Scott Miker provides over 150 free articles on system and habit improvement techniques.
Our world is complex. There are many elements of life and the more we explore life the more we tend to discover.
With all of this complexity, many people start to feel that they are simply being manipulated like a pawn on a chessboard. They feel that there must be someone else in charge.
We all have problems. We all have stress and anxiety at times. We all experience fear.
While this are just part of a system that also includes pleasure, happiness, relaxation, fulfillment, etc. we all tend to dwell on the negative emotions from time to time.
I used to dwell on all that I viewed was wrong in the world. I would find fault in everything. I took on a condescending attitude that said if only the world would just follow my advice; I could fix everything for everyone.
But, obviously, this was a horrible way to go through life. I didn’t know anything. I was naïve and oblivious to the real world. Luckily, I started to slowly realize how wrong I was and I realized it early in my life.
Habits are a part of everyone’s life. We are all creatures of habit who follow patterns in our thoughts and behaviors.
While this may seem obvious, what isn’t obvious is that we have to deliberately design our habits if we want them to move us towards success and happiness.
Have you ever set a goal and timeframe and thought that it was a foregone conclusion that you would hit all of your targets right on time but then struggled to even get traction?
I have. Many times. In fact, almost every goal I set seems much easier in my initial daydreaming than it really is. I don’t know exactly why but I feel that success will be certain.
Our life is made up of systems. But most of the time we are so caught up in the daily ups and downs that we never pay attention to these systems.
Seeing the systems in your life isn’t absolutely necessary. We don’t have to pay any attention to them at all. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there and aren’t controlling aspects of your life all the time.
I love reading success stories and motivational books. I tend to find the ways that the individual used principles from the systems and habits approach to improvement in order to succeed.
Most of the time there is alignment. They started small and just kept working and working until they hit a breakthrough; they changed up their routines and didn’t allow themselves to fall back on bad habits, etc.
Whenever goal-setting and the concept of using systems to succeed comes up, some people automatically assume that we are talking about some quick-fix “system” that instantly solves all of our problems and gives us massive amounts of money and success.
This is completely the opposite of the systems and habits approach to improvement. While systems thinking may give us a different perspective on how to improve and will likely shed light on leverage points that can make improvement more likely, it still requires hard work and diligence.
People like to talk about New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of each year. They set goals and think about areas of their life that they wish were different.
The logical thing is to set a goal or resolution to change something about you. Unfortunately the failure rate of New Year’s resolutions is about 80% by February. What tends to happen is that we just keep falling back to old habits and the motivation fades.
Adjusting your habits to help you reach your goals can be a great way to succeed but too often people ignore that method to reach for the stars. “Shoot for the moon so if you miss you will still be among the stars,” they say.
So we start out with enough motivation to fill a house. We sit on our couch and talk ourselves into a dream and assume we will just breeze past adversity when it shows up. Why not, we feel the motivation now so we assume we will have it when we need it.
When something bad happens, what goes through your mind? Do you start to think about the fairness or unfairness of the situation? Do you feel like a victim?
Many people, including me at times, have a natural pattern that involves looking for excuses and playing the victim. It is as if we just need a little negative to suddenly dive into a pity party.
When I talk to people about their goals and aspirations, I often find that feel they just don’t know what to do. But that isn’t the case.
The more I ask about what it is that they want, they usually state that they should do this or that, but that they just can’t seem to do it enough to see any benefit.
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.
Use these tips to overcome the three top reasons that we quit when we set a goal or New Year's Resolution.
In order to reach your goals and be successful you need to attack that moment that determines whether or not you do the right things that will ultimately determine success. If all that stands in your way of success is that moment then put all of your focus in overcoming that moment. Don’t get distracted with potential results. If you are able to do this, you will be amazed at what you can become!
The success or failure of a leader is directly related to his or her leadership systems and habits. Some people refer to it as their leadership style or their leadership capabilities but the reality is that leadership is not simply a style that you adopt or a set of credentials.
We don’t set goals to keep doing something that we already do. We set goals to challenge ourselves and move in a new direction. Yet we probably don’t realize that there is a pattern to goal-setting and for many of us, it isn’t leading to success.
Watching Monday night’s College Football National Championship game is a great lesson in perspective. Most people see the accomplishment of the Ohio State Buckeyes and understand just what the win means for the school. Winning the National Championship in the manner that they did was impressive, but what is more impressive is how prepared they were for each of the final three games.
7 unusual tips for getting back on track when you struggle to achieve your goal.
New Year's Resolutions have an incredibly high failure rate. Change your perspective in order to start building meaningful change this year.
One aspect of self improvement is especially difficult for people, including myself. Usually we know exactly what we want and set a goal to achieve it. We also know what it will take to reach that goal. Somehow we still miss our goal...
There is a concept in psychology called Transactional Analysis. It describes human behavior and attributes much of our lives to the those around us in our childhood. It is fascinating work that provides insight into the human mind and how we process the information around us...
Innovation, flexibility, spontaneity or creativity are not the opposite of systems and habits, they are the step after systems and habits have formed...
Last night, while watching the NFL Monday night pre game show, I heard Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young say that the Jets’ quarterback needs to “work until it becomes reflexive recall.” He emphasized that performance on the field was directly related to the ability to strengthen proper habits during practice. This way, when it comes time...
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