My friend Howard has often been accused of being a perfectionist. The truth is Howard is far from being a perfectionist; it is just that he is far better at doing things than most other folks.
Howard just seems to excel at everything he does. He is a model of efficiency, an eloquent communicator, a superb manager and a never-ending source of inspiration to those around him.
Success seems to be attreacted to Howard like a powerful magnet and he appears able to accomplish remarkable results with effortless ease.
He is a never-ending source of inspiration to me.
Howard has a secret. It is one he willingly shares with all who will listen and yet by virtue of its sheer simplicity, few seem willing to use it to emulate his success.
Howard will tell you that the turning point in his life occurred many years ago when he noticed a poster hanging on the wall in a bookstore. As he read the words he felt a rush of excitement surge through his body and he hurriedly pulled a pen from his pocket to capture the essence of the message.
The poster read: “Success is not doing one thing 1,000% better; it is doing 1,000 things 1% better.”
To many, a corny cliché, to Howard, a massive moment of truth.
In that moment Howard’s decided that he would examine every tiny nuance of his behavior and seek ways to continually and consistently make 1% improvements.
He began keeping a journal of his daily activities. He recorded everything he did with the intention of using his notes as a debriefing instrument from which he could learn and improve. And he constantly asked himself this question, “How can I do this better?”
He set himself the goal of making three minor improvements to different actions, activities and processes every single day.
And he discovered something interesting. He discovered that when you get a little better each and every day, it is only a matter of time before you become sooooo much better than you could ever have imagined and sooooo much better than the competition.
Howard adopted, and lived, the Habit of Kaizen. Kaizen is Japanese for “improvement” and has come to mean a commitment to continuous improvement as a way of life.
For more than 20 years this commitment to continuous improvement has been the driving force behind everything Howard does. He has filled dozens of notebooks with thoughts, ideas and suggestions that he has implemented over the years in his relentless quest to be “just a teeny bit better today than I was yesterday.
And his efforts have paid off handsomely. Howard runs a very successful business that he purchased out of bankruptcy several years ago. He is a leader in his church and community and continues to be a mentor to many.
The Habit of Kaizen has shaped Howard’s view of the world. I have repeatedly heard him say that constantly focusing on ways to make him better leaves him no time to find fault with others and that, in his opinion, our world would be a far better and friendlier place if we all spent more time, energy and focus strived on improving ourselves, in as many different ways as possible, rather than wasting valuable energy focusing (gossiping) about the weaknesses of others.
It really is a terrific philosophy. It doesn’t require much effort to get just a teeny bit better. Interestingly though, a teeny bit better here and teeny bit better there rapidly adds up to a whole lot better everywhere.
The Habit of Kaizen – an enormous return on a really small investment.
Who wouldn’t want a habit like that?
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, recently introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure
– I have recently completed a series of radio interviews. If you would like to listen to them, here is a link.
I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions once you have listened to the interviews. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts.
– Robert French – an accomplished author – recently posted a flattering review of my book, Life Sinks or Soars, the Choice is Yours. Please click here and take a moment to read it.
– Here is another review of my book by Actionable Books.