Posts Tagged ‘japan’

Flexible Focus #50: The Art of Idea Capture

by William Reed on April 21, 2011

Capture Your Ideas, Capture Your Dreams

The quest to capture ideas is ancient and universal to all cultures. It is part of our DNA. The Native American Dreamcatcher bears a synchronistic resemblance to the Mandala in this illustration even down to the 8 sections. In Asian cultures the Mandala is often rendered in circular form. It’s meaning and beauty are evident to us in the physical form, and in the name, Dreamcatcher. We may need to be reminded that to capture your ideas is also to capture your dreams.

Until you start capturing your ideas on paper, or rendering them in some physical form, you may never realize what an astonishing amount of your experience floats by and is lost in the disconnected drift of time.

We need to notice, and to help others become aware of the significance of our insights, because each of us can offer another perspective on life, another degree of flexible focus. Artists, writers, and teachers cultivate the sills to take the raw material of experience and shape it into forms which enchant, entertain, and enlighten the people who engage with their works.

This is nourishment for the mind and food for the senses. Yet you need not be entirely a passive consumer of other people’s creations. You can cultivate the habit of creating your own forms of expression, if you just capture your ideas, dreams, and experiences.

Make a Wish and Write it Down

The best way to do this is to write down your ideas as they occur. We have introduced various tools for capturing your ideas, both digital and analog methods for capturing and organizing your ideas in a Mandala Chart. But even if you know how, you may not be motivated to start until you understand why.

If you start with your dreams it is easier to kindle your motivation to capture them and make them come true. Why not start with a Wish list?

You can organize it into 8 categories, as Takezawa Nobuyuki has done in a Japanese publication called the Mandala Chart Wish List, designed as an insert for the Mandala Chart Day Planner. It contains sample Wish ideas in each of the 8 categories of life, as well as space to write down up to 300 wishes of your own. This was inspired by the Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book, The Wish List, which contains close to 6,000 wishes as an inspiration, a virtual to do list for life.

The very process of keeping track of wishes is valuable, both our own and those of the people we care about. Reading a list of this length can stimulate your own imagination, but ultimately it is the process of creating and cultivating your own Wish List which will set your dreams in motion. The process of adding to and reviewing your Wish List has power.

All too often we succumb to inertia, shorten our sights and our insights, and compromise our dreams by giving up too easily on that which calls to us, that which could be had with a little imaginative effort. As Charlie Chaplin said in his classic film LIMELIGHT (1952), “Life can be wonderful if you’re not afraid of it. All it takes is courage, imagination, and a little dough.”

Revive an Old Tradition

The idea of capturing your ideas into a notebook is a old tradition which seemed to fall out of favor as published books of other people’s ideas became commonly available. I wrote about this tradition, the custom of keeping a Commonplace Book, begun in the Italian Renaissance, in an article called Make Your Mark, and how we can revive it today. Notebooks have been kept by the great geniuses in the arts, sciences, and invention, and it is no coincidence that those who kept the most copious illustrated notes were also those who were most prolific in their chosen field of endeavor.

Ideas in their early stages are like shapeless lumps of clay. They do not take shape until you knead them, stretch them, mold them into shapes that you see in your imagination, and bring them to life.

Michelangelo (1475~1564) described the process in this way: “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to other eyes as mine see it.” It is hard to imagine a more perfect description of dream capture.

So capture your ideas on paper in a notebook or wish list, organize them on a Mandala Chart, and share your dreams with those who can help you, and whom you can help in return. In our highly connected world, in a world where we can literally collaborate in the clouds, where we can cross barriers of language, culture, and geography in an instant, this should be easier than ever before.

Don’t simply admire the Dreamcatcher, become one/

Flexible Focus #48: The Principle of Initiative

by William Reed on April 7, 2011

“With a brain in my head, and feet in my shoes, I can steer myself any direction I choose.” ~Dr. Seuss

What you see is what you get

One of the central insights of the Mandala Chart is that the world we see is actually the world as we see it, not a fixed reality to which we must succumb. While we share the same space, we do not see or experience it in the same way. Things do not look, feel, or taste the same when you are in love, as they do when you are broken hearted, because your heart and your mind are the lens and filter through which you see the world. Reality is subjective, but pliable. What you see is what you get. We are all co-creators of our world.

