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3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week After The Election

3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week After The Election

So the election is over and you woke up the morning of November 9th possibly experiencing a wide range of emotions. Most of us understood that this election represented more than just two sides. There were hundreds of combinations of reasons, beliefs and motivations that contributed to millions of individual selections and yet the morning after, millions of people have suddenly been shoved into two categories – one side against another. Is this fair? That is your call. So what do you do now?

Be Mindful

  • Awareness and gratitude. Try not to spend so much time focusing on things you have no power to change. Imagine a life where instead of focusing on those things, you switched your attention and directed all of your energy to the things that were in your control. Try it. Then top it off with a heavy serving of awareness and gratitude. Be aware of all that you have and don’t have. Be grateful for the challenges and opportunities you are fortunate enough to have experienced, are presently experiencing and the ones that you have yet to experience. It is those things that have helped you move past where you were, helped you get to where you are and that will get you to where you need to be.
  • Reality. Learn to take things for what they are and temper your expectations. Doing so limits disappointments. Reality is what you can control and influence. Everything else is out of your hands. Recognizing life is already hard enough to handle, try not to give yourself more than you can reasonably (and unreasonably) control. Outcomes and results don’t determine peace (or your efforts to create it), happiness and the ability to have and spread joy. Don’t get lost in the shuffle; stay focused.
  • Leisure. Dedicate yourself to working vigorously and purposefully on your self-development instead of allowing the media and other distractions in your life to consume you. How you spend your downtime says a lot about you. The key here is to always be growing in some way whether it be personally through reading and learning, growing by giving to and developing others, or any mixture of similar acts. If your thoughts and actions are pure and with good intention, your downtime will likely reflect that.

Surround yourself with great people. Being around great people, listening and learning from them will have positive effects on your life. Receiving advice and counsel are also other benefits. Just being around great people can penetrate your being if you pay close attention to things like what they put their effort in to, what they avoid and their mannerisms.

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It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with great books. Reading is fundamental to the process of self-development and mindfulness. It facilitates the exchange of thoughts and understanding. It also allows you to learn from others in a way that allows you to prepare for things that may happen in your life or gain a different perception or interpretation of things that may have occurred in your life.

We’ve had elections before… many of them in fact. What are some of the lessons you could have learned or have observed through history that could have prepared you for what you are feeling today?

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“Truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable anymore.” – Herman Melville

Be open to what arises moment after moment and accept that life is constant change. Realize this: change is good and a part of everything, for nothing remains the same. Every day of your life is change, every period of your life is change, we are and always will be in a state of change as will everything around us. So, embrace change, for it is natural and there is no true benefit in anything remaining the same.

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3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week

Pause – Breathe – Listen

When you feel yourself needing to release some potentially regrettable words, opinions, or aggression…PAUSE! Take a few long seconds before doing anything or addressing anyone. Notice where you need help or where others need help. If you have to communicate that you need some space, then do so. But before you do anything, clear your mind and BREATHE!  Agree or disagree. Whatever side of things you find yourself on in the next hours, day, weeks, and months; respect people’s rights to have an opinion. Not everything needs a response, consider others’ perspectives as deep as you can and just LISTEN!

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Tyrone Robinson

Life, Career, Executive Coach & Business Consultant

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

Characteristics of Systems Thinking

Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

  • Issue is important
  • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
  • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

How to Use Systems Thinking

Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

i. The Event Perspective

If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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ii. Pattern Perspective

To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

 

iii. The Structure Perspective

To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

3. People Problems vs System Problems

Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

1. Gain Mastery

You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

3. Establish Your Vision

Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

4. Learn in Groups

There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

5. Think in Systems

Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

Final Thoughts

You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

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Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

Reference

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