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Construct the life you want

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.  

Construct the life you want

Scott Miker

Most people think that the things they really want in life are out of reach.  They assume financial freedom, a healthy body, loving relationships, etc. only come to us in pieces.  They see chaos reign. 

This keeps them wishing and hoping instead of taking action to change and improve.  They might be able to take a small step forward, but because they view the end result is largely due to luck or some force outside of themselves, they stay where they are.

But this doesn’t have to be true for you.  You can take small step after small step towards your goals, transforming as you do. 

The key is to see things systematically and abide by the principles of systems.  Therefore you can do it consistently enough for it to become a new habit.  Then as you go through life the positive habits you build will start to direct your life.   

There are three keys to making a system work.  First, the system has to be simple.  If you have a complex system it is much less likely to take hold and turn into an automatic behavior. 

Second, it has to be sticky.  This is one the key elements of a good system.  If something is sticky that means that it makes it easy to do it and keep doing it and hard to stop doing it.

For most habits, we have found that positive habits are less sticky than negative ones.  Negative habits form due to either the path of least resistance or due to a desire for instant gratification.  So if you want to develop positive habits, you have to find ways to make them sticky so they last.

The last key is that the system has to be self-regulating.  It has to fold over itself like a loop where doing it makes it more likely to keep doing it.  If there is a breaking point where you stop the action for a bit, that will likely derail the habit from forming and staying.  But if you keep doing it continuously it just keeps going and going.

It is important when you start to build systems in your life to take you towards your dreams to think through these three elements.  They are important and can mean the difference between a successful system and an unsuccessful system. 

The reality is that we have much more control over our lives and the world is much less chaotic than most people believe.  This gives us the ability to start to take back control and live the life that we desire.

In Work the System by Sam Carpenter, the author says, “The world’s turning is powerful and systematic and that is the point.  Why it behaves that way is the human mystery – the ultimate question – but it is not the issue at hand.  What matters here is this: Despite the common assumption that chaos reigns, the truth is that the mechanics of the world work very, very well.  And if we can proceed from the premise that there is a proclivity for powerful efficiency, rather than blindly buying into society’s general assumption that all is chaos, we will stop fighting things.  Instead, confident and deliberate, we can dig a bit deeper and, step-by-step, construct the lives we want.” 

To me this is a beautiful concept.  If we stop fighting and learn how to use systems to help us succeed we can, indeed, “construct the lives we want”.