WORK THE SYSTEM, WORK THE PLAN!
AND YOUR LIFE WILL WORK, GUARANTEED!
The title sounds like a promo, but I have nothing to sell here, except to convince you of the principle and how well it works. So, read and get the idea and overview first, then look at the systems of life to pick the ones you will prioritize working on, to get the benefits the fastest way.
If you will do this, I will absolutely guarantee that your life will be far, far better.
CREATE SYSTEMS THAT SUPPORT AND WORK FOR YOU
By creating life systems that work smoothly and effectively to support you and make life easy, and by revising the ones we have already set up that might not be working that well, we create a life that is easy, where things go well, and we get lots of life satisfaction and life value. (Although you'll get to this later, a quick scan to see what the systems are might give you some perspective: The Systems Of Life.)
A PROCEDURE IS A SYSTEM
A system to get something done is called a "procedure" in business, though we seldom use that term in personal lives - but it is in fact procedures that we are using to do everything in our lives. Some of them you are not conscious of being a procedure is all.
If a person uses the wrong steps in a procedure or has a step that is wrong, then he will get a bad result. We call that a "system failure".
FIX THE SYSTEM!
In business, we will notice the bad results and then fix the system so that they won't happen again. For some reason, humans tend not to fix the system, as if the problems are caused by mysterious forces. Because they don't fix the system, they keep getting the same problems repeated over again and over again. (Duh! Of course!)
But if you fixed your systems (procedures), you'd not have the problems. You would have essentially done fire prevention, which would, of course, stop the fires!
Most problems occur because our system of doing them is flawed and needs to be fixed. Most inefficiencies occur because we have poorly refined, not perfected systems (procedures).
LIFE SYSTEMS PRODUCE LIFE RESULTS!
Sam Carpenter, author of Work The System, is a master of fire prevention and incredible increases in productivity in business. But all of the concepts put forth in his book also apply to "life productivity", where our product is not measured in cash flow, but in terms of happiness and quality of life.
As you'll read elsewhere (and hopefully be convinced of), all of life is based strictly on mechanical factors, without exception (yes, no mystical forces, but just a few unexplained yet). Given that
reality, life is analogous to business and the production line from which the products are created. In business, we credit "the organization" with developing the ability to produce effectively and efficiently. In fact the value of an organization is its having organized the systems sufficiently to profitably employ people at a level that is most often superior to what people would earn in their very own "dis-organization" (until it becomes organized) and to raise sufficient capital to be large enough to produce in efficient quantities.
Well, the same applies to life and life productivity. While I can pick up a bolt, it takes a bit more thinking to pick up a "belief" and to re-work it using the same process that created it in the first place, but with more thought and some tweeking.
A way of life is a set grouping of procedures and practices that we use to (try to) create good products of life. To the extent that we apply them without much thought and just let them grow into being haphazardly, we do not produce well, are inefficient, and often cause harm.
Wouldn't it make sense to reexamine what caused all the problems and/or low payoffs and figure out a way to solve the problems and improve the procedures so we get the results we want? Doesn't that make sense?
Of course, to do this, you have to let go of some big misbeliefs about how life works and to let go of "false explanations" that we make up to explain things, such as assuming there are mystical entitiess within us or "out in the universe" - cause, while some might be unexplained, there ain't no such creatures or spirits or whatever you want to call them. (This is laid bare in The Believing Brain piece, so read that if you don't "get" my attempt at making the point.)
So, we are one big conglomerate producing lots of products, but unfortunately often not very well and not at much of a "happiness profit". We have production line breakdowns by overstressing them and using bad procedures and unmaintained equipment. We get distracted into non-happiness-producing side trips, that just blow our time and our life.
So, if I or you had enough time, we could look at existing procedures that don't work and then revise and redesign them to work. However, of course, we would be smart enough to not the excellent products of other "manufacturers" (people) and, if they will share them with us, to copy the procedures as is. But, first, of course, we would have to notice them (be "aware" of them, look for them) and to do that we would have to operate off of a system where we noticed our results and had a simple procedure designed:
1. Notice results
2. If the results are bad, stop. Then correct them as well as we can.
There is a special "measure" here that is often a signal of a bad procedure being in place and that is how bad our chemicals feel - since our "bad chemicals" are always a sign of something being out of whack physically or mentally. See The Story Of Our Happy And Our Unhappy Chemicals.
3. Use revised procedure, checking for feedback on how it is working and then refining the procedure.
Interestingly enough, we humans "manufacture" erroneous beliefs and then hold them as being true, when there is no way in hell they are true in reality (but we'll fight that assertion!) Other than a very few exceptions of those born with some genetic impairment, we all are born with excellent manufacturing equipment, in terms both of an incredible physical operating system and an incredible computer system. We can, metaphorically, therefore produce anything that any other manufacturer can do (except for certain physical realities) IF we have the right procedure. So there are no "inferior" manufacturers in terms of basic capability, but there are "inferior" procedures and inferior knowledge - both of which can be fixed.
But first we must realize that we have adopted some inferior or unknowledgeable ideas and procedures from others - and then we must notice that they "don't work", using that criteria to start us on a redesign project to create a procedure that works.
All of this is mechanical and has nothing to do with the remarkable "made-up" idea that we are inferior. The truth is that we have insufficient information and are leaving bad procedures in place. Once we "get" how things work, we can stop allowing those to rule our lives. We can invest our time into redesigning the procedures (and the software in the brain that has the procedures in it and the hard drive memories that need to be rewired).
