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Managing Your Life

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Hoshin is a Japanese word roughly meaning both internal compass and personal North Star and is a practice designed to break through apparent chaos to find a hidden higher order and direction.

Hoshin almost always starts with a question, and you want to choose a question that really excites you, where you would feel phenomenal if you woke up living the answer to that question.

This article appeared in the Summer 2002 issue of Spirituality & Health. If you had to choose the person most responsible for the frenetic pace of modern times, the best choice would probably be Taylor. You know, Frederick Winslow Taylor. Or perhaps you don’t. Not to worry. I’d forgotten, too. But at the recent International Conference on Business & Consciousness in Santa Fe, Clare Crawford-Mason, author of Quality or Else!: The Revolution in World Business, reminded me that Taylor was once the world’s most renowned efficiency expert. Taylor observed traditional skilled artisans building products one at a time, analyzed their motions, and separated each move into a separate, relatively unskilled job, thus creating the more efficient method of assembly line production. There appeared to be nothing Taylor could not break down and speed up. He provided the groundwork for the likes of Henry Ford, creating the huge production capabilities that would help win World War II. Along the way, Taylor’s quest for efficiency reshaped our system of education.To fill the expanding factories, schools promulgate …

To work through a related Hoshin self-test, click here.


Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.


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