Growth is change. Progressive change.
In Japanese, “Kaizen” translates to “improvement”, or “change for the better”.
Kaizen as a philosophy is all about improvement. No matter where you are now, how you perform, or where to reach.
Forget the perfection; Aim for progress.
You don’t have to build Rome in a day. Actually, you can’t.
Perfection is the outcome of continuous improvement. If you perfected something at the first attempt, then you are lucky or else your work is evaluated by fools.
Perfection is a perception.
You can’t perfect something. You can give your maximum. You can aim to produce something wonderful. But believe me, there will be always (plenty of) gaps to improve.
The “ideal” moves a step away from you when you reach it.
You can’t perfect things. You can only improve it. Day by Day. One by One.
Once vs Many
If it is a process, workflow, or method, then improve one aspect of it that can positively impact the outcome of it in a positive manner by 1%.
That’s all. You can pick your interval between a week to a year.
If it is a product, improve one thing out of its design in each revision (prototype).
You’ll always have one more iteration to improve one thing. That’s enough.
One improvement —for better. That’s it.
Do you really think you can perfect something on your first attempt?
Do you really mind perfecting it if you are going to create it once and the workflow of it has no iteration or practicing elements in it to improve the outcome? No.
Most things need to be done. Yes, just done. There’s no need to bother whether it is done perfectly or not unless you’re obsessed with it.
Improve what needs to be improved
Pick one thing from each area of your life. Attempt to improve it.
Pick only one out of it. Try improving it.
Measure it. If possible make the progress visually.
Small wins give big confidence. Add one more thing to the list of improvements.
There’s no need for setting Goals
Goals = NO freedom to improve at your pace. Deadlines = Pressure.
I always find myself beating my formerly fixed goals when I flow with this “Kaizen” journey.
The issue is I accomplish them slightly later than the fixed deadline (if there’s one).
( But, Who cares? It is my life. )
Ultimately I have done that without stressing myself and losing my time in it rather than living it.
There are no steps for this method. But 1 rule.
Slow, yet steady.
Don’t stress yourself to keep up with your (most of the) plans that (most of the time) don’t align with the reality of your life.
1 step ahead from yesterday is progress. Focus on the progress. Everything comes around it.
( Compounding effect is very much different from this ).
When you’re down, just look at your progress. When you’re down, just decrease your pace, but keep on trying to improve some aspects of your area (in consideration). Just a bit.
Juggling vs Switching
Trying to achieve multiple goals at once, you have to juggle between them.
With “Kaizen”, when you’re a little off-mood with one area, you can try improving another for some duration. With no pressure, no guilt, no stress.
You switch your flow. But You’re always in a steady flow of improvement.
I added a few more points related to this in the article -> How to always be progressive? A view beyond being productive.
I never advocate abolishing your goals. I want you to achieve them through progress; not by fixing deadlines and perfecting your outcomes.
What’s your opinion?