Your disposition determines whether you see the world in a positive light or cast a pall of darkness. This creates the quality of your experience, and it influences the experience of others with whom you share that space. In this way, some people  have the power to brighten a room and make others feel good, while others can sap the energy from the place itself.

That is why we choose the company of some people over others, choose to live in a certain city or work in a particular place. Sometimes the people we spend time with and the places we inhabit drain our energy instead. When that happens, we can succumb to it, get away from it, or choose to make a change from our own initiative.

Be proactive at the Edge

Interesting things happen at the edges. This is where we enter new territory, where you get the cross-fertilization of ideas, where cultures meet and discoveries happen. An edge is not just the outer limit of something; an edge is also an interface to something else.

The Mandala Chart also represents an edge, a bridge to a new way of seeing the world. That alone gives you an edge, compared to someone who is stuck in their perceptions. The word for edge in Japanese is 縁 (en), which is also used to mean connection, and in Buddhism it is the bridge between cause and effect.

When the West first encountered Eastern thinking in India, some people had the impression that the tone of the religion and culture was fatalistic, based on the misinterpretation of karma as some kind of predetermined destiny or fate. However, the word karma is better translated as work, or the action you take at the edge, which intervenes with and changes the direction of previous causes, leading to effects which are anything but predetermined.

A saying has it that there are three types of people, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened? Think of this as people who live at the edge, people who live away from the edge, and people who have lost their edge.

The Mandala Chart Principle of Initiative is about being proactive at the edge, being a player rather than a spectator. How you experience the game depends a great deal on whether you are out on the soccer pitch or sitting in the spectator stands.

The more you see how much there is to be done, and how much you are able to do, the less sense it makes to worry or fret over circumstances. What sense does it make to wring your hands, when you can go to work on your plan?

Pygmalion Effect

Pygmalion was a sculptor from Cyprus in Greek mythology who fell in love with a female statue he had carved of ivory. In the story his love brings the statue to life. The Pygmalion Effect is the name given to a seminal study in the psychology of education, in which it was discovered that students frequently performed to the level of expectations of their teacher, regardless of their abilities. It is also known as the self-fulfilling prophecy.

To paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you think you can or cannot, you will prove yourself right. And many people in the world of Positive Psychology would agree. The challenge is that it isn’t always easy to believe that things will work out, when negative circumstances are staring you in the face. The key is, don’t stare back!

Realizing that the world is as we see it gives you a fundamental change in perspective. You can use the Mandala Chart as a lens to change your focus, see deeper or farther, and select that which you want to focus on, so that circumstances become your servant, rather than the other way around. You don’t want to end up a slave of circumstance.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Many cultures have stories involving the pursuit of happiness, often symbolized as the Bluebird of Happiness, for its bright and happy associations, and for its elusive flighty quality. These stories start with a search far and wide for the elusive bluebird, and end with the realization that happiness was within them right from the start.

Variations on this theme abound, from the story of the Prodigal Son to the Wizard of Oz, in which there is no place like home. These stories are parables, metaphors for our journey, not advice to stay put and bloom where you were planted. Regarding the pursuit of happiness, Abraham Lincoln said it best, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” That was good enough for him, and it is good enough for you and me.

With the music in your heart, you have a good place to start.

Flexible Focus #45: My Cup Runneth Over

by William Reed on March 17, 2011

In our pursuit of prosperity, we tend to take for granted the blessings that we already have in abundance. A Greek myth which made a big impression on me as a child was the story of King Midas and the Golden Touch. The King was granted a gift to his greed that whatever he touched would turn to gold, but the gift was a curse because he petrified everything and everyone he touched, turning it into a golden object devoid of life.

Gold is as perennial in our culture as greed itself. While we talk about a heart of gold, good as gold, and the Golden Age, we often find that gold can bring out the worst in human nature, from gold diggers to Goldfinger. It is often taken as a symbol of wealth, the gold standard. But it is seldom seen as a symbol of abundance. Let your helping hand be one of Kindness, not a golden touch.

Abundance in 8 areas of life

The Mandala Chart looks at wealth as part of a larger mosaic, and abundance as the experience of blessings in 8 areas of life: health, business, finances, home, society, character, learning, and leisure. What does this mean, and how is it possible to achieve such a thing?

We have seen how abundance eludes the grasp of greed. The real appreciation of what we already have begins with gratitude. All common complaints fade in the light of the Jewish proverb that, I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.

