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The Oxymoron of Change.   

We hear a lot about change. “For things to change, we must change some things”. “Insanity is to believe that if you keep doing the same things you will get a different result”. We hear “practice makes perfect”. But if we keep practicing the same mistakes over and over again we just get better at making those mistakes. Better to understand, it is “perfect practice, makes perfect”.  

We think that change is the answer, but I am discovering in my own personal life that change is something I resist as well as everyone around me. However, growth is something we all embrace.  We want the garden to grow, we notice how much the kids have grown, we want our relationships to deepen (grow) and we want better friendships (growth) we want our super fund to grow.  

If there is anything in your life you are looking to change — your health, your job, your financial situation, your weight, your relationship, ANYTHING - lets look at growing instead of “change” which can be a negative. “Who you are now is not good enough – is not acceptable” is the connotation of “you need to change”. My belief is that “right now you are already good enough, and tomorrow you will be more than you are today. The reason I believe you will be more than you are today is because you will keep growing and kaizen is the miracle that's going to empower you to really grow perfectly, once and for all”. 

We've been programmed to believe that change is a "battle" — you have to “fight” hard to win, that change demands struggle and sacrifice. This is why we resist change so much. But growth is something that happens naturally when in the right environment. Only and few things grow “suddenly”.  They go through the metamorphism of growth (change) each day becoming more than they were the day before. The word to describe this gradual growth process is called “kaizen”.  It is a word from Asia where our son lives. Anyone who uses kaizen can tell you that this growth change is effortless, simple, and inevitable. 

The secret and science of kaizen  

The secret to kaizen's power is the fact that it engages the brain in a much smarter completely different, and infinitely more effective way than innovation does. And by doing so, it is. It is a oxymoron.  

Essentially, kaizen disarms the brain's fear response. For example, instead of going on a diet to loose 10 pounds like we have done in the past, lost the weight and then gain it all back (painful negative alert to the brain), we are simply adjusting our beliefs about the kind of food we eat, how much we eat and why we eat. When I learn to love and appreciate myself, I want to look after my “temple” – my body. I want to reward my “temple” for giving me the energy it does to achieve all that I do, I want to reward my “temple” for giving me the stamina and imagination to create new articles and programs.  

When we reward or recognize someone or want to say thankyou we always look for things that we know will be appreciated by that person.  In the same way, when I reward my body I want to give it something that I know it will appreciate and benefit from. So I don’t reward it with a huge triple dip ice cream cone which only lasts on the taste buds for a few seconds but on my hips for years, but instead with a beautiful fresh fruit salad and a little scoop of ice cream or preferably yoghurt. My body appreciates it and in turn performs beautifully for me again. Instead of activating the fear that I am going to be deprived and starve, kaizen "tiptoes" around it, presenting ideas for change in a way that virtually melts the brain's resistance and makes it impossible for it not to do what you want it to do.  

Soon after you start using kaizen, your brain begins to create new neural pathways. It is like the grooves in the old fashioned record. It is like the program on the computer. You press this button and automatically the chosen page or program comes up. In effect, you develop whole new mental software that automatically propels you toward the change you seek, without any anxiety or resistance on your part! It is not hard to introduce one extra green vegetable on your plate and reduce the quantity of higher value carbs. It is not hard to take a small serve instead of a large serve. Instead of having 2 slices of bread, have one. Instead of putting butter or margarine on your bread, put a healthy alternative or nothing. Instead of having full cream milk, take skimmer. Instead of eating a large dessert, I have a smaller one.  I do this not to loose weight, but to value my body and say thank you to it for giving me so much energy and such good health. 

Without trying, without even really thinking about it, you will automatically take the steps and actions that will get you the results you're looking for. You are growing into this new person. 

The benefits of kaizen are truly amazing. The idea is profound and yet so simple to start applying it. You'll find that, without even realizing you are doing it, you're creating and maintaining changes you may have considered too difficult or even impossible before. Instead of thinking I have to go to the gym and work out for an hour and then go for a long walk, I focus on some movement everyday, each hour getting up from the computer and having a nice stretch and a few run on the spot for about 5 minutes. Works for me - a little often! By having a bottle of water on the desk and a beautiful crystal glass, I can get through so much more water, by just sipping away every time I stop to proof read, take a sip.  Before you know it, the bottle of water is gone. Just by simply starting to do small things in the direction that you want to grow! 

