Perhaps you’ve heard of the Japanese word Satori before (pronounced sat-oh-ree). In North America, we usually refer to the word when we’re talking about having an epiphany. In a broader sense, Satori also means to understand the true meaning of something or to detect something. In training, it means to release (or become free of) indecision and hesitancy, and in a spiritual sense it means to gain understanding beyond life and death, that of eternity.
I want to introduce you to another Japanese word. Heibon (pronounced hay-boe-n) combines two kanji to derive its meaning. The first is Hei, which means flat, normal, or ordinary. The second is Bon, which also means normal, but can refer to something that is plain, and it can also be used as a descriptive verb meaning whole, through-and-through or entirely.
Are you able to guess what Heibon means yet? The word Heibon is used to describe something that is average or ordinary. Said another way, it refers to someone or something that is wholly flat. I like that description.
As Jim Rohn or Jeff Olson would have it, everybody’s “life line” looks flat at first, but the reality is that we are all on an upward or downward curve. Either our health is improving, or it is getting worse. Either we’re investing in our personal growth or we’re leaving it to chance. Either we’re learning to budget and save, or we’re accumulating debt. And one area in life tends to affect the other.
The curve is sometimes hard to see because we tend to think in terms of quantum leaps. Either great things are happening, or terrible things are happening. Either life is exciting or it’s boring. Either we’re taking massive leaps forward or we’re not moving at all. The truth of the matter is that there’s a lot in between. There are a lot of seemingly ordinary days. There are a lot of bad events that turn out good (in fact, most of them do if you were to look at the whole series of events). How you spend your “ordinary” days tends to determine your future successes and victories.
The curse of Heibon is the curse of average. Average is not doing very well in today’s world. The average pile up debt, find themselves unhealthy and sickly in their Golden Years and ultimately full of regret. Again, the curve isn’t always conspicuous, but if you trace it back to daily decisions, compounded over time, it’s easy to see where success and failure originate from.
Don’t become a victim of the curse of Heibon. It’s never too late to get on the upward curve.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.