One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way Robert Maurer – Book Summary/Notes

-process of building habits and taking small steps to achieve big goals. Continuous improvement that is not really viewed as tough or hard work, yet still brings you to your goals. 

Innovation – drastic process of change occurring in a very short period of time, dramatic turnaround. Fast big and flashy, reaches for the largest result in the smallest amount of time. 

By taking small steps/low key changes, It helps the mind circumnavigate the fear that blocks success and creativity, and leads them to accomplishing their goals without much effort. 

Cortex is the part of brain that makes us human. Rational thoughts and creative impulses take place here. Thinking part of the brain. The cortex is where we make changes or jumpstart the creative process. 

Midbrain is where the amygdala is located, which is where the fight or flight response lives. When used It shuts down other functions (such as the cortex). Any challenge, opportunity or desire triggers some degree of fear, limiting our access to the cortex. 

By using kaizen, you can focus on small and easily attained goals, bypassing the triggers of the amygdala, and tapping into the cortex (creative impulse). As you consistently work on these small goals your brain creates new neural pathways, leading to acquiring the new habits. Your resistance for change begins to evaporate because you’ve literally rewired your brain! 

Your brain is programmed to resist change! It has built in resistance to new behavior and habits. 

Asking Small questions 

The brain loves questions. When you ask a question such as how can I fit in an extra few minutes of (lesson) into my daily routine? It allows the brain to ponder on It and come up with creative ways to Incorporate the habit into their routine. 

What small benefit can I receive from performing this lesson? 

If I knew this small benefit could result in me gaining more (happiness gratitude awareness success taking control), what would I do differently right now? 

By coming up with these questions on your own, It allows for inspiration and creativity and begins to motivate to want more. 

By repeating the question on a regular basis and waiting for an answer initiates the subconscious and it’s access to the intelligence knowledge base. 

Small Questions aren’t demanding or scary. Which allows you to circumvent the amygdala and tap into your creativity. 

Need to ask the questions in a gentle and patient manner. 

Self value habit lesson – ask yourself What is one thing I like about myself today? One positive thought I’ve had about myself, one positive act I’ve engaged in, no matter how small. 

Potent partner – if you find It difficult to retain and implement this attribute, ask a friend or someone you know who has It, what is one thing they do to ensure that they instill/possess and use It during a moment of doubt or turmoil. 

Try to ask these questions regularly, ideally during the same time each day (morning, in car, lunch, etc) 

Goal question – what is one small step I could take toward reaching my goal? What is one small thing that is special about me? Asking in a kind and positive tone. 

Awareness question – what is one small step I could take to improve my awareness? 

Mind sculpture – visualization technique, visualizing in vivid detail, not just seeing but smelling hearing tasting feeling. Brain doesn’t know the difference. Creates new connections between cells to create new complex motor or verbal skills. 

Taking very small steps. Doing an activity for seconds, instead of minutes.  

Small Rewards stimulate the internal motivation required for lasting change. 

Small rewards are the perfect encouragement for instilling habits. 

Each time you work towards your habit and follow through, you can give yourself a small reward. What this does is 

Reward should be appropriate to the goal and for the person, and free/inexpensive. 

Example – if you go three days in a row with thinking of 3 different things that you’re grateful, you can give yourself a piece of candy. 

The idea here is to try to work towards the habit with the reward in mind in order to get you into wanting to perform the action, until you no longer need the reward and It becomes a habit. 

Small steps + small rewards = success

Small moments

Take the time to slow down your thinking and actions and use your awareness to notice minor issues or problems throughout your day. How can they be improved or fixed? 

Guy hated his job, couldn’t think of a more suitable career. Was asked to find one moment each day when he enjoyed his work the most. Discovered something he liked and pursued It, while enjoying this time during his current work until he quit. 

Indulge and recognize the hidden little moments that bring happiness. If you can notice them as you work on improving your habits, and truly feel them and appreciate them and learn to be prideful or excited for them, it will allow you to better implement the habit for good.