Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that emphasises the value of continuous improvement. It is a business strategy in many traditional companies including those in the West. It is used as part of a long-term strategy for these companies. Could this be implemented in our personal lives as well? Personally, for us, it is all about finding new and creative ways to improve our life. Lao Tzu wrote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Taking your life to the next level requires you to take small steps in the kaizen way.
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Before we get into seeing the steps necessary to change our lives completely, we need to assess our life. What are the areas in which you are happy? What did you do in these areas that you are successful now? Which are the areas that you want to improve? What are the things you are planning to do to make it better? All of us are in a rut. Life is unpredictable that way, but most of the things are under your control, unlike the weather and changing government policies (unless you run the government. Hello sir!).
So what are the changes that you need to make to have a brilliant life?
Intent is something that has been highly underestimated. No matter how much resources you have to achieve something, if there is no intent to complete something at any cost, it is never going to see the light of the day because you are never motivated to lift a finger. Write down what you want to change in your life. Is it improving your sales skills? Getting more shut-eye? Using that treadmill which currently couples as a clothesline? Create a routine for each of these things that have the power to change your mood.
I learnt this at a seminar where the super-successful speaker was talking about how in life it is not really necessary to always know the ‘How’ but that one must always be aware of the ‘Why’. Let’s say you want to write a book. You do not know how to talk to a publisher, nor are you sure how much to charge for the book or even how to find people to interview for the book. The speaker says that these are things that will automatically you will learn when you are working on it. It will show itself through different people. You might meet a school friend by chance who is into book publishing and offers to help you out. This is how things usually happen to people with intent. The only thing you need to be clear about is the ‘Why’. Why do you want to write a book? Is that reason strong enough? Then you are set. If your motivations to do something is high, you will find a way or two to complete it.
Telling a lot of your folks that you are planning to read a book a month will surely put you in a position of vulnerability because your progress will be tracked by them. If you think you do not too much interference from people, you could find a friend who appreciates you to keep you on track. You could share your progress with him or her. Being held accountable pushes you to complete the tasks assigned or at least show some progress. All of this is good when your goal is to take incremental steps to better your life.
Rituals such as drinking a litre of water or a cold shower immediately on getting up are things that you need to build. If you like writing first thing in the morning, go to your study room and put yourself in such a state of mind that you would do it effortlessly. If you want to hit the gym at 6 AM, set your alarm for 5.30. And before you sleep, keep all the things that you require, including your gym clothes, protein shake, bike keys, etc., ready so that no obstacle can thwart your efforts to exercise. Simple. Create new habits that destroy destructive habits of behaviour and thought.
Following the above steps will create a huge impact in your life. Hang out with people who want the best for you. For better or worse, you become more like the people you always surround yourself with. Be grateful for the little things in life. Celebrate the smallest of things. Also, remember this – unless you start loving yourself, you are never going to live a happy life no matter how many earthly riches you possess.