We explore the wisdom of using small, manageable steps for lifestyle improvement. This would be in contrast to the concept of trying to make a huge change at the beginning, which is less likely to be effective.
- Book: One Small Step Can Change Your Life - The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, PhD.
- Regarding effective rewards, you may find our episode about Love Languages to be applicable.
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[00:00:00] Intro Sequence
[00:03:15] Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Aspire Healthy Living Podcast. We're really pleased that you decided to join us today. We're going to be talking about an extremely actionable topic which is how to systematically make positive changes in your life. Because if you think about it everybody you know should be eating right and exercising but it's using that as an example that so few people are actually eating right and exercising or whatever whatever your particular goals are. And we're going to be talking about a particular book today and that book argues that setting small easy goals basically gets the ball rolling and it is much more successful at resulting in systematic long term change the extremely large goals which are kind of intimidating and yes there and cresses to have those goals but you're much less likely to achieve those goals because they create a mental reaction that sets yourself up for failure. So the book we're going to be talking about today is called One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer I believe you say his name and the subtitle is the kind of way the book is basically going to be talking about something called the cause and method which as I just mentioned is about making systematic small changes over time or in technologies we would say iterating over time versus these bigger goals which are actually much more difficult to achieve.
[00:04:57] And the reason why I thought now be the time to do an episode about this and we are entering kind of the holiday season and I've realized that the holiday season is so intimately tied up with New Year's and New Year's resolutions and I really have a lot of thoughts related to how to succeed in building the best version of your life which I think is really what people are trying to achieve when they set new year's resolutions. But essentially I can't remember what the exact numbers are but it's something like the vast majority like 80 to 90 percent of people who make a new year's resolution don't just not last a whole year. They don't want to last the whole month of January. So if you make New Year's resolutions before and they didn't really result in a significant change in your life maybe this book will prove to be more effective for you. I mean if you're able to just completely make a fraud changing and permanent. You know if you're able to do one of these huge make overs on your life and get that to stick then you probably aren't done. And probably would have done that before with a previous New Year's resolution. So I'd be doing a few episodes leading up to the new year which I think are going to help you frame up in you sort of include patient you might have to try to improve your life in a more productive direction which is ultimately going to be more successful in creating systematic long term change.
[00:06:26] Because remember what really is all about mediation that phrases like that the best way to achieve significant results over time is consistency in doing something small consistently day in and day out is much more effective at achieving long term change than you know working out one time and absolutely killing yourself metaphorically killing yourself with overly difficult work at one time.
[00:06:55] Well that's going to do is it's going to make you get overwhelmed and not work out anymore is kind of the pieces of the book and in general I agree with that thesis. So I thought it would be an interesting interesting one to get into. And of course if you would like to purchase the book let's just go to our nose and use our own lanes so that we get kind of the commission credit for the purchase from Amazon. But I did want to also mention that by seeing to get them out of work into the show notes for these episodes. So you're listening to this on your telephone Usually you can just click the picture in your podcasting out. Now you probably like a short version of the show notes and then there's a link that says Click here for the full version of the show. So I really encourage you to click on that link. Every episode I try to include a lot of useful links both external and related to the site. Other Related articles which are which will be useful to you if you're interested in this topic as well as a complete transcript of the episode that we're doing. We're doing full transcripts on every episode and that's available on the show. So I just wanted to be clear about that. Of course the show are also available on our Web site which is aspire123.com.
[00:08:12] It occurred to me because the few episodes I had been saying Oh when I a question or saying Jesus 5:23 com scroll to the bottom and click ask the question of course that's still a completely effective way of asking a question. But you can also go into the show notes and I'm including this is asked the question so I think that's going to be more convenient if you are on your telephone. Which many of us are over in this nigga pockets and your questions are very much welcome. Related to this topic or any other topic and also specifically I would like to start receiving some relationship questions. So if you have anything going on in your relationship that you would like some sort of external feedback about I would really like to explore the concept of doing a call in show related relationships but let's get to the main topic today which is that this book one small step can change your life.
[00:09:06] And I thought it was kind of cute that they made the book Small That was sort of witty of them. Let's just go ahead and go through it. And I ended up underlining so much in the book that I just felt a little easier to just bring the book with me. So it was hysterical in the beginning. And remember we're going to be talking about something called the Kaiser which is this systematic small scale approach to achieving success in any areas in business or in your life you know systematically building a great life for yourself. Kazdin is a very hands is an ancient philosophy captured in this powerful statement from the Tao of shame. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and it appeared to me in many ways. This entire podcast episode is just going to be talking about that one world because. It has been my experience that literally the longest time I've ever watched what I did was I focused on taking one step at a time and I did not focus on the fact that I was working for miles and miles and miles and similar. When we're talking about any sort of change it's much more likely to be affected if you take it one step at a time and love it some it allows you to achieve so much more. And I think that encapsulated in that famous quote which really just kind of spoke to me. OK. So this person that the author of the book is basically not a therapist but a consultant where he has customers and he's giving advice to these customers.
