One Small Step Can Change Your Life
One Small Step Can Change Your Life

One Small Step Can Change Your Life

Kaizen has two definitions: using very small steps to improve a habit, a process, or product using very small moments to inspire new products and inventions (Location 38)

As John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, expressed it, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” (Location 94)

Can I persuade you that if you let a driver into your lane, or thank a sales clerk, or smile at someone in a hallway, you can change his or her life? Of course not—but if you don’t go through the day with the assumption that small moments and small gestures can touch people’s lives, what is the alternative belief? (Location 110)

“I would rather have it said, ‘He lived usefully’ than ‘He died rich.’ ” —Benjamin Franklin (Location 126)

The course manual urged supervisors to “look for hundreds of small things you can improve. Don’t try to plan a whole new department layout—or go after a big installation of new equipment. There isn’t time for these major items. Look for improvements on existing jobs with your present equipment.” (Location 203)

“The steps were so small I couldn’t fail!” (Location 276)

the personal application of kaizen and encompass six different strategies. These strategies include: asking small questions to dispel fear and inspire creativity thinking small thoughts to develop new skills and habits—without moving a muscle taking small actions that guarantee success solving small problems, even when you’re faced with an overwhelming crisis bestowing small rewards to yourself or others to produce the best results recognizing the small but crucial moments that everyone else ignores (Location 283)

large goal ➞ fear ➞ access to cortex restricted ➞ failure small goal ➞ fear bypassed ➞ cortex engaged ➞ success (Location 341)

Small, easily achievable goals—such as picking up and storing just one paper clip on a chronically messy desk—let you tiptoe right past the amygdala, keeping it asleep and unable to set off alarm bells. (Location 349)

As your small steps continue and your cortex starts working, the brain begins to create “software” for your desired change, actually laying down new nerve pathways and building new habits. (Location 351)

I suggested to Patrick that he soften his tone and alter his phrasing. In his next meeting, Patrick used a calmer voice and asked each employee: “Can you think of a very small step you might take to improve our process or product?” (Location 430)

One employee spoke up right away. He’d noticed that scrap metal left over from jobs in the machine shop was discarded at the end of the day and wondered if the company might find a buyer for it instead. (The company did indeed start to sell the scrap metal.) Another man realized that most of the mistakes involving machine tools were made by new employees within six months of their hire date. He volunteered to spend two hours training each new employee in an attempt to save time and money. (The training accomplished both.) A third suggestion was to have employees spend the first five minutes of the monthly staff meeting publicly thanking those who’d been extremely helpful to them. (Location 434)

Small Questions to Defuse Complicated Fears (Location 531)