Information on systems thinking and how to use the systems and habits approach to improvement.
Nick Saban is one of the best coaches in college football. Many would argue that he has accomplished more than any other coach in history, even though he doesn’t look to be done with coaching any time soon and only seems to get better every year.
With this incredible success, people naturally want to look at what he does and how he thinks in order to reach that extreme level. One perspective I’ve heard Nick Saban mention in interviews is the inner scoreboard versus the outer scoreboard.
This year, in American professional football, the Cleveland Browns have been interesting to watch. I have lived in Cleveland my whole life so I tend to watch the Browns. Until this season it has mostly been in agony.
But this year they look competitive. They aren’t the best team in the league or even in their division. But they look competitive and for Browns fans that is a unique position to be in towards the end of the year.
The world is filled with systems. Everything around us is a system. Our habits and routines are systems. The way we think and process information are systems.
We can use this to our advantage by applying systems principles to our personal quest for improvement and success. We can take the systems approach to improvement to fine-tune our skills, abilities, understanding, etc. to take us towards happiness and success.
Everyone deserves to be happy. Everyone deserves to be able to be successful too. Unfortunately, most people make choices that keep them from being happy and successful. They make decisions that are shortsighted and destructive because they assume they can change later.
The idea of doing something later is elusive. It seems like it should be easy but each time you are presented with the choice to do the right thing you can push off doing what you know you should and instead fall back the idea of doing it later.
I listen to a lot of reggae music. The upbeat vibe and positive lyrics tend to uplift my mood. I also find the musical patterns that are played in reggae music are interesting and unique.
One of the recurring themes in reggae music is to start a revolution. They are often speaking about political issues and revolting against oppressive governments that try and strip the rights away from its people.
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.
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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.