Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 20: Encouragement for Youth [20.11]

20.11 Trustworthiness Is the Greatest Asset for Youth

Reflecting on his own struggles in his youth, President Ikeda stresses how important it is for young people to gain others’ trust and not be afraid of making mistakes.

Trust is an essential requirement for human life. For young people, in particular, trustworthiness is their greatest asset. A young person who fails to build trust is very unlikely to succeed.

Trust is difficult to build, yet easy to destroy. The trust one has worked hard to accumulate over a decade can be lost by a thoughtless word or action at a crucial moment. Carefully crafted facades tend to crumble at a critical juncture.

Those who persevere through hardships to carry out their own mission will ultimately win the trust of all around them.

I reserve the highest respect and admiration for those who, though having jobs that may be unexciting and out of the limelight, conscientiously apply themselves to their work, day in and day out, and patiently keep striving to improve themselves, one step at a time.

Though the trust of others is indeed precious, it can be ruinous for young people to adopt an overly cautious attitude, always playing it safe. The failures you experience at times in your youth can be incredibly valuable in building the foundation for your future. Young people should be aware of the fact that they are not perfect, and try to live each day with courage, true to themselves.

Those who lead resolute lives, who possess an invincible spirit and are able to rise up from the depths of despair like phoenixes from the ashes, are much more likely to achieve brilliant victory in the end than those who have never experienced failure or disappointment. We should not be afraid of failure or mistakes, but of letting them defeat us.

Allowing one or two setbacks to discourage us is foolish. Life is a long, long journey. However wonderful or successful our lives may seem along the way, if we end up suffering unhappiness and defeat in our final years, nothing could be more tragic.

Please advance courageously with the conviction that the more mistakes you make in your youth, the more you can build the foundation for a new chapter in your life and lifelong happiness.

It’s also important as young people to have the guts and integrity to honestly admit your errors. Never be so cowardly as to refuse to admit your mistakes and instead blame them on others.

Being open-minded enough to calmly reflect and pinpoint where you went wrong can become the source of future value creation.

There is nothing more reassuring, refreshing, or beautiful than young people striving hard toward a goal. Nothing in all the world is more beautiful than the earnest struggles of youth.

From Watashi wa ko omou (My Thoughts), published in Japanese in May 1969.

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.