Information on systems thinking and how to use the systems and habits approach to improvement.
When we start to explore systems thinking we start to see the world differently. We don’t see events on the news in the same way. We don’t see relationships in the same light. We don’t see life with the same perspective.
The biggest change is to start to see the underlying systems for everything. We start to focus more on patterns than anomalies. We observe a recurring pattern where others see a brand new thing.
Have you ever been in an older arcade and seen the Whack-a-mole game? You have a big rubber hammer and the goal is to hit (whack) these little moles that pop out of holes. The more you can hit the more points you gain.
It is a fun game but it is amazing how many times I have heard managers talk about whack-a-mole in the work environment.
When I was younger I found myself ebbing and flowing through being happy, being complacent, and being unhappy.
It seemed like I would work hard and it would make me happy and I would accomplish things that were important. Then I would gain an entitlement mindset and feel that I shouldn’t have to work so hard to be successful.
The concept of setting the minimum is a systems thinking strategy for doing something over and over to form a habit. It involves setting a very small daily amount to do and then doing it over and over again.
The idea is that if we max out all the time and do something uncomfortable, we won’t continue to do it long enough to form a habit. So we find a very small piece of that max-out amount and do that over and over again.
What do you feel is important in your life to be successful? If you immediately jump to cliché thoughts of billions of dollars and traveling the world, I would caution you to dig deeper, a lot deeper.
For the most part, people that I have heard use these extreme levels of success as their goals tend to be so far away from pursing any of it that it almost feels like a lie.
The ability to communicate is a very important skill that too many of us ignore. This doesn’t necessarily mean the ability to give a formal speech without any grammar errors.
It means being able to take a thought in our head and convey that message to others. It could be in a negotiation, during a sales pitch, or even pouring out your heart for the one you love.
We all have to start where we are. We assume successful people started with enormous advantage but often as we learn about successful individuals we learn that they had some advantages in life but their success was more related to their constant desire to improve.
I’m currently reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I am fascinated to hear stories through his words and see that he spent years just working to make something of himself.
Many of my articles focus on making very small changes over a long period of time to be successful. We can examine the systems and habits in our lives and design them according to our goals and dreams.
But sometimes change can’t wait. It has to happen right away. It could be that we are headed in the wrong path and need to drastically improve in order to avoid danger.
When I was younger, I naively felt that what mattered was the destination not the journey. I thought sacrifice and discomfort were part of the journey and success and happiness were part of the destination.
Therefore, I worked hard but found myself miserable most of the time. So as I started to go through my high school and college years I started to shift my perspective.
When we talk about influential people throughout history I am always surprised at how the narrative around these people seems to solidify over time. It seems like everyone would agree that Hitler is bad and Gandhi was good.
I hate these overly simplistic judgments. We all seem to want these clear, easy-to-understand characteristics of people. But people are complex and it isn’t that simple.
I am always surprised when executives make the incorrect assumption that systems and processes are only relevant during execution, not in strategic planning.
They envision high level thinking and being so far outside the box that they can come up with unique ideas that disrupt their industry. They believe that the further away they get from the day-to-day operations the better equipped they will be to come up with a solution that gets away from the way it has always been done.
We all want to improve. We want better relationships, greater success, more freedom and increasing wealth.
But the behaviors that most people turn to are very low-leverage behaviors. They don’t rely on systems thinking and instead fall back on beliefs about change that may not be accurate.
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.