YouTube and all the major audio podcasts sites, and I have a website, WW dot F D. Dot co and I'm active on LinkedIn. My full name is there. And I don't really do other socials to be honest cause I think it's always a time. 

[00:46:53] Jolie Downs: [00:46:53] Yeah. Perfect. We'll add those LinkedIn's to that. And so people can connect with you on LinkedIn and take a look at everything. 

[00:46:58] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:46:58] Much. 

[00:46:59] Jolie Downs: [00:46:59] this has been absolutely wonderful though. I have so enjoyed our talk before you go. I want to ask you my last question. What is it that you are sure of in life?

[00:47:13] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:47:13] Wow. That's a big question.  I think your action is only thing that's shortened life. I think that your reality that you're creating is your own doing so there's a lot of things in the world that you can't control, but things that you can control it's. It's the reality that you're creating for yourself is really based on yourself.

[00:47:34] So what I'm sure about is that the reality on creating, whether it be trying to be happy or being helpful to other people or taking something negative comments to me, and then feeling a certain way, everything is those things are in your control. So the reality that you create for yourself, how you see the world.

[00:47:54] How you want others while I wouldn't say how others, but how you want to see the world is really based on how you think the world should be like, so you know what you want to be sure about. And I think this is, very true, cause I, I experienced it for myself as well. You have to take action for yourself.

[00:48:12]You can't let others decide how your life is going to be. Your life?

[00:48:17] is for your own to create. And then the things that you can't control, just let it go 

[00:48:24] Jolie Downs: [00:48:24] That's all you can do, 

[00:48:25] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:48:25] it go. Yes, exactly. Because you can take all those things that you can't control and then feel negative about yourself but you can also make the choice not to carry.

[00:48:34]And then that's your kind of world. If you want to keep your world positive, then try to keep everything positive, everything, how you feel about this world is about all depends on you. 

[00:48:44] Jolie Downs: [00:48:44] Yes, you're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. And does a choice. You get to make that choice. 

[00:48:50] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:48:50] It's a choice. 

[00:48:51] Jolie Downs: [00:48:51] thank you so much for this. It's been fantastic. 

[00:48:54] Takatoshi Shibayama: [00:48:54] Yeah. Thank you very much. I had a great time.


Jolie Downs


I loved Takatashi’s story, there is so much to learn from him. 


When he graduated and was looking at potential professions, he really didn’t know what he wanted to do. Which lets be honest, is the experience for a large majority of people, it’s hard to know what you want to do at a young age when you are still figuring out life. Takatashi decided he wanted to give the financial world a try. He found a role in the financial field but found it wasn’t quite right and was fired after a year and a half. Instead of throwing himself right back into a similar role, Takatashi spent time thinking about what he really wanted to do. He knew he wanted to stick with the finance industry and prove himself so he did the wise thing, he spent time researching the industry and figuring out what was most suitable with his personality. 


He found a loan collector opportunity and surprisingly found it to be one of the most enjoyable times of his career. This is because instead of focusing on the money owed, he focused on the people who were in debt. Why were they in debt? He learned about their business models and helped them make business changes so they could grow and pay off their debt. His focus was not on how could he help himself grow in his business, his focus was on how could he help others grow in theirs – it’s no coincidence that this ended up being one of Takatashi’s most enjoyable careers. This is one of the key universal truths, one of the golden threads that are found through all of these stories. 


When a person begins to focus on the value they can bring others, this seems to be the catalyst for true overall success, life satisfaction and fulfillment. 

The overall key to success, it is discovering and honoring your personal gifts, figuring out how to fill yourself up with those gifts and then once you are full and you have grown strong in that right place.  

You Follow it up with: Now how can I use these gifts to be of service to others? 

When the financial crisis hit, Takatashi found himself let go in a difficult economy. Once again, he spent the time thinking about what he wanted in his life, what would make sense for his next step and once again, he focused in on a new area of learning and growth within his chosen industry. 


I want to note that this is a huge key to success – the pausing and taking the time to reflect on what you really want. A large percentage of the population never stops moving long enough to focus on even thinking about that question or they’ve been told by others who and what they are for so long they never considered looking within or they are so consumed with satisfying their base needs that they think they don’t have the luxury of wants. 

This is a mistake. 

It all starts with the wants. 

There is power in finding clarity and getting clear on your goals. This process triggers your reticular activating system causing you to see the world in a new way. You’ll start to notice the potential all around you and it will feel like doors suddenly start to open. 



Takatashi is a perfect example of this, he figured out his wants and then once he found clarity, he went out and landed excellent roles within his new chosen area. Takatashi was continuously hired within leading companies every time he decided to make a change within the financial industry. His secret? He knew what he wanted and he focused in on his why during his interview. And this was easy for Takatashi to do because he had spent time thinking about what he wanted and why – again, when you know what you want, when you are clear on your goals, magic happens. 