And, remember, you've got to know that it's all mechanical. There are no good fairies, you're not inferior in production equipment just because your parents passed down alot of crap procedures and beliefs to you. And any procedure can be upgraded to a level where it is a sufficient producer of more than you could ever want. In fact, you can produce all you want to be at "enough", plus lots and lots and lots of bonuses - because our world is a mechanical resource that is incredibly beneficial for us.
In the real world, we have something that is called a causal chain. This only means that the physical law that every effect is caused by a cause, with no exceptions - none, nada.
This is essentially similar to a "production line". Inputs are brought in from which to manufacture the product, then step 1 is performed in the plant, which allows step 2 to be performed, and so on, through the steps, until the automobile parts are all put together into a working unit (tested for quality and workability along the way, however).
You cannot paint the car's fender before it is manufactured nor can you paint the steel very well when it comes into the plant as a flat sheet of steel.
The only problem with all of this exactly analogous comparison is that the business manufacturers have a constant incentive to do better, while we have a tendency to seek comfort and to conserve our energy (thanks to evolution) - and that means we are not applying our thinking brain equipment that we are given. It is the most marvelous incredible computer (even the primitive parts), but we can't get the benefits unless we use the part of the machine that can think at the highest level and solve virtually any problem (once we have spent the time learning how to). We have to "engage the higher brain" by intentionally doing so (and developing the habit to do it) by "stopping" and "slow thinking" - or by asking questions to instigate higher thinking in order to answer the questions. The Economics Noble Prize Winning psychiatrist Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking, Fast And Slow nails this down. (Notice that the prize was in Economics and that he is a psychiatrist!)
Because, with few exceptions, we all have powerful computing equipment, we all can be huge successes. Notice that alot of those people who are huge successes do not have high IQs - and many of them have ADD!
Anyway, our computer equipment is more than capable of producing more than we need, plus lots of bonuses, such that we can live very happy lives. All of us! If we but use the equipment. Of course, to use the equipment it might be a good idea to learn how it works - but fortunately we are equipped with the ability to learn. And if we learn how learning works, we can manufacture even more and better knowledge. You see, it works a bit like a production line (or production lines all stuck together):
equipment --> get input --> process input --> get results
But problem 1 is that we do not at first have our equipment very well developed in the automatic manufacturing process included in our DNA. We have little knowledge and haven't really developed logic and reasoning very well until we are about 9 years old. So, since we were actively living before that, we produced some good stuff by accident or by guidance, but we also produced alot of untrue, illogical crap. That would be no problem and all part of an accepted process were it not for our not having learned that that is the case. We leave the crappola (beliefs, ways of doing things) all in place and then use our newly developed logic to build on and solidify the crappola. But a product is only as good as the quality of its materials - crappola is not a good thing to build on.
In "logic", we call this an "unsound premise" (aka something not true) and we learn that we cannot come to a good derived conclusion based on trying to manufacture it from untruth. Since Santa Claus is coming and if I am a good boy, I will get lots of presents is a good bit of logic, but it is an in-valid conclusion because what it is based on is in-valid. (Although admittedly some politicians try to manufacture truth from untruth...)
Unfortunately, a major impediment is that we do not use our equipment to develop the skills to think - to use critical thinking.
In the manufacturing process, the result looks like this:
Bad inputs -->. processed by bad thinking --> bad decisions --> bad results (except by luck, perhaps)
But bad inputs --> spotted by critical thinking and revised --> good decision --> good results --> good life
To reverse the process, we can look at the bad results in life and "deduce" (conclude) that there is something wrong with the manufacturing process, i.e. there was poor thinking involved. And where that happens we need to learn what it takes to bring in the hero of the story Critical Thinking Man, in his full power to create great results.
Otherwise, we have Mr. Wuss Whatever-Pops-Up Man, not bothering to manage the process and often producing bad results.
Remember that even perfect manufacturing equipment will not do well if it is not fully and accurately programmed.
Same with us humans. To produce what we want, we have to go through this process and do it well so that we have an excellent product: the ability to produce whatever we want in life.
Basic equipment --> develop programming by learning --> develop thinking ability -->
Simple thinking gain knowledge
Ability to learn
Apply thinking to knowledge --> make good decisions --> create good results -->
have a good life
As in any causal chain, the earlier in the chain that things go wrong (or don't go right),the less able is the rest of the chain to produce what we want. We cannot skipp the steps, just as we can't learn algebra if we have not yet learned how to multiply things. Indeed, when Sal Khan noticed that his smart niece was having math problems, he knew that she was smart enough, so he started on a tutorin process. In the process he found that she was missing an understanding earlier on that prevented her to learn cumulatively - a step was missing. When he filled that step, the sequence was complete and she excelled. Since then he has developed methodology where those at the bottom of their class go back a grade or two and learn all the pieces of the sequence (in a monitored way to assure there was no misunderstandings left). And they advance forward from where they tested by 18 months, but only taking six months. He is now operating the non-profit Khan Academy supported by such notables as Bill Gates - and he is "flipping the classroom" and creating a future of better education. See his story. See this site's pieces related to this: 1) Anyone Can Learn [link to his TED video], 2) Turning Your Life Around and 3) Mastery Learning For Results.