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Rules #3d: Living a Karma-Free Life: Tools for Continuous Improvement

Be All That You Can Be

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." (Will Rogers)

Continuous improvement is what karma teaches and demands from us. Each life in our cycle of reincarnation will be more difficult than the ones before it.

Mistake Response: One of the fastest ways to improve is to discover the best way to learn from/respond to mistakes.
Idea Source: Personal improvement involves the search for better ideas.
Data Mining: Personal improvement requires keen discerment of patterns.
Be Best: Being our best is the goal-outcome of continuous improvement.

Mistake Response

"Fixing the blame for a problem is like going in after the war is lost and bayoneting the wounded." (Anon)

What matters the most is not that you make a mistake, but how you respond in correcting it.

* Inevitable & Unavoidable: We are human and so we are born to make mistakes. In my former career of software engineering, no matter how careful you were, no matter how hard you tried to think through every possible contingency, no matter what precautions you took, mistakes were bound to happen. So given that...

* Admit It: Once a mistake has been uncovered, the best thing you can do is to face up to it (the best way is to perform fault analysis). Trying to diffuse, delay, deflect, dissociate, or deny the mistake only wastes time, energy, and money while creating bad karma. It is best to admit the mistake and start on correcting it immediately. Believe it or not, people will end up respecting your honesty. This will serve to strengthen your credibility with them… rather than weakening it.

* Fix It: Once you have admitted it, you should do your best to fix it. Take some time to figure out how that can be done, create a plan with tasks with time tables, and then communicate it to those effected. Keep them informed of your progress. Gain their cooperation in rectifying it if necessary. Make sure that everyone agrees, when the mistake has been corrected, that it has been done properly.

* Prevent It: Mistakes usually happen for a reason. Part of correcting the mistake is finding out why it happened to make sure that steps are taken to prevent it from happening again. Much energy is often wasted on assigning the blame to a person. Most often people make mistakes because policies and procedures are unclear or confusing. Improving such guidelines will help people to do a better job next time.

* Move On: Once mistakes are corrected and policies/procedures are improved to prevent further errors, the mistake should be forgiven. All too often people dwell on past mistakes ensuring that they will reincarnate again in the future. If "the beatings will continue until morale improves", past mistakes will live on forever. It is far better karmically to learn from past mistakes and to move on from them.

Idea Source

"Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, especially when you only have one idea." (Alain)

Are you desperately seeking new ideas? If so, here are some places to find them…

* Imagination: Imagination happens when you get new ideas coming from research, brainstorming, creative insights, and other means of innovation.

One way to spark your imagination is to visualize what your ideal situation would be. If you had unlimited time, money, personnel, and other resources to create your ideal, what would that be? Although we all live in the "real world" where resources are limited, the best things come from "thinking outside of the box" in an unlimited way.

Example: The cell phone was invented by people who were inspired by the hand-held communicators from the original "Star Trek" TV show (thought to be almost impossible to do back then).
* Improvement: Improvements happens when you want to enhance or optimize existing ideas. What you do not have now is a future idea waiting to be born.
If you are in business, the best source of improvement ideas comes from your customers, your employees, your vendors, and anyone else you regularly deal with. They will tell you how you can improve your product or service so that you can better meet their needs. Listen closely because unless you improve, your business will fail.

Example: "Post-It-Notes" came from an attempt to improve light adhesives. As it happened the adhesive was too weak to work as intended. Yet, it did work to hold up most papers and so it became a major improvement in "offline" office technology.
* Imitation: Imitation happens when you adopt, borrow, recycle, or reuse external ideas from others. The quickest and easiest way to get it is to consult known experts on the subject (better known as adopting "Best Practices").
If you are in business , you need to look at several sources of imitation. First, keep tabs on what your competitors are now doing. Next, pay attention to "industry information" from trade associations, conferences, classes, and online knowledge bases. Finally, if there are abundant resources to pay for leading edge intelligence, then investing in information from "Think Tanks" is definitely for you.

Example: MicroSoft Word was the ultimate in imitation: taking the best features from WordPerfect as wells as many other leading word processors to imitate a software that was "better" than all of them.

Data Mining

"What stands before him may spy; But optics sharp it needs & keen; To see what is not to be seen." (Sleuth)

Some of the greatest ideas lie buried inside endless amounts of seemingly unrelated data.

* Data Mining: Known as "Knowledge Discovery" or "Pattern Recognition", Data Mining is the process of analyzing links, trends, or relationships among data and summarizing this analysis into actionable information and knowledge. The purpose is to reveal causes of historical patterns and/or predict future trends.

* Data Analysis: In "Data Mining", data can be sorted into "classes" (like success or failure), "clusters" (like logical relationships between classes), "associations" (like cause-and-effect links between classes and clusters), and "sequential patterns" (like future trends based on past associations) to gain information and knowledge.

The end result of "Data Mining" is often a very important finding that is not apparent at first… but almost always one that can and should drive decision making to create a better result.
* Profound Data: Data Mining is much like the solution to the riddle in the quote above. When you put a clear quartz stone into a glass of water, it seems to disappear because both objects are transparent. Yet if you look at the glass very carefully, you will see the quartz stone… that is if you know where to look for it.
Discerning the patterns in data by Data Mining is just like that… looking closely to see what is in the data that is not readily obvious.
* Transformative Knowledge: Data Mining helps us to answer these questions: When things go right, what can be done to make them go even better? When things go wrong, what really went wrong and what must be changed?
Example: A husband notices an uneven response from his wife during their communications. So, he makes a log of what happened when he did/did not get the response he wanted from her. Soon a distinct pattern in the data about communication emerged which surprised him. When he looked his wife in the eye and spoke in a soft voice, this husband got a better response from her, regardless of the content of what he was saying! This knowledge saved their marriage.
* Personal Improvement: Is there something you would like to improve? Data Mining is the place to start on the quest for continuous improvement.
Example: If you have a temper, start a log about what you were thinking, feeling, and noticing when you became angry. When you discern the pattern of what angers you (through Data Mining), you can act to diffuse that trigger and keep your cool.

Be Best

"When you do your best, you are expressing an attribute of God." (Martin Luther)

Do you want to be the best at whatever you do? If so, here is what you need to do...

* Have the Goal: Most people just have the goal of getting by... and, because they are aiming low, that is all they do... get by. To be the best, you must have the goal of being the best. Quite simply, you cannot hit a target that you are not aiming at. So the first step toward being the best is to have a goal of doing so.

* Practice Makes Perfect: Do the best you can with what you know at the time. Learn as much as you can from books. Yet you will learn the most by "just doing" in real life whatever it is you want to be the best at. You will make mistakes but use them to do best the next time (instead of beating yourself up about them).

* Continuously Improve: Being the best means always improving. What was the best yesterday is not the best today and it can never ever be the best tomorrow. Continuous improvement - learning one thing today to put into practice tomorrow - is what those who are the best at what they do... do to stay that way.

* Help Others: Ask any teacher: you can learn more about any subject by teaching it to others. It is the third and deepest level of learning (the first level is becoming familiar with the subject, the second level is mastering the subject, while the third level is helping others learn). When you help others, you will notice that you yourself are always helped in some way (which may only be apparent later).

* More Love: Being the best means bringing more love into what you do and where you are. What can you do to make someone else's day better? What can you do to make things easier for all involved? How can things be improved? Those who are the best are those who find ways to bring more love into their situation.

* Be the Best You Can Be: Whatever path you are walking in life, do it to the
best of your ability. If everyone would commit to doing their best, they would rapidly transmute their karma... and would make this world a much better place.

Credits: from channeled information.



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