[00:10:41] So a lot of the time he's talking about what's going on in his practice that he's observed from his practice and you get the impression that his practice is basically imploding into implementing this idea this not that. So the opposite. I've had the satisfaction of watching countless clients using the usual method to create lasting change. They apply the same simple principle to improve their life in just about every way. They lost weight and kept it off. Began an exercise program and stuck with it. Addictions forgood created strong relationships behind the last become organized without slighting things. Without slaving when things get hectic and improving their careers and continue to do so long after their performance reports are filed. Well doesn't that sound awesome. I mean does that basically encapsulate everything you would think to cancel a New Year's resolution losing weight getting in on an exercise plan keeping addictions and drug addiction just getting organized and doing well with your career. So if any of those apply to you then I think that this is a really actionable and useful topic that it would be well worth an hour of your time to get into it. I would argue if you don't think there's work to be done in any of those areas perhaps you should go back up and Zanon because again the hands on approach is a continuous improvement approach you never really arrive at the destination you're constantly enjoying the process and that's what I was searching for earlier when I was talking about the quote.
[00:12:17] The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step is it focusing on the process. It's about taking one step at a time and putting your full mindfulness into that one step as opposed to dreaming about castles in the sky. And you may go one day that never actually materialized.
[00:12:34] So that what really set it up.
[00:12:36] Well what we're trying to do. What we're trying to do in this book and he said out in juxtaposition to kind of the scope of castles in the sky approach for every innovation approach and I seen this with my housemate who is in my other business a software company trying to design a super piece of software and I've observed in this person that his standards are what the software has to do are so ridiculously high that it's becoming clear to me that he's never actually going to finish the software because if he had to finish the software that would actually be somewhat like lose scary because you would have to be it would have to actually interact with the real world. For instance if he just sits there in programs forever then that's not very scary at all and he can tell us all that he's making progress. So I have observed this for myself. There's the Cicily effect where when you're trying to innovate and you're trying to make a revolutionary huge change as opposed to a minor incremental change. Yes it sounds awesome but actually achieving that large change can be so daunting that the mind starts creating creating ways to create excuses that you don't achieve. So that's how the craft nation happens. For example procrastination my understanding of this was due to yesterday procrastination is about setting your goals so high that you get too intimidated to actually accomplish your goal. And the procrastination is kind of like the excuse you give yourself for when you're not accomplishing the goal versus Because I'm not going to get into this in a minute. The changes are so small they're almost laughable.
[00:14:19] It's like you know take one less grain of sugar in your coffee every day and kind of absurd goals are so absurdly small that there's no way you could. You can be 100 percent confident that you will be able to achieve that goal because you said it's a reasonable place. We're another one that I have heard was meditate for one minute and one minute a day. Well everybody has one minute a day to meditate. If you're not meditating why not make the commitment right now to meditate for one minute a day and what will happen over time is you'll become more comfortable with meditation and potentially actually begin meditating because you have set yourself up on a path. But first you want to compare and contrast this to the innovation model that is commonly commonly kind of proposed by society that is being rejected by the author. That's the problem with innovation. Too often you meet with success in the short term only to find yourself falling back into your old ways. When your initial burst of enthusiasm fades away and that really resonates with me because that's just happened countless times in my life where I say I'm going to do this huge thing that's going to really move my life forward and it's going to be so awesome. And then maybe last Thursday half a day or something like that and then I'm just like ok. I basically throw my hands up and give up on the goal. Radical change just like charging up a steep hill. You go out a window before you reach the crest. There is no of innovation. It is another path altogether.
[00:15:59] Well that one's so gently up the hill that you hardly notice the wind. Doesn't that sound pleasant. It is pleasant to negotiate and soft to tread and all wires is that you place one foot in front of the other and then they repeat the lousy quote about a journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first death attributed back to the earlier we actually check on that's a little strange OK at the last you actually wrote the deputies.
[00:16:33] So that makes sense. OK.
[00:16:34] Anyway moving up gets in the history of it and the story is actually fascinating because it has an Asian name which is the cause and method it actually originated in the United States. The United States was basically you know you're factoring battle with Germany to crank out more munitions and more aircrafts and things like that. And there was the feeling on the United States side that they were falling behind Germany because Germany was really excellent in manufacturing and in fact for example their tanks were known to be much much more sophisticated than the United States tanks. So what they did was they implemented a program which would eventually become the highest honor. It was basically like do what you can. This is like two assembly line workers do you can't improve the process immediately around you without the money without taking more resources because there is no more money and there aren't more resources with it you know we can't afford to devote additional resources to the war effort because all of the resources are being devoted to the war effort. So is this concept way everybody do your part. Every day the train Shindand to make things as efficient as possible but don't don't do anything that is going to cost money don't do anything that's going to cost extra resources and to really increase efficiency. So I'm just going to read a quick overview of that despite the foreign name cards on small steps for continuous improvement was first applied systematically a depression era America when France felt the Nazi Germany in 1940. American leaders realized how urgently the allies needed shipments of our military equipment.
[00:18:21] They were also forced to acknowledge that American soldiers might soon be sent abroad as well requiring their own tanks weapons and supplies so I guess I just remember the exact timing but it is immediately pre-World War II. American manufacturers would need to step up and quality and quantity of equipment production and quickly because they're trying to rev up the war machine. This channel was intensified by the loss of many qualified factory supervisors to the American armed services for busy making preparations for war to overcome these heightened personal concern. These flight time and prison no constraints the United States government created management courses called training within industries or PWI and offered them to corporations throughout America. One of these courses held the seeds of what would in another time and place become known as chi. Instead of encouraging radical more innovative change to reduce the demanded results the teat of course exhorted managers toward what they call continuous improvement and that's very much consistent with how I think about my life. I'm always thinking what little changes can I make that will start moving in my and that will continue moving my life in the direction that I want it to be moving in. I am always thinking about ways to optimize not necessarily radical ways but always continuously improving. And this book is very much suggesting a similar approach. In due course me your wiggle room of recycling but of course the training within industries course from the time the Course offers supervisors to look for hundreds of small things you can improve. Don't try to plan a whole new department layout or go after big installations.
