great things can be done - with lots of small steps!

greatthings thumbnail.jpg

Big things are not accomplished with big steps and actions. All big things are accomplished by doing lots and lots of small steps. Kaizen is an ancient philosophy that talks about a 1,000 mile journey starting with a single step.


tiny little steps

when consistently taken

take you anywhere

Great Things Can Be Done-- With Lots of Small Steps!

Hello -- Marc with the Gunnar Project.  Again, the mission of the Gunnar Project is to inspire and teach people how to pursue happiness every day.  

The pursuit of happiness is something that needs to happen on a very step-by-step, small little steps over the course of a long period of time, so that you look back on it and you say “Wow! I can’t believe what a change this has been!” but it’s nothing that’s going to happen very quick.  There’s a philosophy, an ancient philosophy, called Kaizen, that may be best summed up in the old adage that “a thousand mile journey starts with the very first step”. We all want to get to the end of the thousand mile journey without really thinking about the small steps in between.

Change is something that typically is hard. People are defined. You see this all the time in papers -- that change is hard.  And change is hard if you’re trying to go from (down) here to (up) here -- this change is extremely hard, but it’s not very difficult to change from (close) here to here, to just take little tiny steps…

Unfortunately that’s not something that’s typically very appealing to people.  When people think about change, and I’ll talk for just a second about weight loss, people want to lose, and are very motivated to lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks, right?  You’ll see if you go to the bookstore and you look at all the books and all the diets, those are the kinds of diets that you see -- lose this amount of weight in this amount of time and it’s really sort of crazy, right?  Any of those diets where you drink grapefruit juice and eat rice for 3 weeks, can you lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks?  I think you probably could. Are you going to be very healthy at the end of it?  Maybe not so much!  Are you going to be able to maintain that weight loss for the next 3 weeks after that?  Research has shown, typically not -- most people who do any kind of a drastic weight loss program like that, end up recovering all the weight that they had lost and additional pounds after that!  

I think it’s the same sort of thing with any kind of change like that, whether that’s getting in shape, learning something new… you just don’t… if you’re cramming for a test versus just learning the stuff, and just thoroughly learning it over time, it just doesn’t stick with you as well -- you might still be able to regurgitate it the very next day on the test but 2 or 3 weeks later when you need to apply this knowledge that you’ve gained to something else, it’s probably not going to be there as opposed to learning it sort of step-by-step a little piece at a time.

So that idea of Kaizen is taking that very first step, and making this very first step that you take on this thousand-mile journey, making that first step really tiny and small.  Your brain, your psyche, enjoys winning and wins.  So if you take this first step and you decide this is the amount of change that I’m going to do and you succeed, your brain likes that and you get a little shot of some brain chemicals in your mind that makes you feel good about yourself!  Your psyche likes that you’re winning and you’re doing the deal.

If I take off on this New Year’s Resolution, and my New Year’s Resolution is to run 7 miles every day -- well the first day I don’t do that, I feel sort of bad about that, I feel sort of guilty about that.  This goal -- what I’m trying to accomplish here is just too big and indeed that change is going to be very hard.   

So as we look at pursuing happiness every day and really trying to make this part of the ritual that we do, the changes that we’re going to try to do are going to be small little changes -- they’re not going to be to go from this level (low) happiness to this level (high) happiness in a very short period of time.  If you’re thinking about modifying your behavior to get this (high) kind of happiness into your life, I think you’re going to fail, so it needs to be small steps at a time, small change -- again, the concept of Kaizen.

This is Marc with the Gunnar Project -- thanks for listening and I look forward to talking again soon.  Bye.