Duct Tape for the Soul for Mar. 13, 2014

Improving Your Life In Small Steps

Perhaps you understand that your life sucks? Broke, miserable, alone? Feeling neglected, abused or at least wishing you could do something better for yourself? How many times have you vowed to overhaul your existance, to completely change? You’d like to have a better job, better relationship, (or any at all!), or be able to feel proud of how you live, wouldn’t you?

Your vows likely flopped, didn’t they? You try to fix everything wrong all at once, and you’re overwhelmed and give up! Your fat stays put, along with your crappy job and empty bank account. Just so you understand, you aren’t alone. A total do over of your existance is a monumental undertaking, and few might be able to pull off such a grand task.

Look, back in the forties and fiftys, the Japanese car makers were building complete crap cars. An American named Howard Deming taught the Japanese car makers a system of incremental improvement, that they used to transform their manufacturing. In a nutshell it says, fix small things first, do what you can do quickly and easily, and then slowly keep going, fixing things one by one, to make the whole system (process, product, person), better! See where I’m going?

You’ll never change yourself all at once. Your habits are too entrenched. You have to start small. Brush your teeth better. Change your panties reliably. Do your laundry when you should. Break your habit of looking down in public; look up and smile at people! Learn new things, meet new people. Work at finding a better job! Sit down and make a huge list, and then organize them, putting the easiest first, and the hardest on down the line. Then, every time you manage to succeed at one, scratch it off, and start working on the next one!

Sure, it’s a pain. But so is sitting alone and unhappy! Or being broke. Quite telling yourself you can’t have a better life; that’s jobs one! Get into Zen a bit; flowing water wears down stone! Just don’t try to transform yourself all at once! That path leads to failure. You do remember the old fable about the tortoise and the hare, don’t you? Slow and steady usually wins more than flash and failure. Incremental does it. Now, go practice smiling and do some laundry. Trust me, it’s a start!

Jack

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