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We are defined by systems

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.  

We are defined by systems

Scott Miker

Systems are all around us.  We all interact with too many systems to count on a daily basis.  There are traffic systems in place while we drive to work, work rules that makeup processes and systems, and we interact with others using habits and systematic responses.

With all of the various systems around us, in can be easy to forget how many systems we have control over.  These can be looked at as habits, natural tendencies, our daily routines and behaviors etc.  Instead of focusing on systems we control we only notice systems outside of our control. 

But most people never spend the time to tackle these in order to improve.  Yet these come to define who we are as a person. 

It is similar to corporate culture.  All businesses have a culture that develops.  It can be deliberately molded or it can just evolve naturally without much thought. 

In Simple Complexity by William Donaldson, PhD, the author states, “your enterprise system is a force field of energy and information, both of which are constantly transmitted, absorbed, and retransmitted.  Your corporate culture is an emergent property of the system.  It emerges, invisible, but powerful and pervasive, by design or by default… Corporate culture reflects the totality of the habits, beliefs, practices, values, behaviors, and actions of the enterprise and its leaders.”

Just as corporate culture is the totality of habits, beliefs, practices, values, behaviors and actions of the company and the leadership of the company, who you are as a person is defined by the totality of habits, beliefs, practices, values, behaviors and actions of you. 

Most of us let this develop by default.  We don’t actively think through who we want to be and then work to align all of those areas around that goal.  Instead we make daily decisions that start to form habits without ever really thinking through why we made that decision. 

Dr. Donaldson goes on to say, “Culture reflects the interactions of the system and shapes the behaviors within the system.”

But we can start to move who we are in a different direction.  But this requires a committed focus on systematic improvement throughout our daily decisions and behaviors. 

If we want to be a person in good health we have to get there by attacking the fitness and nutrition aspects of our lives.  If we don’t, we can’t really expect anything to change.

If we want to be debt-free we have to make certain decisions around our spending and the way we earn money. 

If we want to be cool-headed we have to address the way we respond to emotional information.  We have to change from reacting emotionally, to thinking through our response.

Almost any area of life can be changed.  We can improve but if we aren’t aware of all the various systems that we control we likely will let everything develop by default.  If we do want something better, then start to change how we view our role in these various systems.