Developing your attitude is like developing a skill on a musical instrument - it takes consistent practice to improve.
When the great Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski was elected Prime Minister of his country, he made one request before accepting the prestigious office. He would lead the country, but he must be allowed to practice his scales for two hours every day. Guitar virtuoso Andres Segovia requires the same of his students - two hours a day of playing scales.
And yet, who plays scales in a concert? You've never heard of a composition by Mozart or Brahms called "The Aelian Scale" or "Major Scale." However, without being thoroughly familiar with scales, a musician would remain remedial in his or her art. It is the complete mastery of the basics that gives birth to freedom of expression, ease of movement and cohesiveness in the delivery of each phrase.
So it is with each of us in our attitudes. Though we may have excelled in our approach to life, we must continue to develop every day. We need to practice having an excellent attitude in each and every endeavor, for it will always be true that we can improve the way we see problems, people and life.
After World War II, General Douglas MacArthur went to Japan to evaluate the rebuilding of the war-torn nation. The economy of Japan was in dire straits; the nation was struggling, having to use leftover resources just to stay afloat. As a result, any toy or appliance labeled "Made in Japan" was to be a trademark for one thing: poor quality. So General MacArthur brought in one of America's leading quality control experts, Dr. W. Edward Demming.
After much evaluation and scrutiny, Demming came up with a set of business principles to help turn around Japan's economy. He called the country's most influential businessmen together and offered them a promise. He basically said, "If you will improve something about yourself and your product every day and make quality not merely something to be maintained but an achievement and a way of living, you will turn the economy of Japan around in 10 years. Then if you continue to improve something each day, even if it is a miniscule amount, in three decades you will become an economy world power."
That was quite a tall promise to make to this struggling nation, but they took it, hook, line and sinker. They even coined a new word for this approach: kaizen. The word means a constant, ever-increasing improvement that defines quality not as something to be maintained but something to be lived on a daily basis.
Over the next 10 years, the businesses of Japan did exactly that. They examined the American automobile; then they improved on it and sold it to American consumers. People began buying everything Japan produced because of the improved quality. Japanese ingenuity increased, and they improved on existing bands of appliances, electronics, tools, cameras and watches. Soon their products were in demand the world over.
In 10 years, the economy of Japan had reversed itself, and within three decades the country had become an economic world power. To this day, one of the most prestigious business awards is the W. Edward Demming Award.
If a change in attitude can do that for a nation's economy, how much more should we seek to do the same for our own personal economy?
(From Wayne Cordeiro's "Atttitudes that Attract Success")
For a lot of times we neglect quality improvement, as we just think of being average, being just the way things are. Average. No wonder then that we're stuck. If each Filipino would strive to improve every day, we too can turn our country's economy around, in 10 years.
It's been quite a while that we have slept over our economy's concern. Time to get up, and start making our brand in demand across the globe!