The Edges of Lean — Ep 62 Continuous Improvement and Brain Injury Recovery with Kaj Smit

Kaj Smit was a typical student with a typical life – until the day he woke up in a hospital and learned he had suffered two brain hemorrhages.  Physically he had to start over again and mentally he was in a very dark place. What does it take to recover from something like this? And what did Kaj learn that continuous improvers should take to heart? Just a note before we get started: we will be discussing suicidal thoughts.  If you or a loved one are considering suicide, the number to call for help and support in the US is 988, and in the Netherlands, it is 0900 0113


Kaj Smit

Kaj Smit is a young man who has experience in designing and creating websites online. He’s also an escape room expert!

On May 12, 2021, he had two brain hemorrhages.  That’s not the end of the story, but the beginning. He went from a vegetative state to being once again a fit young man who’s capable of everything, and he did this in less than one year. This has given him a new view of the world and incredible perseverance and a positive attitude that no one can take away from him.




  • Kaj’s experience of brain injury following his brain hemorrhages
  • Why did he consider suicide?
  • What made the difference for him to pursue life, not death?
  • How did he help himself to regain his memory
  • What activities helped him recover quickly
  • The valuable lessons he learned from his experience.
  • The three steps to move forward, even in a difficult situation: Wish, believe, dare!



  • It’s important to remember that suicide is not a solution. When someone is considering suicide, they are usually in a great deal of pain and they see death as the only way to escape that pain.
  • When someone is going through a tough time, it’s important to have a supportive network of family and friends.
  • Being positive is important when you are trying to recover from an illness or injury. Your body responds to your thoughts and emotions, so if you are constantly thinking negative thoughts, your body will produce stress hormones that can make it harder to heal.
  • To achieve our goals, we must be willing to take risks. This is especially true when it comes to our health. Too often, we allow fear to hold us back from doing what we need to do to heal and live normal lives.
  • Tiny steps are important.

Memorable Quotes From Kaj Smit


“ Don’t look at the end goal. Look at where you started”