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Systematic Improvement

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Systematic Improvement

Scott Miker

We all have motivators in our life.  We have goals that we want to achieve and we have things that we want to experience.  But too often those drivers give us the desire without the resolute mindset to achieve. 

In fact, early in life I found that the more motivation that I had the quicker it would leave when adversity set in.  I kept thinking it was a problem with how much I wanted it.  But the problem was actually in my approach.

Since then I have found two key differences in the way I approach goals. 

First I focus on improvement.  Taking an improvement mindset gets rid of a lot of the distractions that hold us back.  It shifts our focus to be on making progress.  The actual goal remains but the effort to achieve that goal gets a boost.  This also makes it more forgiving if you haven’t yet reached your goal.  It pushes you to keep moving rather than quit and accept failure.

The second key difference to the way I approach goals today versus earlier in life is that I work through things systematically.  Instead of simply going from A to B, I am able to evaluate the situation and realize the actual complexity that exists.  This helps to avoid mistakes and helps to understand what has to change before I can see the improvement that will lead to success. 

The systematic mindset, when combined with a focus on improvement is powerful.  It shifts our focus to be on making progress.  We avoid a lot of the distractions and the path to achievement becomes much clearer. 

This mindset also forces a focus on small, incremental improvement.  By looking at the small system changes that we can make we can start to build off of today’s achievements.  We avoid the common cycle of start, work, fail, and start over.  Instead we make slow progress towards our goals and every day we get a little closer. 

For me this has made a world of difference.  It isn’t that things are suddenly easy.  It is just that now I know how to do the necessary steps.  Before I kept thinking that I just needed more motivation.  Or I thought that external factors needed to adjust to help me.  But that wasn’t it.  I wasn’t growing over time and getting closer to reaching my goals, I just kept taking two steps back for every one step forward. 

Regardless of what you hope to achieve, make sure that you are building over time.  Don’t get caught up in needing success immediately.  Instead focus on slowly taking positive steps forward.  Because in a while you can then leverage what you have built and grow it. 

This also helps us to avoid trying to hit a home run on our first day. What matters is that we keep improving and growing our capabilities, not instant success.  Eventually this can lead to home runs.  But if we get too caught up in hitting a home run every time we are likely going to struggle to even get on base. 

The world is full of systems that are in place.  If we start to look systematically at the world and at our goals we can start to see the necessary steps involved in success.  Then we can simply focus on continuous improvement to get closer and closer to achieving those goals.