Chapter 12

Begin at The Bottom of The V

Carpenter_Systems_Comps_R6.indd“Bottom of the V”? Whatever are you talking about?

Imagine a V as a representation of your life’s progression through time. There at the bottom, nestled at the apex, is your core belief about how the world functions. Your life proceeds upward and outward from that singular point. Represented by the two expanding upward legs, your actions determine how your life unfolds, and all of your actions start with that fundamental belief, down there at the bottom of the V.

So, before proceeding let’s identify your deepest belief about reality.

What is your most unshakable conviction? As an example, here’s mine. More than anything else I believe the mechanisms of the world execute over time in a linear sequence: One step leads to the next step, and that step leads to the next step, etc., until the end of the process when a result is produced. This is my deepest belief of fundamental physicality. It’s at the bottom of my V, and no one can change my mind about it.

So, deep down, what do you believe about how the world works? What do you think about order and disorder?

Do you think all is chaos? Or do you conclude that your existence is predetermined and that you have no control over the events of your life? Do you think we’re all doomed and that life is a struggle? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, could this be the reason your life is not proceeding upward and outward in a satisfactory way? Would it be good for you to reexamine things?


OK, I see what you mean. But what about religion and right and wrong?

The Systems Mindset is neither supportive nor in opposition to those considerations. I’m not asking you to give up your beliefs, or suggesting what is right or wrong. I’m simply encouraging you, for a few minutes, to go one layer deeper than where you are now, below religious beliefs, political beliefs, or what you feel is proper. I’m encouraging you to dig deep to identify your most powerful conviction about how life physically functions.

Consider this: Presuming your fingers are working normally, could you, in this moment, wiggle your fingers? How certain are you that you can do this? Do it now. Did your fingers wiggle? Are you surprised they did? Of course you’re not surprised. This degree of certainty is what you feel about whatever conviction lies at the bottom of your V. It’s what you absolutely believe about physicality in your deepest gut. The V analogy stands on its own as your mental cornerstone of what you don’t question, and you will identify and then build from this unshakable certainty. In all probability, this certainty will complement, not replace, the rest of your belief system.

Maybe your most core belief will be the same as mine or maybe you have some other absolute conviction, but whatever it is, this is the foundation you will build upon, upward and outward in the trajectory of your life.

Will this conviction empower you? Will it be congruent and contribute to your new posture of taking charge of your life? I hope so. If not, will you reexamine how you see things? In any case, it’s important that you identify this core assumption now, before we go further.

Write it down here:







OK. How should I proceed if I accept your premise that every result is preceded by a 1→2→3→4 step process and that I should spend time adjusting those processes, while always considering my deepest belief about reality?

Think about this. It’s the culmination of what we’ve covered so far: Successful people—the people who get what they want out of life—spend their time observing and then managing the systems that produce their results. Unsuccessful people—those who never seem to get what they want—spend their time fire-killing, constantly trying to untangle the random results of their unmanaged systems.

This is something you’ll notice as you sort things out for yourself: Where you didn’t see it before, you’ll start to observe defeatist life stances in some of the people around you, as well as propagated in the media. Some of these beliefs include: “The world owes me a living” or “I have a right to food, housing, happiness, money, etc.” Here’s another: “I’m special and the world owes me.” Or, “The world is out to get me,” and, of course, the classic “It’s not fair!” These are horribly inefficient I’m-a-victim postures that will not only lead to disappointment, but also to outright pain for that individual and for those close by. You must avoid people who live by these insidious bromides.

And regarding what you most fervently believe: Presuming it’s constructive, burn it into your consciousness and refer to it often in your decision making, because it will give you enormous self-confidence while it keeps you going in a straight line.

What to do next? Get your core belief down on paper and then start applying the Systems Mindset fundamentals in your real world. If you’re still a bit unsure, you can, as I said, “Fake it till you make it.” Your moment is coming soon, and I promise it will be delicious.

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