Change is hard. It’s one of those statements that is so thoroughly true it’s almost embarrassing to point out or even discuss. But why is it so hard?
Deep down we are hardwired to resist change for our own perceived safety. We fear change in the deepest, most instinctual regions of our brain. Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy designed to enable us to successfully make the largest changes one small step at a time.
Kaizen has two definitions:
- using very small steps to improve a process, a habit, or product
- using very small moments to inspire new products and inventions
I have found it an incredibly useful tool for making big life changes that, when attempted in one fell swoop, seem impossibly daunting. Kaizen is a mode of thinking and behavior in contrast to “innovation.” By innovation I mean the fabled “Eureka!” moment wherein one waits for the answer to come to them then makes a dramatic sudden change.
Think of a time when you attempted to make a change in this manner either in your personal or professional life. Did the desired change take? Or did it start strong and dwindle off after some length of time?
Kaizen is designed to disarm the signals of fear that our brains naturally send out when we attempt to make large changes to our routines. By taking extremely, almost comically small actions that contribute towards our goal, we can incrementally train our brains to make those changes permanent.
An action as simple and small as making the bed every day or marching in place for one minute can help build the foundations for a life of sobriety or regular exercise. A positive action, however small, improves your self-esteem.
It’s a question of inertia. It doesn’t matter how much momentum it takes to get you moving, but smaller increments make more sense. Consider that you’re about to run a mile. If you start at a dead sprint, the chances that you’re able to maintain that pace and successfully complete your goal are slim. However, if you start slowly and work into a modest comfortable pace, you’ll run that mile successfully and feel more confident about your ability to complete that next mile.
Whether it’s a physical, spiritual, or emotional change you want to make, whether it’s at home or at work, Kaizen has the power to help you get unstuck and permanently implement the changes you desire. This is the first in a series of blogs on Kaizen. Stay tuned to the Doubledare blog over the next week to read more on the philosophy of Kaizen and how to put it in to action in your life.
Do you have experience with Kaizen? Is there a specific change you’ve been wanting to make at work or at home? Leave a message in the comments or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo credit: License Free Photo – Creative Commons by gnuckx via photopin (license)