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This is life

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.  

This is life

Scott Miker

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.   

There is a quote that says that the only thing that is constant throughout life is change.  We are constantly changing. 

I like that quote but it is a bit misleading.  Yes I can find examples in my life of change.  But I also have a lot of areas that have not changed much at all. 

But if we look at evolution and history we can see that over time things do change.  Sometimes they change for the better and sometimes for worse. 

I’ve since changed my opinion about change being a constant.  Instead of change being the constant, I feel that growth is the constant.  We are constantly growing and evolving.  Yes that can be viewed as change, but change implies random and I certainly don’t feel that history is simply random.

Change for the sake of change is a concept that gets thrown around.  Seeing change as the only constant implies that change for the sake of itself must be what is happening.  But that isn’t the case.

As I get older I am constantly drawn to the connections that prompt change throughout life.  Getting married, accepting a job, moving to a new home, buying a new car, getting a degree etc. are not random acts. 

They are thought out.  These changes are made for specific reasons. 

Even meeting your spouse was probably less chance and more deliberation.  Yes you may point to a chance meeting as the start of the relationship, but you likely have chance meetings with millions of people throughout your life.  But this one stuck and remained. 

When we see the spirals of a shell on the beach or the alignment of flower pedals that seem perfectly placed, we may jump to the conclusion that this is coincidence.  We might feel that is just the way it is.

But biologists have studied this for decades wondering why we see certain patterns in nature.  There are some patterns that we don’t often see in nature such as perfect squares, triangles etc.  But we do see patterns if we start to look, they are often just more complex patterns that can look random until we unlock the repeating structures. 

These tend to be harder to measure and calculate.  Yet we have done it again and again.  See the Fibonacci sequence, the golden section, or Julia sets for great examples.  In these instances, mathematicians have broken the code on several of these complex patterns that are found in nature.    

We have been able to decipher the patterns that we see but initially can’t explain.  As life continues, we will continue to find meaning in these patterns.  Just look at how much the emergence of computers has allowed us to develop incredibly complex formulas instantly, without having to do the longhand version.  Instead of taking hours to compute, we would take years.  For mathematicians studying nature’s patterns, this was important to be able to chart out complex formulas to create replicates of these structures. 

So what does this all mean?  For me it means there is more meaning hidden underneath everything that we might think.  It isn’t about change for the sake of change.  It isn’t about randomness.  It is about growth.  Everything is constantly growing. 

Darwin would call this growth evolution.  However we choose to define it we can see this constant developing in somewhat random, somewhat fixed, somewhat connected patterns.  The more we look for these patterns the more understanding we will gain in our own lives.  Then we can set out to take that growth and connect it to designed improvement.  Then we can start to grow in the ways we desire, instead of doing so by simply going through the motions.