This week from the Wellbeing Centre we will be exploring the initiative of “Keep Learning” as a vital part of our personal wellbeing and an integral part of how we develop as individuals.
The 2nd World War created huge demands on American industry to meet the needs of the War effort and without the time or resources to plan or purchase new equipment industry managers were encouraged to “look for hundreds of small things you can improve” which proved a perfectly manageable strategy for all concerned and achieved incredible increases in quality and productivity.
Interestingly enough at the conclusion of the War with the Japanese industrial base destroyed, under American guidance, Japanese leaders embraced these lessons on manufacturing and rebuilt their country’s efficiency and output on the bedrock of small steps, to unheard of levels of productivity and quality. This process was so successful that the Japanese gave it a name… KAIZEN.Utilising this philosophy to assist in our own personal development is exceptionally well illustrated in a book titled “The Laws of Lifetime Growth” by Dan Sullivan, where Dan uses the compelling sub heading of “always make your future bigger than your past” to great emphasis.
To allow ourselves to embrace the new habits (small steps) to create change in our personal lives it is perhaps important to understand the brain’s natural resistance to large scale change. This natural resistance means that the brain traditionally responds to these challenges with a high degree of fear (fight-or-flight)!!
Alternatively, the concept of small improvements actually allows us to “side step” this inbuilt response as we build small manageable daily habits, or in the words of Tao Te Ching, we learn to “confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts”.
Throughout this personal process it is important to recognise that life will continually provide us with challenges and with things we don’t want. Though importantly it is our capacity to be flexible enough in our thinking to continually learn from these events and create within our own space an environment where we can return to our positive habits that will allow us to “always make our future bigger than our past”.