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One Small Step Can Change Your Life summary

Robert Maurer

The Kaizen Way

4.7 (982 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer presents the kaizen method - a Japanese philosophy focusing on continuous improvement through small, incremental changes. The book shows how this approach can be applied to various areas of life for lasting transformations.

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    One Small Step Can Change Your Life
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    Chapter 1: By taking small steps, you can make changes more easily.

    Let's start by thinking of a change you want to make in your life. Maybe you want to eat healthier or set aside a little money each month for some savings. Or you might have a bad habit you’d like to give up.

    There’s a chance you’ve already tried and found making this change difficult. Like I said earlier, change can be hard. Even when you go in with the best intentions, sticking to your resolutions isn’t easy. 

    Believe me when I say - it’s not just you. Most of us struggle. The average American will make the same New Year’s resolution for ten consecutive years – and fail every time.

    But it doesn’t have to be so hard. Robert Maurer argues that making changes can be surprisingly straightforward. All you need is kaizen.

    Maybe you’ve heard of kaizen before, perhaps in a business context. This concept of continuous improvement is all about doing things slowly and taking small steps in order to make larger positive changes.

    Maurer recommends kaizen to his clients – chainsmokers, unhappy bachelors, wiped out parents . . . all kinds of people. It’s effective for anyone who’s trying to live a healthier, happier life.

    Let’s look at six different ways you can use kaizen in your life. The great thing is, you don’t even need to use all of these techniques. Each one works on its own, and you can start using them right away.

    First, though, let’s take a quick look at the science behind kaizen. How does it work, exactly? Why are small steps so effective?

    Essentially, kaizen is a kind of hack – a way to bypass our biological instincts.

    Most of the time, the human brain doesn’t handle change so well. Because sudden change triggers our fight-or-flight response, which happens in the part of the brain called the amygdala. Whether it’s something big, like changing careers, or small, like cutting down on chocolate, our brains just don’t like it. Change is perceived as a threat.

    But with kaizen, the changes don't feel so scary. By making minor, gradual changes, you can tiptoe past the amygdala and avoid triggering alarm bells.

    That’s how kaizen works – tricking your brain by taking small, sneaky steps.

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    What is One Small Step Can Change Your Life about?

    One Small Step Can Change Your Life (2004) is a practical self-help guide inspired by the concept of kaizen – change through small steps. It suggests a variety of simple techniques that can help anyone improve their lives and make lasting changes, one small step at a time.

    One Small Step Can Change Your Life Review

    One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer (2004) is a thought-provoking book that explores the power of small actions and how they can lead to significant transformation. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical strategies for incorporating small steps into everyday life, allowing readers to overcome fear and resistance.
    • By combining scientific research and inspiring stories, the book provides valuable insights into the psychology behind behavioral change.
    • With its relatable examples and relatable writing style, the book captivates readers, ensuring that the topic of personal growth remains engaging and not at all boring.

    Who should read One Small Step Can Change Your Life?

    • People struggling to achieve their health goals
    • Writers, artists, or other creatives who feel blocked
    • Anyone who’s feeling pessimistic or demotivated

    About the Author

    Robert Maurer is a clinical psychologist at UCLA and the University of Washington School of Medicine. He organizes regular lectures and seminars on kaizen and is the author of The Spirit of Kaizen and Mastering Fear.

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    One Small Step Can Change Your Life FAQs 

    What is the main message of One Small Step Can Change Your Life?

    The main message of One Small Step Can Change Your Life is that small actions can lead to big changes.

    How long does it take to read One Small Step Can Change Your Life?

    The reading time for One Small Step Can Change Your Life varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is One Small Step Can Change Your Life a good book? Is it worth reading?

    One Small Step Can Change Your Life is worth reading as it provides practical advice for making positive changes in life. It offers simple strategies that can be applied to various aspects of life.

    Who is the author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life?

    The author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life is Robert Maurer.

    What to read after One Small Step Can Change Your Life?

    If you're wondering what to read next after One Small Step Can Change Your Life, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Kindness Method by Shahroo Izadi
    • Kaizen by Sarah Harvey
    • Goals by Zig Ziglar
    • Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton
    • Mini Habits by Stephen Guise
    • I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher with Barbara Smith
    • Real Self-Care by Pooja Lakshmin
    • Awakening Your Ikigai by Ken Mogi
    • Hidden Potential by Adam Grant
    • Build the Life You Want by Arthur C. Brooks & Oprah Winfrey