Q&A with Ken Honda

By: Niki Shadrow Snyder

  1. NS:  Tell us about yourself and what you do?  KH:  I’m known as the “Happy Zen Millionaire”, and I am a Japanese bestselling author and speaker who writes mainly about money and happiness.  I’ve published over 120 books in Japanese, but just recently I published my first major English work called Happy Money. It’s my dream to help people heal their unhappy experiences and beliefs about money in order to live more satisfying, joyful lives, not just in Japan but in every country in the world.
  2. NS:  How did you personally move the needle in 2020?  KH:  I think the biggest impact I had in 2020 was made possible by moving most of my speaking events online. Up until this year, the majority of my speaking events were all offline. However, after I started sharing my content online through platforms like YouTube and Facebook, I reached more than 10 million new viewers and I feel like it gave me the opportunity to inspire many more people with the message that we can get through this together.
  3. By moving to an online platform, I was able to encourage more people to do more acts of kindness and be more willing to share what they have with those in need. Thanks to my community and the messages I was able to share with them, millions of dollars have been raised for those in need. People who were at a loss for what to do are now starting to help one another. For example, many in my community started crowdfunding to help small businesses, stores, and restaurant owners. All of these acts of kindness were so beautiful and touching to see. 
  4. The biggest impact I had this year was to remind people that while one side of the 2020 coin looks like a crisis, the other is a great opportunity to start showing kindness and love for one another. 
  5. NS:  How did you deal with the stress in the world in 2020?  KH:  Actually, I’ve always been fairly good at managing stress, so this year wasn’t much different. If I had to say one thing in particular, I think that interacting with people more frequently online probably helped me feel relatively less stress than others during this year. This is because although we may be so far apart and unable to meet in person, I am still able to feel so deeply connected, especially with friends overseas. In fact, I think I’m talking a lot more with family members and friends than I did last year. This is the best stress-relief I could ask for.
  6. NS:  Do you have any advice for your younger self? KH:   Don’t worry so much. Your life will show up all on its own, whether you worry or not. 
  7. NS:  What did you do in 2020 that you’re most passionate about?  KH:  This year my family and I were passionate about supporting the economy as much as possible, so one fun way we did that was by shopping and buying many different things.  Actually, we spent a lot more money than usual.  For example, we renovated our house and office and tried to take every opportunity to spend money so more businesses and people would benefit from the extra flow. I also started supporting individuals financially, too.  I made arrangements with many people who were having an especially hard time that I will keep wiring enough money for them to make a living as long as they need it.  Since I happen to make enough for my family with enough left over to support other families, it’s only natural that helping others in this way brings me a deep sense of peace.  Now I feel even more joy in every cent I earn because I know that it will all go out to support as many people as possible. 
  8. NS:  What was the worst part of 2020 for you?  KH:  Missing out on connecting in person with my friends.  I especially miss hugging people.  I have always been a huge hugger, but hugging strangers right now could be a lethal offense, punishable by law.  So that would be the worst part of this year for me, not being able to touch, shake hands, and hug people anymore.
  9. NS:  What was the best part of 2020 for you?  KH:  I found myself again as a leader to inspire people.  I am so happy that I am capable of doing so through both writing and speaking. This year, doing more international work and events in English and other languages was also so fulfilling. 
  10. NS:  What does success mean to you?  KH:  Success means doing what I love, with the people I love, where I love to do it, all at the perfect timing. 
  11. NS:  What causes are important to you?  KH: Supporting people to find their life purpose is the cause closest to my heart.  This is my personal mission in life.  I don’t know how global it is as a movement overall, but I believe finding your life purpose is very important and can make a huge difference in the quality of life for both you and everyone you love.    
  12. NS:  Do you think the world right now needs to be influenced by what they can get or what they can give in the middle of this pandemic? KH:  Life exists in balance of both giving and receiving.  Both are necessary.  For those who have more than enough, they can influence best by sharing what they have. For those who are struggling, they can influence best by learning how to receive better and accept help from the outside. None of us are in this alone.