Kaizen [3/7]

I have been writing about Enlightenment and all its wonders but really what determines whether one is truly enlightened is not merely the knowledge and realisation of it, but more importantly how consistent one is in upholding and acting upon the values. It is from the consistent cultivation of the mind, body and soul that Enlightenment is achieved.

Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. It literally means ‘change for the better’. This word is ascribed to the symbol of the tough, nearly naked sumo wrestler as mentioned in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. I think it is an apt symbol as we often see a sumo wrestler as being strong and solid like a bricked wall.

It’s ironic that I would think this concept as creating a mental stronghold when in my previous post I mentioned defeating the mental barrier to act upon a purpose. They might sound like the same thing but a stronghold to me is more like the steel frames that are the foundation of a structure while the latter is just a wall separating sides.

A technique for continuous improvement is doing the things you fear, or in other words, get out of your comfort pit. I say ‘pit’ because it sounds more hazardous than ‘zone’, as it normally is in terms of life. It’s easy to just stay comfortable, but you won’t grow. I think most of us would have already felt this whereby we would live in a cycle—eat, work, sleep, repeat—and getting used to such a system that after a point does not add value to our lives. That’s when we need to step away and explore uncharted territories.

There are the ’10 Ancient Rituals for Radiant Living’ described in this book. It details 10 activities that may help you to keep on improving the quality of your life. For the sake of stating them, the rituals are Solitude, Physicality, Live Nourishment, Abundant Knowledge, Personal Reflection, Early Awakening, Music, Spoken Word, Congruent Character, and Simplicity.

Rituals are basically habits that improve the quality of your life. Again, this might sound ironic when just seconds ago I mentioned the mundane cycle of everyday life. But if we take the time to notice at which points of the day that seem meaningless and replace them with more productive, but not necessarily difficult, activities then we will see improvement eventually.

The point is to meticulously pinpoint what are the things you currently do that does not help in achieving your goals and make a conscious effort to add in the ones that will. In my case, I made the effort of taking a step back away from the mental crack that is social media, specifically Instagram. I realised that despite my interest in photography, it wasn’t helping me in any way but instead it consumed my daily life. So I replace it with reading and writing, which I had neglected or not done more frequently for some time.

Now that I know what I really need in my life, I do feel that I am gradually improving. There are still times that I falter but I take them as learning curves. When negativity strikes, I would do better than to keep it in my head so I would let out the frustration to God and call a friend. I would tell myself that tomorrow is a brand new day, and then I move on.

It does take time and effort to build good habits and it even takes a longer time to see results, but as long as you keep going, never stop and continuously be better than yesterday, then your dreams may manifest into reality much quicker than you think. And I guess it’s true that more often than not, the road to achievement is much more important and exciting than the destination itself.

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