4 Truths from 4 Years of Kaizen Journaling

 

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Kaizen Journaling is 4 today. Like most birthdays and anniversaries…on the one hand it feels like I have been doing this forever, but on the other hand these four years have flown by.

Let me first begin with two things I’m thankful for:

First: I’m thankful that I can do this, that Kaizen Journaling has continued to grow over the years. It’s a privilege.

Second: I’m thankful to all of you, Kaizen Warriors. Without your presence, without your support, this journey would not be what it is. So thank you for being here, for being my fellows on this personal development journey where we are all trying and aiming for a Kaizen life.

Now, I would like to share four truths I’ve confirmed from four years of Kaizen Journaling:

It is about the journey

My journey to Kaizen Journaling began long before this website itself. But even in this four years, it has been a literal and metaphorical journey. Just by the nature of this project – personal development and journaling – it affects and is affected by my life. It would not be an overstatement to say that my life is drastically different from what it was on 17th April 2012. And fortunately, that change has been for the better. I’m pursuing my Kaizen Life with more passion and more dedication than ever before. 

For every moaner, there is one smiley person.

The world is full of whiny, negative people. You will find them everywhere. But for every one of them, there is also one positive person. Someone who smiles a lot, and brings smiles on everyone else’s face. You just need to look around more, and return smiles more often. Like does attract like. So if you find yourself surrounded by miserable people, keep walking, until you find someone who enhances your life by being in it. Don’t settle.

People are pretty damn impressive.

Over these four years, I have had the privilege to hear from many of you. You have shared your stories, opened your life and your heart. I’m amazed at what some of you have been through, and yet you continue to strive forward positively. It’s just another confirmation for me that none of us are alone in wanting to make the best of our lives, that we find the strength somehow to get up and keep going regardless of what life throws at us. It’s a confirmation of hope…that for all its faults, we – the humans – live in hope. 

You, and you alone, hold the key to your happiness. 

I come across many many negative and pessimistic people. I come across many people who seem to blame their situations in life, the government, or other people for their unhappiness. The hard truth is this: you and you alone are responsible for your happiness or your misery. Yes, other people, external circumstances can impact it, it can throw you off course and cause you hardships, but it’s up to you to decide how you respond to it. No one, and I mean no one, has a life without problems. What separates the happy people from miserable ones are the choices they make. Read this article to take control of your daily happiness and simple pleasures.

 

So that’s it. As I take this step into the 5th year of Kaizen Journaling, I hope you will stick with me. I have many plans for Kaizen Journaling though right now not much time to implement them, but I will get there, slowly but surely.  However, Kaizen Journaling still stands for the same thing. If you have forgotten, check out the manifesto. If you want more support on your journaling journey, check out Kaizen Journaling Academy

As always, feel free to contact me with any thoughts, stories you want to share. 

Thank you for being here! 

 

 

 

4 Reasons Why You Should Pursue Extra-Ordinariness

 

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Some of you may be aware, I spent the last two weeks in India on vacation. Two great weeks with my relatives and friends, and had an all around great time. But what I also noticed was that a lot of people there are just settling.

It’s part of the culture. I know it well enough because I was brought up there. You are taught and greatly encouraged to become a part of the society, not swim against the tide. You are taught that you must meet expectations of others, rather than follow your dreams. The idea of success is that which is generated by society as a whole – good education, good (stable) income, a house/flat, a car, savings, and children.

It’s not a bad picture. I know where it comes from. Our grandparents didn’t have that much. Our parents struggled too. So to have what they didn’t, to rise above the level you were born into, that is success.

There is nothing wrong with that. That picture has been painted all around the world for centuries. That was enough, for most people, when the world was closed, and you didn’t really know much beyond your limited circle, beyond  your particular society, or your country. (But even then, there have always been, and always will be, those who managed to fork their own roads)

But not now. Now when the information from all around the world is available…now when we know what individuals can do…now we can’t possibly justify that to “settle” into a mold designed by society, by others, is the only way to live.

If the society, if the atmosphere around us, if even the people around us are repressing us, then what can we do? If remaining ordinary is the most stringent demand upon us, then how can we let the extra-ordinary out? If “being yourself” is discouraged, and “be like everyone else” is encouraged, then how and even why should we fight against the tide?

The answers to each of those is simple – TO BE SATISFIED. 

I do not say happy, because you are unlikely to achieve happiness by swimming against the tide. More than likely you will end up causing rifts, arguing with your loved ones, and probably being told that you should grow up and be like everyone else.

But satisfied…yes, that is possible. Here are 4 reasons why pursuing being extraordinary makes you content:

  1. You get to be true to yourself

    There is nothing more freeing than to be free to be yourself. It doesn’t matter what you have, where you live, who you have – if YOU – the person experience it – knows that you are pretending to be someone you are not.

  2. You understand what it feels like to live on your terms – fail or succeed

    Pursuit of being extraordinary means to take risks. To perhaps blaze new trails. But certainly to go beyond the boxes designed to keep you in the zone the society has designed for you. You may fail…multiple times. But you can get up. Get up. Try again. And again. Until you succeed. That is a choice you have when you live on your own terms. To not give up. To keep going for your dreams. To keep forging this extraordinary person you want to become.

  3. Any success achieved, matters

    It’s tempting to desire easy success, to have things handed to us. But think about it really – what are the things you value the most? If you are like most people (and have a conscience), the things you value the most are the things you have earned. No matter how small the victor, it’s pleasure and glory is heightened when it’s achieved through your efforts. Pursuit of extra-ordinariness results in success that matters.

  4. You feel alive

    When you are pushing yourself to be the best you can be, when you break out of restrictions placed by others and let yourself soar, you feel this buzz…better than any drug, alcohol, or any other vice can give you. A buzz that lifts you high. That keeps you going when you are tired, when you fall, when things go wrong…it’s the buzz that makes you feel alive. Makes you feel like your life has a purpose. That you are doing something that matters. That you matter, and that everything you are capable of contributing in the world can make a difference. However small that difference may be. 

Pursuit of extra-ordinariness is not about discarding the ordinary from life. After all, we all want to be loved, have financial stability, have a home, and people who love us. Those “ordinary” things aren’t the problem. It’s how you pursue them that matters.  Is your pursuit a heartless chase, because you are running for things that you’ve been told you should run for? Or is it a passionate sprint because it’s a choice you’ve made? 

You are capable of being extraordinary, because it is nothing more than the best version of you. Your extraordinary isn’t going to be the same as someone else’s. You are not in competition with someone else. You are in competition with you. You can choose to let external pressures (society, family, friends), or internal pressures (your insecurities and fears) repress you. You can choose to let them keep you locked into your box of ordinary. Or you can break out, and let yourself soar. You can choose to become extraordinary. It is the harder choice. But it is invariably the right choice. Because nothing else in the world can compete with being able to be the best you can be.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Grab your journal and answer these questions. As quickly as you can, without thinking too much:

Do you think you have anything extraordinary within you? If so, what? 

What do you think it means being extraordinary?

Who are the people who make you feel you are extraordinary? Or special? Why do you think they make you feel that way? Find more of these in your life. 

Who are the people who make you feel that you are less? That you are not enough? Spend less time with them.