Growth, with a Little Bit of Kaizen on the Side

Life is ever-changing. People who cling to a certain belief or idea is doomed to fail because even they, themselves are subjected to change at one point in their lives. To fight change is like fighting a losing battle against the tide. You just simply can’t win.

Even the universe is in a constant state of changing.

Just an excuse to show this majestic Unicorn Nebula. From 

Stars are born and dying
literally every moment. Atoms are being broken and forged right now as we speak. Your cells are also dying and being reproduced at this very moment. Seven years from now, your skin will have been created with all new cells, without any resemblance to your current cells, but amazingly, dance the same pattern as the current ones.


What you thought was true a couple of years ago might have turned out wrong for you this moment. Need proof? Just take a look at how you dress five years ago. Yeah, I know. We thought it was so cool back then.

With that being said, humans have different relationships with change.

We have those that embrace change. They are the ones who constantly fight to better themselves. Stephen R. Covey is their homeboy. They have hungrily devoured every self-help book they can get grab in the hope of just becoming that little bit smarter, or more intelligent, or more confident or more-whatever. To these people, life is a just one giant playground, laid out for their experiments. Failures are not death-sentences thrown from heaven because to them failing is only a natural part of the learning process. They believe they can learn anything as long as they put the necessary amount of effort, in the right way. Maybe, not to become the next Einstien, or Beethoven, but they believe they can get better than they are now just by practicing. No pain, no gain is their go-to mantra.


And then there’s the other half of the game, the fixed ones. These are the people who grimace when people mention the word change. They just simply don’t see any point of change at all because they believe attitudes, personalities, capacities are set. Humans are given a pack of cards to deal with, and we just simply can’t change any of the cards. To these people, intervention is the worst of worst nightmares. *GASPS* you mean… you want me to change?

Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, have cited researches (decades of it) that support the hypothesis that the growth mindset is the bomb. And I totally agree. You can read this post for a more thorough explanation of the book.

It just makes perfect sense. When you adopt the growth mindset, you just simply set yourself to win in life. You set out to learn a lot. Even though you might be feeling pretty hopelessly lost, you believe that with the efforts you’re putting in right now, you will stumble upon a path one way or another in the future. People with a fixed mindset believes their life is set forever. They feel like they are hopelessly weak in fighting against the world. If they are depressed, no amount of “it will get better” posts will make them feel better.

Now, people with a growth mindset enjoys studying because that means they are allotting time to learn shit! They know that learning will make a difference; learning will make them grow; learning is essential to their very life! In contrast, people with a fixed-mindset always attributes skills to talents. They believe some people are born with the talent to say, paint. If they can’t even draw a straight line right now, no amount of practicing can change that fact.

Relationship-wise, people with the growth-mindset are partners that are more open-minded. They don’t really believe in “the-one” because they know people are imperfect, and they allow room for their loved ones to grow with a healthy dose of encouragement thrown in here and there. It’s not about finding the right person, but about finding someone who is willing to be there with you and grow together. As for the fixed-mindset people, they… they believe in “meant-to-be’s”. Once they find their partner falls short to their preferred standard, they become irritated. Obviously, they have chosen the wrong “one”. Welp. Time to break this off and start searching all over again! Even if they don’t break it off, they will harbor a hidden agitation for their partner because they believe their partner could never change. They would be annoyed…. forever!

The next thing I want to address have something to do with what growth-mindset people. If you have a fixed-mindset… well… Just think about the above section. Be more open-minded. I really encourage you to read this post, and just think about it.

Now, to y’all with the growth-mindset out there. Of course, we all know learning anything takes time. It’s been practically drilled inside our heads that practice makes perfect.

Yes, of course with the right practice, you can become anything in the world.
Wouldn’t it be great to be travelling the world with like only 500$?
Wouldn’t it be great rocking it out on the stage with thousands of fans yelling your name?
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have your arts exhibited, and praised?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be delivering your speech after receiving your Nobel Prize on physics? I bet you got giddy just by hearing all of those stories. The fact is that everyone likes success, of any kind whatsoever. Of course, you would want to become a rock-star traveler-painter with two Nobel Prizes on physics, but are you willing to put the efforts necessary to achieve those ends?

Would you be willing to be courageous enough to leave behind everything you are familiar, and plunge into the big wide world with only a couple hundred bucks in your pocket?
Would you be willing to spend hours jamming it out on the guitar, and all the hard work required to bring out a satisfactory album?
Would you be willing to go through all the frustration of learning to sketch, draw, shade, use color, to set yourself naked (metaphorically and/or literally) to produce a masterpiece?
Would be you willing to spend years and years reading squiggly scientific data and toiling over and over to find a creative solution?

Before you choose to stick with anything, try it out. Try it out and see if you feel up to practicing. If you find learning new chords on the guitar boring, and not satisfying enough, maybe you shouldn’t become a rock-star however tempting that vision of you jamming it out in black leather pants is.

Choose wisely. Choose something that you are willing to endure, sacrificing yourself over.

Now, the dish is mostly complete. You’ve got a growth mindset, with the realization that you have to be willing to go through the efforts to get success. You are all pumped up, eh? Time to become the best painter the world has yet to see! Hate to break it to you, buddy, but the thing is you will sooner or later feel depleted. You will become demotivated, or even overwhelmed! I mean, who wouldn’t in the face of an overarching ambitious goal? That’s where the side dish comes in handy.  It’s Kaizen, a notion from Japan (if you haven’t guessed).
The notion is pretty simple. Basically, it dictates that we shall tackle our goal just 1% better than yesterday. You don’t have to give it all 100% everyday! Give yourself some slack and let the course runs itself.
Maybe just sketch a thing or two today.
Tomorrow, just make the effort to sketch like three sketches.
Maybe learn how to draw a cartoon nose by practicing doing it three times on the third day, and practice drawing four cartoon noses on the fourth day.
You get the idea. Build up your momentum. You don’t have to rush it. It doesn’t seem that overwhelming now, eh? Just one more sketch than yesterday! Oh, and if you’re anything like me, you’d fall into the pit of depression and a cocoon of self-loathing the day you skip your practice! For whatever reason, you might miss your sketching session today, and you would feel like your skills has absolved into absolutely nothing, and you would have to start everything from scratch! With Kaizen though, you don’t feel as much hate to yourself anymore, because it’s only 1% that you’re missing. You can simply pick up where you left off before you slacked! Amazing, isn’t it?

And, there you go. Your growth mindset, with a little bit of Kaizen on the side. (If you want more Kaizen on your dish, you can order some more from here!)

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