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How to Use the Law of Requisite Variety to Improve your Life

How to Use the Law of Requisite Variety to Improve your Life


    Have you ever had one of those days where it was just one thing after another going wrong?

    Did you lay back and take it?

    Or…did you adapt to the changing situation around you to get the best possible result?

    Most people do the former.

    When problems pop up they don’t even try to fix them.

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    And then there’s always the temptation to resort to complaining…it feels good to sit back and have a moan about things doesn’t it?

    Well, maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit.

    Because the fact of the matter is this: The most flexible person wins.

    This theory has been studied across numerous disciplines, but originates from cybernetics – a study of the structure of regulatory systems.

    Cybernetics is a pretty complex theory that coined the term: ‘The Law of Requisite Variety’. To put it simplistically it means this:

    The more flexible you are when life throws a challenge your way – the more likely you will control your life and get what you want

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    What this means is that instead of just accepting situations when they don’t go your way – you have the opportunity to look for alternative options or solutions so that you essentially ‘beat’ the problem.

    Do you think successful people roll over and admit defeat when things don’t go their way? Of course not. They come up with ideas and solutions to ensure that no matter what happens – no matter how many issues are thrown at them – they are flexible enough to adapt and still get what they want.

    Let me give you an example.

    You’re running late. An unexpected detour means you’re faced with a huge traffic jam. You have 2 options – you can accept this challenge and sit in the traffic jam, give in to road rage & frustration – OR you can try to find another way around the problem.

    • Can you take another route?
    • Can you use the time in the car productively and to your advantage?
    • Can you start focusing on what needs to get done at work? Or brainstorm solutions to other problems you need to solve?
    • Can you look at this window of time as an opportunity instead of a problem?
    • Which of these options do you usually find yourself taking?
    • And is it time to make some changes?

    If you look at the most successful companies of the 21st century you can see this theory in action. Facebook, Google and Apple are constantly in a process of change and consistently launching new product innovations. They don’t sit still and wait for change to happen, they move in tandem with new technologies.

    Would they still be at the top of their game if they had remained the same as when they first launched?

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    I doubt it.

    Now – more than ever, we need to replace our rigidities with flexibility, we need to turn challenges into opportunities!

    Here’s a 3-step strategy to implement the Law of Requisite Variety into your life so you can start using change to your advantage:

    1. Lower your expectations

    Expect that things will probably not go your way. This removes any frustrations associated with change – often we have unrealistic expectations that things will always go according to plan. The reality is that life is in a constant flux of change and this too is reflected in everything we do on a day-to-day basis. The sooner you accept ‘change’ the sooner you can work with it instead of against it.

    2. Let go of trying to ‘control everything’

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    Try not to control how things turn out all the time. Be open to alternative options & solutions – when we open ourselves up, often there are better ways of doing things that we haven’t even considered. Being overly controlling is not a good thing.

    3. Change the way you view ‘change

    Instead of looking at change as a problem, look at it as an opportunity and remember – it’s up to you how you react to changes around you. You don’t have to lie down and take what life throws at you! Learn to duck and weave around life’s changes and use them to your advantage.

    (Photo credit: Closeup Shot of Colourful Jelly Beans via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Zoe B

    A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

    6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain 12 Inspiring Quotes from Richard Branson that Enrich your Life 7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track How to Overcome Boredom

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

    11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

    Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

    Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

    Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

    1. Lumosity

    This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

    Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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    Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

      2. Fit Brains Trainer

      This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

      Free.

      Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

        3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

        Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

        First four games free, then $13 a month.

        cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

          4. Brain Fitness Pro

          The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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          Buy for $3.99.

          5. Happify

          If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

          Free to use.

          Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

            6. Clockwork Brain

            You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

            Free.

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            Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

              7. ReliefLink

              Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

              Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                8. Eidetic

                Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                  9. Braingle

                  Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                  Free.

                  Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                    10. Not The Hole Story

                    If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                    Free.

                    Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                      11. Personal Zen

                      This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                      Free.

                      personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                        Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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