By: Luciano Passuello
How should you proceed implementing positive changes and making them permanent in your life?
One Small Step Can Change Your Life is a nice little book that answers this question by showing a simple and effective approach. In fact, this approach is so amazing that I consider it to be nothing less than the greatest personal development tool when it comes to implementing changes that really last.
The Kaizen Way
The tool I’m talking about is small, continuous improvement – or Kaizen, as the Japanese call it. Although the concept was originally created to be used in factories and production lines, it really shines when used as a personal development tool. Its core idea is so simple that it barely needs any adaptation and can be summarized in a single sentence:
Commit yourself to continuously take small steps towards improvement.
If you make and maintain this one commitment, you’ll naturally overcome the fears and other psychological responses often associated with changes, such as procrastination and feelings of resistance. Instead of attempting to achieve increasingly larger steps, your challenge should be quite the opposite. In every step of the way, try answering the question:
“How can I take a step so small that it is impossible to fail?”
- By focusing on making the steps as tiny as possible, you guarantee small successes you can build on and gain momentum.
- By focusing on continuously answering that question, you lay out the foundation to transform the change into a new habit – which is the best way to implement effortless and sustainable life changes.
A Small Step Towards Kaizen
In the very spirit of kaizen, instead of trying to cover such a fascinating topic in detail all at once, I decided to take a smaller step instead: sharing a summary for the book I mentioned earlier – One Small Step Can Change Your Life, by Robert Maurer. The book is very readable and does a great job introducing Kaizen in the context of personal development. It provides several strategies and useful insights on solving many challenges, such as starting an exercise program, stop overspending, and many others.
The book summary is formatted as a mind map – which is a great way to summarize a book, since it makes possible recalling it in 5 minutes or less whenever you want.
A Quick Note on Mind Map Formats
The book summary was originally created using the great MindManager software. This program remains open in my desktop most of the time, and I just couldn’t recommend it more.
But, despite all its greatness, not everybody is willing to invest money in a commercial mind mapping application. For that reason, I exported the file to the free, multi-platform FreeMind. While not as full-featured and usable as many paid solutions, it has a nice interactive online mind map viewer. Bear in mind that the interactive version does not contain all the graphics and formatting as the original – but you will be able to check out the book summary without downloading or installing anything.
See the FreeMind of Interactive Kaizen map