[00:20:07] There is a time for these major items it's quoting me from here it isn't me. There's a time for these major items. Look for improvements on existing jobs with your present equipment. End quote. That was the end of the quote and so I have to continue. One of the most vocal advocates of continuous improvement at that time was Dr Edwards Debney And that's basically the creation of this case. A statistician can work on a quality control team that aided American manufacturers as they tried to find their work time footing. Dr Guiney instructed managers to involve every single employee in the improvement process and that is by the way significantly different to the innovation model which is typically the kind of leader follow or sort of model where there's little genius at the top and he's saying OK we're going to you know he's the CEO jobs basically. Well Steve Jobs is probably an example of somebody who achieved innovative change finding systematic small steps. Maybe that's not the best example but so leaders you know they lead by example. But that's not really including everybody else in the decision making let's just say we're going to do it my way. Everybody follow me. The intense time pressure had transformed elitist snobbery into an affordable luxuries. Everyone from those of the lowest rung to scabbards seats we're encouraged to find little ways to increase the quality of their product and the efficiency of creating it. Suggestion boxes boxes were positioned of factory floors so that line workers can suggest ways to improve productivity. And executives were obliged to treat each of these companies with great respect. So that's kind of the background of each.
[00:21:50] The original formulation of this about the discontinues approach method is the United States is trying to rev up its war machine before World War 2. And specifically this guy Dr. Deming really took that idea and ran with this and did nothing is kind of seen as the father of lies. Down further on it's still explaining the background viewing employees as a resource for creativity and improvement and wanting to be receptive to subordinate's ideas was an unfamiliar notion as it had been for Americans. OK so I forgot that in between these two quotes what happens in the story is that Japan is defeated in World War 2 and then when the United States is helping Japan rebuild its industry we teach them this continuous improvement not it and so is commenting that this continuous improvement method was foreign to the Japanese just like it was to the Americans because they were used to the building of things like a boss employee kind of way when the boss says this is what we're going to do. Any employee follows and the employee doesn't really have a voice the employee doesn't really get to impact versus this this is empowering employees and yes that sounds like standard you know standard business speak in this day and age I don't know how many companies actually do power of their employees so many companies now say they empower employees but remember this was a long time ago. This was this was not really in any air other people were talking about empowering their employees. So it was an unfamiliar notion in the U.S. Dr. Deming series of strategies for enhancing the manufacturing process were largely ignored.
[00:23:38] Once the troops were home and production was back to normal because remember America was in a huge economic advantage versus all the other manufacturing countries the significant manufacturing bases in Europe had all been destroyed during the war. And so there was no longer This constraints that they had to do so with so little because there was basically boundless opportunities for American corporations. So efficiency went out the window. But in Japan however his concepts were part of the emerging Japanese business culture. Small that stepping forward small steps were so successful that the Japanese gave them a name of their own cars or so are kind of. Nice to have a Sherrick say a word. So that's why it has an Asian name is because when the Japanese it up and if they wanted to you know give the Japanese my and the moniker that they used. And I guess I'm kind of kind of skipping ahead. But the great manufacturing company in the world as of today is Toyota and the way that they did that and it is indeed the case that.
[00:24:44] So we'll get into that here for a minute. But let's talk about the actual nature of these changes.
[00:24:52] And I can touch a minute ago but you want it to be laughably small absurdly small it could not possibly be any smaller type of stuff. So voting for the book and talking about really small steps here ones that seem almost embarrassingly trivial. First this personal application of price hikes on transport is nature businesses and factories tend to have small steps for improvement and humiliated to a larger change. But the psychology of the individual is a little different. In fact a surprising number of my clients intuitively perceive what it took me years of observation to see that low key change helps the human mind circumnavigate the fear that blocks success and creativity and so definitely point. That's really a key aspect of this comes on that is that net that makes these small steps for improvements so small that it doesn't preclude a few response in the brain. If you say like to quit smoking cigarettes tomorrow quit drinking tomorrow and I'm going to start sleeping eight hours and I'm also going to work nine hours a day of work. Then when you actually get to try to accomplish all those things at once your mind says like oh that's totally not knowable and it generates sort of a my brain's locking up. So the fear response in the group is arguing that few responses counterproductive to you actually achieving your goals.
[00:26:20] So rather than saying you know I'm going to eat absolutely perfectly and I never deviate from it it's more like OK how can I change one by food today so that it is more healthy than how I ate yesterday because that is still achievable it's still achievable to change one bag of your food versus reorganize your entire eating approach all in one day. So that's the idea that we're getting around this viewer response because the response is counterproductive to achieving. And I remember hearing a similar thing in the interview that I was listening to yesterday about procrastination that procrastination is about fear. It's about fear of not being good enough of knowledge leaving these ridiculously high goals that you set for yourself. And so it starts to go into sort of the psychology of it the real problem with the amygdala. And it's fight or flight response today is that it sets off alarm bells whenever we want to make a departure from our usual safe routines. And that's why these large changes are some difficult because using natural tendency to want to keep doing your routine. There's not a natural tendency to just stop doing everything that is particularly counterproductive in your life because if you think about it at some level there's a part of you that thought that was the most adaptive way to approach reality. You're not doing it so they have a little diagram to try and make it really really simple. All our goal produces fear. We get access to your cortex and your mind is restricted which means you alternately fail as opposed to a small bowl is so tiny that it bypasses the fear response which means you can access you bring in your rational facilities and that is ultimately going to lead to success.
