A painless path to change

I wrote a blog a little while ago entitled “Little by little” which talked about the importance of small steps taken over a period of time.  I came across this similar idea called Kaizen, or the one minute principle.  It comes from two Japanese words, kai (change) and zen (wisdom).   It is a technique developed by Masaaki Imai and at its heart is the idea that if you want to acquire a new skill, or build a new discipline you can start with a baby step of doing something towards it for a minute every day.  No one is so busy that they can’t find a single minute!  So say you wanted to learn Mandarin as a client of mine is doing, if you learn two or three words every day, after a week you have a new vocabulary of 21 words.  If you consider that the average 3 year old can express themselves reasonably with only 4,000 words, you see it is possible to learn something useful in tiny steps, if you keep it up!

Another principle behind this method is that as you make progress and persevere, you get more committed and enthusiastic, and willing to devote more time to it.  How hard would it be to up your commitment to yourself and your project to just 5 minutes a day? At that rate you could learn over 7,000 words in a year and reach the level of the average 8 year old.

What is more, if you are dedicating such tiny investments, you can afford to take on several projects at a time.  Maybe walking a little more each day to get fitter, maybe reading more for your pleasure or enrichment, maybe talking to someone new to grow stronger relationships… Give it a go..

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