Despite a morning appointment, I was able to return in time to catch the inauguration ceremonies for Barack Obama, our 44th President of the United States. After Vice-President Joseph Biden was sworn in, cellist Yo-Yo Ma along with Itzhak Perlman on violin, Gabriela Montero on piano and Anthony McGill performed a composition by composer John Williams called, “Air and Simple Gifts.”
A beautiful and moving piece, it was performed by the faces of the world, it evoked the beauty of the moment, one of unity and hope and love. Speaking of faces, when the cameras would pan the audience, the visual, the many faces of America, wore the emotions of joy and hope for our future. Our new President acknowledged our history and contributions, not only of the famous but the everyday man. He spoke to all Americans, and to all citizens of our planet.
A woman interviewed on CBS said that her family and friends always expected the best of her, and attributed this to her being able to obtain a doctorate degree. Remember the book that was all the rage awhile ago, called “The Promise?” For anyone who has not read it, the jist of it is that we are our thoughts, that our thought energy can manifest great things for us. (I also believe we need to look at the other thoughts we harbor, that being the 95% in our mind energy which is the subconcious, for effective manifestation.) That being said, if we can manifest great things for ourselves by only using 5% of our mind power, that says quite a bit about making a conscious effort to believe in ourselves.
Often our parents, mentors and friends do expect the best for us. But what do we expect of ourselves? The key to succeeding in our dreams and our goals is first requiring each of us to expect the best for ourselves. It is, in essence, competing with ourselves, to raise our own standards regardless of what others are doing. Too often our society focuses on what others are doing as the way to measure their own sense of worth, when the truth of the matter is, it isn’t about ‘them,’ it’s about ‘us.’ Sometimes we need to go outside of ourselves to see this.
One of the reasons diversity works is that we learn how others are able to achieve and do life. In Japan, there is a philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life, called Kaizen. Business school students are familiar with this concept. When applied to the workplace, Kaizen activities continually improve all functions of a business.
Kaizen was first implemented in certain Japanese businesses during their economic recovery after WWII, in such notable firms as Toyota. There are businesses all over the world which have adopted it.Many of us already have Kaizen implemented in our way of doing life. Many martial artists and athletes have adopted it, at least on the physical level. Many musicians and artists adopt it, at least in their art. Many everyday folks have adopted this as a way of improving their life. These are not the “cup’s half empty” people but those who seek to raise themselves up despite adversity and hardship.
Kaizen, ask for it by name!