Winter Solstice in Bend, oregon - photo by Sam Carpenter

Winter solstice, 8:47am, December 21, 2009. Bend Oregon.

It’s the time of year when we drop our defenses and say a simple thank you. And with the new year, it’s the perfect time to try a new life-approach if the current one hasn’t been working out so well.

You’ve heard it before. Maybe a parent told you or you read about  it or otherwise recall rumors of it. You may have even seen an occasional glimpse of it. But if you are like most people, the last thing on your mind is that the world is a miraculous, incredibly efficient place that is ready to give what is asked as long as it is approached correctly.

If you think the world is chaotic and hostile, you’re making a mistake because this is a false grasp of reality. In your life, you won’t get what you want.

This is not an oh-so-sensitive, touchy-feely post.  Really seeing the beauty and efficiency around you is not a mind trick, it’s a hard-and-cold gut-level recognition of how the world mechanically operates. It’s a systems mindset that will quickly propel you into a life of freedom, prosperity and contribution.

It’s true: Most folks are caught up in chronic preoccupation with what’s not perfect in their lives and on the planet, falsely assuming the world is a chaotic dog-eat-dog place. It’s what they see and expect and so their days are filled to the brim with anxious fire-killing. Is this you?


Your life can become bountiful starting with a simple yet profound intuitive leap. The components necessary to make the jump surround you right now, in this very moment.

Here’s the change in perspectiveThe things of the world are the result of an organized and logical collection of systems…and these systems operate at incredible efficiency. And when you really “get” this you will have tremendous personal power to get the exact results you want in your life because – it’s this simple – once you see and appreciate the systems of your life, you’ll be able to mechanically adjust them. The bonus – actually, the best part of this – is that you’ll walk through the day in wonderment at the miracle around you.

What you won’t believe anymore: That the world is a confused mass and that moment-to-moment life is a struggle.

What you won’t do anymore: Point fingers or obsess about the bad results of your life.

How do you make the intuitive leap? Just look around and objectively observe the systems of your life. That’s it. Just watch.

Then what happens?: Because of this more accurate grasp of how the world works, you will begin to handle things differently. Instead of trying to repair the bad results of unmanaged systems, you’ll focus on making system improvements so the systems of your world deliver the good results you want. Beginning immediately, good results accumulate while bad results diminish.

But what about the imperfections of the world? Oh, they’re there all right! But by becoming efficient in your life you will be in a position to actually do something about outside inefficiencies, not just complain about them. But first, the task is to take care of the imperfections within your own circle.

If I get everything in my life that I have always wanted, will I finally be happy? Sort of. You will be happier more of the time but not all of the time. Having occasional down-times is just part of the human condition. But for sure, being in control is way, way better than being out of control!

When the intuitive leap occurs there will be no going back. It’s permanent. You’ll only wonder why you didn’t see the world this way before. 

For the moment, drop your off-the-menu notions and ideologies. Let your immediate concerns fall away. Quietly pay attention to your right-now existence. Read these meditative passages (taken from my book Work the System) and then make up your own mind about how the things of this world operate.

“This systems rationale is not another feel-good, think-positive invocation, and it’s not about faith. It’s about stone-cold mechanical reality. Think about the systems of our lives and then do the numbers. We wake, shower, dress, eat, go to work, and proceed through the day to return to our loved ones in the evening. Then we watch TV, read, and go to bed early—or stay up late. We go to sleep, and then we awake again the next morning. Everything works fine 99.9 percent of the time.

That’s the cursory overview. Break it down and sequentially note the other events of the day’s chronology. It will be thousands of items long as it includes contributing components such as the coffee maker that works every morning; the car that—despite all of its internal intricacies—operates with the turn of a key and then the turn of the wheel; the office we occupy; the complexities of the work we do; the paychecks we receive for doing that work. Consider the process of sharing information back and forth with those around us: one-on-one, voice mail, cellular phone, e-mail, the written word. Each is a system, and 99.9 percent of the time each works flawlessly!

Envision the system we call TV: By simply pushing a button when we want to watch it, this incredibly complex mechanism jumps to life every time! Beyond the physical TV itself, consider the myriad organizations that put together the programming that appears on it. Then, switch gears and think about the lawn mower, the water that flows from the kitchen tap, the ubiquitous electricity that comes to our homes to give life to a host of devices, each a complex system of its own.

Contemplate the clothes we wear, the shopping we do, the work we perform. Consider the gas pumped into our cars at gas stations. In some faraway place, sophisticated mechanisms extract oil from the ground. Then people transport it via high-tech ships, trucks, and pipelines to refineries where the oil is converted into gasoline via complex refining processes. Next, truckers deliver the gasoline to an uncountable number of convenient locations so we can pump it into our cars whenever we feel like it. We never think twice about the intricacies of the drilling/refining/delivery systems. And this is just one of the millions of systems that touch our daily lives.

And what about the human body? Consider the amazing complexity of chemicals, electric signals, and mechanics that make it work. For each of us, billions of cells contribute to who we are, while trillions of simultaneous electrical signals execute without overt supervision as we progress through the day. Incredible!

Consider the miracle of what you are doing this moment, viewing and translating the English language characters on this page. You are transferring my thoughts to your mind, where you instantaneously interact with what I am saying, making immediate judgments, agreeing or disagreeing, line by line.

Do these complex systems sometimes fail? Of course! Nonetheless, it’s a numbers game, and it is unquestionable that the systems of our lives, taken together, work perfectly more than 99.9 percent of the time.

So far, I have focused on human systems, which are just a fraction of the total systems at work in any given second. Uncountable natural systems add to the numbers and dwarf what man has created, and they all work perfectly according to their scripts.

Once one accepts the world’s beautiful ‘systems dance’ for what it is, the mystery of it goes even deeper. Consider that primary systems depend on subsystems and those subsystems depend on sub-subsystems branching outward and downward, further and further, to subprimal levels.

And see that the processes of the world—the systems—repeat themselves over and over, as they incrementally create new forms and dissolve old ones.

Stop for a moment and attempt to draw it all in. The depth and intricacy of life’s fabric is astonishing beyond comprehension. Try to grasp the beautiful complexity of life’s workings and know that all by itself this world gurgles and percolates along with no overall human supervision. The countless systems that comprise life churn on and on while most of us remain oblivious to the mystery of it, to the sheer beauty of it.

It’s interesting that the two most opposite groups imaginable share the wonder of the world’s miraculous workings: scientists and the religious.

I am neither promoting nor discounting the existence of a supreme being’s controlling influence in maintaining this powerful, intriguing efficiency. The point here is that, for whatever reason, the wonderful flow of life carries on exquisitely, repeating and synchronizing over and over again, without some human’s guidance. The sun comes up and later goes down. Grass grows in the spring and lies dormant in the winter. The tides rise and fall. We go to bed at night to wake up in the morning. The toaster works! The car works! Love comes, love goes, and then it comes again. We live, then we die, and another is born. Systems, systems, systems—everywhere!”

The next step? Do it now: Look around your own world. Do you see the perfection?

Winter solstice” photo by Sam Carpenter

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