Today I want to call your attention to a word called Kaizen, which simply implies a strategy for achieving incremental improvement. Pronounced Ky-Zen.
On the first day on the first month of every year, it is an American tradition to try to change our behaviors simply by thinking it so. You can say the words, write your lists and dance on one foot until you actually believe that a change is coming. By February 15, at the very latest, you are the same person you left back at the New Year’s Party. Wishing and hoping doesn’t change people. Lists don’t change people. Wanting to change doesn’t change people.
So what does change people?
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The only way you will bring about any “positive” change to your habitual behavior is if you (1) begin seeing things differently, and (2) take consistent, small-steps toward change in a systematic and realistic fashion. In other words, once you start framing the world differently, and moving forward under control, you will have a honest chance to see some progress.
Example: Giving up french fried potatoes sounds like a logical thing to do since they play a major role in our obesity problem in America these days. But “logical” alone doesn’t do it, Cold turkey is a recipe for failure in most cases. Ask any crash dieter. But there is a way. The Kaizen Way.
Go buy yourself some french fries. Before you dig in, toss a single fry into the trash. Throwing a single potato stick away is simple. Then eat all the remaining fries. The next time you have a fry – toss two in the bin and begin chowing down. Three go the next time … and on you go. In six months, or there about, you will be buying a packet of french fries and eating just one… for $1.25. This will strike you as insane behavior and a total waste of money, and voila, you will have just kicked the habit.
Want to get into shape? Do one sit-up. Tomorrow, try two. The next day, one push- up will break the ice. Or, simply lace up your walking shoes on the first day of your new exercise regiment. On day two, walk to the mail box and back. On day three, walk to the corner. Before long, you will be enjoying a full 30 minute workout and actually looking forward to the experience. One day at a time, one step at a time.
There are other examples I can give of but I think you are getting the message. Stop fooling yourself. If you want to change … change. But do it realistically by following a method your mind and body can live with.
You can try fooling yourself into making progress in your health, your wealth or your business, but it will prove to be an exercise in futility.
If you adopt the Kaizen Way for self improvement, in six months you will be very proud of yourself. The choice is yours.
Editor’s Note: This week we will look into the concept of Lean Thinking as introduced by Mike Marchev in this article.