Kaizen, or Continuous Improvement

February 15th, 2016

Kaizen is a Japanese word that means ‘continuous improvement.’ Kaizen incapsulates in one word a very big idea.

I first heard it years ago, from Perry Marshall. He described getting only 1% better at something everyday, and how those small improvements lead to massive growth. Thanks to compounding, you would double after 72 days of only 1% improvement.

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kai – means ‘change’

zen – means ‘good’

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How can you apply it to your personal life?

List the things you want to improve. You can apply kaizen by measuring your progress in those areas, everyday. This will help on those projects or goals that require a long time to complete; i.e. weight loss or learning a language.

It helps with expectations. Small growth is realistic. Kaizen means focusing on what you can improve that day, and less on the giant overall goal.

Aeropress Coffee Maker – My Latest Obsession

March 13th, 2015

I really love this coffee tool. I picked one up on Tuesday and have been experimenting with different brew times and all of that. Every cup has been great! The flavor is amazing.

The plunger and tube rinse off easily and quickly. I rinse, dry, then put it back on the counter for next time.

I can see it would travel well too, there is not much to it. I wouldn’t think of taking my Keurig with me on the road, but with this I would try packing it.

I heard about the Aeropress (~$30) through Tim Ferriss. He describes it as part-bicycle pump and part-french press. That description made me laugh, so I had to check the product out.

Here is one of Tim’s videos sharing his method with the Aeropress:

 

I’m no coffee snob, but I drink lots of it throughout the day. And this is a great product for everyday use.

Brain Pickings – Fantastic Resource for Interesting Books

December 12th, 2014

If you love books, you must visit BrainPickings.org

Maria Popva’s site is wonderful, and she finds the most interesting reads from a wide range of topics.

Sign up for her free email newsletter, and you receive one email every Sunday showing off all the best posts from that week.

I only wish I had known about it earlier. I learned of it through Tim Ferris’s interview of her on his blog.

Popova describes her finding as ‘a cross-disciplinary LEGO treasure chest.’ I agree whole-heartedly. You are bound to find some pieces that you love.

Head over to her site now so you can dig through the treasure chest. BrainPickings.org

Hard Work, or Plain Old Talent?

November 2nd, 2013

talent-overrated

‘Talent Is Overrated’ by Geoff Colvin is an excellent read, well worth the trip.

The tagline reads: ‘What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else.’ The book delivers that answer in a clear, concise way.

There are many gems here. I suggest you check it out if you are attempting to become good at anything; be it sports, music, or work.

The biggest treasure in this book, is that you must do deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice is the golden key that unlocks your musical success.

Deliberate practice is defined in the book this way:
Read the rest of this entry »

MainStage 3 Is A Guitarist’s Dream

October 23rd, 2013

If you’re a guitarist who owns a Mac, then you should buy MainStage 3 right now.

Here’s why:
Read the rest of this entry »

Are Musicians Born Or Made?

October 15th, 2013

Review of Guitar Zero by Gary Marcus:

Guitar Zero

Guitar Zero

 

Guitar Zero gives an interesting perspective on that age-old question. What is happening in your brain as you learn the guitar (or any other instrument/activity)?

Marcus, a psychology professor, goes into the nitty-gritty of our brains. He manages to make it interesting, without being overwhelming. I appreciate that, as I enjoy knowing some of these inner workings, but I’m not trying to get a degree in cognitive psychology.

Have you heard these sayings: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” or “You have to be born with talent to be any good?” That type of thinking is annoying huh? Well, the author does a fine job of dispelling those ideas.

Even if you don’t put stock in those sayings, its good to look into the brain to see how amazing it is. You can rewire your brain to do any task, given enough time and effort.

I recommend this book if you like the science of how we humans learn. There are plenty of great points I got, and its a quick read. It has many pages of references, so you could dig deeper if it really interests you.

When considering the similarities between music and language, Marcus makes this excellent point on page 62:

“Music is like language, but it isn’t language; it’s just one more wondrous skill that a suitably motivated human brain can acquire.”

Amen to that.

Derek Olson Is Addicted To Ableton Live

April 11th, 2012

It is true, Derek finally got the Live bug.
For a long time now, I have been a Logic guy. I started using Logic Express back in 2006. It was about the time I was in my recording class at Tulsa Tech.

I remember the feeling of not knowing a single thing about this monstrosity, this multi-colored beast up on my screen.

One night, I gathered my gear (Presonus Firepod, Laptop, Logic Express) and my bandmates. We piled into the spare bedroom at our drummer’s house.

This room was ready for mayhem, with its walls covered in airplane insulation and old carpeting. As I think back, I realise this probably helped very little. But, I guess everyone has to tack carpet to the wall at some point in their musical life.

The band was fired up, and so was the gear. The songwriting was done, and we had practiced many, many times.

The mic’s are placed, their cables running back to the corner where I am with my laptop.

I open Logic Express. The monster stares me down, but I am confident I can topple her. Read the rest of this entry »

Beautiful Weather Has Arrived!

February 14th, 2011

Beautiful weather is finally here again! I am enjoying this so much. We are in the mid-50’s in Tulsa. After all that snow, this is a blessing.
Malerie and I washed our cars this afternoon. I hate having a dirty car. It was killing me to drive around in a dirty car. You could hardly see my taillights. Snow is not a clean thing.

Brandon Flowers – Only The Young

November 21st, 2010

I have been listening to Brandon Flowers solo stuff the past few days. You know him as the frontman to the Killers. He has a solid voice in my opinion.
And my favorite song off his album has to be Only The Young.

check out the video:

Parkinson’s Law – Deadlines Are Beautiful

November 5th, 2010

I read about Parkinson’s Law today as I was re-reading the 4 Hour Workweek.

I well know the value of deadlines. One thing that has helped me be a better writer is doing timed practice. That’s basicallly a short deadline. Write everything you can about this subject for the next ten minutes, that kind of thing. It will make you a better writer in no time.

Parkinson’s Law as applied to time is good to remember when a task seems overwhelming.
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
That it does. When you give yourself a small amount of time to do something, you will automatically focus on the most important parts of the task. Its almost forcing you to recognize the 80/20 rule and live by it.

Our brains are so focused on finding distractions. We can spend a full day doing just a few errands, things that could have been done in an hour.

Remember Parkinson’s Law when you want to accomplish something, and set that deadline even if it hurts.