“History shows us we need labels to help define our place. For hundreds of years, people have categorized others as less so they could feel like more. Color, gender, class, religion, physical handicaps, sexual orientation, and pedigree are just a few ways in which one group is divided from another. For every person who stands superior, another must be inferior. But what does it say of us as a human race when we push others down for our own needs? Does it accomplish the intended goal or simply give rise to a pattern of behavior that can never be broken? What if we all stood equal in one another’s eyes and felt pride at our reflection?” from “The Storyteller’s Secret” by Sejal Badani.
whoever you are
wherever you are
Here is to growth. Regardless of where life plants you, stay commited to your inner growth power and create a growth culture.
Regardless of whom are you planted next to. Flowers do not compete, they just bloom.
Enjoy the sun and keep growing!
I am an ambivert. I need to see, talk to and be around people. I also need quiet time of solitude and introspection. I love parties and also the after-party time. I am comfortable to share the office with an introvert colleague. I also enjoy a water cooler or cafeteria joyous chat.
I was looking to read more about ambiverts for a better self awareness and a better social rapport. I found a good article by Karl Moore.
How to be an effective ambivert? The balance and borders are key. Enjoy reading!
– Happy Birthday! I greeted my colleague the morning of her B-day. I wish you all the very best.
– Thank you. I wish for a better weather than this, she said pointing at the dark grey sky outside in disapointment.
– YOU ARE shining, I responded.
– This is the nicest thing i was told in a long time. And she shone even more.
Let it rain. Shine.
we want it all. we want it today. the wanting mind becomes the master… you know the rest of the story. there are many ‘how to’ out there. this is simply one that resonates with me.
How to be 1% Better Every Day (The Kaizen Approach to Self-improvement)
“Compounding is the greatest mathematical discovery of all time.” — Albert Einstein
The quest to become a better version of yourself often feels like a roller coaster ride. It’s hard. And it’s usually so uneven. You can end in failure. But life is a journey, not a marathon, so you always have another opportunity to restart and improve.
Many people practically look out for secrets, tricks, and hacks that will make EVERYTHING better right now. But unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. There are no “overnight successes”. Think of all the incredible people you truly admire. They didn’t succeed becasue of one giant move, but rather a series of small and consistent actions over time.
Stop aiming for radical personal change!
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” — Stephen Covey
A magic bullet cannot save you! You’ve got to embrace the process and enjoy it. You can’t escape the hard work it takes to get better. Every incredibly successful person you know today has been through the boring, mundane, time-tested process that eventually brings success. So, stop looking for “quick hacks” that bring faster results.
Instead of reading every self-improvement post for the one golden tip that will make you superhumanly efficient, focus on doing the actual work that needs to be done. You can inspire yourself to take action. The hard, long process is the only way though. You can’t achieve tremendous life success with a quick fix. Nobody gets it that easy.
Your big, audacious goals are not inspiring you!
“Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.” — Helmut Schmidt
Your attempt to be better usually ends in failure because you life-changing goals overwhelm you into inaction instead of inspiring you into action. Unrealistic goals make it insanely difficult to make any progress. You will get “stressed” over what is supposed to help you take action.
Your performance and ability to get things done is inextricably bound to brain performance. A big, audacious goal looks scary to your brain. And when your brain encounters scary, it goes into “freeze” mode. You don’t want that. If you constantly overstretch yourself, you will lose the required energy you need to take the necessary action to get better.
Setting a goal, no mater how simple is always the easy part. Everyone has goals. The real challenge is not determining if you want the result, but if you are willing to accept the sacrifices required to achieve your goals.
If you want to achieve your goals at all times, create a system that works. Instead of a goal, design a great system or process. That way, you will always win. Even when your short-term goals are achieved, your next goal won’t be a struggle. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process makes a huge difference.
James Clear explains:
We place unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to succeed in business or to write a best-selling novel. Instead, you can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals. When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
Self-improvement is not a destination!
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily”— Mike Murdock
Learning should not end after formal education. Lifelong learning, the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge can enrich your life and make you a better person every day.
