Responsible Living or Hansei Part 2
In the last post I introduced you to the concept of hansei ... a process of introspection and self analysis where the goal is to lead you to a constantly evolving and improved self. I mentioned that it's not just appropriate to do hansei when there is already a problem or when something is wrong, but that ideally you would constantly engage in these reflective times and meditations on yourself in order to ensure that you are always in a state of mental, physical and spiritual balance.
Hector Garcia, the spanish man living in Tokyo who first introduced me to hansei, talked about how at first when they would call for hansei meetings at the company he works for he dreaded them, especially when he felt things had been going well with himself and his team. His mind had a hard time wrapping itself around the idea that the meetings were not about criticism but about growth, that they were not being held to simply point out things that were wrong, but to constantly reevaluate even the things that were going right to make sure they were efficient and had long term success. I am sure there were these ideas in his head like "Why are we having a hansei meeting? Everything is going well. There must be something wrong. Oh God what's wrong now. I thought I was doing well, I must be failing if we are going to talk about improvements." etc, etc. But this is not what introspection is about. There is always something to be be learned. Always.
I have read in several places that Toyota says, "If there is no problem then that is the problem." in terms of how it sees the implementation of hansei. I like that a lot because it's as if the goal is to hunt down problems straight away and constantly be on the lookout for them so that you do not become content in being average or apathetic about your personal growth and development.
I have said before in my blog about how one of the reasons I don't get along well with mundane people is because I have trouble relating to people who have no interest in becoming better than they are. The average person stops truly evolving at a certain point in their lives because they see no point or they just feel that their lives at that point represent a complete picture of who they expected to be. How sad. I think the main reason is laziness and denial. I am someone who is constantly striving to evolve myself into a much better, stronger, wiser, and more efficient person and I cannot see why anyone would not feel the need to do this for themselves and those around them - especially people who are caretakers or parents and have children who need that kind of role model and support for their successful development.
If you are not constantly in a place to be honest with yourself, recognize your faults, flaws, and shortcomings, and be willing to not only address them but take responsibility for the forward focus to eliminate them - or at the very least gain some control over how they impact your life and the lives of those around you - then how can you face yourself on a daily basis and believe you are truly doing the best job you can in your life for yourself and others?
If you look at yourself and feel there is no room for improvement, you're a liar.
If you look at yourself and think you have completed your journey of struggle and all that you need to do is just live your life as you see fit, you're a fool.
The truth is that the worst of you is not what makes you unique. The truth is that the areas where you need improvement are probably the areas most likely to cause harm, despair, pain, and bring negativity to those around you. The truth is that accepting yourself, flaws and all, is a motto of laziness and denial if it doesn't come with a followup sentence that indicates that acceptance is only the first step in becoming a complete person.
The universe that bore you into existence - or God if that is your way - did not infuse you with light and give you a shell of flesh so you could sit around and run yourself or others into the ground. You are not here to serve your own needs and pretend that your presence in the world doesn't impact other people. You are here, ultimately, to do justice to your existence and to give back tenfold the positive energy that was breathed into you to give you a soul in the first place.