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Process Breeds Perfection

The 3 Secrets of Zanshin

September 14, 2017

#1 Process Breeds Perfection 

The process that you follow determines the outcome. Zanshin is a word commonly used throughout Japanese martial arts to refer to a state of relaxed alertness. Literally translated, Zanshin means “the mind with no remainder.”

Awa Kenzo was one of Japan’s best archers and the father of this school of thought. Becoming famous for hitting the bullseye of a target wearing a blind fold. His secret was that he was so mindful of the process or the “way” that led to an accurate shot that he could replicate the exact series of internal movements of hitting the bullseye even without seeing the external target.

"If you focus your energy on the process of achieving your goal rather than constantly focusing on the result you can become more consistent in your successes."


#2 Processes allow you to make better decisions

In practice, Zanshin is about choosing to live your life in a deliberate and intentional manner. To act with purpose rather than mindlessly reacting to the bumps of life.

The point is to not worry about hitting the bullseye. The point is to fall in love with the boredom of doing the work and embrace each section of the process. The point is to take that moment of Zanshin, the moment of complete awareness and focus, and carry it with you throughout all your endeavors in life.

If you follow set processes making decisions will become much easier and making great decisions will be even easier.


#3 Tighten your helmet straps after victory - Tokugawa Ieyasu 

In other words, the battle does not end when you win. The battle only ends when you get lazy, when you lose your sense of commitment, and when you stop paying attention. This is Zanshin as well: the act of living with alertness regardless of whether the goal has already been achieved.

We can carry this philosophy into the many areas of our life:

Fitness: the battle does not end when you lose the weight. It ends when you lose concentration and skip workouts or you become lazy with your eating habits.

Work: the battle does not end when you get the promotion. It ends when you stop investing in yourself and developing your skills at work. If you don't move forwards you go backwards.


To succeed takes constant and consistent investment and that is why improvement processes are so important on the road to success.

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