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Self-improvement isn’t just for those with issues

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.  

Self-improvement isn’t just for those with issues

Scott Miker

There is a false belief that only those people with extreme issues and problems should focus on improvement.  I have given many speeches about improvement and reaching goals and I have noticed that many people immediately assume that everyone else needs to listen to the message, but not them.

The reason is simple.  It is much easier to see weaknesses in others than in our selves.  Most self-improvement focuses on ways to improve upon weaknesses.  But there is more than can be gained from self-improvement.  We can use it to also grow our strengths.

If we look into wealth management techniques for improvement we may find that there are great strategies for getting out of debt.  But there are also great strategies for starting to save and build emergency funds.  There are great strategies for starting to build wealth and grow one’s net worth.  There are great strategies for protecting wealth and giving back to the community.  Wherever you find yourself regarding money, there are ways to improve and get better.

But most of us get to a point where we are comfortable and then stop.  We don’t have major problems in that area so we stop trying to improve.  We start to coast along. 

This may be fine but it doesn’t have to be.  The systems and habits approach to improvement works whether you are trying to fix a problem or grow a strength.  We can continue to do small positive steps that help us get even further along and grow our abilities.  And because the systems and habits approach is a slow, gradual, iterative process, it doesn’t have to be painful to be effective. 

Many authors (including me) tend to focus too much on the negative problem-solving aspects of systematic improvement.  It is easy to give an example of someone struggling in an area of their life and then provide insight into how they can start to change. 

But this is a disservice to those who are actively working to improve.  The reality is if we always focus on the lowest levels, such as paying off debt or losing weight, we miss the fact that once we have built some pretty solid habits, we still might look for insight into how to improve even more. 

This is where some of the advanced concepts of systems thinking come into play.  By diving deeper into leverage points and compensating feedback, we might be able to devise a system that has a feedback loop that grows and grows, rather than just addressing a feedback loop that is pushing us towards failure.

Here is an example.  Imagine Joe has a very bad habit of shopping online and has to have all the latest gadgets.  He obviously can use the systems and habits techniques to “fix” this problem.  But then what?

He can use systems and habits techniques to build for the future.  He can use the extra money to invest in an asset that produces recurring revenue that he then reinvests in other assets.  If he does this over and over again he might find that he can build his own feedback loop that is slowly taking him towards wealth instead of towards poverty. 

Or we can use the systems and habits approach to get into great shape.  We can certainly use the systems and habits approach to drop a few pounds, but if we want to keep going we can use it to get into great shape and optimize our health. 

Wherever you are in your journey of improvement, the systems and habits approach can help you get better.  It isn’t just for those struggling to get started; it can be utilized by anyone that is looking for something better.