The Kaizen Principle for Life

While out for a short walk, I could see frustrated and stressed out faces and thumbs pecking at blackberries as they hurried by. No one was casting their eyes skyward to marvel at the flock of geese, flying in a peaceful and flowing formation. Nor did they gaze upon the flowering blooms, spilling color from grey concrete containers. Least of all, they did not stop to bath in the aroma of the coffee beans drifting from the store onto the street. These people were so consumed in their stressed induced lives that they couldn’t experience all the murmurs of life around them.

Alas, how can we remove this clutter and begin to feel the senses of the life around us. Change can be hard, yes I know. But, change begins when you begin to change. And, to progress toward the more simple things in life you only need to lean on the Japanese kaizen. The developer of this principle is Masaaki Imai. His principle states that small incremental changes will lead to productivity improvements and the minimization of waste. In this regard, if we embrace kaizen, we embrace small changes in our behavior that in turn lead us to improve our outlook and minimize the complexity in our lives. This principle is at the heart of the Japanese manufacturing sector and the one principle that has made it such a strong force in the world economic order.

So what is kaizen?

Kaizen is simply:

  • To consider the process and results
  • To view the entire process and evaluate the way to get the job done
  • To blame no one and choose the best process

The principle is rudimentary and simple at best and has led to dramatic improvements to Japanese manufacturing by reducing waste related to inventory (Where do you think just-in-time delivery originates?) and work-related processes in manufacturing. Effectively, it does a one-upmanship on Ford’s assembly line. These improvements lead to better utilization of space and lead directly to improvements in product quality. And, of course, all these improvements lead to happy workers.

Now that you understand kaizen in the business context, let me tell you how it can help you in getting simplicity back into your life. First, by taking time to consider how you’re doing something in relation to why you’re doing it will give you valuable insight to the situation you find yourself in. Secondly, by looking at the way you’re doing things in the broader context will help you evaluate how best to really get things done.

Okay, you have lots of work to do, so you have to use your blackberry to keep in contact and keep on top of things. But, do you need to be tied like a tether to your work 24/7? You may think you do, but in reality you actually don’t. Most often you only need to be connected. Yes, but not at all costs. The point is to be connected in an accessible way. When you recognize this difference you can then evaluate other ways you can be connected. Is it not better to have a pre-determined time that you connect? This will allow you to devote the right level of attention to the task at hand and give people the confidence that at this time you’re engaged?

Finally, blame no one and choose the best path. In this instance, the best path is to plan your engagement. This will allow you to be focused and this focus will free you to enjoy the murmurs of life.

Life is only as complicated as we make it. By resisting the temptations of others perceptions of us we can leverage kaizen to better control and experience our journey through life. This approach will give you the confidence to simplify how you view things and to make the changes you need to move forward.

Have you done your kaizen today?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

Other Time Trading Gurus


Diane Mottl, MSW presents Daring to dream… posted at Being Truly Present, saying, “Out of the comfort zone, my confidence building, I was not prepared for the back slide into the fear zone…(post includes Inknowation video, quotes & links)”

Jana presents How To Create More Time posted at Wisdom Ink, saying, “Time is something that is always available to us but that many of us forget to ‘tap’ into. Creating time is as easy as aligning yourself to the belief and perspective that you always have more than enough, and here we show you how to do it. Many are surprised that they can take on more work and responsibilities and still have more than enough time for themselves.”


ebele presents Are you feeling uninspired and stuck? How doing nothing can win you a Nobel Prize posted at Street-side convos, saying, “How to turn periods of rest and doing nothing into the most productive time of your day”

Matt Barnett presents Are you Open for Business? – Matt Barnett – Expert in Personal Change posted at Matt Barnett – Expert in Personal Change, saying, “What are your opening hours? do you operate 24 x 7 without a minute to yourself? maybe its time to take a lesson from the high street and get used to turning your shops sign to ‘closed’ if even only for a moment”


Stacey D presents 9 Steps To Running A Fun And Successful Home Business posted at The Traveling Vineyard, saying, “Knowing the necessary steps to successfully start and maintain a thriving business helps you set goals for the future. The proper foundation makes it possible to achieve your dreams in the future.”

DREAM Process

Sarah Bernstein presents Meditation Schmeditation - posted at YourZenFriend, saying, “This is a funny and encouraging look at a meditation practice. Balance your relationship with your mind!”

Jim Jones presents For Increased Career Satisfaction, Identify Your Purpose posted at Critical Financial, saying, “What is it you want out of life, identify your purpose and it will become clear!”

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