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Kaizen - the Zen of Success? Monday January 30, 2017

'Kaizen' simply means 'change for better' but it's come to mean 'continuous' and even 'never-ending' improvement.

The word first captured my imagination when an inspirational speaker suggested that a 1% change in 100 areas was as impactful or even more so than 100% change in 1 area.

Today, I was dealing with some necessities in Dorking when I noticed a couple of lovely folk who clearly deal with life-changing disabilities on a daily basis. Whilst Medical Science is undoubtedly amazing, it may not find a 'cure' in my lifetime for the two issues these individuals lived with. So, for argument's sake, let's assume that some challenges in life are here to stay. Sad but true. In Covey's language, these insurmountable problems are in the Circle of Concern - the circle that contains the things we cannot change. We have to adapt to them.

Deeply moved by their situations, this really got me thinking.

What can I change?

And deeper still...

If I was to make 100 tiny improvements in 2017, what would they be?

It was if my subconscious mind had been waiting for permission to pounce! The ideas for tiny changes came flooding in.

Rather than fill up this page with ideas relevant to my own needs and opportunities, I wonder if you'd join me in the adventure? I can provide general headings to get you started and I am certain your subconscious mind will supply you with inspiration so that the mission objectives can be captured in mere moments. Are you up for this?

If you were to make 100 tiny (1%) improvements in 2017, what would they be?

- Physical improvements, e.g. health and home
- Emotional improvements, e.g. well-being and emotional intelligence
- Relationship improvements, e.g. friends and family, networking, or even romance!
- Mental improvements, e.g. mindset and mindfulness, perhaps even memory?
- Skill improvements, e.g. a hobby, a dream, a career-enhancing skill
- Financial improvements, e.g. changing the percentage of income you save or give
- Time improvements, e.g. the amount of time you give to learning or practising
- Habit improvements, e.g. those little things you know you could do better, and that, if you did do them habitually, would make your life so much easier.

My hope is that by simply listing 100 tiny improvements you could make in your life in 2017 - improvements that are under your control to do or to influence - your brain will get excited and energised by the opportunities. The doors will open for you.

Let me close by re-iterating the ease of this challenge. I'm asking you for tiny things; 100 tiny changes for the better. That's 'Kaizen' to me.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Molly Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 2:33am

100 ? That's a tall ask, I can barely think of 10 :-) mind you, I suppose it might help me sleep, by the time I get to 50 I will be snoring my head off..... You might have cured my insomnia.

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:35am

That's a very clever idea, Molly! I do that with my gratitude thoughts at night... what am I grateful for... then zzzzzz. I sleep on a happy note. However, I do believe that once you give your brain permission to think about tiny (and they must be tiny) improvements, the thoughts will flow...

Susan Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 6:42am

Wow! How inspiring, but I too would find 100 challenging - but thanks for the headings I shall endeavour to make these changes as I have made some already this year. Thank you!

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:36am

You're welcome, Susan. I can only speak from my personal experience but I know that, once I was thinking about this, the ideas flowed. The 100 is just a number - based on the idea that 100 tiny improvements in 100 areas is as impactful as 100% change in one area...

Christine Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 7:22am

what a challenging blog! I too would find it hard to think of 100, but I will give it some serious thought, thanks Lex always good to hear from you, I'm not very good at change but I'll try.

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:37am

Tiny changes, Christine, tiny ones...

Orangeblossom Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 7:46am

Thanks Lex. I found your blog positively inspirational and do-able.

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:38am

Orangeblossom, I'm with you in this! My mind is already flowing! I wish you success!

Mary Wednesday Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 7:57am

I can probably think of 100, but they are all big changes. One small change I can make is to switch my computer off when my children come home and actively listen to them.

LP Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 8:01am

I hope you dont mind me replying to you Mary, but those that you think are too big are the starting point. One tiny step towards each is all. Xxx

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:38am

Nice response, LP. It's the garage filled with an impossible number of boxes to sort out... that begins with the smallest box, isn't it?

LP Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 11:03pm

Sure is! Have you been snooping around in my garage? :)) xx

Lex Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 8:29am

Kindred Spirits... it was an informed guess! xx

LP Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 8:23am

Thank you Lex.
I've been happier in the last two weeks than for as long as I can remember.
Then I came face to face with by biggest challenge at the moment yesterday. So I woke up feeling low angry and upset and knew that reading the Moodscope blog would hep and you have xxx

Im sure I can think of alot, even a hundred if I really go for it!. No need to rush, theres no time limit!
Not only will it distract and cheer me, but I guess it might help for me to take a tiny doable step towards not feeling as awful as I have, about the dark cloud that I perceive as ruining my chance of happiness....

