Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity,
or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?
– Joseph Campbell
I ALMOST DIDN’T WRITE THIS BECAUSE I’M NOT SURE YOU CARE.
Every time I’ve thought about writing this particular article for you . . . I’ve stopped.
As powerful as I think the concept we’re going to talk about might be, I’ve stopped myself from sharing it with you (until now). Because I know that a great many of you not only don’t use systems for your success: you resist them mightily.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” you might say. Or, “I’m a free spirit kind of person.” Or, “I don’t focus on just one thing – I’m more than that – and no system in the world is going to work for me.”
Are you one of those who believe that confusion and unpredictability create the adrenalin rush that fuels your life? Or are you simply someone who’s come to believe that life is too complex to control – so why bother?
We all have something we want to attain, accomplish, reach, or win in life. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.
You might have even set a definite major goal for yourself, already. Perhaps you’re still “finding yourself” and your dream and don’t quite know what you want to be when you grow up.
FOR THIS DISCUSSION, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU FIND YOURSELF TODAY . . .
You see, I’m not going to talk about your dreams and goals and aspirations. Rather, we’re going to focus on how you get there.
Just for a moment – and this is where you take a deep breath because it might be uncomfortable (and that’s okay – this doesn’t have to be soul-soothing to be powerful) – I want you to tune out your goals.
That’s right . . .
Forget what you actually want to achieve.
None of that matters in this particular Here and Now.
Now I want you to ask yourself: Do I have a specific system or plan that I use ALL THE TIME to get whatever it is I might happen to want?
To put is another way . . .
DO YOU HAVE A WAY OF DOING LIFE THAT RESULTS IN CONSISTENT AND REPEATABLE SUCCESS FOR YOU?
Do you have a structure – a system – that allows you to consistently and systematically determine where you want to go and what you want to achieve in the future?
When they say things like this, I keep hearing, in my head, the commentary about Chaos Theory by Ian Malcolm (the mathematician character in Jurassic Park). It does like this:
“Chaos theory says two things. First, that complex systems like weather have an underlying order. Second, the reverse of that-that simple systems can produce complex behavior. For example, pool balls. You hit a pool ball, and it starts to carom off the sides of the table. In theory, that’s a fairly simple system, almost a Newtonian system. Since you can know the force imparted to the ball, and the mass of the ball, and you can calculate the angles at which it will strike the walls, you can predict the future behavior of the ball. In theory, you could predict the behavior of the ball far into the future, as it keeps bouncing from side to side. You could predict where it will end up three hours from now, in theory.
“But in fact, it turns out you can’t predict more than a few seconds into the future. Because almost immediately very small effects-imperfections in the surface of the ball, tiny indentations in the wood of the table-start to make a difference. And it doesn’t take long before they overpower your careful calculations. So it turns out that this simple system of a pool ball on a table has unpredictable behavior.”
I understand that Life might seem complex at any given time. I also understand that Success – whatever that means for you – can be a tangled mess of emotions, impulses, needs, and wants. That’s why . . .
I WANT YOU TO IGNORE WHAT YOU WANT (JUST FOR A MOMENT) AND FOCUS, INSTEAD, ON WHAT COULD BE THE REAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUCCESS AND FAILURE.
I want you to immerse yourself in what it’s going to take to get you regularly . . .
. . . no matter what the particular goal you might have in mind.
I want you to participate in your own success – not to be a haphazard victor or victim of whatever might come your way. It’s time you start mastering what happens to you rather than reacting all the time (and getting those short little bursts of satisfaction that happen AFTER you solve a problem).
The elements above are all needed in order to turn your goals, dreams, and wishes for success into sustainable freedom. To put it another way:
A SYSTEM FOR SUCCESS IS GOING TO HELP YOU FEEL BETTER
And that’s what WE ALL REALLY WANT – to feel better. You might want more money as a goal. You might want more time to spend with your family. You might want more career options. You might want more love. All of those, though, come down to one thing – you want to feel better.
Next week, I’m going to share some specific ways for you to create your own System FOR Success. Until then, just spend some time figuring out what system you’ve been using so far.
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