Kaizen Wisdom Found in a Most Unusual Place

by Aileen

Ancient Vintage paper manuscript

Throughout life, there are moments when we encounter road-blocks that keep us from achieving our goals and we find ourselves stuck either in not knowing how to change or getting caught in a web of excuses we create for ourselves.

Since childhood I’ve often come up against these situations where I felt I couldn’t do something that I really wanted to do, or I felt frustrated that I just didn’t know how. What I didn’t realize is just how long ago I first came across the kaizen philosophy. It was actually taught to me at very young age although I didn’t know it to be “kaizen”.

The memory actually popped into my mind as I was dealing with my recent chaotic holiday activities.  I was overwhelmed with preparing for the Nutcracker Performance and getting all of my last minute costume pieces, having the shank in my pointe shoe break and not having enough time to order a new pair, calling every store within 75 miles to find my make and size in stock. Trying to figure out what to have for Christmas dinner for the fifteen people that will be at my home soon and how to arrange the space for them and have activities for them. I even entertained myself with a nasty unyielding head-cold that kept trying to knock me out. Then while still pressing on with another personal goal for year end, well….. I froze. I caught myself fumbling all over the place, being frustrated and frozen. I was a bit discombobulated for a few days, when suddenly the words just started flowing as I found myself humming and singing this old inspiring song…

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it’s just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn

Yes, my introduction to kaizen wisdom may have come from a childhood favorite, an old wise man… Mr. Kris Kringle, Saint Nick, aka Santa Claus!

 

The Winter Warlock said, “Suddenly my whole outlook has changed from bad to good… ahhh, but will it last?  It’s so difficult to really change.”

To his surprise young Kris Kringle replied, “Difficult? Why it’s as easy as taking the first step.” then he launches into his song…Put one foot in front of the other…”

– From the Christmas movie, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” first released December 14, 1970.


After singing the song several times and feeling myself back on track and in the flow, I watched the movie last night and had a warm fuzzy feeling as I saw kaizen wisdom throughout the story.

Kaizen is about small continuous steps or improvements, and when looking at kaizen in our personal life, it’s about the betterment of our life and living our vision step by step, little by little… evolving simply and efficiently.

Sometimes the goal can appear to be mountainous and we may stumble and we may tumble but we always have the choice of getting back up and making a couple of changes as we proceed forward.

Here is a link to the Song, “Put One Foot In Front of the Other” I hope you enjoy.

Here is a link to watch the 48-minute movie Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town. It’s rather delightful.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

The Exception December 15, 2010

Aileen – I hope that the performances were wonderful!!
That is a great song – and it is my holiday philosophy this year – start with tiny steps and it will all… all… get done and that which doesn’t, it’s okay!
Another song we sing is about a little ant who has hope and faith that he can move that Rubber Tree Plant no matter what anyone else says!!

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Aileen December 15, 2010

I just looked up your song and gave it a listen http://s0.ilike.com/play#Frank+Sinatra:High+Hopes:24113:s1097592.9635604.12492569.0.2.83%2Cstd_9e1f32d8d31947ea86f200504923410d – It’s a great song!!! I wasn’t familiar with it. Thank you for sharing it :)

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Living the Balanced Life December 15, 2010

Aileen,
I had recently started following you and was surprised that you had not updated your blog, but now when I hear all you’ve been doing, it it understanding!
Dancing in NEW pointe shoes? I hope that worked for you! My 17 year old is a dnacer, so I understand!
I love this song. It is very kaizen and very much what I write about as well. We have control over our lives in that we have the opportunity to choose what we will do, what steps we will take, no matter how small.
You are absoultely right, it is amazing where we sometimes find inspiration!
Bernice
Living the Balanced Life´s last [type] ..You can’t change everything

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Aileen December 15, 2010

Hi Bernice,
:) new pointe shoes can be quite stiff – over all it went well and we have this weekend too. I just broke them in like crazy and hoped for the best. I love your words of wisdom, “We have con­trol over our lives in that we have the oppor­tu­nity to choose what we will do, what steps we will take, no mat­ter how small.”

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Angela Artemis December 15, 2010

Dear Aileen,
I’d forgotten this song. Thanks so much for bringing it back to me. It’s certainly is perfect and “kaizen” too.