Rather than dwell today, I'll do it here and now then close the lid and put it away.
Let me tiny change...I might say, the next time I get the opportunity that I'm not ok. No big conversation, explanation or drama. The feeling of pretending is intolerable so I wont. Its not a positive statement, but it feels empowering.

There, done! I can look forward to the other 99 at my own leisure!
I'm off to get on with my day in a better frame of mind now Lex. Bless you for being here. Are you ok?
Love xx and Love and good wishes to all. LPxx

Tutti Frutti Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 8:41am

Hi LP Well done for taking Lex's idea forward. I hope you get through your current difficulties. Sending hugs. Love TF xoxo

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:42am

Hi LP and Tutti Frutti, yes I'm OK, thank you. I haven't been, but there's been a 'switch' thanks to an honest heart-share from one of my sons. It reset my mindset and I can move forward. Circumstances haven't changed (as far as I know), but I have. With Tutti Frutti and many others, I wish you success in moving forward LP, you, and other Moodscopers like Tutti Frutti give me energy to keep going... xx

LP Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 11:04pm

Thanks TFxx

LP Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 11:05pm

Thanks Lexxx

Hopeful One Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 8:35am

Hi Lex -that's a cool fantastic blog if I may say so.. I am sure you are right. But like the others I struggled to find 100 let alone 10! But you have planted the idea in my subconscious and I am sure it will come up with something.... oops her comes the first one ... stop calling myself names like "I am an idiot" or "I am hopeless"...cos I know I am neither even if others might.

No joke today cos all the ones that made me laugh this morning are not PC I am afraid. Someone else will have to provide the humour today.

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:43am

Hi Hopeful One, thank you for your empowering words of encouragement. The key is in the tiny. Not big changes, we can do those too, but not today. Tiny, weeny, istibitsi polka dot changes...

Molly Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 12:59am

Hopeful One, you are not Hopeless, because your are Hopeful. The Hopeful One. Sorry but someone had to say it ! All the time you are hopeful, you will never be hopeless xx

Tutti Frutti Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 8:35am

Hi Lex Thanks I like this idea and thanks for your comment LP which did make the thinking easier. I don't think we have to get fixated on 100 things as it's more a case of every little helps. (I think we are probably getting trapped by some rather all or nothing thinking or disqualifying the positive with Lex's admittedly rather ambitious sounding suggestion.)

So a few things for me: I know it would be good not to fall asleep on the sofa in front of the television as I often have trouble sleeping after waking up in the middle of something interesting and/or being woken up by my husband to go to bed. I know it is bad and seem fundamentally hopeless at sorting this out so let's decide that it's too big. One of the things that definitely wakes me up before going to bed is cleaning my teeth and taking my meds and if it's cold then so does changing into my night clothes. So perhaps my 2 or 3% for this habit should be getting changed into my night clothes and cleaning my teeth and taking my tablets as soon as my daughter goes to bed and before I sit down. Other things I need to solve are being better organised about picking up meds and about actually filling my weekly tablet box so that I can see where I am. I have a couple of ideas to improve the first, move my prescription to another chemist as there's now one that's going to be easier for me and put in a diary reminder. I don't know what it is that stops me from managing the tablet box sensibly though. Suggestions welcome! So I reckon that's a way to make things 4-5% better. Not bad really. Love TF x

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:45am

That's so clever, Tutti Frutti. Changing the order of things is a tiny change. I look forward to hearing about the impact. Be gentle with yourself x

Jul Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:08am

Hello Lex. I worry incessantly about life and I need to think of small steps to take to help with this. I also restrict my life by not liking flying and so although I'd like to visit far flung places (those I have yet to visit since I suddenly developed this fear) I don't. I must take small steps to control fear, anxiety and worry! It's like I see danger in every little thing. These are big things to conquer but as you say, one doesn't have to completely eliminate the problem, just begin to. Thank for this Zen inspired blog Lex. Always cheering on a Monday morning to read your words. I hope you feel OK. Julxx

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:49am

Hi Jules... "Zen inspired blog" - is this a good future career path for me? I'd love to be remembered for inspiring people, overcoming fear, and bringing peace. This is what I wish for you. I know my friend, Phil Holt, has done amazing things to help people overcome fear using NLP. Perhaps I'll reach out to him since we haven't spoken for years. I do understand fear, though, and its ever-present nature. My tiny steps are tiny tasks and tiny changes in the directions of my thoughts. I've had a dark period where I 'gave up' but my children and grandchildren have 'fixed' that for me and given me fresh direction and reason for a future. xx

