As many of you know, I have recently become involved in, and obsessed with, the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Taking up a completely new sport that I had no previous experience with and jumping into competition after about 6 weeks of training at the age of 37 definitely has its’ challenges. At the same time, however it has already taught me some valuable lessons that are applicable to every area of my life. This week I would like to share with you perhaps the greatest of those lessons – do something to get better every single day.
Kaizen and CANI!
Getting better every day is not a new concept. The Japanese used the model of KAIZEN to guide workers in the auto industry in a way that led to their dominance worldwide. Peak performance coach Tony Robbins modified Kaizen into CANI – constant and never-ending improvement. The idea in each case to succeed and master anything in life the most effective way to do it is to focus DAILY on improving incrementally. Improving 1% each day does not seem like much, but in a year leads to a 365% jump!
While this is a powerful way of life and effective beyond most people’s imagination CANI is something that is easily forgotten. I have certainly been guilty of enjoying the fruits of CANI only to abandon it out of simply forgetting! It was my new obsession with weightlifting that brought daily improvement back to the forefront of my mind.
Old Man, I Am?
Just starting the sport at 37 I have certain hurdles to overcome that I would not have had at an earlier age. Most obviously, my present mobility severely restricts me getting into positions required for technical mastery. When I realized that in addition to building strength and developing the considerable skills necessary, I also had at least as much work ahead of me to correct my mobility I had a choice – quit or commit?
It was at this point I decided to do something EVERYDAY to improve my lifting. If I am not in the gym, I spend some time stretching, rolling and practicing without weight. I watch youtube videos of the greats performing or instructional videos. Regardless of whether I can lift more weight I know that each day I am planting the seeds of future success.
There is a wonderful little book written by George Leonard called Mastery (which you can view for free here), that demonstrates that the road to mastery is made up almost entirely of performance plateaus during which the master continues to practice with discipline. External improvement only arrives in short, infrequent jumps made possible by the seemingly boring practice. People who master anything learn to cherish the practice as much as the glorious successes.
When Life Imitates Sports
When I realized what was necessary to succeed in weightlifting I had no choice but to ask myself where else in my life the same focus was warranted. What parts of my life deserve my mastery? What else should I be improving every day? I must say that this realization and these questions kicked my butt a little bit (actually a lot)!
Now it is Your Turn
So, let me kick your butt a little (or a lot). What areas of your life do you desire success in? What areas deserve YOUR mastery? A sport, a hobby, your finances, your health, your studies, your relationship, your family, you physical environment, how you contribute to your community and the world?
Make a list of a few areas you will commit daily attention to starting now. Then brainstorm as many big and little things you can do to improve them. Do not go to bed at night until you have done at least something to improve – it doesn’t have to take much time. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Finally, learn to love the process, not just the results.
NSA Care and Life Mastery
Network Spinal Analysis entrainments and SRI exercises are a perfect example of CANI. Their greatest value is in regular care and there is no ceiling to how aware and responsive to your internal and external environment you can become. I think mastering this is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and to those you care about because doing so spills over into literally every other part of your life that is calling for your mastery.