A Kaizen Approach to Life

“If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.”

Wow!  That’s tough to hear.  Have you ever looked at your life and realized you’re not where you thought you’d be or you’re just not satisfied with life?  Is your life good but you want it to be great?  You can do something about it. 

I’m trying to apply the principle of Kaizen to my life and so far, I’ve seen some changes in my outlook and I was already quite satisfied with my life. So, what exactly is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning “improvement” or “change for the better.”  It is making small incremental improvements that over time lead to great change.

 In Western culture, we typically go with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset.  Kaizen assumes there is always some room for improvement.  Sure, your first improvements will probably lead to the most dramatic improvement, but that doesn’t lessen the value of the smaller changes that lie ahead.  It also doensn’t mean you can’t start out will small improvements.

Here’s a small change I made that has made a small improvement in my quality of life.  It’s pretty simple — if it’s a nice day, I roll the window down in my car during my commute to and from work.  That’s it.  I realized that I was cranking the A/C and keeping my windows closed and looking at my drive home as a chore.  I’m pretty lucky in that my commute is only about 10 miles, but I was missing the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds along the way.  For a short while, I drive along a bluff overlooking a valley full of trees and some impressive homes.  Then I cross over the Mississippi river, where I might see a riverboat or a barge or some fishermen.  After that, I see downtown Saint Paul, which is a beautiful city with some really nice architecture. 

What small inceremental change can you make today to improve your life in the future?

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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