[00:28:08] So that's kind of the most simple way to explain what will be argued in the book is so that it starts getting into sort of the neuro psychology of it all what's going on in the brain. These are all related parts of the kind of if memory serves the center section of the brain the hippocampus is the criterion for storage is repetition. So asking the question over and over and this is the question you refer to is basically like what is the smallest possible step I can make to move my life in the direction of the long term goal that I want to have. So asking the question over and over gives the brain no choice but to pay attention and begin to create answers. OK. So the idea is to just say look what's the smallest change I can possibly make to start eating healthier exercising or whatever it is that you want to do in that to make your life more healthy more consistent with living the best possible version of your life and just keep asking yourself that question over and over and over again. The book is arguing that your subconscious can't help but produce an answer for questions up tends to turn questions turn out to be more productive and useful for shaping ideas or solutions that commands I may agree and disagree I can say that questions are very good at engaging the interest of the subconscious. I think this person is really underestimating the sort of hypnotic power of giving yourself commands. But we're not talking about affirmations Today we're talking about actual changes in your life. Tangible changes to your routine of how you're conducting your life.
[00:29:57] A question wakes up your mind the lights in the book and I do not agree with that because your brain does have a cold took a shot the desire for gestalt Firebird. The phraseology correctly basically means there's a drive in the mind for completion. So if you say. That it's hard not to say. And maybe I didn't do that that's renditioned or shading here but you provide an incomplete data set. The subconscious wants to provide it wants to complete data set because of the desire for completion. So we walk around all day saying what's the small step I can take to start moving you know a healthy lifestyle and the fitness One is the small step I can take to start living an active and healthy lifestyle. You know ask yourself about a hundred times and the answer is just going to pop into your brain is the is the arc of a book and based on my understanding of the way the brain works I think that's reasonable and it gets a sample question if help were my first priority what would I be doing differently today using health as an example. Your brain loss questions and won't reject them unless the question is so big that it triggers fear. And that's basically the fundamental thesis of the book is that big changes to your life triggered a fierce spasm of your response. You don't achieve what you're trying to achieve. Small questions bypass of your spots and then your to reach your goals over time obviously the first small change is not going to achieve the goal itself but it will get him moving in the right direction.
[00:31:37] So I do find myself for example a lot of times it's harder to mentally hear myself to write another article but I can say OK well I'm just going to start writing and we'll just see where that goes. And in a lot of time it goes to the place where I end up reading an article because once I once I start doing something then you get into sort of the mental process of what is involved in doing that. And it's easier to do it. Or another example is I have a mental commitment to myself that I'm going to exercise every single day.
[00:32:10] And by exercise I actually take my dogs on a walk every single day but I mean like yoga and type she at home every night. And so I basically have a rule for myself that I will do some yoga over time every single of my so not sliding just don't feel like it. And what I'll do is I'll say OK well I'm just going to do the time the long for which takes maybe five minutes or I just stretch and just didn't do one thing. And if I only exercise for like two or five minutes a night and hassle myself about it I'm going to have achieved my goal of exercising every single day. And then Zoltan that is first of all I you actually doing it every single day so two to five minutes of exercise. You actually do is much more healthy for you than zero minutes of exercise that you don't. Sorry 60 minutes of exercise that you don't do which actually result in zero minutes of exercise.
[00:33:07] And I think that's fairly clear.
[00:33:12] And then it goes into a similar concept in a relationship context and so a question of cause type of question that you could ask in a relationship context if you are single is if I were 100 percent certain that my this is from the perspective of female heterosexual if I were 100 percent certain that my prince was coming in a month what were you doing differently that day. Or if you're into when if I were 100 percent certain that my princess was coming of what would I be doing differently today. If you think of something like I would completely completely change from my life in 50 different ways then dial it back and say well what is the smallest step I can take in that direction.
[00:33:55] OK. You didn't have to accomplish the entire journey in one day.
[00:34:00] And then I wrote a little note to myself in the in sort of the margins of the book and he was one small change I can make to prove this fire and then I'm in the middle of asking myself that question. And by the way if you have an answer please do get in touch with me by clicking in the show notes and just clicking on ask the question if you have an idea of what is one small change I could make to aspire in a productive direction. Now for me the answer that I've come to is it seems like the small step that I could do that would really be significant difference that aspire is getting an article published in a publication that already has a lot of free year so I'm making an effort to move in that direction. But even now that I say that that's a little bit of a large step for guys on. So I'm going to dial that back a little bit. I'm going to say step one I'm going to write an article and submit to a publication that would meet that criteria a publication that has a lot of readers and could help people learn about this fire. And then over time all built up in multiple articles and end the Humulin to probability of one of those articles being published is actually quite high as opposed to to come up to contrast if I said well I need to get published in The New York Times tomorrow some of us in the next year crafting the perfect article and not let anybody see it. Perfect.
