People around the world are really concerned about how to bring positive change in their lives to become more productive. The traditionally taught cliché is that change is hard and resistible, as our brain is wired in such a way that we are more comfortable with the established daily life routine, and are reluctant to put in extra physical and mental exertion to become more productive. Similarly, we are trained with the belief system that the size of your step would determine the size of your success. In other words, an enormous amount of struggle is required to make radical changes and yield big results. However, in this article, we would try to understand how to achieve success via small steps, also known as “the Kaizen way”.
Contrary to the radical change, the Kaizen system believes that small steps are more efficient and productive to achieve the desirable results. There exist a biological reason to support the notion that why do we need to take small steps to achieve specific goals. Our brain has inherited qualities to protect us from any external threats and hence, thinking about revolutionary change would alert that part of our brain, which is responsible to take care of our well-being, known as the amygdala.
The amygdala would further restrain our deliberate access to the cortex, which is responsible to provide innovative and creative ideas to perform a specific task, and hence, we would fail to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to achieve a specific target. For instance, you ask a question like how can I be a world-renowned swimmer? This question requires a radical change for a longer period of time, so this situation would alert the amygdala, and enable the fight or flight brain response as your deliberate access is restricted to the cortex. Hence, the following paras would help you how to make a big change thereby following small steps.
Small Questions Trigger Small Thoughts
We must ask positive small questions from ourselves. Our brain acts like a subordinate and it will try to provide different answers to your question. For instance, I ask myself, how can I improve my write-up? Followed more small specific questions such as how can I improve my vocabulary? How can I improve my sentence structure? And your brain will start thinking and come up with several answers to this question. A rule of thumb is always to reject the spontaneous answer that the brain provides and push the brain to provide a better solution.
This is how you will be able to obtain a more suitable solution. On contrary, if you ask negative questions, for example, why has this always happened to me or why do I’ve such bad luck? So your brain will start to answer these queries, which would further infuse negativity in your personality. On other hand, if you ask a big question, for example, how I can be a world-renowned writer? This question would make you more fearful, as you are thinking to commit a lot of resources and time to be a well-known writer. So this situation would induce more fear, as big questions lead to big thoughts and actions. Hence, it is important to ask small and positive questions, which in turn trigger small thoughts to bypass the amygdala and facilitate your access to the cortex for creative ideas.
Small Actions Solve Big Problems
Now after getting the answers to small questions, now it is time to flawlessly execute your plan thereby taking small actions to solve small problems, which in turn would contribute to big goals. For instance, we asked a question about how I can improve my vocabulary and came up with two alternatives either directly memorizing the meaning of each word or underlining the difficult words during the reading. Similarly, I also improve my sentence structure by writing a para each day. So these small actions would improve my write-up. Finally, you must bestow awards to yourself for completing small tasks, which further keep you motivated for deliberate improvement. In other words, celebrate your small victories.
Read more: Productivity now, sustainability forever
In nutshell, the Kaizen way provides a smart and efficient solution with less allocated time on how to bring positive change in any aspect of your life thereby taking continuous small steps. These small steps would create a habit loop, which will help you to complete the task with less mental and physical exertion. This loop would reduce the fear and bypass the amygdala and make you more creative and productive to live a successful life.
The writer is an assistant professor at Rawalpindi Women’s University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.