We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ” – Aristotle
It is not hard to agree with Aristotle, and I recall many times when I would have such insights and I criticized myself for not doing better, not trying harder. Often, after such a realization, I would resolve to try my hardest, do my best, at every task, no matter what the conditions. This often led to sickness and injury.
I have an exercise for you this week that will invariable produce excellence, without the injury and illness. Not only that, but like most of our exercises it is “easy,” and will take no more time from your life. Most likely it will give you time.
That is such an incredible claim, that I want you to think deeply on it, and think how unlikely it is. There are thousands of self-help books, and inspirational books, and where they have failed we will succeed with a single exercise, and we will do it using a meaningless word. That seems unlikely.
But it is true.
The word is Kaitzen.
I took the word, “kaizen,” which means improvement in Japanese, and made it into Kaitzen. It’s my word so let me tell you what it means. It is a reward for when you make a small improvement. It is an emotional cue, like when Navy Seals say, “Hoorah,” or when martial artists let out a loud burst of energy. It is an instant cue for summoning all the excellence you have achieved up to a point to bear on a situation.
Whenever you do one of the exercises in our system you will finish with, “Kaitzen..” When you make a small improvement, no matter how small, you will reward yourself with, “Kaitzen!”
Most writers use examples from dieting and sex to make a point. I will leave the sex up to your own imagination, but let me give you an example from dieting that will make the whole concept clear.
Let’s say that you are overweight and you have a vision of how you would like to look. From now on when that self-image crossed your mind you will say to yourself, “Skinny.” Now each time you turn down a sugary food you subvocalize, “Skinny.” And each time you take the stairs or walk when you could ride, you again say to yourself, “Skinny!”
Does this sound trivial? Colin Powell said, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
As I write these words it is 2:45 AM and I could go back to bed, but I will work a little more. “Kaitzen.!”
This will all make more sense when we make clear that you are joining a system, not just reading a narrative. As I have said there are many wonderful books very similar to this one, I will later list some and hope you read them. But while some have exercises, we have an entire system of transformation. This is huge because with a narrative, you forget the words and lose the inspiration. With the system you start to change and never stop. All those wonderful books of inspiration are at best maps. The 1eye System is a journey.
It’s objective is what I am going to call focused self-actualization. That’s because self-actualization means to become what you really are, or were meant to be, and I want you to be the hero of the adventure that is your own life.
Miyamoto Musashi, our Ronin paradigm, said, “There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.” But how do we access this inner treasure trove? With the 1eye system. A little bit at a time, small acts each day, repeated constantly will form a habit, and you will become that habit. The small change of being rewarded with the word Kaitzen, will make the difference.
I have the habit of tilting my head forward slightly when I practice martial arts, even when I walk. Now, when I catch myself and line up correctly, I subvocalize, “Kaitzen.,” and so that small improvement is growing in me.
Vince Lombardi famously said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” And I say that Kaitzen. represents a vector toward that excellence. With its use you command it, summon it, and reward it.