Self-improvement isn’t a destination. You’re never done. Even if you have some success, and you want to maintain it, you have to keep doing the things you were doing that got you that success in the first place.
Your first step to improving your life and becoming the best version of your self won’t be easy. Nobody can promise you that things will be easy but they will get better. It pays to take a small action–any action–and grow from there. Remember, you are better off trying and crawling than anyone else who isn’t trying.
The Kaizen Approach and how it works
“Little strokes fell great oaks.” –Benjamin Franklin
Kaizen — Japanese for continuous improvement
It was developed by Depression-era American business management theorists in order to build the arsenal of democracy that helped the U.S. win World War II. The Japanese took to the idea of small, continual improvement right away and gave it a name: Kaizen — Japanese for continuous improvement.
While Kaizen was originally developed to help businesses improve and thrive, it’s just as applicable to our personal lives.
The idea here is to focus on consistent improvements in your life, every day, not matter how small the step you take to be a better you than you were yesterday.
According to Brett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness:
“Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want. Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.
It might not seem like much, but those 1% improvements start compounding on each other. In the beginning, your improvements will be so small as to seem practically nonexistent. But gradually and ever so slowly, you’ll start to notice the improvements in your life. It may take months or even years, but the improvements will come if you just focus on consistently upping your game by 1%.”
Here is why Kaizen works
“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.” — John Wooden
The Kaizen approach is a reminder that all improvements must be maintained if we wish to secure consistent gains. Think of the smallest step you can take every day that would move you incrementally towards your goal.
Becoming 1% better every day is a simple, practical way to achieve big goals. 1% seems like a small amount. Yes, it is. It’s tiny. It’s easy. It’s doable. And it’s applicable in most things you want to do or accomplish.
It feels less intimidating and is more manageable. It might feel less exciting than chasing a huge win, but its results will be stronger and more sustainable.
If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly. It’s my FREE weekly digest of the best productivity, career and self improvement posts from around the web. It challenges you to become the best version of yourself.
The book is centered around stories told in turn by authors. These are personal lived through stories and examples. I read it twice before writing this review. I am certain I’ll reread it soon. The is structured in the following Chapters: The No That Chooses Life The No That Brings True Love, Creativity, and Abundance The No to Phony Storytelling The No to the Angers of the Past The No to Scarcity The No to Noise The No to “Me” The book commences with a Bill of Rights: the Right to Defend Your Life, the Right to Healthy Relationships and Real Love, the Right to Use Your talents and Allow Abundance into Your Life, the Right to Assert What You Want, the Right to Choose What Stories You Believe In, the Right to Take Your Time, the Right to Be Honest, Above All, with Yourself, the Right to an Abundant and Fulfilled Life, the Right to be Here Now, the Right to Silence, the Right to Surrender.
The authors have the perfect explanation on “Why this book is for You”. The book goes into the seven levels of No, “from the very gross energies involved in protecting our bodies, our lives, and our basic boundaries to the more subtle energies that, when channeled well through the Power of No, bring about real love and compassion, to the highest levels of discrimination and wisdom, that sprout from being exactly who we are”.
Powerful things I collected as precious wisdom: “Being grateful is the bridge between the world of nightmares and the world where we are free to say no”. “Sometimes it’s important to do less in order to attract abundance”, as authors are adepts of minimalism. Complaining is a No: stop complaining to see opportunities. When to say no to rules: the power of no is the power of discernment. Authors give a road map, including the reason for cultivating compassion for your own sake. Exercise daily your idea muscle. Otherwise it atrophies just like any other muscle. Squandering physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health brings loss on all accounts. “Being clear about which relationships and which people we let into our lives is the key to access our creative forces”.