But gratitude grows into giving, and is a principle seen everywhere in nature. Japanese refer to tarai no mizu, the way water in a basin flows away from you when you try to pull it in, and comes back to you when you push it away. This is the Japanese way of describing the Law of Attraction, that givers gain. Rather than trying to hoard everything for yourself, you will find it much easier and more appealing to let go and let flow.

The Mandala Chart gives you a way to put this into practice. Take a 3×3 chart and in the center write down a compelling issue in your life from one of the 8 areas of life listed above. Use the surrounding frames to write out at least 8 ways in which you could reframe your problem by focusing on what you can give, rather than what you can get. Chances are that you can take specific actions on one or more of these ideas, and the results will surprise you, because this is the opposite approach which most of us take to solving our problems.

In business it means being more client-focused, at home it means focusing more on your family than on your self, and in self-development it means concentrating on your strengths rather than weaknesses. It means learning by teaching, giving pleasure rather than taking it, eating to 80 percent of your fill, investing instead of spending, and doing things for others without expectation of return. Abundance may be more about who you are than what you have.

A second look at the hierarchy of needs

Abraham Maslow in 1943 proposed a psychological theory that human beings had a hierarchy of needs, from physiological needs at the base, followed by safety needs, then the need for love/belonging, for self-esteem, and what he called self-actualization at the pinnacle, where the finer elements of human character come into expression. Maslow’s theory had a profound influence on developmental and growth psychology, as well as on the positive psychology movement which followed years later. This is not surprising, because Maslow focused his study on exemplary people and the elite of the population, rather than studying abnormal or dysfunctional states of mind.

But the premise of Maslow’s approach was that growth was linear, developmental, hierarchical, and this is fundamentally different from the premise of the Mandala Chart, which is synchronistic, serendipitous, and holistic. Grounded in the framework of Buddhist thought, the Mandala Chart sees all of these needs existing simultaneously, and expressed in each area of life. You can satisfy your stomach and your spirit, without separating them into levels of development.

A Samurai swordsman and Zen Master named Gettan who lived in 17th Century Japan said that there are three kinds of disciples: those who impart Zen to others, those who maintain the temples and shrines, and then there are the rice bags and clothes hangers. While this was no doubt a criticism of people who were disciples in name only, Zen Masters made frequent reference to the attainment of satori, or spiritual awakening, while in the performance of daily disciplines. They did not separate spiritual insight from daily life. Satori itself is sudden and serendipitous, not hierarchical and developmental.

Engaging others in the process

The quality of abundance is not something to experience in solitude. It starts with the appreciation that your cup runneth over even now, and that it gets even better when you share your blessings with others. When viewed from the 8-frame perspective of the Mandala Chart, it seems that there is no limit to the ways in which you can do this, other than the limitations you impose on your perspective.

Ask people what they think, how they feel, and in what ways you can help. Ask better questions, and engage in great conversations. Learn to engage others with interesting shifts in perspective, like a brisk tennis volley on an 8-frame court. Seek out new perspectives yourself, expert perspectives, historical perspectives, universal perspectives. Most of all, have fun with flexible focus, and watch how quickly the process catches on.

Flexible Focus #38: Flexibility without Forcing

by William Reed on January 27, 2011

Moving out of your Comfort Zone

Many people like the idea of flexibility more than the practice of it. This is understandable, for if the experience takes you out of your comfort zone, you may prefer the familiar to the flexible.

When your body is stiff, then physical stretching can feel more like pain than gain. A similar thing happens mentally when your values or beliefs are forcibly stretched beyond their limits. We make frequent reference in this series to flexible focus, and how this is a process of mental and physical engagement. But it is not meant to be painful or uncomfortable. I have written in my Creative Career Path Column about how the Mandala Chart can facilitate this process by Moving from Matrix to Mandala Chart.

The key to expanding your comfort zone is to have more degrees of freedom. A brittle stick has no degrees of freedom, so anything which bends it will break it. It is the fear of breaking which causes many people to retreat into their comfort zone when stretched, but rigidity is ultimately a zone of discomfort. When you have more degrees of freedom in your mind and movements, then you experience flexible focus in action!

Mind-Mandala-Body

The key to expanding your comfort zone is to understand the process of engagement, and learn how to consciously navigate your way through it. To help visualize this, I created a Matrix which you can download called, Mind-Mandala-Body.