Yes, one foot in front of the other – what perfect and simple advice for any task, including a fleet of tasks we have at hand.

Thank you – this is just what I needed to be reminded of at this busy time as well.

I can’t wait to see the pics from the Nutcracker!
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..Why You Should Give New Year’s Resolutions the Boot!

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Aileen December 15, 2010

funny isn’t it – ancient advice and it still works in this crazy modern world. Some people do well with leaps & bounds, but small steps seem to work for me – even get me unstuck when I get cob webbed :)

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Farnoosh December 15, 2010

Aileen, I am so glad you caught yourself in the frantic acts of keeping up with it all and reminded yourself and us about the beautiful Santa Clause and Christmas. One foot in front of the other. I should remember this when I am sometimes nervous during tango :)! And you shall do beautifully at the performance. I am so excited for you – and ditto to what Angela said about photos!
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..9 Secrets to a Winning Customer Support Experience

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Aileen December 15, 2010

I like the idea of applying it to Tango. I have barely a speckle of Tango experience – it’s a beautiful dance form! :)

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Ande Waggener December 15, 2010

How fun–that’s one of my favorite Christmas shows and songs. :) My ex and I had it on tape and we watched at the start of every holiday season. And it IS a powerful way to live. Stuckness happens when we attempt to make leaps instead of steps.

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Aileen December 16, 2010

Ande, this is brilliant, “Stuck­ness hap­pens when we attempt to make leaps instead of steps.” absolutely!

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Katie December 15, 2010

Oh poor dear you. I can just imagine you running around and getting knocked down, but somehow even in imagining your story, I’ll always see your face smiling in my mind. Having met you in person, I find it hard to believe anything could knock you down for long. It is a testament to your lovely, positive spirit that you picked yourself up, and took those small, simple kaizen steps towards getting back up – wise and wonderful. I know you’ll be magic as you step out onto the stage. All the best to you, Aileen.
Katie´s last [type] ..Give Yourself the Ultimate Gift- You

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Aileen December 16, 2010

Thank you Katie!

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Jane Rochelle December 15, 2010

Oh Aileen … this is so much fun! Well, first, I’m so sorry that you’ve been sick, and stressed, and that your little shoe broke!

So, now I’m at my kitchen table singing “put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the flo-oo-or” … sometimes songs play in my dreams all night, I have a feeling about this one. But what a great song!

Keep walking, and dancing, and making this world a better place!
((Here’s a good luck hug for opening night!!))
:) Jane
Jane Rochelle´s last [type] ..Wishcasting Wednesday- How do you wish to soar

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Aileen December 16, 2010

It is a fun to have stick in ones mind :) – I know that feeling of having a song stick, but I haven’t had it pop up in a dream yet.

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Jane Rochelle December 15, 2010

oops … well, I thought this weekend was opening night … maybe it was last weekend. :)
Jane Rochelle´s last [type] ..Wishcasting Wednesday- How do you wish to soar

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Aileen December 16, 2010

It’s this weekend :) last week was the invited dress rehersals

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Lance December 16, 2010

Aileen,
Gosh, as I listen to this song…it’s been a couple of years (or more) since I’ve watched that movie – so, so good to hear those words…and to read them here!

One foot in front of the other…continuous improvement as we move forward in our lives. And when those steps are ones that ring deep in our heart – what amazing and wonderful steps these are!

Aileen, wishing you the BEST in all your beautiful dancing!! And…in this holiday season…may it be one that is filled, very much, with joy…
Lance´s last [type] ..New Rules For Life

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Aileen December 16, 2010

“And when those steps are ones that ring deep in our heart — what amaz­ing and won­der­ful steps these are!” Absolutely Lance!! Thank you for your well wishes!

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John Sherry December 16, 2010

Exceptional post Aileen, a triumph of simplicity and depth weaved together. Putting one foot after another is not a big challenge but they soon add up to one long journey or trek into unknown territory.Those steps have shown how far you’ve come and how you’ve created a trail that others in need of light, lifted spirits, and life improvement can follow. Your vision is now spectacular. Be blessed in every way for your warm heart.
John Sherry´s last [type] ..The Best Time Of Day To Be Brilliant – Revealed!