The book suggests quite a few practices/exercises. My favourites include (a) sending letters or emails of gratitude to anyone who have done you a favour as an abundance practice, (b) how to say No to stress, (c) keys to stop negative chatter, (d) the daily practice to get off the floor, (e) who is your inner circle?, (f) where did my creativity go?, (g) how to get unstuck, (h) what thoughts are useful or unuseful or how to separate yourself from your brain, (i) burn the excuses (I cannot change, I have too many responsibilities, what would they say….), (j) the no-complaints diet, (k) taming the over-thinking mind and many others.
I tend to disagree on one point with the authors, i.e. the employment. I can stay centred being employed and/or be intrapreneurial even in a corporate culture.
I loved the concept of “Homo luminous” this book introduced. It felt indeed enlightening.
I remember my younger days when I was confident enough to walk into the woods all alone, to get into dark cellars, to pass through a cattle herd, to travel unaccompanied by bus to my grandmother.
These experiences taught me to trust. To trust my instincts. To sharpen them. To trust people. To believe I am safe.
My trust in Life moved me into untested waters. It helped me pioneer things unheard of in my family. It made me unsettled and unsettling. It made my parents ask one day “Who’s child are you?”. “Life’s” is my answer.
My confidence grew to heights where high winds are unsettling. Doubt settled in. It brought my spirits down. “Down to earth”, as the convention says. Not for long though. Once I tasted the sweetness of freedom from doubt, freedom from fear, doubt could only be a visiting guest.
My last year birthday wishes from my colleagues read “Happy to have such a confident colleague!”. I am thankful they let me see the way they see me. Especially, after a year of doubts, lows and struggles.
Some think confidence is built-in, genetic. Some think it’s about habits and choice. Might be both.
I am happy to share the ingredients of my confidence. A. I know that fear and doubt are good signs. They save me from complacency and push my boundaries. I know I made it last time and there is no reason I cannot do better.
B. I say a polite “No, thank you” to my comfort zone. I have a public speech anxiety? I’ll ask my manager to book 15 min in our next meeting for an intervention. Once on the agenda, noblesse oblige.
C. I breath. I listen to my body. Its signs. I feel my heart racing? Good. My brain and body get more oxygen.
D. I move. I am relentless. I get things done. procrastination? Fine, allowed sometimes. Bothering? Get off my ass and do something. Bake. Prepare home-made chocolate. Water my plants. Go to colleagues and ask if they need help.
E. I have fun. Once I drew a funny faced carrot on a flip chart in a difficult Carrots-and-sticks policy dialogue.
F. Some say confident people don’t care about what others think. I do. As long as I can learn something from it. Confidence in others strengthens my confidence.
One time, I had to share the feedback from an important partner with a consultant. It was very good to excellent. I handed it over in a sealed envelope with a grave face. “Is it bad?” He asked. “Yes, it is”, I answered and watched him turning red as he took off the papers. One minute later: “I knew you are bad. But you are very bad!” And we laughed. I took his point. Confidence does not need to be associated with bad.
G. I am staying on a judgement-free territory. Judging and gossiping is a waste of time and energy. I give everyone the benefit of doubt, even if this was a hiring mistake.
H. I am resourceful. I know I do not have all the answers, but I have ideas where to look for solutions, whom to ask. I learned this from my first Human Rights professors. “A good lawyer does not need to know the law by heart. Knowing where to find answers makes a good lawyer”. I practice the same with people I work with. There are clear “Who’s monkey is this?” rules and I always ask if problems people face come with solutions and options to consider together.
I. Comparison is the thief of joy. I admit to the sin of comparison only with better and seek inspiration from most unexpected sources and people.
J. I build a network of friends and supporters. Sorry, negative perspectives and people with tendency to drag back are not part of it. I also know I cannot please everyone in life.
K. I do it my way. It’s my life and I am solely responsible for choices I make. I do not go with the flow. Everyone goes to the same doctor. I’ll choose the one I trust. Everyone follows the same baptism ritual. I’ll agree mine with the priest. I’ ll listen to my child first, then to my doctor.
L. I keep trying. A failure? Good. Learned something. A mistake? Is it an interesting mistake? Oh yes, come in, and teach me. I am ready to try again.
Thank you Alden Tan for inspiration. http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/11-things/