The horizontal axis shows the degree of engagement, from Shallow to Deep. However, the nuances change considerably when you add a second dimension with the vertical axis from Mind to Body. The two cross in the middle at the Mandala.

As an example, think of how you engage with Music. When you listen to music, you are in a more or less passive mode, engaged at a relatively superficial level with your mind or senses, and the result is that you Enjoy the music. As you learn more about the music, the style, history, instruments, and musicians, you engage at a deeper level, but still mostly in the mental and sensory realm, which is where you Learn about the music. When your engagement involves the body, either through movement of your kinesthetic sense, at first your engagement is shallow while you Practice the music. As your engagement deepens, you engage both mind and body while you Perform the music.

To understand the role of the Mandala in this Matrix, you might substitute the words Method, Tool, or Technique. The Mandala is all of these. It is also a way to connect the four zones, as well as the two axes, with Mind and Body able to engage freely in various ways.

While the Mandala Chart may seem to be more of a mental concept, as your engagement deepens it shifts to an experience, a sort of Body Mandala through which you engage with your instrument and your environment.

The Body Mandala

The Body Mandala is not just a metaphor. It is actually a physical way of experiencing and engaging your body in movement, and the discipline for learning how to do this is called Nanba: the Art of Physical Finesse.

This might make more sense if you have actively engaged in a sport, played a musical instrument, or practiced a martial art. Then you know from experience that when you play well you get into Flow, and when you play badly, you get stress or injury. What makes the difference is your mastery of physical finesse, the ability to engage intensively without forcing, twisting, or disconnecting.

I have found that my own experience with this has heightened my appreciation for the imagery of Cubism. When I am engaged in practice or performance of Nanba movement, Aikido, or even Tap and Calligraphy, the mental-physical experience somehow makes me feel like a Cubist man. I have no idea if the artists of the Cubist movement felt this way, but their work is the best visual expression I have ever seen of the kinesthetic experience of the Body Mandala.

You can also see this by observing animals such as birds, insects, or fish in movement. They are masters of physical finesse, and can teach you a lot about flexibility without forcing.

Because all of this comes to life in experience and engagement, it makes sense to find something to which you can apply it to in practice. It can be something as simple as taking a walk, but instead of just your usual stroll around the block, head out in a new direction and walk for a couple of hours. You will be surprised to see how much it brings you to your senses.

Flexible Focus #37: Navigate with Nanba!

by William Reed on January 20, 2011

Introducing the Nanba Diary

Earlier in this series and an article called Mobile Mandala, we introduced an exciting new iPad Application called the MandalaChart for iPad, which is available in the iTunes Store.

That article introduced the concept behind the Mobile Mandala Chart, and now there is a site which not only introduces how to use the application with an English Users Guide, but also has a Contents section which will host templates and contents for the MandalaChart for iPad, helping you catalyze your creativity at a new level.

We are proud to announce the first of these templates, a set of 30 Mandala Charts for the iPad application called the Nanba Diary. These pages explain how the MandalaChart and Nanba Diary work for you.

Moreover, there will be other contents packages and coaching programs to follow!

Nanba: the Art of Physical Finesse

Of course before you can Navigate with Nanba, it makes sense to learn more about what Nanba is, a Japanese art with an amazing range of applications to enhance movements, which I call the Art of Physical Finesse.

This is distinctly different from the conventional approach to physical fitness, though it can certainly enhance it. I have already written extensively about this in my other columns, so I will include the links here and encourage you to explore this fascinating world made possible in the collaboration of the Mandala Chart with Nanba, the Art of Physical Finesse.

Moreover, I am using the Nanba Diary myself on a daily basis, and in combination with the Idea Marathon, and I plan to create further content including video podcasts to make this world all the more accessible.

Meanwhile, here is where you can go to find out more about how to Navigate with Nanba!

Physical Finesse. Discover how you can apply the Secrets of the Samurai to your Daily Movements.

Nanbanote. Videos, articles, and information about how to practice Nanba movements. Some of this is in Japanese, but there is also plenty to explore in English, particularly in the articles section.

Nanba: the Art of Physical Finesse. An article appearing on my Creative Career Path Column.

Nanba Webbrain. A 3D MindMap about Nanba, which will be a central source for downloading information about Nanba.