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Aileen December 16, 2010

Thank you John!

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annelouise December 17, 2010

I adore that song, I adore everything about it! Your post is so beautifully written and rich in wisdom. It always astonishes me how far we can go with “Just one foot in front of the other” or just one reminder from a great post like yours. It is easy to get lost or overwhelmed but it is also wonderful to know we can choose how we deal with the situation at hand. I recently watched “The Karate Kid”(the new one) The message was , Life will knock us down, we have to choose to get back up. Amazing how far we all can go by putting just one foot in front of the other when we choose to get back up!! I wish you all success in your performance and to continue to shine! : )

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Aileen December 23, 2010

Thank you!! – I haven’t seen the “new” Karate kid yet, but I want to see it. – yes, we do have the choice to get back up – I’m grateful for having the option :)

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Tess The Bold Life December 19, 2010

Aileen,
You go! What an inspiration you are and doesn’t it always happen when we’re overwhelmed?!?

When I was 22 with a 4 year old, a two year old and twin babies I used to cry in bed at night and tell him I can’t do this…and he would say, “Oh yes you can.” I would say, “How?” And he would say “by putting one foot in front of the other.” Of course that’s all any of us have to do to get through anything. Thanks for sharing I never knew where that line came from!
Tess The Bold Life´s last [type] ..A Gift In Goodbye- A Legacy of Love

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Aileen December 23, 2010

Tess, you are a phenomenal woman!

You know what its like to be overwhelmed more than anyone! – You truly are an incredible inspiration.

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Lisa H. December 19, 2010

This brought back so many memories for me. As a shy person, I would also use this song whenever I had to do something out of my comfort zone; However, I only new the first verse so I would repeat that over and over again. I had forgotten about it until now–and it just warms me up remembering how big a part of childhood that song was.
Lisa H.´s last [type] ..Are You Attracting What You Want into Your Life

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Aileen December 23, 2010

Lisa, I love that “As a shy per­son, I would also use this song when­ever I had to do some­thing out of my com­fort zone” – it is powerful enough to get our mind to focus on taking action when we could just stay frozen in fear.

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Galen Pearl December 20, 2010

What a great post and a great blog. I like the kaizen concept–I had not heard that before. And your real life examples make it easy to understand and appreciate. I look forward to reading more.

(found you on the Life Lessons Series)
Galen Pearl´s last [type] ..GLAD

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Aileen December 23, 2010

Hi Galen, I’m happy to introduce you to kaizen :) I do love big leaps, but small steps seem to work better (for me). Thank you for visiting :) and thank you for your comment :)

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Wanna be Successful? December 21, 2010

Great inspirational song

I’ve been using kaizen philosophy for more than 4 years already, and it has brought me what matters most – balance. Multitasking with all areas of my life.
The key concept is : doind a little each day to improve every ( or at least the most important ) parts of happyness.
If you don’t improve or maintain an area – it goes down.
And concerning consistency, most of the Self-Improvement gurus pinpoint it too!
To make a difference you have to do what you do consistently. Develop a daily habit but stay on track.

Good luck!
S.C.

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Aileen December 23, 2010

Thank you S.C. – and thanks for visiting

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Lauren December 27, 2010

Dear Aileen,

A great life philosophy. When I stumble I remind myself as soon as I can regroup that I get to start over in the very next moment! It helps me not be so hard on myself when I find myself being my not best self.

I usually start out with where the hell did THAT come from – like being home for Xmas and wanting to put my hands around my uncle’s neck and squeeze even though I do love him (just kidding about the neck thing, but you get the point! ;-) ).

Perhaps that’s what feels good about New Year. It’s a feeling of starting out fresh. We do have the choice to do that in every moment – and as you beautifully point out, put one foot in front of the other. One step at a time.

Hope you and your loved ones have a great upcoming year!

Warmest wishes,
Lauren
Lauren´s last [type] ..Start Your New Year with Attitude- A Day Above Ground Is Good

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Aileen January 2, 2011

I feel blessed knowing that there is always a chance to start again – to pick myself up and move forward. I don’t like stumbling and falling – but getting up has it rewards :)

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