What is a system? A system is a set of things— people, cells, molecules or whatever— interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time. We all have systems working in our lives; systems of sleep, career, hobbies, relationships, money management, goals, personal hygiene, health, eating, etc. One of the key components of a successful life is to be able to manage all the systems in our lives as efficiently and as painlessly as possible. When these systems are working well our lives tend to go well and everything is hunky dory, but when one of the systems fail, it causes the others to fail in some way, as well. It’s like a cog in a machine, if one of the cogs break then it effectively breaks the whole machine.
Sleep is a system which has a set of subsystems, which if tweaked (to make a minor alteration) correctly, can help us to get a great night sleep, give us more energy and allow us to sleep less. We just have to look at sleep as a whole, break it down and then start tweaking what’s not working. We have to look at the system of health in our life, dissect it and find out where the problem is lying and look at ways of fixing it. Similarly if we have a problem with managing our money, we dissect the money management system and look for the reasons why we cannot manage our money correctly, and then look at ways of fixing it. We can do this with almost every area of our life. If you think about it we are a system of habits.
Most of our life is made up of things we do every day, day in day out and it doesn’t change much. This might make us sound dull and uninteresting but it’s a good thing really as it keeps our lives together, it keeps us from feeling stressed. We know pretty much what we are going to be doing this time next week, we know where we will be celebrating Christmas, we know when we are going on holiday, we know when we are going to work, when we sit down for dinner, when we have to study and the list goes on. Because we are going to live our lives like this wouldn’t it make sense to make it the best system we could and make things run smoothly and even make it work for us, and make it better.
One of the first things to do is look at every system in our life and assess it. The simple way to assess it is just give it a mark out of 10, a quick, intuitive mark which tells you how well you think that particular part of life is going. Once we recognize that something isn’t quite right with one of the systems in our life we can then drill down on it to find out why it’s not working and aim to look at fixing it. Suppose a person’s diet is not going so great, so it would be time to look at his diet and figure out why he scored 6 out of 10.
Now, drill down on the system and find the sub-systems in order to tweak it as much as possible. In case of diet related subsystems, one can attempt to find answers to questions viz., what do I eat?, what do I drink?, how many calories do I consume?, what type of bread do I eat?, when do I eat?, what foods make me sluggish?, what are the staple foods I eat?, etc. You can ask a lot of questions about the system of your diet and look at each different sub-system and start to tweak it.
There could be two or three sub-systems that work hand in hand to affect the overall harmony of the whole system. It would be a matter of testing and tweaking until you get that particular system of your life just right, and keep on tweaking it until it is near perfect. You might think your diet is not that great and you keep putting on a few pounds no matter how little you eat, but it could be you’re eating late at night and hardly anything during the day. This means that your body is storing fat during the day as it thinks you’re not eating enough and you’re releasing fat at night, but not as much due to your expending less energy when you are sleeping.
Similarly, when you start to look at all the systems of your life and drill down on them and look at the sub-systems you can really get to handle the things that you need to do to improve your overall life.
This is just a brief overview of looking at the systems in your life. I hope this system of fixing your systems in life would make sense and would be useful.
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