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How to Set Goals with Kaizen & Ikigai
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Listen in 19 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Anthony Raymond

How to Set Goals with Kaizen & Ikigai

A Japanese strategy to help bring balance to your life

Taking the time to get to know oneself and learning to accept one’s limitations is the first and most important step in the long journey of personal growth and success. This is one of the existentialist teachings behind the Japanese concepts of Ikigai and Kaizen. How to set goals with Kaizen & Ikigai: A Japanese Strategy-Setting Guide. Focus, Cure Procrastination, and Increase Personal Productivity is an introduction to understanding these concepts, and how we can apply them to our lives to help us achieve our goals, both at home, and at work, one step at a time. 

How to Set Goals with Kaizen & Ikigai
Read in 15 min.
Listen in 19 min.

Becoming intrinsically motivated is the first step to dig oneself out of the inertia trap

Life can be both magnificent, and challenging for everyone. No one is excluded from life’s personal inner battles, which begin every day, the moment we get out of bed. In this constant internal to and fro, it is very easy to lose sight of your aspirations and desires, and end up reacting automatically to whatever happens during the course of the day. Simply setting goals can help overcome inactivity and demotivation, so why is it that more often than not, we aren’t able to make this work? 

Well, the human body and mind are programmed for inactivity, or rather to achieve and maintain a state of calm, but this condition cannot be achieved without effort. The body, once fed, well rested and safe, wants to sit back and take it easy, and so does a specific area of the mind. Meanwhile, another area of the brain knows it must continue to be alert and ready for any event that may arise in the future, which often creates an inner state of conflict. Prudence and control over one's own destiny are in fact distinctive human traits that have allowed humanity to survive for thousands of years.

Nowadays, this survival instinct - biologically speaking - comes up against even more obstacles in a society in which we are constantly expected to meet certain superficial standards. To break free from this loop, and find the willpower to set goals and pursue them, it is important to understand where the motivation for certain habits comes from. Many of our daily actions or life choices can be influenced by external factors (such as social media, our parents, friends and many more) and do not have the same strength as our intrinsic human instinct. Being able to cultivate one's own motivation is therefore the first step towards a solid and successful path to growth.

According to Anthony Raymond, to succeed in finding our motivation and forging our own personal path, we can look to the many forms of knowledge that humanity has developed over the centuries, and his particular focus is on some key concepts from Chinese and Japanese culture.


The key ideas of "How to Set Goals with Kaizen & Ikigai"

Becoming intrinsically motivated is the first step to dig oneself out of the inertia trap
Ikigai, Kaizen, Lingchi and Hansei: four valuable concepts to establish and achieve your goals
The term Lingchi expresses the interconnection between all the aspects of one's life
The importance of periodic, honest self-reflection is the lesson contained in the concept of Hansei
Ikigai, one's true inclination: the reason why you wake up with energy and passion
The term Kaizen teaches us that there is no real goal, we must aspire to continuous, gradual improvement
Kaizen, Ikigai and Hansei can also be employed in the workplace, to make life better
Japanese wisdom at home: strategies for a healthier, happier life
Take-home message
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