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Anyone Can Achieve Higher Quality ... Easily

Jul 9, 2008
Quality consists of making things better. That's all. When you do something better, when you produce better results, you are achieving higher quality. The rewards range from personal satisfaction to admiration from others to financial success. If you make a relationship better, you get (and give) more happiness. In short, better is good.

The reason people have a hard time achieving higher quality in their lives is they don't know the principles of quality. Yes, there are basic underlying principles, as simple and precise as gravity. The following is a crash course in the three major principles of quality, which, when applied to any area, result in higher quality in that area.

One: Quality is an attitude.

A quality attitude means that you agree and believe that better is a good direction to go. You also believe that staying the same or getting worse are not good directions. Thinking that better is only sometimes a good direction is not a quality attitude. An attitude is all about how you approach things: your job, your friends, your hobby, your driving. How good a driver are you? "Good enough" is not a quality attitude. Nor is "Better than most." "I'd like to be even better than I am" is a quality attitude.

The nice thing about an attitude is that it is completely under your own control. You don't have to ask permission to take on a quality attitude. No one can prevent it. No one can stop you from wanting to do things better. But they can try, which brings us to number two.

Two: Quality leads to opposition.

For all of the wonderful rewards that higher quality brings, there is a price. Some people don't like higher quality and don't want you or anyone else to achieve it. These are the critical people, who make fun of or talk badly about successful people. These are the people who "know" things can't get better.

As you begin to apply a quality attitude, you will hear negative comments: Why bother? You're trying too hard. Who are you trying to kid? It doesn't have to be that good. Slow down, you're making the rest of us look bad. And then there is the real attitude-killer: No one cares. In a hundred ways, openly or hiddenly, these people will try to shift you away from a quality attitude.

The better you get, the harder they will try. They may seem to make sense, they may even have some truth in what they say, but if you find yourself agreeing even a little bit that making things better, doing things better, is not worth it, or not important, know what is happening: you are succeeding. Your movement in the direction of doing things better is making progress. Keep it up.

Three: Quality takes time.

For some reason, this major principle seems to be a major stumbling block to many people, but really, it is as easy as the others. Remember, quality isn't doing things well -- it is doing them better. A middle-school boy, no matter how good he is at basketball, can't play as well as a professional, but if he keeps moving in the direction of doing it better, perhaps someday he will be that good. Yet even then, if he keeps his quality attitude, he will keep getting better.

Usually, the difference in time between doing something and doing it better can be measured in seconds or, at the most, minutes. If you are raking a lawn, take that extra swipe to capture the leaf in the corner. If you are filing papers, take five extra seconds to make the folder neat before you put it back. Read over that email before you send it. Listen to your child before deciding his fate. Maybe he thought he was doing a good thing when he watered the plants with your coffee.

No matter how much you have to do, how busy you are, you always have the time to do things a little bit better. If you don't agree, think of all the times you have had to do something again because of an error or because it wasn't quite good enough. Think of the times when the results were not as good as you had hoped they would be. To put it bluntly, using time to do something better always saves you more time later. Always.

So those are the three major principles of quality. There are more, but those are the foundation, and they will take you to higher levels of success and happiness all by themselves.
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 an excerpt or buy this book in paperback or as an e-book at Principles-of-Quality.com or as a paperback at any online bookseller.
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