Chapter 5

Go One Layer Deeper

Carpenter_Systems_Comps_R6.inddThis is the “crux” chapter. It’s written in a more meditative tone, and there’s some review. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, here is the point where you might acquire the Systems Mindset. Read slowly, carefully contemplating your life.

You want me to go “one layer deeper”?  Help me go there.

Let’s use what we’ve learned and tackle this with an analogy. Imagine a small house. You’ve lived in this house for a long, long time. It’s single story, and inside is everything in your life, including the TV, coffee maker, dog, furniture, your clothes, and even your significant other and your job. In the house is everything you are, too. Your college degree (or lack thereof) is also there, as are your relationships with your lover, relatives, friends, and colleagues. Your health and personality take up residence, too. How you look, how you communicate with others, your politics, even your personal habits, are all there. Everything about you occupies this little house.

This dwelling represents surface reality, your total accumulation of life results: the elements, conditions, relationships, and situations of your existence. And if you’re like most people, you are ceaselessly shuffling these life parts around, attempting to get them to form a pattern that will deliver life-control: freedom, peace, the best for those around you, and the ability to have the future turn out the way you want it to turn out.

And if you feel that sometimes you’re beating yourself to death to live the existence you want, here’s what’s up: Your world is unsatisfactory because you are not deliberately and intensely controlling the machinery that creates your life results. The results you are getting are random, and that means they are not often the results you want. This accumulation of assorted consequences delivers an existence that is chaotic and unsatisfying.

So back to the house analogy. Imagine that this house has a secret, hidden basement. You didn’t know it was down there until this moment. It’s filled with the machines—the systems, the processes—that produce the results of your life, upstairs where you live. Via the 1 ->2 -> 3 -> 4 = Result formula, this machinery is working 24/7/365 to produce the elements of your world upstairs, good and bad.

Whether you see this machinery or not, it’s grinding away every minute to produce your life components. And it will continue to grind away tomorrow and next week and next year. It will never let up until your dying moment.

Because the machinery has been invisible, you haven’t directed it, adjusted it, or maintained it. How could you?

But now, today, in this moment, on these pages, you’re here with me in this house, and I’ve just shown you the hidden doorway that leads to a stairway that goes down into the basement, the basement full of machinery you didn’t know was there.

Now you’re tentatively descending the stairs as I stay up on the first floor, standing in the open door, watching, encouraging you to continue downward. Halfway down the staircase you see, for the first time, the scores of machines nestled side-by-side, quietly rumbling away as they work. These are the system machines that have been generating the random outcomes of your life upstairs on the first floor. You stand there in the basement, watching the machinery churn.

You just “got” how your life operates!

And now that you see the machinery, your next move is obvious, isn’t it? Of course it is. You will quickly—right now!—finish descending the stairs into the basement and immediately start to adjust those machines, one at a time, so each produces precisely the results you desire upstairs.

All of a sudden, you’re a mechanic.

And what of the future? You will spend much time in the basement. You’ll want to spend time down there, making adjustments, creating new machines and removing others, because every time you finish working down there and ascend those stairs back up to the first floor, you’ll see that your results have improved. Up there, life is fuller and richer and more satisfying. Things just seem to click along better and better.

Your life is improving because of the work you’ve been performing down there in the basement. You’ll be getting what you want, and your self-confidence will surge.

So to achieve success, stop trying to rearrange the bad results of unseen and therefore unmanaged systems. That’s fire-killing. Instead, see and then manage your machinery so it produces the results you desire.

There’s nothing airy-fairy here. It’s all mechanical. And this is why the Systems Mindset is more than theory and even more than pure mechanics: It’s nothing less than spiritual. It’s an outright acknowledgement of the miracle of the everyday sights, sounds, and events of your life! The machinery was always there, working away. You just didn’t see it until now.

Is this failure to see the machinery what causes fire-killing?

Indeed! For most people, the machinery in the basement is invisible as it ceaselessly churns out random outcomes upstairs, random outcomes that must be adjusted. Life becomes absorbed with fire-killing.

What a tedious way to live!

But never mind that. Today you’re going to stop being a fire-killer and become a fire-prevention specialist.

Your next moves will be to use your surface-reality observations to guide you to do what must be done down below. While you’re getting through the day upstairs, you’ll always remember there is a basement full of systems machinery and that you must, whenever you can, go down there to make sure those machines are working properly.

Sounds great. But I doubt it’s this simple. What you’re describing sounds like an “easy button.”

Well, it is an easy button.  The moment you acquire the Systems Mindset, your faith in how the machinery of your life operates will be as strong as your certainty that gravity holds your body to the earth. There will be no doubt because the proof will be in your new successes.

Once you see the machinery, getting what you want in your life will be a simple thing.

 Will you tell me more about this “get it” experience?

For one thing, once you achieve the Systems Mindset, you will never go back to your previous way of thinking. You can’t go back! And again, about the awakening itself: It almost always comes in a flash, in a specific and unexpected moment. Maybe you’ll be at work, or it will be the very first thought on your mind when you wake up one morning, or you’ll be in a crowded airport, or perhaps in the next five minutes while you’re reading these pages, or weeks from now after you’ve finished this book, just lounging around doing nothing at all. You never know when it will happen, but it’s mind-bending when it does, and it’s a moment you won’t forget. Seventeen years ago it struck me, and I can remember every nuance of the event as it permanently changed my life in that very moment. I can describe that experience in a single word: delicious.

When it happens to you, you’ll never be the same.

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