Again, an enjoyable discussion which I have summarised here.
What is Kaizen?
- Kaizen is a process of improving a habit using very small steps.
- Small steps can lead to big changes.
- Kaizen disarms the brain’s fear response making change come more naturally.
- By asking small, gentle questions, we keep the fight-or-flight response in the ‘off’ position.
- By taking steps so tiny that they seem trivial or even laughable, you’ll sail calmly past obstacles that have defeated you before.
We liked this idea, and had seen it work in both our personal life and work life. In fact, as I write I am standing at my desk rather than sitting down, in an attempt to Kaizen my way into better health!
For some reason, the brain cannot leave a question unanswered.
So, ask it good questions!
Replace questions like ‘why do I always get X wrong’ or ‘why do I find Y so hard’ with questions like:
- What is one small step I could take toward reaching my goal?”
- “What is one small step I could take to improve my health (or relationships, or career, or any other area)?”
and other small questions which will get your brain thinking in positive ways.
At the book club, we discussed how most of us have definitely experienced the creative mind taking us down the wrong track – mine tends to ‘catastrophize’ looking for what might be the worst case scenario. I’ve started to ask it what the best out come could be, and it’s a much more enjoyable inner conversation!
Maurer suggests getting the mind used to achieving your small step by spending a few minutes (or even seconds) each day imagining yourself doing it. The mind is a muscle, and the more it imagines doing something, the stronger the neural pathways get, and the quicker it becomes a habit.
Maurer went on to talk why we fear and how overcome our fears – by reaching to another for support. He argues that as children we automatically reach to another for support when we’re scared because we are biologically wired to do so; we tend to lose this as adults, living in a society which values independence or because we’ve been hurt before.
So, build a network of people who you can trust in different situations for different things. And bear in mind that when your life changes, your network might also need to change.
Our overall opinion of the book
Overall, we thought this book was really helpful. It didn’t really present any new ideas to those familiar with self-development books, but was a useful reminder with some real life examples of people who had used Kaizen to make some huge changes. We all committed to a small step to improve our health. And as someone who often goes for ‘innovation’ – making huge changes (and then failing to keep them up) it was definitely a refreshing take on creating change for me.
If you’d like some help identifying small steps which could change your life, please do get in touch.
Come and discuss this book on 28th November, 7-9pm, Fountain Harvester, Milton Keynes
Click here to join. Event is free.
The word Kaizen is translated from Japanese in a number of ways, most simply as “change for the better.”
This will be our last meeting before Christmas, and we thought it would be good to read a book about creating change through small steps, so that we’re all ready to set those new year resolutions!
This book explains a gentle but potent way to effect change. It is for anyone who wants to lose weight. Or quit smoking. Or write a novel, start an exercise program, get out of debt, or conquer shyness and meet new people. Beginning by outlining the all-important role that fear plays in every type of change and kaizen s ability to neutralize it by circumventing the brain’s built-in resistance to new behaviour.
If you can, try the methods out before the book club so that you can let us know what you think!
New members always welcome.