Kaizen is a philosophy of continuous improvement. Created in post World War II Japan to assist the country back on its feet after being devastated during WWII and being the test population for the atomic bomb. It involves a very oriental philosophy of incremental change. To observe and improve are the two main components. This fits very neatly with the process of conscious living.
A series of small changes is manageable – but very profound when viewed over a longer term.
What is Kaizen?
Kaizen is a very oriental philosophy of incremental change. To observe and improve are the two main components. This fits very neatly with the process of conscious living.
At its simplest, Kaizen means continuous improvement. In Japanese, Kai means to change or correct and Zen means good. A series of small changes is manageable – but very profound when viewed over a longer term. The effort to implement a small change is small, so it is easy to do.
The secret here is that the effect is cumulative. It also is a smart way of using the Law of Cause and Effect. The effort expended for a small change will return results quickly and will point clearly to the next change needed. Another small step.
Getting Started with Kaizen
The thing here is to start. In order to use Kaizen sensibly you will need to know two basic things:
- Where we are now and
- Where we want to go
Once those two are understood, the plan to achieve the desired change can be easily created. Understand that while the beginning and the ending are more clearly known, the path in the middle will wander a bit. We can allow this to a degree, but must be wary of missing the point and losing the plot.
The first changes will be fairly obvious, but are likely to be too big. Break them down to smaller steps that are easy to make. Once you are underway, the next small step will present itself clearly. A gentle hand on the tiller is all that is needed.
The Benefits of Kaizen
Every small step will return benefits. Each is a step in the desired direction. Small steps are easy to manage, but boy, do they add up over time – a form of compound interest in quality of life.
Think here of the story of the broken barrel. The barrel can only hold water to the level of the lowest stave. This means that in order to hold more water, the lowest stave must be repaired first.
Repairing a higher stave because it is easier will have no result whatsoever because the water will continue to flow out where it always has.
The philosophy of Kaizen has well proven itself at a corporate and national level – let’s look at it on a personal level.
If every increment is positive, with no backsliding, Kaizen can only achieve results that greatly benefit someone at a personal level in a short time. Like tithing, consider using this philosophy in all aspects of your life. Think about these:
- Personal Habits
The process is simple and involves the basics of conscious living – Observation and Intelligent Action. Think and act and all will turn out as you wish and plan.