Us humans are a fascinating bunch. For most, change doesn’t come easily and often we go to greater lengths to avert a loss than we would to acquire an equivalent gain.
Why? Because change is often uncomfortable. The Sanskrit word “tapas” refers to the friction of transformation and literally means “to burn” – a good indication of the discomfort that comes with creating change. Every part of us resists change, even when the current situation isn’t ideal.
We also come from a culture that reveres the “go hard or go home” mentality and are often mistaken into thinking that if we can’t do something perfectly it’s not worth doing at all. But perfectionism is precisely what keeps us stuck. It kept me stuck. Perfectionism is our ego in disguise. It’s the inner brat with crossed arms telling us that we’re not good enough so we might as well not even try.
If we don’t change, like tyres knee deep in mud, we’re moving nowhere.
So how do we buffer the shock that comes with change? Outsmart the ego! Trick the sucker by sneaking in your tiny upgrades or new habits so that it has time to adapt and adjust to your new way of being. Small upgrades tip-toe around the nervous system – which wants to keep us safe (and stuck) at all costs – this way we acquire small ‘gains’ without triggering the body’s fight/flight response. The more you acquire (and celebrate!) small gains, the more new neuropathways you lay down in your brain. It’s that simple.
Kaizen is a Japanese word that literally means “good change” and refers to the compound effect of small actions taken over time. It’s about becoming a little better every day.
Kaizen is the one word that changed how I change.
Throughout my life I’ve embraced an ‘all or nothing’ perfectionist, attitude. Now in my 40’s I’m learning that the most effective path to growth comes from making slow, yet continuous, improvements.
You’ve heard the phrase “baby steps”, yet often we discount the impact that 1% gains or ‘small wins’ can have on every aspect of our life. Kaizen has changed how I change my behavior, my outdated patterns and beliefs.
The hare was right. Slow and steady wins the race.
We all have things we want to change. And most likely you’ve failed to make the lasting changes you’ve wanted to make in the past. I invite you to try kaizen. Small, incremental changes made consistently over time = big results.
What action steps, or small habits, or kaizen, can you try today? Tomorrow? This week?