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You know that old saying? You may have even said it yourself, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I know I’ve said it. But what really is at the heart of that saying? Is the saying reinforcing complacency and combating change? Or is the saying at the heart of excellence and the enemy of perfectionism?

When I was getting my business degree some years ago I learned about a principle called Kaizen. I was later able to apply Kaizen in a practical sense when I worked in manufacturing. Kaizen is simply a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement. One that follows the basic steps of analyzing your process, measuring its efficiency, comparing it to your standards, and then searching for new or better ways of doing things. Once the new way has been discovered, it becomes the new standard. This process is repeated on the road of continuous improvement.

It’s a philosophy that has stuck with me over the years and one that I’ve carried over into graphic design and applied to my everyday life. It’s the idea that just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon.

Kaizen has become my life goal and has taken me on the path of pursuing excellence. It’s at the heart of who I am. I always want to be improving, in my personal life, in my design life, and in my spiritual life.

Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

-Steve Jobs

For years, I chased perfection, only to capture disappointment and frustration. It was only when I set my eyes on pursuing excellence, that I began to enjoy the process of learning. Excellence succeeds where perfectionism fails and it is there where you can pause long enough to enjoy the view from the summit and taste the fruit of your labors.

Take time to Kaizen.

I Kaizen, do you?

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