My own story (1) How a physics boy explored the truth of human development

In my last note, “What is the paradigm for integrating contradictions in management?” I discussed the 3+1 consciousness model (micro and differential perspectives) and the overall picture of management that integrates contradictions (macro and integral perspectives).

In this article, I hope that by sharing my own story, I can provide some background on why I have a theme like the previous note. The story goes back to my childhood, but I hope you’ll stay with me.

My “encounter” and “parting” with physics

I grew up in a family of four, my parents and my brother, who is four years older than me. My father was a professor of mathematics, and from an early age there were books on mathematics and physics on the shelves. I remember being fascinated by the theory of relativity, which states that time goes faster and slower, even at a very young age. My introduction to physics was a natural part of my life.

My older brother went to a high-level school and was very diligent, so studying and schoolwork was a natural part of my life. I don’t remember my parents forcing me to study; I just naturally and innocently walked the same path that my brother had taken. If there was something I didn’t understand, I would ask my father, who worked as a professor and a researcher next to me at home, for help.

At university, I explored physics, which I had been interested in since I was a child, and went on to graduate school in the field of particle physics, which I was particularly interested in. I wondered if I would go on to become an academic like my father. (My brother is also a scholar.)

However, the research environment in the world of physics is extremely tough, with 100 people of the same generation in the same field vying for three posts. Moreover, they are not only the most brilliant people I’ve ever met, but also people who seem to be thinking about physics day in and day out. I found myself unable to make the decision to compete with such people for the post of 3 out of 100.

At the same time, I make the decision to live in a different world than physics. I’m the type of person who can move quickly once I’ve made a decision, so I’m leaving the world of physics without any hesitation.

From there, I went on a job search and interviewed for jobs, focusing on financial traders as a field where my knowledge of physics could be used, or in the consulting industry, where I would be able to maximize the ability of legwork and headwork required in the business world. Becoming a trader was unsuccessful, and Boston Consult Group (“BCG”) offered me a position, where I started my working life.

The crucial difference between consulting and physics

My days at the consulting company were a constant learning experience, and the realization of growth was beyond my expectations. At BCG at the time, there were about 100 consultants and six new graduates joined at the same time, all of whom were of unique personality. Many of the people I worked with on projects came from large companies and central government agencies and were MBA holders, so every day was very stimulating.

Although I didn’t work on any projects with these new graduates of the same age, I think we grew together as good friends and rivals while respecting each other’s personalities.

For the first six months, I was just barely able to produce the requested output while being taught by the project leader and senior consultants. After about six months to a year, I started to grasp the knack of creating value-added output in my own way, and that’s when I started to enjoy my work even more, and the two and a half years passed very quickly.

After two and a half years, when I was promoted, I realized that my intention had started to come up in a slightly different way. The enjoyment of my work was exactly the same as before, but my energy was a little more stagnant than before. In retrospect, this was a gap between the nature of consulting, which is about coming up with individual solutions for clients, and my original willingness.

Consulting involves a process of setting issues, making hypothesis, and conducting testing, as well as a process of creating value through collaboration with the client, which are common regardless of the project. But basically, consulting work is to come up with individual solutions depending on the situation and context of the client company.

There is both value and rewards in the work of coming up with individual solutions. But for me personally, I have begun to dimly realize that I am a person who truly delights in general solutions, or “the quest for universal truths”. (It’s not a matter of right or wrong, it’s a matter of preference.)

The search for universal truth is exactly the same as the study of physics. Finding simple, beautiful truths that explain various phenomena. This is an activity I have been drawn to since I was a child, and it begins to become a theme throughout my life.

This is when the desire to create my own business began to surge, and I began to imagine what I would want to do and what kind of team I would want to build if I were to start a business. I also approached a friend from my university tennis club as a partner to work with, and we began to spend weekends preparing to start a business.
(As a side note, I wasn’t all about physics when I was in university, I was equally passionate about tennis or even more!)

During the first six months of preparing for my weekend entrepreneurship, I spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of social change I wanted to achieve.

Looking back on my life up to that point, I felt that I was able to get to this point in my life by choosing my best way from a variety of options when I was at a crossroads in my life. I believe this is because I was brought up in an environment where I was naturally exposed to a variety of learning experiences from an early age. Therefore, I naturally wanted to be involved in creating an educational infrastructure that would allow people to make their own choices.

I would also like to engage in the “quest for universal truth” in the realm of human development. What I have built up with this in mind has led me to my current business.

The subjective truth is not “what we have done”.

There is a key word in my mind, subjective truth. I’d like to talk about the subjective truth in detail in another article, but broadly speaking, it refers to what each of us thinks important and wants to achieve in our own subjective view.

My current passion (i.e. subjective truth) is to contribute to a society where there are many people living in subjective truth.

You can also read the subjective truth in my own experiences.

In my case, I realized that I am a person who wants to find a general solution through the experience of spinning out “individual solutions” when I was in consulting, which led me to start my own business. This “finding a general solution” was one of my subjective truths. And it originated from my childhood interest in physics.

What is important here is that the subjective truth does not appear in what you have done, but in what you resonate with in what you have done.

If I had thought that physics was all I had, I would have been stuck in the face of the harsh realities of being a researcher, and I wouldn’t have been able to realize what my true heart was telling me. (It’s not that the world of particle physics is bad. It’s just a story for me.)

In reality, however, I didn’t focus too much on physics itself, and it paid off. I’ve come to realize that I can live a rewarding life in the business world if it leads to the “quest for universal truth.”

If I were to summarize the change in my ISHIKI(consciousness) leading up to my entrepreneurship, it would be as follows.

“Subjective Truth = Physicist”
⇒ Confronted with contradictions in the real world

“Subjective Truth = Quest of universal truth that will last for 100 years”
⇒ Harmony with the world (as an entrepreneur)

I’ll talk about the post-startup story in my next post.

Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)

・What are the common, if any, between the things you have done in the past? What kind of connection, if any, would that be to your subjective truth?

Bunshiro Ochiai

Founder and CEO of a training company, Alue | MS in Particle Physics. | BCG | Questing “What is the paradigm for integrating contradictions in management?”