I painted this many years ago, as a classroom poster, and then moved it from classroom to classroom, for years, until the posterboard on which it was painted was finally too damaged for further use. At some point, I will have to make a replacement.

Kaizen is a Japanese word which translates only loosely into English, as “continuous improvement.” To me, it means more than that:  it means never being content with simply staying the person I am today, and going to sleep, each night, with the sincere intention to be a better person tomorrow.

Does this always actually work, as each day becomes the next one? No, I must admit that it doesn’t — but that does nothing to change the fact that keeping the kaizen principle in mind is an excellent way to live one’s life. On a year-to-year basis, it works much better, in practice, than it does from day to day. I am confident that I am a better person now than I was 365 days ago, even though there have, of course, been ups and downs, as the last year has passed.

Setbacks, which happen to everyone, are no reason to give up, and personal improvement, in all important parts of life, will always be a goal worth pursuing.