Kaizen: Not in my Retirement Lifestyle

1950s Maserati

Image via Wikipedia

A year ago I visited the trendy management philosophy called kaizen. If you have been in the workplace lately, your know about kaizen. It is Japanese and therefore good. Ever since the Japanese conquered the world of manufactured products, everything Japanese is automatically deemed as good. If you associate Toyota and Sony with quality then, of course you want to adopt Japanese techniques- like kaizen.

Not so fast!

Kaizen is the process of gradual improvement. It means tedious refinement of something until is it beyond good and even beyond exceptional. We have been conditioned to expect perfection but there are consequences to seeking perfection by continuous improvement.

Perfection is boring!

An Outrageous Retirement Lifestyle isn’t perfect!

There may be a place for continuous improvement in business but I suggest that if you want your retirmenet to rock, you forget kaizen. Don’t just improve the boring stuff you already know. Get out of the rut. Take some chances and shake things up. What you get for your retirment lifestyle may not have the boring reliability of a Toyota.  You want the excitement of a Maserati.  Those Italians may nut understand quality control but there sure understand that driving a car is supposed to be fun.  You may hit some bumps and make some wrong turns if you stop lining your rut like kaizen encourages, but when they write your obituary, they will know that you knew how to live and you will be smiling all the way to the finish line.

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Hansi February 18, 2011, 10:35 am

    Ralph, I’m with ya on the kaizen philosophy. It didn’t work too well for Toyota, and all the Prius’ they had to recall due to sticking gas pedals and runaway cars.
    It’s always good to see you live, even though it’s a video. All the retirement blogs have to push dissatisfaction in order to sell their products; why buy something you don’t need if retirement is just fine, and ya don’t want to ‘mess with success’?
    Hansi’s last Blog Post ..My Little Girl Is A Private Eye

    • Ralph@retirement lifestyle February 18, 2011, 10:50 am

      I have to say that its good for me to be live too. I plan to keep it that way as long as possible. I’m not sure that kaizen was Toyota’s problem. I think it was more that they were being too competitive for Government Motors after the takeoever.
      Ralph@retirement lifestyle’s last Blog Post ..50′s Nostalgia – Sputnik

  • Bill Birnbaum February 18, 2011, 2:20 pm

    Regarding your comment about “driving a car is supposed to be fun,” I’m reminded of the year we spent in South America. We lived in the Peruvian Andes and traveled via public transportation. Hmmm… I’m not sure I’d call it fun, but it was certainly interesting. We’d hold our breath each time we got into a bus, a taxi or a combi (a 12 passenger van which was typically filled to 23 plus luggage). Once, our taxi driver drove us off the road into a ditch. On another occasion, my wife, during a single trip via taxi, was in two accidents. Bill
    Bill Birnbaum’s last Blog Post ..Tricks of the Road

    • Ralph February 18, 2011, 3:41 pm

      I am sure that hose memories will be ones that you savor forever. You were living not just getting by. I suspect that driving your own vehicle in the Andes would have been far worse.

  • Bob@(presently crashed) JuicyMaters February 19, 2011, 5:40 am

    Good Lord that picture brings back memories! The head-on shot makes it look a lot like a car I used to own long ago in another life…a Jaguar S3 E-type with a V-12. Only convertible I’ve ever owned.

    Anyway…kaizen would have the world still traveling by horse (which may not be a bad thing). To be sure, the horse would by now be fitted with glasses so it could see holes so as not to trip, night vision goggles to make riding at night safer, and there would be an entire industry built up around “improving” horse-centric transportation…a lightweight frame resting on the rider’s shoulders, draped in water, wind, and temperature proof material to keep the rider warm, for example. Hell…there would probably be diapers for horses so the effeminate among us wouldn’t have to scrape the horse shit off our shoes.

    What? There ARE horse diapers you say? Well…obviously kaizen at work…

    I like the American way…invent the car and put horses (you DID see this coming, right?) out to pasture.

    • Ralph February 19, 2011, 8:20 am

      You have made my point beautifully. I was smitten by the Jag XKE when I first saw it. It has been my fantasy car ever since.

  • Steve Skinner February 19, 2011, 7:37 am

    Your post brings a saying to my mind, “the perfect is the enemy of the good”!
    Steve Skinner’s last Blog Post ..Is It A Sign

    • Ralph February 19, 2011, 8:16 am

      Exactly right!

  • Sire February 20, 2011, 12:48 am

    Actually I disagree about the point you made of Italian cars and quality, I think you’ll find their cars of exceptional quality.

    As to retirement, I’m working my butt off so that I have enough money put away so that my retirement years will be such that I don’t have any financial issues. Hopefully I will be able to enjoy it more if I don’t have to worry about money.
    Sire’s last Blog Post ..11-Inch MacBook Air Review

    • Ralph@retirement lifestyle February 20, 2011, 6:57 am

      Actually, very few Italian cars are sold in the US and most of those are supercars. That will be changing shortly so I may be very off base about current quality for Italian cars. Your retirement planning seems sound to me particularly since you are your own man. You may well find that retirement is not an off-on choice- just managing your lifestyle for fullfillment, income and pleasure. I don’t see you in a rut- now or ever.
      Ralph@retirement lifestyle’s last Blog Post ..Can a Control Freak Learn to Let Go

      • Sire February 20, 2011, 2:16 pm

        I think it all depends on what you’re used to. If you’re used to living the good life and haven’t saved enough for your retirement, when you do retire you’re not satisfied with life because you’re no longer able to live it the way you used to. It’s hard enough not being able to do certain things because you’re not up to it physically but to cut back because you can’t afford it any more just ads to your woes.

        I live a simple life, one that doesn’t cost me all that much and so I hope that problem won’t apply to me.
        Sire’s last Blog Post ..My Blog Was Hacked And What I Did About It

        • Ralph February 20, 2011, 2:40 pm

          Good for you.

    • Bob@(presently broken)JuicyMaters.com February 20, 2011, 7:07 am

      “I’m working my butt off so that I have enough money put away so that my retirement years will be such that I don’t have any financial issues.”

      Not possible unlss your name is Trump, Heinz, or Soros. Folks will have a great retirement when they realize it’s not money that makes it so.

      • Ralph February 20, 2011, 7:31 am

        The way I hear it, Trumps secret is to keep going bankrupt. His is not a lifestyle I want, money or not.

  • Bob@(presently broken)JuicyMaters.com February 20, 2011, 7:36 am

    Bankruptcy. Trump has turned what once was something to b avoided at all costs, and ashamed of if you had to resort to it, into a business model…and the unethical piece of shit is thinking of running for president…

    Sjit…don’t get me started there…

    • Ralph February 20, 2011, 7:50 am

      You brought him up.

  • Bill Murney February 20, 2011, 12:36 pm

    Ralph, I used to strive for perfection during my working days, unfortunately it’s unattainable. Now I am retired excellent is good enough for most things.

    I know I will be smiling at the finishing line.

    Ashton-under-Lyne, UK
    Bill Murney’s last Blog Post ..Niche Ideas Research – Part 2

    • Ralph February 20, 2011, 2:37 pm

      These days, I settle for adequate.

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