What is Kaizen and Ikigai?

Well do you tend to put things off to the last moment?

Do you procrastinate?

The truth of the matter is about 80% of people’s New Year’s resolutions … will usually fail within 2 months. 


Mostly because people were simply never taught about how to set goals properly. And most goals are never completed on time. Even highly skilled and dedicated professionals still struggle to accomplish goals and overcome procrastination.

The true solution lies in understanding the psychological forces behind the scenes that conspire against us. There’s a certain awareness that we have to become conscious of otherwise we fall into these mental traps which prevent us from getting things done.

What if I told you that the Japanese have solved this problem?

That’s what this article will be introducing to you with three new Concepts from Japan on goal setting.

  1. Hansei– the art of honest self-reflection.
  2. Ikigai- how to find your true calling
  3. Kaizen- the achievement via incremental and continuous Improvement

Each one of these techniques is a powerful goal setting aid. But when you combine them together, they can multiply your productivity by a factor of 10 thus enabling you to achieve your most ambitious dreams.

For most people at some point in time you’ve probably found yourself struggling to complete a life goal. It might have been just a college entrance exam, a new business startup, a health and fitness regimen, or maybe even a mission to find someone to marry.

Well ,different people’s objectives will vary, each one of us whether a nobleman, a king, a popper, or a pleb.. has been assigned a non-negotiable imperative that is …you must set an accomplish new goals each and every day until the day you die

When you were born human it meant that you were a contestant in an never ending hurdle race. Each morning when we awake, the race begins again. Just after you stumble out of your bed and rub your sleepy eyes, your first objective of the day… will reveal itself quickly to you.

What’s on your to do list this morning?

  • Is this the day of your child’s birth?
  • Is this the first day of school for your child?
  • Is today the start of a new career?
  • Maybe You and Elon are going to be landing a spacecraft on mars?
  • Is this your exciting wedding day?
  • Or maybe perhaps today you just intend to do nothing more than drink beer, eat potato chips and watch puppy videos on YouTube?

Even though throughout your life the size and the complexity of your goals will change and Vary but the necessity to set new goals… will persist. There will never be a day when you find yourself without a goal of some size to complete.

Life’s Marathon calls upon all of us to jog up a Perpetual incline, with a race that features a lot of hurdles. Some are grueling sprints and some are occasional checkpoints where you’ll be allowed a temporary respite… just a moment to catch your breath and exchange a few high fives before proceeding further down the road.

Every moment of your life is either a test or a celebration.

So becoming proficient at the art of goal setting, is in your best interest as well as mine. But, if this is true, then why are we also crappy at it?

  • Why is it so difficult to stick to a course of action, especially when we know it’s going to be in our best interest to do it?
  • Why do we fail to accomplish our goals so often? 

Curious isn’t it?   That most of us already do possess the physical and mental abilities that are required to accomplish impressive life goals. Thinking of having to do something …if you were forced, with a mad scientist holding a gun to your head and forcing you to  jog 5 miles on a treadmill each evening after work, you could probably do it…right ? 

See when the reason for doing something, if it  is so overwhelmingly huge, makes it a bit easier to follow through.

That’s using a stick for encouragement but it’d be better.. in this scenario where let’s say you were locked in a cell with your physiology textbook and you’re told that you’ll be released and given 1 million dollars if you Ace your next exam what do you think… you could probably do that too right?   That’s using the carrot instead of the stick.

We need to be able to make our Why, or… our reason for doing the work … as positive as possible …rather than looking out for what would happen if I don’t do it. This way you keep the fun in it.

Question is why don’t we look at it that way naturally ?… because if we’re convinced that it’s in our best interest to implement what we need to do… whether it’s a nightly workout regimen or study for a test tomorrow, then why can’t we just do the work…?

Usually most failures are not the result of a lack of intelligence or stamina. Instead, we lack the conviction and willpower that is necessary to see a long-term goal to its completion.

So unfortunately we humans often find it very difficult to engage in self-directed Pursuit of any lengthy project when we can’t see any external drivers prodding us to action. Our life seems to consistently go off track but our goals  call us to pledge a Daily Commitment …to a mentality or a physically strenuous activity. 

But the problem is.. inactivity, is the default state of man.

