04 June 2009

Start Small, Think Big

改善 (kaizen) is a Japanese word that can be defined as "continuous improvement." If you prefer, it could be thought of as baby steps. Before the MBA program, I had not thought of this concept consciously, but had been doing it in some aspects of my life.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day. Nor is anything else worth really doing in most cases.

For me, a great example is Japanese. My progress of Japanese was a slow, sometimes grueling and laborious task. I cannot begin to calculate how many hours I actually studied, the frustration involved, or the miscommunications that arose. Yet at some point, I realized that my Japanese was decent. I could ramble on and on for hours at a time. There were even some people who were initially better than me, but I gradually overtook some of them as I put in so much more time and effort. I still have a long ways to go, in my opinion. Yet, sometimes I do know things that even some native Japanese speakers do not.

I know kaizen to be powerful and effective, but lately I have felt that I was not making progress. I realize now this is due to my impatience. I am achieving a great deal. Mostly, a few small steps are made on one project continually whilst on others, leaps are being made from time to time. It depends on my energy and the project at hand. To understand my accomplishments, I have been trying to step back from it all and analyze the situation from a more objective stance. This allows me to see the progression and take the next necessary steps to get to my target.

If one has passion, then anything is possible. According to Malcolm Gladwell, all it seems that enough of a minimum effort must be made (this would, in my opinion, differ with each person) in order to accomplish said goal. Scott H. Young has a great article on this concept.

Slow and steady wins the race. I will accomplish my goals, bit-by-bit. 頑張りましょう。

***A complete side note. I'd like to wish my dad a happy 70th birthday! With 5 kids, it's amazing we never gave him a heart attack. I love you, Papa!!!!


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