When a company is interviewing and they are talking with many people who have the skill set who could do the job, they will look at the overall accomplishments of these candidates and compare but the person who can express WHY they want that particular job and WHY they want that particular company, will have an advantage over everyone else. Companies want people who want their company, who want their position, not just any company or any position. Think about it, are you more attracted to someone who says, I just want a new girlfriend or boyfriend, really, any girlfriend/boyfriend will do as long as they are ok with x, or are you attracted to someone who sees the special beauty in you, who doesn’t want others, they only want you. It’s more intoxicating right? It’s the same in business. Knowing what you want and why you want it is a powerful force that is felt and respected. 


Takatoshi realized he wanted to get into hedge funds and learn that corner of the finance world. He once again got an excellent job and excelled as a hedge fund manager for 15 years. He was highly successful at his work but after so many years, he found himself once again feeling burned out, feeling unsatisfied. He was working for one of the top hedge funds in the world but he wasn’t enjoying it. The more he succeeded in traditional financial terms, the less he enjoyed it. He had the money, he had the prestige but he didn’t have the fulfillment. He was not satisfied, he was not happy. 


Takatoshi decided that it was time to try and go out on his own, he was going to create his own hedge fund and see if he could find that satisfaction he was searching for. He started the fund with 200 million and grew it to one billion in asset under management – he was doing extremely well, he was making tons of money, he would be seen as a huge success by many peoples outward/societal standards but as we’ve learned from all of these stories, that societal view of money being the mark of success, it’s entirely false. Takatashi found himself at the peak of his financial game and even though he had grown this hedge fund into exactly what he had dreamed of, he was not happy. He was always grumpy, at work and at home. This was no way to live, he was living an unsatisfied life and he realized he needed to make a change to build the life that would bring him fulfillment. 


I want to applaud Takatashi for this decision, it could not have been easy and I’m sure family and friends were asking him why? Why would you leave this incredible business you’ve built for yourself – it shows incredible strength of character and spirit to recognize when you are unhappy in a situation (especially one with such golden wrapping) and actually do something about it. Takatshi’s experience is one we can all learn from.


Once again, Takatashi took some time off, he reflected and gave himself space to get back in touch with himself and what is important. What he learned from his experiences is invaluable. He had thought that if he grew a big business, if he earned so much money, then he would be happy. He had thought happiness was tied to goals – but through his experiences, he learned this belief was wrong. Happiness isn’t about goals, it’s about shedding the things you don’t like in your life and filling it with the things that you do. Once Takatashi was able to leave the things he didn’t like behind he found his life filling up with the good, the negative feelings dissolved and he was left with a feeling of contentment. 


What is in your life that you no longer want? What are the things you don’t want that are taking up your time? Can you shed these from your life? 

What are the things that bring you joy? That fill you up? That make you smile? Can you add more of these to your life? Keep subtracting the negative and adding the positive and you’ll find a wonderful recipe for happiness. 


Takashi was able to merge the things he loved within the finance industry and the aspects of the work he enjoyed the most, in helping others and brought that together in his cryptocurrency work. He found his way by listening to himself. As he shared, being true to yourself is key to being successful in life. Don’t listen to society, to social media, to financial figures saying big business and big money equals success. Takatashi experience the peak of both and he found himself unhappy. You must create your own definition of success and own it. 


Take Takatashi’s advice, imagine yourself on your death bed reliving what you did in your past. What do you feel proud of? What do you regret? What makes you happy about your life? Did you do what you wanted to do? Will you be remembered how you want to be remembered? What kind of legacy are you leaving your loved ones and the world? 


Did you have fun on your journey? Was your journey worth it? 


What are the answers the come up for you? 


If you’re not living the life you’ll feel good about in that moment of reckoning, here’s the good news – today, you are alive and you can do something to change it. Get in touch with the answers to these questions and go out and create the life you were meant to lead.  


I absolutely loved Takatashi’s answer for his greatest success. To me, this is one of life’s greatest lessons to learn. He shared that for him, success has been the enjoyment and respect of his journey. He understands that if he had not had his down points in life, he would not have reached his great points. His struggles have led to his accomplishments and he’s learned that whatever happens in this life, regardless of how it might be viewed by others or how difficult it might be for him, he wants to embrace and love the whole thing – all the ups and downs – all the life changing points – all the pieces of his experiences create the magical tapestry that is his life. 


This makes me think of the Chinese proverb about life that goes something like this:


A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no. We shall see.”

A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no. We shall see.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no. We shall see.”

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no. We shall see.”

And so on and so forth. No event can be judged as good or bad as only time will reveal the whole story. 


The next time some perceived negative happens in your life, can you reserve your judgment and think maybe yes, maybe no, we shall see. The universe is constantly changing, perhaps there is something in this change meant for the betterment of me? 


Finally, I loved Takatashi’s answer to what he is sure of in life, that everything you feel about this world, is your choice. He knows There is so much in this life that we cannot control but he is sure that you can control your own action, you can control your own thoughts and you can control the reality you create for yourself. So that is my wish for us all, that you take action for yourself and for your wants, keeping your thoughts positive and creating the life of your personal dreams. 


Until Next time

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