See, when our bodies are comfortable, and well-fed and safe, then our lower mind also known as the lizard brain or reptilian complex, that brain would prefer to remain inactive. While our conscious mind is aware of next week’s looming deadline, our lower mind thinks that next week is a million years away. The reptile lives in the Here and Now, and the future is really an abstract idea of a lizards’ concept. So  that it doesn’t require any immediate attention.

Your brain exists to help you survive… not to thrive.

Our minds often seem to be pursuing two different sets of goals entirely. The activities that we should be doing… are not often the activities that the lower reptile mind necessarily enjoys doing. It would much rather prefer novelty, sleep, food and sex. While your conscious mind on the other hand may genuinely want to engage in industrious pursuits and self-actualization. Your lower mind often doesn’t want to come along for the ride. I’d rather sit on the couch.

  • What can we do to convince our brain to stay the course, in order to focus its energies on the pursuit of a constructive life goal rather than just carnal desires?

In order to answer these questions we first have to recognize the difference between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Is someone requires you to do something like at gunpoint for example then, you are subject to an extrinsic motivator and compelled to action due to external forces of reward or in this case punishment.

On the other hand… when it comes to Intrinsic motivation, one’s actions are driven by internal desires, which are maybe spurred on by pursuit of a mastery, or the thrill of physical exertion, or satisfaction of completing a beneficial objective for everyone… including yourself.

  • Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an easier way to trick your mind into becoming internally motivated?  instead of having to rely on external drivers like a boss, a parent, or a teacher?
  • What if you could change the way you see your life goals? And then learn to break your objectives down into smaller bite size pieces so that each little step toward the goal post seems more clear and manageable?

That’s what this philosophy is about.. it’s about a time to put a stop to old habits and trying something new.

Time to learn how to stop procrastinating

It’s time to learn how to set goals and then accomplish them in reasonable time.

The Four Concepts

  1. Lingchi
  2. Hansei
  3. Ikigai
  4. Kaizen

Lingchi- this is a Chinese term that is commonly translated in the west as death by a thousand cuts. It describes the nature of human failures and the difficulties we encounter when attempting to identify what the root cause is.

You might have noticed this yourself. That most challenging life problems are usually not actually the result of just one cause or issue but really they originate from a thousand little cuts for a thousand little ruinous decisions that come together and create a perplexing problem or situation. By learning to recognize these little mistakes and infractions before they accumulate and pile up you can put a stock to them, preventing those undesirable circumstances from escalating into situations that are always detrimental to your life goals.

Hansei- this concert refers to honest self-reflection. In hanse it’s a Japanese method for understanding what went wrong. It’s about trying to find clarity of thought through careful consideration of your past mistakes. When you become skilled in this art you’ll be better able to analyze all the different contributors to the failures of your past and then be able to see and prevent yourself from making the same mistakes in the future.

Ikigai- this concept is a Japanese life strategy that emphasizes the importance of finding your true calling. The word can actually be translated to your reason for living or, your reason to get out of bed in the morning. The mindset is perpetuated by long lived Okinawa Island residence. Many of them cite their icky guy as the reason for their impressive longevity. They believe that the pursuit of one’s icky guy is an important journey of self-discovery. If you can correctly identify the vocation that you are best suited for, then the spark of intrinsic motivation will illuminate within you… this is the key to igniting the fuel that powers your passions and prompts you to accomplish momentous feats.

Kaizen-  and the fourth solution to many of our goals setting problems can be found in this concept that is often translated as a continuous Improvement. See with Kaizen we understand that the answers to the big problems in life do not come from one magic pill. The real solutions are usually result of years of concentrated effort and dedication. The concept of Kaizen teaches us how to break huge obstacles down into many atom size pieces so that they’re more manageable small component parts for us. And then that way it helps you overcome each hurdle by continuous gradual and consistent daily exertion even if you just get 1% better each day it’s like compounded interest.

So are we ready to begin?

When you decide to train your mind to be more aware of these four Concepts, you’ll have a unique perspective on goal fulfillment. It is one that few people in the west have ever been exposed to. And when you bring these ideas together, it will enable you to create much greater self-discipline, focus, and being able to stick to it, with drive. Even your most challenging goals May suddenly seem much more achievable to you. Are we ready to get started now?

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