The Gardener Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:48am

Hello Lex. Last week I mentioned a mixture which complement your list above - the Alcoholic Anonymous 'Just for Today' and the prayer which begins 'Make me an instrument of your peace'. I have knocked myself up taking Mr G out this week-end - he has never been so awful as this morning, petty, childish, harsh - everything's wrong - he's just popped into the office to tell me what a terrible wife I am. But, your list is a target - not just for those who are battling with depression, low self-esteem and insomnia but for those like me who are battling for their very sanity - and, humanity. Thank you xxx

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 9:53am

Lady Penelope (as I call my partner) came into the bedroom this morning after apparently being grumpy. Then she burst into tears and shared that she'd had the news that our neighbour had died that morning. Gavin had been a friend for more years than Penelope had known her own parents (who both died young). I say this because we don't know what battles people are fighting behind a brave face. At least we know something of the battles you fight and face on a daily basis and so can offer some words of support to cheer you on and up. I went to the shop and wondered what the customers and staff were facing in their own lives. May you and I and all our friends here find those tiny, 1% changes that bring hope today. Big hug and two kisses!! Oxx

Molly Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 1:13am

Sad to read your ongoing issues with Mr G, I don't know enough about it, but I have seen a few posts where he seems to wear you down every day. I guess this has been said before, maybe even by me, or others, but someone who is horrible, have their own issues, so I hope you don't take his remarks etc personally xx Lex, you are so right, no one knows what is going on in another's life do they. 1% sounds easier :-) I'm still counting to 100 and still haven't slept :-) xx

Angela Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 10:30am

Thank you for your blog Lex, I've just had an awful weekend due to a water infection. Woke feeling better but your words have inspired me very much. It makes so much sense to make tiny changes - they're more do-able and achievable. Hugs for all :)

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 10:43am

You're welcome, Angela. For the vast majority of days, tiny changes are all I can manage - and only one at a time! But it works and they all build up positively one upon another. Big Hug.

Lacey Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 10:37am

I loved your blog Lex,well done you! We are both on the same page on this one...

100 is doable,as you say,just tiny,tiny things and not necessarily all at once that would be pressure big time!
Today I'm doing a few tiny steps- 1)returning unwanted orders to suppliers
2) looking forward to the cash coming back to my bank...yes!!
3) sorting out a refund at the dry cleaners as they managed to mess up
my best dress at Christmas and now it's an insurance job
Making sure Lacey,my Dachshund gets a good walkies now it's
stopped raining

Onwards and upwards,thanks again Lex
Have a great day, thanks to you I know I will!
R xx

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 10:44am

That's a beautiful encouragement for me and for us all, R xx - thank you, and Lacey is going to be delighted too! Enjoy... and as you rightfully say, onwards and upwards!

The Gardener Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 12:52pm

Lex, 'Lady Penelope's' shock, and other people's lives. When Mr G has a panic, he goes to the neighbours (I put a notice where I am in the window now). This morning neighbour came in with a sort of 'Aid' plan. She can't be 50 - her husband has only 40% lung capacity - he taught as long as possible attached to an oxygen bottle. Then, presumably, some sort of invalidity pension. They live in the tiny house next door, cheap, of course. But she is a trained childrens' nurse, and there is no work. She is one of the 'team' who keep me sane. Mr G has added to his nastiness this a.m. He does not consider that she is generous, christian, pretty - he is HER benefactor because he keeps her from being bored! Our new priest, from the Cameroons, has just had two months in hospital with serious back problems. He lives all alone in a huge vicarage - so we make sure he has as much sociability as possible.So, here, your 'relationship improvements' go on apace - but, any advice on how I can prepare a most important document for tomorrow? Got a reader for two hours, but shopping must be done in that time as well. I find Mr G's presumption that people help us because they've nothing else to do the hardest thing to swallow today. I keep on harping on prayers - but, a line, 'To give, and not to count the cost' is so apt.

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 3:50pm

Dearest Gardener, I'm beginning to see a whole new value in prayer that has little to do with whether they are answered or not. There seems to be value in the practice itself. It helps us focus, it helps us think outwardly, and it helps us to connect with the sense of the 'other' - the 'bigger' - the 'better'. I'd actually stopped praying but you've inspired me. I stopped being a minister for years because I wasn't certain any prayers would be answered! Now, there's a confession! As for getting documents ready, Mind Mapping has been the support my thinking has needed for decades. The 'seed' thought surrounded by the hierarchies and their children- the chapter headings and then the detail, as it were. The blank page has never intimidated me since using mind mapping as my planning shorthand. Perhaps it would be valuable to share the technique. As for Mr G's ability to reframe all help as doing them a favour... this is a sharp intelligence being able to create such fiction. Would that he could choose to frame such kindnesses another way.

