Pocket change is quite useful, especially if you’ve got a jar to put it in at the end of the day. Store it all for a year and you’d be surprised at how much money you can save in this way. But that’s not the kind of change I am talking about today.
During my undergraduate studies, I had a management course with a professor who was boring. Correction. He was __BORING__. Despite that, he had a surprising amount of enthusiasm for _kaizen_. So much so that the item that sticks in my mind most from the course is that very concept.
What is kaizen? It is the Japanese word that means improvement (or more accurately change for the better). Masaaki Imai made the term popular. Toyota is the company that is most often used to illustrate the concept since they employ kaizen techniques heavily.
The goal of kaizen is to create an atmosphere of _continuous_ improvement. Continuous improvement is achieved by examining processes and suggesting changes to make those processes better, implementing the ones that are proven to work.
Apologies for channeling my professor there. I am not here to lecture about kaizen, but rather wanted to give a little background on it because continuous improvement is something that we should be doing in our lives — all aspects of our lives. Just like putting that little bit of change into the jar daily adds up to a lot of money at the end of the year, little daily changes to our lives add up to big improvements over our lifetime.
But here is the problem. Life happens. _Change_ happens — often when we least want it — and we kick and scream and fight and protest and force life to drag us through the mud until we stand up, rinse off, and look back saying, “That wasn’t so bad after all.”
It’s funny, isn’t it? Why do we fight change so much? Probably because life doesn’t give us change in little increments. Oh, no. Life will corner you and say, “Give me $500, now, or the car gets it!”
Count your change. You just might have enough.
There is a saying that goes something like this.
> Change alone is unchanging. — Heraclitus
I live in Pennsylvania, and there is a certainty of change every autumn that brings many people to the state to view a beautiful spectacle. The leaves on the trees change color before falling off of the branches for the winter months. It is a fact of life that many residents, including myself, take for granted.
The leaves dying is a good example of the constancy of change. Since we know that change will happen in our lives, why not practice a little of what the Boy Scouts teach and be prepared. After all, we know that change is going to happen even if we try to ignore it.
We buy insurance to protect us for some of the bigger possible changes in life. How do we insure for other life changes? The answer is modest change.
> Modest change: Your life will improve a little if the last sound you hear each night is a book closing. — @hotdogsladies
Sound familiar? Modest change. Modest improvement. Constant change…
The beauty of constant improvement and modest change is that it allows us to effect big changes in our lives without immediately realizing it. One day, you will turn around and see the mountain you’ve climbed.
Who knows? Maybe those little improvements will have led you to one of your dreams, or perhaps the change jar just paid for the inevitable car repair. Either way, change is good and makes life interesting and better.