Shoganai

Shoganai is an important word in Japanese. It can be translated “it can’t be helped.”

Shoganai is an important word in Japanese. It can be translated “it can’t be helped.” It’s often used to describe Japanese culture, thinking and values. Shoganai is essentially a philosophy. It says that if something is out of your control it’s better to quickly accept it and move on.

While it is good advice we need to watch if something really is out of our control – it’s way too easy to shrug and think it is. If we get into this habit it can lead to learned helplessness.

This week’s piece of wisdom is related: If something surprises you, again and again, stop being surprised.


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Emotions matter. And the ability to express our feelings in ways that enrich our lived experience and our relationships with others rests upon a host of internal and interpersonal skills that are eminently learnable–and may take a lifetime to master.

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