Lexi Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 1:14pm

Great idea Lex. I actually did my intentions for 2017 and one of the things I did is break them up into smaller, monthly bite size steps. I keep them small, otherwise I won't do them and then I'll end up feeling wretched and guilty. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step, right? xo Lexi

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 3:51pm

Not for you, Dear Lexi. I believe your journey should start with a hop, a skip, and a jump! (But a step will do nicely too... just a step to the left and a jump to the right!?)

Jane Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 2:58pm

Thanks Lex. I do need to stop overthinking. Maybe I can do this in small chunks - I do try. I had a lovely, supportive text from my manager this morning wishing me well for my brother's funeral tomorrow and telling me not to over analyse anything! I felt a little embarassed that he clearly knows me too well, and I started to over analyse what he meant.......!

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 3:52pm

Hi Jane, the humour evident in what you've written above made me grin when I over-thought it! ;0)

Molly Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 1:21am

Hi Jane, I hope your day goes ok xxxx (no need to over analyse, just a warm thought from far away) sending a hug to you xx

Frank by the Quayside Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 3:22pm

Great post Lex and started working out what the 100 will look like.

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 3:52pm

In the flow, Frank, in the flow...

Wyvern Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 4:56pm

Lots of things to improve by 1% ... wow, what a great way to think about it, better than those awful New Years Resolutions that become impossible on January 2nd.
Ok, so what am I going to improve by 1%? I'm going to save a little more money... Eat slightly more vegetables... Try to use a little less sugar (can you see where that train of thought is going?!)... Umm... tidy up for half an hour a week (instead of usually not at all LOL) - aim to do this on either a Sunday or a Wednesday... that's four things. Enough, ok? Maybe try those for a while then think of a couple more.

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 5:32pm

That's a great start... and if you were to choose just one more, dear Wyvern, you could double click a key on your keyboard. On the QWERTY keyboard, the number 5 also has the % symbol - at least on my UK version. So you could have 5%! Dare you!

The Gardener Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 5:07pm

Lex, prayer - I am a very doubtful Thomas myself. But so many prayers are so wise - and many have the same sort of sentiments as you put down. Living in a Catholic country many of my friends are very devout (met at mass or on my writing THEIR history). Many say they pray for me - which means those people are thinking of me daily, and willing me (via God in their belief) to stay strong, and draw on this support. It comes out in kisses, hugs, deliberately coming to me and Mr G in his wheelchair for the 'peace'. I think today has been one of the worst I've had with Mr G - but this invisible 'army', here, and among my friends. I don't know why, but I'm transported back to an Aids hospice in India (perhaps your tale of the neighbour's death prompted it). One young man had died that morning, another was dying. There was a big circle of all the 'afflicted' with some helpers and a couple of monks, all holding hands, and singing the dying man out of this world. If we could all go like that! I, too, love the mental exercise of writing - I've done so many '800 words', you can't expand, can't get more than 3/4 points over, and you've got to grab the interest in the first sentence. How I miss writing - although I fill a fair number of column inches here!!

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 5:35pm

I think we are aligned, dear Gardener (and as doubtful Thomases too!) I'm a great fan of structure and permission - two blogs on the way. It seems that prayer gives us both - a structure we can fill with love and words and positive intent and thoughtfulness, and permission to share as in, "I am praying for you." Well, I shall pray for you!

Maria Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 6:12pm

Thank you Lex for such an inspirational blog! As I sit here at my computer, I realize that I can sit up straight and tall. I have (or rather had!) bad posture. Funny from this higher vantage I see many tiny changes I can make :)

Lex Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 6:55pm

Hi Maria, as one who teaches touch-typing, I salute your good posture! And what a deep insight: we change our posture and we change our perspective! Awesome!

The Gardener Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 7:20pm

Positively last word - to Maria and posture. A few years ago Sir Roy Strong did a programme on diet - he divided the 'victims' into 3 groups, 3 different diets. They all slouched up the drive in dreadful clothes. First thing, all groups sat at table for meals. One group had Victorian dress. They did not all lose weight, but were all taller at the end, because 100% their posture had improved.

Mary Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 11:35pm

I loved reading this today! It has inspired me to think and act. It is a tall order, but I believe I am up for the challenge!

Lex Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 8:32am

That's a great outcome from today's sharing, then. I'm thrilled that our little (large) community is encouraging one another to inspired thinking and action!

Molly Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 1:26am

I'm worried that if everyone lists their 100 improvements, we could be here for a long time :-) xx

Lex Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 8:33am

Ha ha... too true. I think the most I've read is under 10. I think we'll be safe...

Anne Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 7:18am

Lex.. Loved the blog yesterday and spent the day looking for the littlest of things to accept and do differently... NOT easy and yet I met it with courage
Thank you x

Lex Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 8:33am

Dear Anne - and you chose a beautiful word, "Courage" - from the heart! x

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