Kaizen (改善)- The art of continuous life improvement

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The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step - Lao Tzu

Kaizen(改善) is a japanese philosophy that can help you to improve the efficiency and quality of your daily life. Its the same philosophy that helped Japan get back on its feet after the terrible destruction it faced during second world war.

Kaizen way is about implementing small changes, monitoring their results and then making adjustments wherever needed. This way over a period of time, these small improvements have compounding effect which can have life changing results.

Meaning of Kaizen and the improvement loop

Fig 1: Meaning of Kaizen and the improvement loop

Table of Content

Pearl of Wisdoms

Lets go through some pearls of wisdom that are critical in the successful implementation of Kaizen concepts.

Don’t try to do everything perfectly. It’s alright even if you get it 50% right

Life is rarely perfect. What’s more important is that we’re doing the work, achieving goals and getting things done. We can start doing this by aiming for a 50-80% solution.

Getting things done is more important than perfection. We can always make adjustments later as we go along.

We need to remember Gall’s law here: > Every complex system evolved from a simpler system.

Whenever you commit an error, acknowledge and correct it immediately

Mistakes are part of life. Everyone makes them!

Once a mistake happens, we must accept it, acknowledge it, especially if it impacts other people in your environment.

Ask an airplane pilot and he’d tell you that a plane is rarely on it due course. Its always slightly off during its entire journey. However, the pilot or autopilot mode keeps adjustment to ensure that it reaches its destination. The same holds true for personal development.

You should ask “Why” at least 5 times and try to find the root causes

Why? has a lot of inherent power in it!

If there’s a strong why associated with something, ‘how’ definitely comes up after some time. Asking why repeatedly can help you unearth new layers and get to the root cause of the issue.

The smartest people are not the ones who have all the answers, but the ones who ask the right questions!

Go after wisdom, and not just knowledge

Wisdom is the ability to take actions based on our cumulative knowledge, insights, experiences, common sense…

How do we get more wisdom? * If we really want to be successful at something, the best way to get about it is by asking a group of people who’ve already been there and done that and learn from their wisdom.

How do we connect with these people?

  • If we can’t connect with them 1-1 , we can always read their books, blogs, watch their videos, listen to their podcasts.

  • We can also go to many internet forums where we can actively participate, surround ourself with like minded people and brainstorm together.

Your true potential and wisdom gets revealed only in hardship

Embrace the hardship! Embrace everything!

Even though challenges are undesirable, they are normally tremendous learning opportunities

Always be thankful and take full responsibility, it puts you in the strongest position.

Rather than thinking ‘why something can’t be done’, think about how you can do it.

Have a clear vision of where you are going, what you want to achieve and why, and ‘how’ will gradually reveal itself more and more.

As you take action, your vision will become clearer and cleared and it might also evolve into something else. The universe in some way rewards the one who dares to follow their heart.

Get rid of the conventional notions

Statistics reveal that 95% of the global population is not at all interested in taking any life-improvement steps. Conventional wisdom suggests that there’s no need to keep learning throughout one’s life.

People must continue to learn and improve. We need to keep growing as that is in our true nature.

References

  • Book : Kaizen Way - The art of continuous life improvement
  • Author: Nicolas Carter

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