Information on systems thinking and how to use the systems and habits approach to improvement.
Fear is something that everyone experiences at some point. Sometimes fear is good. It tells us that there might be danger and we should pay attention.
But most of the fears that we feel in our daily lives are misguided. They are due to a pressure that we put on ourselves that magnifies a potential issue.
In the systems and habits approach to improvement we work to achieve much with little effort. Instead of effort and motivation we rely on small changes to key aspects of the systems and habits in our lives.
These changes include changes to our routines, habits, processes, etc. In systems thinking these are referred to as leverage points because they often hold great ability to change the outcome with minimal input.
Patterns in life are important yet often ignored. They unlock meaning when we might misjudge something as coincidence or happenstance.
But most people are horrible at spotting patterns. Since most of society is very event-based and thinking linearly, they miss important nudges that something is wrong. Instead of seeing the pattern and then making a change, they simply continue to find some scapegoat instead of really searching for the root causes of these events.
Life is complicated. It is difficult to know what to think about our existence, our life, our death etc. Why are we here and why were we created?
These are thoughts that have baffled mankind. Many people simply give up on trying to understand and simply go through the motions of life.
When we set a goal we are usually filled with motivation. We want to reach that goal so we can enjoy the rewards of getting there and feel the pride associated with doing something we set out to do.
As we get started we want to jump right to action and start moving. This is a good thing and can help start you on your path towards success.
Systems thinking allows us to see a larger picture of life. We see more than the parts; we see the whole. We see the connections of variables that make up the full system and relationships between various aspects of the system.
Think of a complex system such as a car. There are many aspects of the vehicle that are important and having one part fail can mean the car won’t operate properly. But it is the interconnection of these parts in just the right way that means a car will operate. Take a pile of the same parts, not configured properly and it won’t run.
When I was growing up I heard a lot of advice around trusting yourself. It could be that someone said to trust that little voice inside of you or to trust your gut.
But for me, this wasn’t always great advice. Often that little voice was what the Buddhists call the monkey mind. It was filled with incessant, nagging, worrying thoughts that often raced through my mind and easily got out of control.
When we study systems thinking, one of the things that we find is that there are leverage points within a system. Leverage points are the crucial elements that, when changed, create a major change in system output.
The current way we drive a car represents using many leverage points. Instead of having to get out and use all our might to turn the tires, we simply use our power steering and put little effort to get the tires to turn. The power steering system represents a leverage point. It leverages our strength so that we can do more (move the tires) with less effort (because of the power steering system).
Patterns are very important when we use the systems and habits approach to improvement. We use patterns to tip us off to the underlying systems that we probably don’t recognize.
These patterns give us clues as to what is really happening systematically, and give us a way to manipulate the systems and habits in our own life to create the life we desire.
One of the things I love about systems thinking is that it can be helpful with just a basic, superficial understanding but can also go into deep understanding of many aspects of life.
Because systems thinking connects elements together and helps understand the interconnectedness of life, we can start to see the world differently.
There is a lot of talk about improvement in business. It always seems like people are trying to get better.
But I’ve found that the term improvement can be misleading. Often I’ve seen people focus on setting goals and reaching them, proving that they improved, but somehow not really growing at all.
When problems arise, we all want to better understand the problem. We likely think about it and come up with a solution to the problem.
If we start to feel ill, we run to the store for some cold medicine. If we don’t have enough money to buy the car we want we finance it through credit. If we get diagnosed with high cholesterol or high blood pressure we get prescribed something to lower it for us.
Systems thinking has been around for quite some time and evidence of thinking in systems has been around for centuries. The reason is that we can’t really fragment our existence the way we once thought we could. Instead of a bunch of unrelated components we are actually experiencing a larger system of systems.
But seeing this can be tricky if you have never looked beyond the linear relationships we see initially. We always want to associate things through cause and effect, beginning and end, inside and outside etc. But by limiting the world to these simpler perspectives, we often miss important elements.
Most of us hate to struggle. We don’t want a difficult life we want things easy. That is why we daydream about winning the lottery so we don’t have to work. We want to get rid of the challenging aspects of life.
But it is through struggle that we grow. It is challenges that keep us learning. It is from hard work that we can keep getting better and better.
There is something in systems thinking called a feedback loop. Feedback loops are a structure where the output of something is fed back into the input. Then it starts to magnify as it goes through the loop of output to input to output to input etc.
One example can be found by the classic saying, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
This website has been developed to help you understand the power of systems and habits in your life and then take action to build the person that you want to become. There are over 70 free articles, 1 free eBook, and free videos and links to other system and habit experts.