Several days ago I found an interesting book "The Pragmatic Programmers" and I am now reading extracts from it before purchasing. This quote from the "Preface" really got me thinking:
A tourist visiting England's Eton College asked the gardener how he got the lawns so perfect. "That's easy," he replied, "You just brush off the dew every morning, mow them every other day, and roll them once a week." "Is that all?" asked the tourist. "Absolutely," replied the gardener. "Do that for 500 years and you'll have a nice lawn, too."
Great lawns need small amounts of daily care, and so do great programmers. Management consultants like to drop the word kaizen in conversations. "Kaizen" is a Japanese term that captures the concept of continuously making many small improvements. It was considered to be one of the main reasons for the dramatic gains in productivity and quality in Japanese manufacturing and was widely copied throughout the world. Kaizen applies to individuals, too. Every day, work to refine the skills you have and to add new tools to your repertoire. Unlike the Eton lawns, you'll start seeing results in a matter of days. Over the years, you'll be amazed at how your experience has blossomed and your skills have grown.
You can't wake up in morning and feel that you have become much better than yesterday, but you can feel that you have become much better than a year ago. Now, I decided to make a small experiment. Every day before going to sleep I will ask myself about how I got better. This can be a new trick in XHTML/CSS coding, or a new idea in visual design, or a little optimization in workflow, or getting rid of a bad habit. Anything that makes me a little better than yesterday. It would be interesting to look back in a year or several months from now and learn how this experiment affected my self-improvement process.