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The Systems of Our Lives

The Systems of Our Lives

I am always surprised to read books that try to convince the reader to make drastic changes in their lives.  They claim that they need to quit their job and start a business, or hold out for the perfect soul mate.  

They say “if you aren’t currently doing what you love, then quit everything and follow your passion.”  The reason that I get a little peeved when I read this is that they always seem to focus on what is wrong now and what will be right later.  The reality is that there is good and bad mixed together for every situation.  Sometimes the perfection comes from being imperfect, growth comes from facing challenges and pride comes from doing the right thing.

I am a strong believer that you need to know your tendencies.  In my first book, I discuss this quite a bit because I don’t think it is addressed enough.  It isn’t a sexy topic and too often it is easier to paint a picture of roses to the reader if they take your advice.

We all know the person who has worked at the same job for years and years and constantly complains.  We also know people who always bounce around and never seem willing to do hard work.  To me these are two poles on a spectrum.  They are the extremes.  The best strategy is to be willing to stick it out and persist, but also pivot and be flexible.  Too much of one or the other can lead to disaster and only experience and introspection can lead to a true understanding for oneself.  

The reason that I love looking at systems to make improvements in life is because it presents a perspective which shows the whole.  You can look at the human body and get a better understanding of one’s health by looking at their respiratory, digestive, reproductive, and immune systems.  Each contributes to the whole.

In our life, we have systems that address our career, our family lives, our spirituality, our finances, our material things, etc.  Because we have enormous control over these areas but not our body’s systems, it is easy to see how we can negatively affect other areas of our life.  

Life is complex and nothing exists that is solely good or solely bad.  They are always mixed together.  For me it is about systematically improving each area rather than looking at the bad aspects and envisioning a change that will bring about only good things in the future.  I guarantee any move you make; there will be good things and bad things about it.  

To me there is a pride in working hard towards a goal and supporting one’s family.  That is more powerful to me than being one of the few who make it as an actor, musician or athlete.  Looking at things systematically and understanding the role that your career plays with the rest of your systems is important.  Too often we look at someone with extreme success in one aspect of their life and use that as a model to follow.  Somehow when we discover they have enormous flaws because every effort went towards this one talent we feel tricked.  

I am an advocate of going after your goals and dreams in life but I feel that too many people play off the emotions around this to pull the wool over your eyes.  Remember that everything good also has bad in it and everything bad also has good in it.  Instead of finding something that you don’t like and thinking that making a huge change is the answer, look systematically over your life and adjust the systems to take you where you want to go.  Instead of sacrificing other areas of your life you will have to work hard for a long period of time.  But to me that is what has meaning.  Not sacrificing, but growing.