[00:35:28] Well that almost guarantees failure but if I say oh I'm going to write an article once a week and it is submitted to a publication once a week and whether they say yes or no I will consider that goal to have any success as long as I as long as I meet my criteria for myself. So now we're talking through it I guess I've already answered my question. But in the spirit lives on. I just want to be clear that I am applying the same insights to my life. I'm applying these insights to my business and I'm trying to give examples of that so that it helps you think through your situation could be related to your business could be related to your job could be related to health food related to stopping some kind of addiction. I hope you'll read the book I hope you will be caught up on habit of asking yourself small important questions as you begin big. Remember that your program in your mind for creativity So a question that repeatedly over the course of several days or weeks. And that's again when bring this individually in advance of New Year's Eve because whatever you are thinking about making your New Year's resolution what about thinking of us high on approach you can say with the small step I can take to be moving in the direction of this our goal I was going to set for myself and give your subconscious time to really kick it around and really give yourself a good answer. So then he goes through a number of different possible specific questions you could ask yourself. It really helps a whole paragraph discussion of each of these.
[00:37:01] I just read up a couple of questions to help keep off your brainstorming. About ways to be asking yourself questions in these in these directions. And if you would like more of a description each one of these questions really resonate with you and you want to hear what the author has to say about that individual question and I would recommend buying a book. It's an easy read it's a quick two hundred pages in like a table. OK. If I were here to teach not to fail what would I be doing differently. And I do like to ask myself that and why when I ask myself that question what I would be doing differently is I would already be living on a property that I had kind of like create into an ecological paradise so. That I would be going full bore on fire and I am absolutely doing that because I've already asked myself this question. If I were guaranteed to not fail what would I be doing differently. OK now the question What is one small step I could pay towards my goal. What is. One small step I could take to improve my health. What is one small stuff. What is. What is one small step I could take to improve my relationships or career or what ever you want to be doing in a positive direction. And if there is somebody who is you somebody who's bothersome you could ask yourself what's one good thing about this person you know train yourself to start focusing on the positive if that's situationally appropriate. Of course as we've gotten to a couple episodes ago we're talking about gaslighting.
[00:38:33] If you're in a if you're in a dangerous psychological situation one where you're getting abused. Don't try to make yourself OK with that. No and if you vacate the situation but it is just like a normal interaction with somebody or working like a little bit in the way you can use Cozart help focus on the positive. Because of course all human beings are a combination of negative and positive because that is the fundamental nature of reality in the first place. Although it's so easy to try and know pigeonhole somebody into being totally good or too bad. OK. And there's actually an entire chart about if you know if your goal is X then you could do Y. And I'm not going to specifically go through all these but you know for example if you want to stop overspending you could remove one object from the shopping cart before heading to the cash register. If you want to begin an exercise program you could begin by standing on the treadmill and just that's enough for the first day. You know that's enough do that for a few minutes every day and then ultimately you're going to start walking on the treadmill. Other examples. Good. Get more sleep. Go to bed one minute earlier at night or stay in bed. One minute later in the morning some of these examples of course there were people in the book but they're so small it's like of course you have time to go to that one minute earlier. Of course you have to find this one later and over time that is going to move you in the direction of your goal.
[00:40:05] I mean it's still it's so obvious when we didn't see it this way. But I will say when somebody is talking about the innovation model it seems so great to achieve some sort of huge goal. The question is like are you actually going to achieve that goal. Back to the book if you like lots of other people who want to make the change you may say to yourself but how can I reach my goal. I don't have any money to spare and I barely have a moment to sit down. Between breakfast in bed time Capehart like all the best things in life small steps are free and they only take a minute or two of your time they can fit into the schedule and so that's really consistent with you know kind of what I'm talking about in the intro sequence that we play before the podcast episodes. We're trying to talk about knowledge that costs you nothing and you can implement for free immediately because that seems like the most useful kind of information. Not the kind of information where you have to take out some huge student loan and spend four years of your time just. Wish to find a place for that. This is not the time and place. This is what we're trying to give you actionable useful information that anybody can use on any budget with any amount of free time because we're all we all have less money than we would ideally like to have. We all are busier than we would ideally like to be but we still have a desire to to have a better life to be more happy to have.
[00:41:34] We're building relationships to be healthy in the way that we're living our lives. Now there's this sort of faint objection that it's going to talk about which is not a fake objection but responding to the possible objections. Well if you take small steps isn't it. Isn't that ultimately going to lead to smaller souls. Remember of course the pieces of the book is you're going to achieve small results if you trigger the response by creating your goal is too large. The only way to actually create results that work is to have goals that are achievable and to actually achieve those goals. And the argument of the book is the way you do that is to keep those goals small and you could have one go after the other. He may be able to have a larger effect on stress maybe small but they can often lead to a rapid change. My experience with the clinicians that sometimes all it takes is one step to effective dramatic improvement when the goal is to perform an activity that you deeply resist. For example exercise or to give up in ingrained happen perhaps you shop as a way to relax. You may find that one small step isn't quite enough but that step does lead you to a comfortable second and third and so on until one day you discover that you have mastered the change. So going back to the example of New Year's resolutions does it really matter that you accomplish whatever huge goal you have suffered yourself on January 1st.
