If you find yourself drowning in a sea of bad habits, know that there’s one Japanese practice that could save you quite instantaneously.
It’s called Kaizen and it’s been around for some time. It’s pretty much a brain trick if you haven’t known already.
Kaizen translates to “good change.” The technique basically involves the use of small steps to improve conditions over a period of time. Instead of drastic overhauls, it values modest yet steady alterations to achieve goals.
The idea is often encouraged in business organizations. According to Lifehacker, it’s a philosophy that first appeared just after World War II when Japanese businesses realized that they could simply do better. Inspired by Western competitors, companies embraced it wholeheartedly, paving the way for the economic powerhouse that Japan is today.
But then again, its application is not limited to industries. More and more people are beginning to apply its six basic principles in their daily lives. As per Thrive Global, these include: (1) asking small questions, (2) thinking small thoughts, (3) taking small actions, (4) solving small problems, (5) giving small rewards and (6) identifying small moments.
Let’s appreciate Kaizen principles as “X” applies them:
X is your typical 25-year-old procrastinator. He works at a law firm five days a week, but he sometimes logs on Saturdays just so he can “maximize productivity.” Unfortunately, that never worked out as he only browsed cases aimlessly, without making substantial reports. Worse, he often comes late during weekdays, which led to his recent probationary status.
X knows he needs to change. Luckily, he stumbled upon Kaizen in one of his lazy shifts. He began asking himself, “What’s one small thing I can do to get things done?”
X then visualized himself going through the bulk of papers on his table. In his head, he finished writing one report on time. It’s a small achievement, but he’s happy about it–his boss, too.
X knew what to do. Instead of wasting time drafting his idealistic “work schedule,” he jumped right into one case and opened a blank document in his computer. He actually started writing!
At this point, X realized that he was only procrastinating because he was not motivated to work. Having identified the bigger problem, he thought of researching on ways to get inspired in his job. He did so after completing the report.
X finished his report in just an hour–a rare feat as he called it. He decided to reward himself with a slice of a five-star cheesecake.
Abiding by Kaizen, X then monitored his thinking and behavior the following day, taking note of small moments that may cause him distractions. These include petty temptations such as gossiping with colleagues, which he successfully avoided by sticking up with the mantra, “Grind now, party later.”
Soon enough, he found himself lifted out of the probationary status and even promoted to an associate position!
X is, of course, hypothetical, but his example shows the practical use of Kaizen.
It’s time for you to do the same!