Brief Guidances

Valuing the Basics

Life Lessons

Photo by Yvonne Ng


How did the eminent British historian Arnold J. Toynbee remain productive throughout his long life? He was at an advanced age when he shared his daily schedule with Ikeda Sensei during their extensive dialogue in 1973.

Professor Toynbee awoke every morning at 6:45, prepared breakfast for himself and his wife, made his bed and began work by 9. At 84 years old, he kept regular working hours and continued his scholarly research.

Professor Toynbee’s motto? Laboremus, Latin for “Let’s get to work!”

Sensei recalled of their discussion: “In this simple description of his morning routine, I sensed his youthful spirit to treasure each day and keep learning and improving. His example also left me deeply impressed that truly outstanding individuals, no matter what their age or circumstances, remain tirelessly committed to the pursuit of learning and self-development” (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, p. 235).

For us, a vigorous morning gongyo is the key to a productive day, putting us on the path to solid progress—a point that Sensei said was reinforced by professor Toynbee: “[His] words reminded me that a good start in the morning and a regular lifestyle are indispensable to making each day productive and fulfilling. Those who go on to achieve eminence invariably value these important basics” (Ibid.).

In the same spirit, Laboremus—Let’s get to work!

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff