When it comes to self-improvement, most people set big, audacious goals. Setting those goals feels good. It pumps you up and you feel like you can conquer the world. But then . . . it happens. You have a setback and within a matter of days, your fiery ambition to change yourself is extinguished. And so you’re back to where you started, only you’re even worse off than before because you’re saddled with the sting of failure.
But what if I said there’s a much more effective way to improve yourself and it just requires getting 1% better each day? It’s called the Kaizen method. It sounds like a mystical Japanese philosophy passed down by wise, bearded sages who lived in secret caves, but it actually has a surprisingly American and modern origin. My guest today has written a book about this philosophy of small, continuous improvement used by Japanese carmakers for over 60 years. His name is Robert Maurer and his book is One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way.
Today on the show, Robert explains the American roots of this Japanese manufacturing process and how the Japanese re-introduced it to America in the 1970s. He then digs into the psychology of why the Kaizen method of improvement works so well not just for organizations but for individuals. We end our conversation with the practical ways you can incorporate Kaizen in your own life.
- The history of the Kaizen philosophy
- The American roots of Kaizen
- Kaizen in car manufacturing
- What Japanese companies taught American ones in terms of manufacturing
- The myths that people believe about behavior change
- Incorporating Kaizen into individual lives vs. big corporations
- How Kaizen can help you get better sleep, exercise more, and live an overall healthier lifestyle
- The power of visualization
- Why you should be asking yourself small, seemingly trivial questions
- Using Kaizen to get yourself out of debt
- How managers and parents can use small questions
- How small is small enough when it comes to thoughts and actions?
- The way that small steps can actually lead to big steps
- How Robert used Kaizen to write his book about Kaizen
- Reinforcing your actions with equally small rewards
- How Robert got himself to floss every day
- Finding small problems that will have a big payoff when solved
- How Kaizen in one area of your life transfers into other areas
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- The Machine That Changed the World
- W. Edwards Deming
- Podcast: The Science of Lasting Behavior Change
- Get 1% Better Every Day: The Kaizen Way to Self-Improvement
- Become a Self-Starter: The Importance of Autonomy
- Mind Sculpture
- Microhabits: Creating Habits That Stick
If you’re tired of fits and starts in your self-improvement, you need to read One Small Step Can Change Your Life. Robert does a great job providing research-backed advice on how to start and maintain growth for the long-term.
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Last updated: September 28, 2017