[00:43:04] You know if it takes you six months to achieve that goal but you achieve that goal for the rest of your life is that far more effective strategy for what really matters which is how are you going to be living your life when a daily basis for the rest of your life. People who struggle with times on do so not because the steps are hard but because they're easy because they're so laughably easy that a person is not taking them seriously. They can't overcome the cultural prettinesses change must always be instant yes. It must always require steely self discipline was never pleasurable. But don't ask us to be patient and just have faith that with small steps we can better overcome the mind's initial resistance to change. And remember what it is that you want to change your life. You probably got there after a series of small steps. You probably didn't pick a random example of somebody who has a gambling addiction when you probably didn't just overnight get a gambling addiction. There were probably small little steps and then one day you woke up and you had a really bad gambling addiction. So like have some patience with yourself and realized that something like an addiction is going to need to be unwound over time and having no self love to give yourself that time. Please I implore you I implore you to to give yourself some patience and self-love in terms of allowing yourself some time to resolve these these core issues. These were easy things to change in your life you would have changed them already. OK. And this very much applies to me. I don't want to get into what I feel what are the specific things I'm not changing my life right now but I'm a hugely aware of what they are.
[00:44:46] And I'm aware of the fact that they didn't show up for no reason they showed up because of certain issues that are going on inside of my mind and I want to help. I want to know why those step by step fashion. OK it actually gets into talking about New Year's resolutions. Every year millions of us make a list of hurdles for the coming year. We wouldn't lose weight get organized learn to manage stress and so on and we plan to make these changes in their entirety starting the very next day. I've totally done that before. What do you do. Generally when you go out and party online in their hotel room that morning and is that an audible on stage to start making them huge positive change. No of course not yet over and over. We just can't summon up the will power wired for massive sudden reformation. And I'm sorry that you got into that situation in the first place for a reason. At least not for a long period of time servicing just the typical resolution is repeated ten years in a row. So back to well can small changes result in it can small steps result in big changes. I would say just having the same New Year's resolution ten years in a row and not accomplishing any of those times. Is that how is that working for you if that's what you're trying.
[00:46:12] With one quarter of these resolutions being abandoned within the first 15 weeks and dusted off again the following year and a totally after even shorter than that Casada offers an alternative to this annual ritual of failure and into the one minute a day for meditation where it's like OK let's use meditation as an example I personally have a goal for myself that I try to meditate 20 minutes a day every single day. OK. But I can start at 20 minutes a day. I started saying I will do some meditation every single day or as just about the book I will do one minute of meditation every single day. Now it's one minute of meditation day and change your life. Not by itself but one minute of meditation maybe two minutes of meditation may lead to three minutes of meditation. And so let's just let's just talk through that as an example because I think that that is a useful example even if meditation doesn't happen to be the thing that you want to change about your life. You can mentally pay Sure whatever it is that you are planning to change. Many years ago a friend of Cazotte. I had heard of a very famous painting I heard a very famous painting expert give a lecture to a large audience this pain expert and each of his listeners to go home and meditate for one day. Quite surprised. I went up to him after the talk and asked him why he thought what of meditation would possibly do anyone any good in a patient tone of voice. He asked me how long meditation techniques had been around. Well two or three thousand years I said That's right. He told me. So there's a very good chance the people in this audience heard of it before now.
[00:47:56] Those who like the idea have already found a teacher in a book and are doing it for the rest of the people and the audience. Meditation is you know probable that actually would already be doing it. I'd rather they go home and meditate for one minute not meditate for 30 minutes. They might like it they may forget to stop and that's by the way that in my experience of meditation is many times the first few minutes is difficult but after meditating for 20 minutes a lot of time is perfectly comfortable to sit there for long. Now so what did the book and I believe he was right. The study of persuasive techniques consistently demonstrates high power to help even the toughest resistance. So that was a good example. Another example that I thought was really interesting I won't read it word for word but it was basically like this somebody was going to put up a billboard in the air. This is like a scientific study. They went to homeowners and they said can we put this little sign here. And so a certain number of people I allowed them to live in the dark side. There are not exactly sure like the details of the yard sign but compared to the control group that has been put in their yard this week or month or whatever later they came back and they put up a huge billboard in the neighborhood that was very it wasn't offensive but it was coming here. It was kind of obvious to have this newborn in the neighborhood.
[00:49:23] And they were basically testing the amount of outrage in the neighborhood and what they found is the people who had allowed this small signs to be put in their guard were much more visible to having them inside put down as opposed to the people who just looked for no intrusion to each side. They had a problem with this. OK. And actually in that example I'm wondering well the of most of the people who weren't asked to because otherwise it would just be well those people the people who accepted the sign are more willing to go along with other people's religions or whatever. So you probably had to do with that. I should go back and check the statistical validity of the specific example but you get the general idea the general idea is that those people who go out of small steps to be taken were warned in the open through a large step to be taken as opposed when people were just going from zero to large step that was much less likely to be successful.
