Never-ending Improvement

Frederick Dodson

Frederick Dodson

I have used this metaphor with students who over-work or define their entire life through work:

Once upon a time there was a group of extraterrestrials that created humans as slave labor. They programmed humans to perform. If they didnt perform, they felt weakened, wrong, afraid, ashamed. They were programmed to always perform. They were also programmed to keep eating and ingesting. One day, a wise sage found out that programmed, robotic human-being could be transcended  by temporarily stopping to eat or temporarily stopping to work. Both were a form of fasting. In transcending the robot, spirit could be felt. The spirit was not created by these aliens but by the benevolent source of the Universe. It was discovered that the aliens had entrapped this soul through an addiction to food and work. Once that addiction was overcome, food and work became enjoyable, coming from inspiration rather than addiction. 

I don’t literally believe this, but I use a lot of metaphors and images in my coaching work, to make a point. The point is that some people act like they are programmed to work, with no will of their own. They enslave themselves and lose sight of other areas of life, such as Relationships, Creative Skills, Outdoors, Sports, Friends or even Health.

I speak a lot about Never-Ending Improvement. I believe in Never-Ending Improvement. But I don’t mean Never-Ending work. I mean a wish to improve things, coming from creative joy, not fear-pressure. I am speaking of work, but not only work.

When you no longer change things, switch them around, no longer improve, you stop growing. When you quit growing, both happiness and abundance recede. It’s a universal law. People who do sports, know this: If they keep doing the same moves, their performance eventually declines, their muscles no longer grow, their flexibility atrophies. The exactly same applies to the mental sphere and all of life in general.

If you reach a point in your job where you no longer care about improving, you have long passed the point where you should have quit the job. When people start a job, they usually begin with great passion, take care of the place, the customers, the colleagues, the work. Can you tell whether the waiter serving you at a restaurant is the owner of it or just an employee? There is often a marked difference in energy-field, fueled by the owners passion and responsibility. Over time, through a reliance on past and automatic processes, creativity and the desire for improvement decline. This is perceived as comfortable, but the comfort is deceptive. Spend too long in comfort and it turns into apathy. Apathy eventually turns into bad health and poverty. And how could it be any different? If nothing is moving, it becomes stale. That which is stale, is in a process of decay. I can easily tell whether an individual or a company are in a state of decay. And so can you.

All human-made things decay and all things in nature keep renewing. Things are this way, to remind us that we also need to renew ourselves weekly, monthly, yearly. In your job, do you just want to go through the motions and keep repeating whats worked in the past, or do you want to keep improving both the work and yourself doing the work? You’ll be much happier with a sense of Never-Ending improvement.

Imagine spending your whole life in passivity, watching shows created by others, and then being surprised one day, that others are running the show. But if you wish to start running the show, awaken from comfort-zoning, question the status quo and begin improving things.

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