” This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” – Paul the Apostle
Kaizen as the title states is a Japanese term meaning continuous improvement.
Before we delve into Kaizen, I’d like to introduce you to a part of my journey in life. On my birthday in 2018, I was reviewing the events of the year and trying to draw lessons from them. There were 12 lessons I noted, I would be sharing the very first lesson:
I don’t know my limit; This time last year (2017), I had a number of things on my plate – work, assignments, plans, stuff like that. Those things stretched me. At some point, I felt I was overwhelmed. Yinmu. This year (2018), I’ve been stretched even more. It makes me wonder how in the world I thought last year was my limit. So, I understand that I don’t know my limit.
In fairness, I was really stretched that year. It was quite intense. Like really intense! However, as a result of the experience, I can boldly say that I got better at a lot of things by God’s grace. There were improvements in my professional and personal capacity. And evaluating the year 2018 in retrospect, I was happy.
The next birthday in 2019 during my personal review, I discovered that the things that were my limits for the previous year(2018) had become a ceiling. A minimum requirement. Those things that “wowed” me became the barest minimum I expected of myself. It was the same lesson, I don’t know my limit.
Now to Kaizen; I came across the term during my ICAN lessons and till date, it captures a key value for me: Continuous improvement.
The past few months of my life in 2020 have brought growth in ways that I could not have envisaged. I have discovered new limits, consistently. What was the peak yesterday is now considered as the minimum expectation for today. I am learning to always seek room for improvement and maximize it. For example, imagine that I used an approach in an article yesterday and it was perfect for the scenario. And upon publishing the article, it was laudable. Good, right? Well, Kaizen comes in here. If that same situation comes up today, I have learnt not to assume that the word I used yesterday would be appropriate. It might be, and it might not be. I must justify the usage of the word in the context of the present, Forgetting that which is behind… as quoted at the beginning of this article.
A popular saying states that “ The greatest enemy to tomorrow’s success is sometimes today’s success. ” There are times when a job well done has the tendency to become a sofa rather than a springboard. A call to complacency rather than a challenge to improve capacity. This is something I am working to avoid. What was done is gone. It was good, but it can be improved upon and it must be improved upon.
A mindset that seeks continuous improvement can be quite difficult and tasking to create and maintain. But I truly believe it is key to maximizing one’s God-given potential. Reading. Learning. Writing. Growing. Getting better each day, with the help of the Holy Spirit!
In a few days, it will be my birthday. Can you guess what one of the key lessons would be? Your guess is as good as mine!
P.S: Written for Perspectives by Iremide Akinsola