[00:50:32] If you find yourself frustrated with the pace of change ask yourself Is it slow change better than what I've experienced before which is no change at all. So give yourself the gift of patience because you're actually moving the ball in a productive direction to use the sports analogy. You're moving the ball up your direction. And who cares if it's small. Who cares if it's she is not getting you there 100 percent it's getting you some. And you can feel comfortable that you will eat more small stuff. So the idea is obviously relatively simple and it goes into to get a read every example from the book. But if we go through each possible new year's resolution and use your life for easy steps you can take it in that direction. So your resolution of like to eat more healthy or to exercise or to save money or being more people or ask for a raise or use time more productively. Each of those has a life force death specifically thought out that can help you move in the right direction. So that's I think a real hopeful overview if you're if you're one of those topics really applies to you and you're having difficulty thinking like oh is this a teachable small steps. Can I start making in a productive direction. If you do those specific examples that I do encourage you to get the book and of course this applies especially with Ed. I was especially interested in thinking through this one about the related to the subject of addiction because so many people are addicted to something whether that's gambling or sex or drugs or whatever pornography.
[00:52:14] There are so many possible it in many ways. Capitalism is fantastic and producing addictions. So most people are addicted to something. It should be a question of how how much is that you're acting with their healthy functioning of their lives. And if it's not interacting with healthy it's not so tracting for live all your life. That is not a problem but if there is an addiction that's a problem. It has been my experience. For example I used to smoke. This will probably surprised listeners but I used to smoke during Polish two and a half packs of cigarettes a day. I basically always had a cigarette in my mouth. So keeping that addiction I have a cigarette in 10 years. Keeping that addiction was so difficult. So I really really empathize with you if you're out there to do something. And we're going to it's the subject of addiction more in-depth. But I think this is great. Small first step to start thinking about how to break an addiction. So I definitely wanted to specifically read this part which is about it which is about using Zen as a way to breakthrough addiction. When people are trying to quit for addiction one of their biggest challenges is the likelihood that a brief period of success will be followed by a relapse into the bad habit. It doesn't matter whether it be addiction is just cigarettes junk food alcohol drugs or something else.
[00:53:39] And I would argue we haven't really gotten into the neuro neuro chemistry adaptation but it's basically like all of those stimulus each You are addicted to what is actually doing is producing dopamine in your brain. So there's a lot of different things to be addicted to but the actual mental process of addiction is highly consistent across different types of addictions. Even after I made free prediction for many months people often slip and return to their old ways. There is hope however. I've seen many people quit permanently by taking small steps or begin recommending this particular pattern of on desperate patients. When they do this a common refrain among smokers who give it up and return to their habit and by the way I tried so many times with smoking before I was successful at quitting smoking cigarettes or my friends. They tell me sometimes they were laughing when they said their feeling was real. Many of these smokers I discover grew up in families with parents who were incapable of consistent nurturing as children they quickly learned to keep their problems to themselves. And you can find no one when they were upset. This self-reliance is a frequently used but very poor strategy for coping with life's adversity. That's because we are biologically wired to reach out for support when we're stressed. It's in our nature. Consider when a child does want to wake up at night by nightmare or thunderstorm. The child instinctively runs to a parent's bed for help.
[00:55:17] The child clings to mom or dad and then after a few moments the soothing falls asleep in the parent's arms when this natural coping process is interrupted by parents who are physically or emotionally available it's for self-reliance and stoicism as this independent child grows into adulthood cigarettes or food or other substances become dependable companions providing comfort consistently and reliably but with unfortunate side effects. If a person like this tries to quit addiction without learning to ask others for help that person is unlikely to succeed. So I think that that provides a good context of how this would work and addiction and addiction sort of sort of context is either addicted to something that's because there are psychological issues going on which are which are required to use this vision as a crutch basically one of the most solid predictors of success in life is whether a person turns to another human for support in times of trouble or fear. And we know it is statistically or it has been borne out based on my understanding of the scientific literature that you know that does not necessarily cause success in life but a happy life is a life connected to other people and I will say I've been very fortunate that recently I have gotten connected into a very tight of very tight knit group and it's starting to feel like part of a community that has resulted in much higher level of happiness. So having totally from my experience it does seem to be true that having a feeling of connection with other people is intimately tied up with happiness it. OK. So we touched on addiction. And I mentioned the small steps almost comically small steps that you've done the steps small enough if you are certain you can do it you'll know that this is small if you are certain you can do it as you are that the sun will come up tomorrow you know.
[00:57:33] All right. I will not for one minute a day or I will take one bite less of food a day or whatever and I'm not necessarily a proponent of caloric restriction diet but just using that is nothing.
[00:57:46] OK. It gets into the Toyota example and I thought it was really interesting that customers are here because the odor is no in the business world as like the ultimate manufacturing company. There's complete manufacturing processes that have been designed just based on studying Toyota. So it's really interesting that yogis is this kind of thing that didn't specifically officially uses this time. So it's going to go to that example in a few years of post-World War II rebuilding Toyota began Bowley's fear. One of the companies gifted managers you know changed one of the fundamental precepts of the assembly line before owner came along. Nearly all auto companies followed the same procedure each Chasse's went down the assembly line. As one worker after another performed his or her function the workers were to do the single pass assigned to them and that was all in any mistakes in the process were corrected by quality control inspectors at the end of the line and that is the standard way that an assembly line away from until this time had a different idea. One that was apparently influenced by Dr Deming who we talked about before Dr Demings idea of small continuous improvement. And also I had previously reached that conclusion myself. Excellent results from creating something over and over and over and over again and rapidly prototyping it over and over again rather than trying to build a perfect thing from scratch.
