I learned about Kaizen a few years ago.
The term kaizen combines two Japanese terms.
“Kai” means “change” and “zen” means “for the better,” so the two
The term “Continuous Improvement” adequately describes what is meant here. The idea is to improve by 1% each day.
Following WWII, the concept of kaizen was established as a commercial strategy.
However, support for the philosophy expanded rapidly among the wider public.
The idea behind Kaizen was to improve one’s life by making incremental but steady progress toward a specific objective.
The impact of Kaizen on my life and how it can affect yours
But before I share how Kaizen has changed my life, there’s something you should know about me.
Throughout my life, I’ve strived for absolute excellence. My entire life, I’ve strived for perfection in all I do.
You can probably predict how many tasks I’ve finished (or begun) with this outlook. Exactly. It’s practically identical to zero.
But learning about Kaizen was a revelation.
The pressure to be perfect was lifted from me. When I let go of the need to know everything from the start, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
It may take longer to see results and accomplish your objectives, but who cares if you enjoy the ride? The answer is no, not from me (anymore).
You will eventually succeed if you consistently put in the effort required to accomplish even the smallest of gains. That is something I know for sure.
Ways to incorporate Kaizen into your daily routine
The question then becomes how to initiate the mental transition from an outcome-based to a process-based approach.
- Simplifying this into manageable chunks:
- Put your aspiration in writing.
- Dissect the task into manageable chunks.
- Regardless of how modest, take action today to move you closer to your objective.
- Follow through with it then. Today.
- Every day, do steps 3 and 4.
- See the momentum build up.
- You should be willing to make course corrections as you go.
- When you change your attention from the final product to incremental steps toward it, you remove the mental roadblock that it must be perfect from the get-go.
Do your best to improve by 1% each day.
This should be your daily objective from now on.
There is no better option than to take some action.
Do whatever it takes, even if it’s just a single step in the right direction.
Since taking any action is preferable to taking none at all.
You have writer’s block, right? To sum up, only a single sentence. That settles the matter. That’s today’s 1% increase in efficiency.
Because even just jotting down a single sentence is infinitely preferable to doing nothing at all. Further, once you begin writing, it’s difficult to quit.
The first sentence of this post was mine to write. Furthermore, did you know that… I continued to write.
Can you feel the potential?
If you make it a point to better yourself every day, you’ll be amazed at how much you can do in a year, much less three, five, or 10.
The magic of compound interest, right there.
Or, as the popular author James Clear puts it in his book Atomic Habits:
Keep your sights on daily baby steps toward your objective.
You should strive to improve by 1% each day.
Practicing this habit daily will pay dividends in the long run.
Keep in mind at all times:
The journey through life is not a race but a marathon.