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Quality is So Easy, Why Settle For Less?

Mar 20, 2008
One of the easiest ways to improve your life is to increase quality in all you do.

When you do something better, you are increasing quality. When you make something better, you are increasing its quality. It doesn't matter how much better. Even a little tiny bit better is still an improvement. Then a little bit more than that next time, and a tiny bit more after that, and the effects add up rapidly.

Why do people settle for less? Usually, because they are taught to, by their bosses, their co-workers, by television and movies, and by their own experience. Very often it appears that extra effort is wasted, and sometimes even ridiculed. The "Why Bother?" syndrome is very widespread. This explains a lot about the mediocrity so common in society. To the thinking person, though, it also presents a huge opportunity.

The actual principles of quality, what it is and how to achieve it, are largely unknown. Most of the common sayings about quality -- "If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right," or "Close enough for government work" -- are merely applications of these unknown principles, and many, like these two, are completely false. But when the truth isn't known, untruth will have free rein.

Here is the truth, and the first major principle of quality: Quality is an Attitude.

Quality doesn't just happen, it is created. How is it created? By somebody wanting to do something better. Better than what? Doesn't matter. The attitude is what matters. Maybe he wants to do something better than his neighbor. Maybe he wants to do something better than he did it before. Whatever the reason, he has the attitude that creates quality.

Higher quality, by definition, just means better. Not best, not as good as possible, just better. How can anything be easier? Something put away instead of being left out. A plant watered before it starts to wilt. A light turned out when leaving the room. A paper clip picked up off the floor. A file drawer closed. Little actions which are better to be done than not done.

Getting this quality attitude, building it into your life, is also very easy. Do you think that better is preferable to the same or worse? If so, and if you can remember that every day, you have and you can strengthen a quality attitude. Strangely enough, the stronger it gets, the easier it gets.

Then you run into the second major principle: Quality Leads to Opposition. Life and people do tend to put obstacles in the way of improvement. Some people dislike change, others are afraid they will do worse if you do better. Opinions often differ as to what is better, or how you should use your time. So this part of quality may not be so easy. Without applying the first principle of quality, and keeping your quality attitude, this second principle can stop you in your tracks. Knowing about it, you can deal with it, by holding on to the first principle, and ignoring anyone who puts you down or gets in your way.

The third major principle of quality is that Quality Takes Time. Yes, it does take three extra seconds to put the staple in the wastebasket instead of brushing it onto the floor. What you will learn fairly quickly, though, is that if quality takes time, it also gives it back, many times over. Take the extra half hour to set up a form a little better, and it will save you many hours down the road. Take the extra hour to trim the edge of the lawn -- you will save time mowing and trimming once that lawn takes final shape. Time spent on making or doing things a little better is almost never time wasted -- and even when it is, it isn't, because you learn from the experience, and will know not to "waste" that time again.

Above are the three major principles of quality. Use them, and make your life better. There are more, and specific actions, but these principles underlie all the rest. They are easy. They work. Use them.
About the Author
Don Dewsnap has spent years studying quality and its principles and applications. Now he has put his knowledge into a readable, useable book: Anyone Can Improve His or Her Life: The Principles of Quality. Read about the book at http://www.principles-of-quality.com or at any major online bookseller.
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