Friday, August 19, 2011

Axiom 10: Kaizen

"Education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance." -William Durant

"Study, study, study, study...." -Golden Boy

It irritates me when people act like know-it-alls. In life these are usually the people that know the least. The term kaizen is a japanese concept meaning, "continual improvement." It means that no matter how much you know or how good you are at what you do there is always room for improvement. The times when we feel like our level of improvement has leveled off are the times that we need to push ourselves the hardest. 

Here are a few ways to implement kaizen into your life if you are feeling stuck: 
  • Take on more responsibility - Whether at work or school, taking on more responsibility opens up new learning experiences. It may put you in a situation where you are working harder for the same amount of money, but you may learn new skills and your bosses will take notice of your hard work. The efforts of your extra labor will eventually payoff.
  • Find a new hobby - A new hobby allows you to learn a new skill and possibly meet new people. Every new hobby you acquire broadens your understanding of the world and opens up new opportunities.
  • Find a mentor - You can improve by learning from someone that is a master in their own field. It may be a living person or a deceased author. Once you go to the right source and ask the right questions you will find the answers you are looking for.
  • Push yourself outside of your comfort zone - If over a long period of time you fall into too much of a rhythm it becomes harder to continually improve. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone will help you overcome this. So for example if you are nervous about travelling force yourself on a road trip. Forcing yourself into uncharted territory emotionally will help you learn about the world and about yourself. It will also overwhelm you with intense emotions. Emotions that we sometimes lose when we get too much into a rhythym.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Axiom 9: A Good Reputation is Better Than Money in the Bank

"The real measure of wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.

"It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
-Benjamin Franklin

Reputation is probably the single most important factor determining a person's success or failure. Look above at the quote above from Benjamin Franklin. What goes through your mind when you read it? To me, I read the quote and get to where I see Benjamin Franklin's name and its his reputation that solidifies my belief in what I read. His reputation was so great that if he wrote that the sky was pink I might believe it. That, my friends, is the power of reputation. 

For me it has always been better to be honest, hardworking, trustworthy, dependable, and let my handshake be as good as a contract. I know sometimes doing the right thing requires more effort, but unless you are one of the smartest people out there you will get caught if you try to pull a fast one.

Your reputation determines your power over other people. It takes a long time to build and can be lost in an instant. Always air on the side of caution when it comes to your reputation - it is your most prized asset in life.

So how do you build and maintain a good reputation?

Simple. Your reputation is made up of three distinct aspects: confidence, character, and experience. Working on these three aspects will help build your reputation. I will delve more into ways that you can work on these three aspects at a later date.

Until then I highly recommend reading The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. He has a great chapter on the power of reputation.