Soichiro Honda is the man responsible for all those Honda cars and motorcycles you see on every street. This one man went through so much crap and never backed down. It’s a remarkable story to really get you motivated.
Mr. Honda started out as a poor student whose dream was to design a piston ring that he could sell to Toyota. He went to school every day, and every night he would work on his piston ring. After years of effort, he finally designed the piston ring he was sure Toyota would buy. When he took it to them, they rejected it.
That Didn’t Stop Him
Honda returned to school, ridiculed for his failure, but he didn’t give up. He spent two more years improving his piston ring. Finally, Toyota bought it the design. Now, Honda needed a factory to manufacture his product.
Where There’s a Will There’s a Way
Japan was in a depression and gearing up for WWII at the time. As a result, there was no available concrete for Honda to build his factory with. Instead of giving up, Honda and some friends worked around the clock for weeks to create a new way to manufacture concrete. He built his factory and was finally able to produce his piston rings.
The story doesn’t end here. During the war, the United States bombed his factory, destroying most of it. Instead of becoming depressed, Honda leaped into action, collection the used fuel canisters that the bomber planes would toss as they flew by. These canisters provided raw materials that were impossible to get in Japan due to the dire circumstances. Then, an earthquake leveled his factory and he was forced to sell his piston operation to Toyota.
Inspiration from Hard Times
After the war, resources where extremely scarce in Japan. Gasoline was rationed, and Honda couldn’t even get enough gas to get him to the market for groceries. This didn’t phase him though. In fact, it inspired him. He put a small, scrap motor onto a bike and created the first ever motorized bicycle. He drove it to and from the market, and pretty soon his friends were asking him to make some for them, too.
His bikes were popular, and he decided that he would make a factory so that he could produce more of them. But he had no money, and Japan had no resources.
To fund his factory he decided to write a letter to every single bicycle shop owner in Japan, asking them to invest in his bike. He sent out letter to 18,000 bike shops! 3,000 people invested and Honda was on his way…
Initially the bike was too bulky, and very few Japanese bought it. So he redesigned the bike and made it much lighter and smaller. He called it The Cub, and it became an overnight success winning Honda the Emperor’s Award. Everyone looked at him and thought how “lucky” he was to have come up with this idea.
Today, Mr. Honda’s company is one of the most successful in the world. Honda Corporation now employs over 100,000 people. It’s funny that Honda outsells Toyota now, but back in the day Toyota rejected Honda’s ideas. This is all possible because Mr. Honda never gave up. He never let problems or circumstances get in his way. He decided that there is always a way to succeed if you’re really committed.