Simply by understanding and applying this previously little-known Japanese technique, you can make ANY change and achieve ANY goal you want to, no matter how hard it has been for you in the past. And you can do it with virtually no effort or struggle whatsoever. For instance, you can: 

  • CONQUER PROCRASTINATION — even if it's a challenge you've struggled to overcome your entire life – start with doing something little to begin the task. Break the task into small sizes bits and work on that little bit one little bit at a time. Stick with that bit until you finish it and the pride that you feel when you see the completed task, spurs you on to the next little task. One more thing - Celebrate each accomplishment. 
  • ELIMINATE DEBT — even if you've racked up huge credit card bills and can't see a time when you'll ever be able to pay them off – start by paying off small extra amounts off the highest interest rate credit card debt first. When that one is down to 0, take the money you were using to pay off that card and start paying off the next card, and keep doing that until you are out of debt. You can create a new business and turn it into a thriving profit machine or get out of the job rut and start experiencing true fulfilment. 
  • BECOME RICH — even if you've found it impossible to save money or build up wealth– start by putting 10% away in a savings investment account. By getting out of debt or can then build up a substantial savings without ever having a sense of struggling or sacrificing. Notice where all the little bits of wasted money go and add that to your investment fund. 
  • CREATE A MORE BALANCED LIFE — even if you can't see any way to redistribute your time and energy. Start by spending 10 minutes in the morning just in meditation and gratitude for your blessed life. Start doing what you love — even if you don't know what it is or can't imagine how it could ever become your main job – each week set aside time to relax and enjoy your hobby. Pick up the phone and call just one old friend and chat for just 10 minutes. Schedule in a massage to care for yourself. 
  • LOSE WEIGHT — even if you hate dieting and have never been able to stick to a weight-loss program before– forget the diets, start eating healthier foods – foods to give you energy and vitality and eat foods to say thank you to your body. Get in shape a little at a time by doing a little exercise – perhaps just stretches to the legs while watching your favourite TV show — even if you feel that you have no time to fit an exercise routine into your life, and even less desire to do it – begin each day with just a few stretches.  
  • END BAD HABITS BY CREATING REPLACEMENT GOOD HABITS - like smoking— even if you've tried over and over again without success – see yourself in a healthy body, go outside and breathe deeply and exhale slowly 10 times. Put your arms around yourself and tell yourself that you love and appreciate yourself and all the good that you do for yourself and others. Easily adopt and maintain those simple but hard-to-stick-with habits like flossing, drinking water, and eating five fruits and vegetables a day by starting slowly.  
  • HEAL DAMAGED RELATINSHIPS with loved ones that seemed beyond repair by changing the way you think about that person. Put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. Be a little less judgemental and be a little more forgiving. Heal a seemingly broken marriage and rediscover love that had been thought of as gone forever. I did it and I know that you can too. 

·         The list could go on and on because the fact is, there's no limit to what kaizen's power has done or can do. Just start finding ways to start slowly and then build up as you go and you will be amazed at the distance you have travelled.  The journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.  

In my coaching practice, I've watched men and women from all walks of life use the secrets of kaizen to easily, effortlessly achieve the kinds of goals that some people dream of and work toward their entire lives without ever achieving.  

Sometimes innovation can and does work. Sometimes the report from the doctor that says you have 3 months to live if you don’t quit smoking can be the alarm that stops you in your tracks.  And when it does, it's great. (Too bad it had to go that far before something happened) However, Innovation where we are taking big, radical steps to achieve change is frightening.  

Innovation fails not because of weak willpower or lack of discipline. It's actually simple biology. More simply put, the thought of change ignites fear. When you present an innovation (in the form of a large, intimidating goal or dramatic routine change) to your brain, a series of complex neurological processes are set in motion that work against the achievement of change. 

Innovation triggers the alarm mechanism in the amygdala section of the brain that's known as the fight-or-flight response. Because the fight-or-flight response is meant to enable you to physically escape danger, it effectively shuts down all nonessential brain functions, including creative thinking.  

That can be a good idea when the source of fear is a dangerous animal or a car careening toward you. You don't want anything to get in the way of your instinct to move. But when the source of fear is something like radically changing your diet, finding a new job, or eliminating tens of thousands of dollars in debt, the instinct to run in the opposite direction is the most counterproductive thing you can do. And yet the instinct to run is all you can come up with!  

That tightening in your chest ... that feeling of being frozen – paralysed - that mounting sense of panic and anxiety ...... when you've thought about a "big thing" you needed to do - that’s the body in reaction. It's not just a feeling; it is this complex biological/neurological process at work. In a very real way, you ARE paralysed! This is why innovation so often results in failure and kaizen could be the better way to go.  Grow – choose the oxymoron of change - instead of facing the fear of change, and as nature intended when you see yourself one year from today, you will be that 10 pounds lighter, you will be a better person, you will be a better conversationalist, you will be able to save money and you will have better relationships. Why? Because you have grown into them. You have become the person. Kaizen.  

 

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