I have always been an admirer of those who have found quick success in their lives. I wouldn’t say I envy them or am jealous, but part of me is intrigued by how they found success in just a short matter of time.
That’s the thing with being human – we have a tendency to want all of our desires and what to know how we can achieve these desires while having to put for the least amount of effort possible.
I can’t tell you how many times I have Googled “Quick way to do …” or “Fastest way to do…” or “Easy tips to …” Like it’s a natural tendency for all of us to want to have all of our desires while having to exert the least amount of energy possible and have them in the shortest amount of time possible.
But what if we are looking at it all wrong? What if we are looking at life all wrong? Should the goal of life really be to have all of our desires in the shortest amount of time possible while having to put forth the least amount of effort? Or should the goal of life be to continuously improve on the individuals we were yesterday?
The Art of Continuous Improvement
Our quest to live a better life feels like a neverending roller coaster. Some days we make progress in the right direction, other days we take a wrong turn and wind up going back in the wrong direction. The constant back and forth leaves us wondering if we will ever achieve the things we desire and if we are even meant to in the first place.
I’ll use myself as an example.
There are some days where I wake up feeling like a million bucks. I’ll be energized, motivated, and it feels as though nothing could bring me down.
Then, I’ll have days where it’s hard to stay focused or motivated, where I’ll feel tired and lethargic, and where I question if I will ever achieve the goals that I have for myself.
This is normal. We all experience these emotions, and anybody who tells you differently is simply lying to you.
What we fail to realize is that our goals will never be our destination. The closer we get to our goals, the more we are going to want from ourselves, and the more our goals are going to expand. You’re never done in life until you’re done, and the only time you’re truly done is when you encounter death.
As hard as it is not to focus on that end goal, don’t let it be the only thing you focus on. Instead, focus on getting 1% better every day. When you focus on getting 1% better every day, there is no end – only continuous growth and improvement. To me, getting 1% better every day sounds a lot better than stopping at any destination.
The Kaizen Effect
Kaizen is a Japanese word that means change for the better, or continuous improvement.
The kaizen effect 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.
In an effort to help stabilize the economy, theorists suggested to companies that instead of trying to make radical, drastic changes to their business infrastructure and processes, they should focus on making continuous improvements in small ways.
A manual created by the U.S. government to help companies implement this business philosophy urged factory supervisors to “look for hundreds of small things you can improve instead of looking for a few major things to improve on. Don’t try to plan a whole new department layout — or go after a big installation of new equipment. There isn’t time for these major items.”
The results of this were amazing. Businesses were growing, the economy was getting back to normal, and the quality of life for the employees was improving.
So how does this help you? It shows that you don’t need to make radical changes in order to significantly improve your life. What you really need to do is focus on making smaller, more meaningful changes, and getting 1% better every day.
Getting 1% Better Every Day
In focusing on drastic improvement, we often burn out rather quickly as noticeable improvement takes time to achieve. As a result, we fall into a constant rabbit hole of never seeing any noticeable improvement, and therefore doubting we are capable of ever achieving it.
As you can see in the chart, there is a period of time in which we experience the valley of disappointment. As we have a difficult time being patient, many of us fail to make it out of the valley of disappointment.
When you focus on getting 1% better every day, it’s not to say that you won’t experience the valley of disappointment, but instead of allowing it to stop you from moving forward, you recognize that it is only temporary and better days are ahead. Thus, you keep moving forward until you break through the plateau.
Make no mistake, getting 1% better every day is still a drastic change. To give you some perspective 1% better every day for 365 days is 37.78% better each and every year. How amazing is that?!?!
Can you imagine what you would do if your yearly income increased by nearly 38% every year?
Can you imaging what you would do if your self-confidence increased by nearly 38% every year?
Can you imagine how much better your life would be if every aspect of your life increased by nearly 38% every year?
Well, by getting 1% better every day, you won’t need to imagine because you will be living it.
Before You Go
It might not seem like a lot at first, but its much like compounding interest – it takes time to grow, but the results are always greater than the amount you originally started from.
Don’t focus on being better instantaneously and then stopping. Focus on getting 1% better each and every day and continue to be the best person that you can be.