Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Concept of "Yoyuu"

In the Japanese language, there is a word, 余裕 'yoyuu' (pronounced 'yo-you'), that means something like 'reserve, wiggle-room, surplus, leeway'. The word is used to convey an action that is done without excessive use of one's resources and energy.

Two people talking at a business meeting:
Person 1: レポートを書いた? ("Hey, you finished the report yet?")
Person 2: うん、余裕。("Yeah, It was no problem.")

A spectator watching a world class athlete in action:
Spectator: わあ、すごい!余裕だ! ("Wow, they are awesome! It looks so effortless!")

The term implies confidence in and mastery of a given situation.

Yoyuu can also be used negatively to describe a situation or action that requires all of one's attention and effort to complete. Used negatively, it implies a lack of control and composure, and that one is overwhelmed. It is worth noting that although hard work and diligence are virtues of the highest order in Japanese culture, not having yoyuu is always a BAD thing.

Two friends talking:
Friend 1: 仕事は忙しいけど、映画をみる? ("Hey, I know work is busy, but you want to see a movie?")
Friend 2: いやああ、ごめん。今はちょっと余裕がないわ。。。 ("Man, sorry but I don't have time/money/physical-emotional wherewithal right now.")

In training and learning, there should be a gradual (but not linear) increase in capacity and competence. We are expanding our wherewithal so that we create a reserve in task efficacy where there was little before. To create yoyuu, you do NOT repeatedly put yourself in situations without it - you practice performing with yoyuu to get more of it.