Kodawari: Long live the perfectionists!

Ari Meisel Featured Image

Ever seen a Japanese bonsai tree?

That’s your business.

Even if you’re dealing with Excel sheets, you’re a craftsman. And the Japanese get that.

In fact, they even have a word for doing things perfectly, and I came across it in Helena Escalante’s excellent newsletter:


One definition says it means to obsess with details. Another (and this is a very accurate one) is: a sincere, unwavering focus on what you’re doing, with a goal of making it perfect.

Now, you don’t want to get bogged down by the details or miss the forest for the trees, but Kodawari is a standard that we set for ourselves when we refuse to cut corners on something important.


The most incredible things were created because the creators wouldn’t compromise.

Steve Jobs created Apple because he was focused. He wanted things to be done not just any way, but the right way. It’s not just perfectionism, it’s the craft of doing things perfectly because you know it can be done better.

If you look at the Japanese, you can see it’s really ingrained in their culture. They take pride in their attention to detail.

Have you ever seen Japanese pastries? They look perfect, inside and out.

When I was in Tokyo, I saw these young ladies in nice uniforms, cleaning the streets with a dustpan; with focus, pride, and craftsmanship.

That’s Kodawari in action.

I’m always saying that we don’t want to get stuck in the details, what we want to do is focus on that ONE detail.

That one detail is really worth it, and I’m willing to spend 10 minutes on it because what I’m going to uncover, will have real value for me.

Perfection takes time, don’t rush it.

It’s not necessarily more efficient for the process, but the benefits carry over. There’s such a satisfaction when you remove one step from a process, and it’s incredibly motivating.

Invest your time in the beneficial details. Clip that leaf over and over again, even if no one else understands. You are the leader and you know what is right for your business.

Kodawari means knowing your craft even better, and making your business the best it can be.

It’s not just perfectionism — it’s relentless devotion. You started your business with passion but it’s easy to slip up and say: this will do.

It won’t.

This is your craft. Don’t cut corners.

Take pride in it.

tl;dr What can we learn from Kodawari?

1. Know when not to compromise.

2. Perfection takes time.

3. Don’t focus on making things perfect — focus on doing them perfectly.

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