Ask Tomino: Q.01 How Do I Become More Decisive?

I mentioned in my Tomino X Araki interview that a book collecting a section of Animage called “Ask Tomino” had been released not too long ago. I finally got around to translating them, and while they generally have nothing to do with anime, it is interesting to watch a well-known outspoken director, such as Tomino, attempt to help people in their daily struggles.

Q. How do I become more decisive?

Tochigi Prefecture • Sandal • 17

Hello Mr. Tomino,

To get to the chase, I have something I want to ask you. For the longest time, I’ve lacked the decisiveness to choose one thing over the other. In an average day, I flip flop on everything from what to wear, to which placement test to take and which university to choose — mulling over each for an exorbitant amount of time. It would be great if I could make decisions like “BAM,” but I get stuck on “well, that’s good, but that’s also good” or “that’s bad, but, uh, that’s bad too, ” and I don’t know which one is best. Do you have any advice on how to be more decisive? Thank you in advance.

A. Without the confidence to follow through, you lose decisiveness. Try harder in your studies and bury your hesitations and worries!

In the Vancouver Olympics, snowboarder Kokubo Kazuhiro received a lot of backlash for his attitude during an interview while in full uniform [1]. I won’t commend his behavior, but the fact that he showed up with his nose piercing and pants hanging low is Kokubo Kazuhiro’s way of showing that he makes decisions. However, there is one thing you can’t overlook. Because he had the guts to fight on a world stage like that, he could get away with his attitude and speech. To reach his goal, he devoted a lot of work and time and didn’t go into anything half-heartedly.

If you think about this, the answer is simple, Sandal, you’re just lazy. You are going back and forth between something you think is bad, and something else that might be bad because you haven’t decided anything for yourself up to this point — in other words, because you’re useless, you can’t decide on anything. For lazy people, when they are deciding between this and that, they waste far too much time. Even if you try and put your thoughts into words, that’s the extent of your ability; if you can’t reach a decision, you probably find yourself asking other people. Naturally, the questions you are asking are something you can’t ask other people. Rather, you should be ashamed to ask others. You’ll lose worth by making no decisions, and before you know it, you’ll be marking yourself as good as dead. But that would trouble those close to you. It would sadden them, and that’s why we can’t just have you going off to die a dog’s death.

I hope you are processing all this. Fundamentally, life is something only you can decide. Somewhere in the piles of hard work, you can find something befitting of you, and because of the trouble you went through, can you truly find happiness. With all the circumstances and compromises around us, no indecisive person in this world is living within the bounds of happiness. Keep doing nothing, and you’ll end up homeless.

If you indeed have no such decisiveness, then there is nothing left but force yourself to decide everything. You have to study to become the kind of person others will choose, or go to for request. First, start with studying to pass all of your tests. If thinking about changing everything is difficult, at least put some thought into it, and focus on your studies.

Sandal, doesn’t it anger you if someone tells you “Well, a failure is a failure?” If you possess even so much as a backbone, then we may have found a break through to your decisiveness. However, if you look at this and think, “I really am a failure…” then Sandal, I’m very worried for you.


April 2010

[1] In the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, snowboarder Kokubo Kazuhiro arrived at the airport for the games with his uniform shirt untucked, pants sagging, tie loosened and sunglasses and nose-piercing in full view. This upset the Japanese government and Japanese Ski Association to the point that he, and his coach and managers, were banned from the opening ceremonies. CNN article.

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