Nanba Diary. A way to integrate the Nanba Mindset and Training with the Flexible Focus in the Mandala Chart, especially if you are an iPad User. Not only that, it can also be another good reason to get an iPad!

iPad Creators Club. For all of the other reasons, by all means visit a new site and club which I have just launched. More on this to come as we launch it this week and put it into orbit.

Flexible Focus #21: The 8 frames of life: Finances

by William Reed on September 30, 2010

It is easy to understand the importance of finances in supporting and enriching the other areas of life. Finances occupy a significant portion of our time and energy.

They are difficult to get right, both because of the discipline required, and because the rules keep changing. It is important to put finances into perspective, because if you place too much emphasis on money, it can make your life miserable.

Peter Drucker, one of the greatest thinkers on management and life/work balance of our time, said that of the people he knew whose main goal was to make money, without exception, they were all utterly miserable.

Money should be part of the plan, a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Playing the right game at the right level

Wealth creation has many things in common with sports. There are spectators who pay to watch the game, and there are players who get paid to play. There are players at the amateur level, and players in professional sports, all the way up to the world stage. The investment, risks and rewards are vastly different, depending on the level at which you play.

In business and in sports, if you want to be a player, it is critical that you select a game for which you have some natural talent. The game must also be rewarding enough that you will stay with it long enough to achieve your aspirations.

Roger Hamilton, author of Your Life Your Legacy, created a system called Wealth Dynamics which helps you determine your path of least resistance to wealth creation, and the strategies which are most likely to help you achieve it.

Roger Hamilton studied the most successful and wealthy entrepreneurs of our time, and profiled their strengths into 8 types, Creator, Star, Supporter, Deal Maker, Trader, Accumulator, Lord, Mechanic. It is not enough to follow the approach recommended by a successful person. The way in which they created their wealth may be a proven concept for them, yet it might hold no interest or possibility of success for someone with a different wealth profile.

These 8 types are positioned on a Mandala-like matrix. The strengths and weaknesses, as well as business models and partnerships patterns can all be deciphered from the Wealth Dynamics Square. If you want to master wealth creation, a good place to start is to learn more about Wealth Dynamics, and how you can use it to find your flow.

Learning about business and economics

While Economics has been called the dismal science, when you view it with a flexible focus perspective you see how it is connected to everything else. This transforms it into something interesting and relevant. The fact that governments, bankers, and business people so often get it wrong proves that it is far from an exact science. Select and read from the books, magazines and news sources which help you make sense of the economy and business. Be sure to read from a balanced menu, and take it all with a grain of salt. The experts are often wrong.

Remember that wealth creation is not just about cash flow. It is more about creating and leveraging value, and this can often be done by barter and collaboration, without any cash exchanging hands.

The Mandala Chart helps as a tool for flexible focus, and also serves as a reminder that the world we experience depends on our interaction with it. It is best to keep positive expectations, and search for solutions rather than problems.

If you value wealth, then you should invest the time to read about wealth creation. Here is a list of 8 of my favorite books on this topic. These books cover the fundamental principles of finding your path of least resistance to wealth creation and preservation.

  1. Your Life Your Legacy, by Roger Hamilton
  2. 50 Prosperity Classics, by Tom Butler-Bowdon
  3. Found Money, by Steve Wilkinghoff
  4. Wink and Grow Rich, by Roger Hamilton
  5. The Five Rituals of Wealth, by Tod Barnhart
  6. A Kick in the Assets, by Tod Barnhart
  7. 60 Days to Change, by Peter Dunn
  8. The Other 8 Hours, by Robert Pagliarini

Download a Mandala PDF on The 8 Frames of Life: Finances, with a list of my favorite books about wealth creation.

In the end, money is a form of energy which is widely recognized for its exchange value. It can be a source of happiness or misery, of harmony or conflict. It’s constant presence at both polarities of our existence has led to some wonderful wisdom and humor on the subject of money, captured in quotes such as the following.

If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall. ~Bill Earle

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. ~Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745, Anglo-Irish Satirist

Download a PDF of my Favorite Quotes on Money, for an extended philosophical and humorous perspective on this serious topic.

Imagine if your view of the world was restricted to what you can see in front of your face. This was the case for much of human history. It is hard to fathom to what extent technology has changed our view of the world, giving us zoom access to the outer reaches of space, the microscopic world, cameras transcending time and space, and the web connecting our world.