[00:59:20] So in this example of another place to co-ordinate each step along the assembly line and any worker who noticed a defect could pull the core and bring the wine to a dead stop and make sure that in years suppliers and line workers were on hand to fully identify the problem and craft a solution preferably on the spot. Every other manufacturer found this idea absurd. Contrary to this heart wisdom knows that the brute to be the most successful means of building automobiles because fixing a small problem on the steam prevented much bigger problems later on down the line. So I thought that that was just such a wonderfully marvelous example. I'm probably a little bit more familiar with with the example and the way that people talk about Fueyo in kind of late M.B.A. businesspeople context is like you similar to. Apple is one of those companies that people look at as an example of what the way things should be done as an example of efficiency and they try to copy it so that we get a lot of credibility in my mind to this Cai's that the it there's secret to anything else over here I didn't think it was interesting that they were talking about small awards versus larger awards similar to the size of the change. Has a theory about the size of rewards as well. And like when you get these huge enormous rewards that actually has a counterproductive effect similar to trying to create a huge innovation versus lake effect warning system can actually be like really small stuff like you get the sample like Southwest Airlines generally recognizes great employees by giving them a $5 year. So it's not really about the popular vote it's about recognition of a job well done. They might think like why the heck would a small small reward be better in the larger reward.
[01:01:29] The reason is because the small word maintains the focus on enjoying the cash. For anyone be enjoying intrinsically enjoying doing the task with excellence intrigues equally motivated to the task itself as opposed to I'm going to do this because I'm going to get it or that extrinsic motivation outside of you for intrinsic motivation. I join this belief for the process and for the feeling of enjoying excellence. Most people want to be proud of their work and want to offer useful contributions and that very much resonates with me. I don't want to contribute. Every job I've ever been. But big prizes in the corporate world can send the message that an employee is a cog in the machine who must be whipped into a frenzy by the possibility of personal gain. Large rewards can become the goal in another themselves usurping an employee's natural desire to find stimulation and creativity in the word alone. And remember we were giving an example of when simply wirework are known for not dealing product not enabling creativity and for just kind of turning people into machines that had previously been wise have psychologically problematic work. Moreover what's the larger reward is in a person's motivation to continue that undesirable behavior tends to evade or disappear because again they're only motivated by a bigger word but small reward encourage internal motivation because they're really a form of recognition rather than that he'll gain in for it. Smaller words show gratitude while preserving the natural sense of pleasure in a job. So I think it's relatively straightforward and does outline the worst characteristics of an ideal reward. The more work should be appropriate to the goal.
[01:03:26] The work should be appropriate to the curse because remember like one thing it is something that motivates one person is going to be like an annoyance for another person. Similar to gift you want the real world to be kind of tailored as much as you can to a specific person and the work should be free or inexpensive for the reason that we just we just described he gave the example of what one of these people that is constantly being self-critical in their own mind and maybe are trying to learn to stop. Criticizing yourself in a way every time. For constantly or almost constantly or just nothing is constant if you continue your own worst critic. You might try an honest harm will endanger other good ideas include taking steps in the tub taking short walks playing your favorite pieces of music making a phone a phone call to a friend getting a shoulder foot massage from your partner and they are just thinking you know snuggling with my dog Jack. It cost me nothing.
[01:04:24] I get so much pleasure from that.
[01:04:29] OK so super we're concluding here and I think we think that if only conveyed the concept of the small changes and all of us are fucking about this in a relationship context is that relationships romantic or otherwise are built on small interactions cumulatively over time. It's not like you interact with somebody once and you make such an amazing impression that you all have a great relationship now especially like a marriage relationship or relationship with your children. That can be slowly go step by step on a daily basis for your entire life and it kind of makes the point. Trust is built over time and trust is low cost is what creates healthy relationships. So train yourself to smoke. Focus on the small positive aspects of your partner. OK. Answer The concluding reason for why you still need success and applying comes to clear goals like weight loss and career advancement. Remember to hold onto its essence which is an optimistic belief in our potential for continuous improvement. To see life as an opportunity for continuous improvement for ever higher standards and expanding potential. That's what I think is something this really hold up and that is it's really positive. It's really is goal oriented in its own way but it's goal oriented about having a certain attitude towards life where every day is healthy.
[01:06:13] It's a small step in the right direction that journey of a thousand steps you're actually taking those thousand steps because you begin with the first step and that you're doing the second step and then you're doing that stuff and you might do the first step for three weeks before you do the second step and that is fine because then you actually will of sheep the journey of a thousand miles. Metaphorically you will achieve that huge radical revolutionary change as opposed to if you just said look you can walk for miles right now. Nobody is able to do that. In actuality the pieces of the book is very persuasive. It's been clear that I think it's been very actionable in my life in terms of how thinking about a Spyer and 1:43 give examples of how I think it might be useful in your life. So hopefully you found it to be a very productive productive discussion if you would like to learn more of course you're welcome to order the book if you would like to ask any questions please feel free to do that. Thanks so much for joining us. Please you subscribe to the podcast. I put a lot of work to these episodes in trying out a lot of volume to your life so you feel like hey my life is better because I just spent this hour together and you do subscribe. And also please can consider telling a friend because where we are and that is the stage right now it is we are continue to grow the business we're going to build a listener base so that there's a functional long term entity here so that we can continue providing value to you. So thank you very. Thank you for helping us achieve those. Thank you for helping us. Hey small steps in a positive direction.
[01:07:53] Outro Sequence