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Ken Honda: Taking A Zen Approach To Happiness And Money

Ken Honda, author of “Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money,” and the man who has been dubbed “the Zen Millionaire” on how people can take a Zen approach to happiness and money in order to enjoy their money and their lives even more.

Taking a Zen Approach to Happiness and Money


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  • The Zen approach invites us to think about ourselves not in terms of what we do, what we are worth, or what we have, but who we are.
  • Our purpose as humans is to “be.” Be present in the moment. Be fully grateful and in alignment with where our body and mind are at one time.
  • If you’re present in the moment, you aren’t thinking about the past – your mistakes, your issues, the harm done to you or your anger about it.
  • If you’re present in the moment, you’re not thinking about the future – its unexpected outcomes, its potential for disasters, or your fears about what could go wrong.

“Money cannot buy happiness,” says Ken. “Nothing can. However, I will contend that it is a lot easier to be present and free from anger about the past or free from worry about the future if money isn’t such an overwhelming force in one’s life. So yes, it’s true that money cannot buy happiness, but money certainly eases some of the discomfort in life. In other words, the less worry and stress you have, the more time you have to just be.”

Focus On Your Relationship with Money, Not Your Net Worth

“More money doesn’t equal more happiness,” Ken says. “Some people who barely make ends meet are still happy. How?”

To have a more Zen relationship with money:

  • Don’t stress about the future or things you can’t control.
  • Don’t believe in the myth of scarcity. Trust that you will always have what you need when you need it.
  • Spend money with love and joy, not fear about scarcity in the future.
  • Know that when money stress does happen, it is temporary and you will get through it.
  • Focus on being happy and grateful for all you have.

About: Money and happiness expert Ken Honda is a best-selling self-development author in Japan, with book sales surpassing seven million copies since 2001. His latest book is called “Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money” (June 4, 2019, Simon & Schuster). Ken studied law at Waseda University in Tokyo and entered the Japanese workforce as a business consultant and investor. Ken’s financial expertise comes from owning and managing several businesses, including an accounting company, a management consulting firm, and a venture capital corporation. His writings bridge the topics of finance and self-help, focusing on creating and generating personal wealth and happiness through deeper self-honesty. Ken provides ongoing support through mentoring programs, business seminars, therapeutic workshops, and correspondence courses.

Ken is the first person from Japan to be voted into the Transformational Leadership Council, a group of personal and professional development leaders. He is fluent in Japanese and English; lived in Boston, Massachusetts for two years; and currently resides in Tokyo, Japan. Learn more at KenHonda.com.