What if there was a tool that acted as a zoom lens for your life? What if you could step away from the fray to see the big picture, zero in for analysis or action, without losing track of how everything is connected? The Mandala Chart is just such a tool, acting as a viewfinder with flexible focus. In all periods of history, the people with flexible focus have been able to dance circles around the rest.

The biggest room in the world…

My personal belief is that the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. This is compatible with the philosophy of Active Garage to be always experimenting and implementing to improve. Increased access to ideas hidden in foreign languages and cultures offer opportunities for a new magnitude of improvement.

Until now, the vast majority of knowledge about the Mandala Chart and its development has been hidden from view behind the wall of the Japanese language. The purpose of this column will be to cross over that wall, and make this knowledge available for the first time in English. I have lived for much of the last 4 decades in Japan, working in my own business as an entrepreneur, in a career as an author, speaker, martial artist, and calligrapher, experiencing Japan from the inside.

We live in a fascinating reality, in which history repeats itself, and at the same time the future is unpredictable. Generations learn the same lessons under entirely different circumstances. We live in a world in which actions speak louder than words, and yet the pen is mightier than the sword. Proverbial wisdom comes in opposite pairs.

One reason for this is that the view changes depending on where you stand. Where we get into trouble is when we assume that our fixed view is absolutely right, and all other views are wrong. If wonder is the beginning of wisdom, then flexible focus is how you sustain it.

A tool for all times

The word Mandala comes from Sanskrit meaning essence of the universe. It is Hindu and Buddhist in origin, and for thousands of years has been used in Eastern religions as a means to enhance spiritual teaching and meditation. It was introduced to Japan with Esoteric Buddhism in the 8th Century by Kūkai, who studied the Mandala teaching in China, and it similarly spread to all of the cultures of East Asia.

Thanks to the work of Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875~1961), the mandala has come to be known as symmetrical charts or geometric patterns that represents both the human subconscious and a microcosm of the universe from our perspective. Jung found mandala patterns to be fairly universal, ranging from the rose windows of the Gothic Cathedrals in Northern France, to the Navajo sand paintings of the American Southwest.

Its origins in religion, applications in psychology, and appearance as cultural archetypes are widely known. But there is one less-known evolution of the mandala in Japan, the Mandala Chart, which over the last 30 years has developed into a powerful tool for life planning, idea generation, project management, and continuous improvement.

The Mandala Chart was developed by Matsumura Yasuo, founder of Clover Management Research and of the Mandala Chart Association, who describes it as the practical framework of wisdom, without the external aspects of religion. It has evolved into a marvelous tool for flexible focus, with a popular annual Mandala Business Diary, a series of books in Japanese on its applications for life planning, eMandala Chart software, and a Mandala Chart Association to spread knowledge of its personal and professional uses.

Mastering the matrix

The Mandala Chart works like a multi-layered matrix. The word matrix means the field from which something originates or develops, and derives from the Latin word for mother. It is also connected to the word master. The matrix is the key to mastery, because it allows us to flexibly frame and reframe our world. It has been used throughout history in many forms, from the artist’s grid viewfinder for making accurate drawings; to the Golden Ratio and Rule of Thirds in photography; to navigational grids and mapping.

The frames in the Mandala Chart matrix can contain text, images, or links, each of which forms a window on the world, empowering you with greater vision and mastery of your own space and time. The fun begins as you start working with the tools and templates, and the applications are abundant.

It is no surprise that the Mandala Chart developed in Japan, a culture which has mastered the process of kaizen, or continuous improvement, almost as a way of life. The Mandala Chart is a lens through which you can see the big picture, the small detail, and the connections all at once. In future articles I will show how this works, and ways you can use it to make continuous improvements in your personal and professional life.

The Mandala Chart is a tool for applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. This series will run weekly, and in future installments we’ll explore:

  • The Art of Flexible Focushow to gain clarity and flexibility of mind
  • The Framework of Wisdomhow to practice the principles of wisdom in daily life
  • The 8 Frames of Lifehow to gain comprehensive life/work balance
  • Mandala Toolshow to give structure to your ideas and schedule your dreams
  • Japanologycool themes on ways of wisdom from Japanese culture
  • Thinking Inside the Boxconnecting your consciousness to the roots of creativity
  • The Temple of Templatescool templates to get you started and facilitate the process
  • Art of Abundancehow to get in flow and leverage your value

For a visual preview of what is to come, download the PDF Mastering the Mandala Chart.