A Manifesto for 2017

The Simple Mechanics of Getting What You Want

By Sam Carpenter

 (Note to reader: This is a summary, “all encompassing” essay regarding the necessary mindset – “the systems mindset” – that is fundamental to the Work the System Method. It’s written so that anyone can get a solid take-away. For that reason feel free to share with your friends and colleagues, whether they are familiar with my work or not. It’s in two parts, with the second part to be published on Wednesday, October 26th. -Sam)

How it Is

I’m a self-contained mechanical entity existing in a mechanical world.

And so are you.

Yes, you and I can spend considerable time thinking about our lives: studying, meditating, repeating affirmations, contemplating famous quotes and the latest self-help books, and putting ourselves in any number of spiritual, athletic, or drug-induced dream states, but nevertheless we remain in pure mechanical form within an equally mechanical world.

No amount of philosophical esoterica will change this fact.

You know what else I know? That both of us want these five conditions:

  1.                    lots of time to do whatever we wish,
  2.                    plenty of money to facilitate doing those things,
  3.                    personal control leading to a predictable future
  4.                    a serene yet powerful comportment, and
  5.                    the best for those around us

Am I wrong?

There is more than enough advice out there about managing our thinking: how to get motivated, how to avoid mistakes, ways to become a “good person.” And there’s so much to learn about how others have succeeded in personal life and business. It’s mind-boggling, the advice one can instantly conjure up online, in the bookstore, or at the university…and from friends, family and colleagues.

So why is it that few succeed in finding the results they crave? Why aren’t more people able to create burgeoning businesses, establish strong long-term personal relationships, become physically healthy, and/or calm the storms of family and social chaos?

The answer is simple. Most people think too much – they live in their heads – and don’t do the physical things necessary to get what they want.

With no physical action, Positive thoughts are just thoughts…

Always remember, like it or not, this is a mechanical world. Nowadays more than ever, people incessantly search for freedom and personal/business success in their minds first, not understanding that those conditions will only arrive after the physical manifestations of their lives are put in good order.

It doesn’t work the other way around. Here’s a quote from the Introduction of my new book, The Systems Mindset: Managing the Machinery of Your Life:

“You can’t meditate into bliss if your boss is haranguing you, the mortgage is late, you’re forty pounds overweight, and your lover just walked out. Let’s first fix the machines of your world so you’re resilient and powerful, able to get what you want in your life, and adept at turning life’s earthquakes into road bumps.”

To be sure, there is some head-stuff that must happen first. Not much; just a little (and you’re beginning that little bit of head-stuff right now as you read this…).

Let’s get right down to it and talk about the ultimate physical reality that can’t be denied. And then, from that, the mental stance – what I call the “systems mindset” – that will enable you to get what you want in your life. We’ll set aside motivational and emotional touchy-feely concerns and dig down one layer deeper to address the blue-collar, hard-wired “how” of your life.

The moment you viscerally grasp the systems mindset you will begin to take firm control of your future.

This is a good time to give you my definition of the word system: “A system is a linear sequence of steps that execute over time, leading to a result.”

And I like to use these synonyms for the word:  “process,” “protocol,” “mechanism,” and “machine.”

Now, let’s get to it…

The Systems Formula

If a physical device is not performing well, understanding how that device operates is the first step in getting it fixed and optimized. So to begin, let’s examine the systems-machinery of our everyday world…and how things happen.

A tree is the result of a system that has to do with photosynthesis; a car exists after design and manufacturing systems have executed. Lunch downtown? Getting it is a system too: you find your way to the restaurant, order your meal, it arrives at your table, and then you eat it.

And every system unfolds over this thing we all share: time

The root of the world’s operating protocol is illustrated in what I call the “systems formula.” Here it is:

1→2→3→4 = Result.

Here’s what it means, and let’s work backward starting with the right-hand side of the equation.

“Result” represents each one of the separate conditions of your life: your job or business, romantic relationship, individual friendships, the things you own (your car, bicycle, computers, clothes, the sandwich in front of you), your physical condition, age, education level, and so on.

The left-hand side of the formula, 1→2→3→4, represents a single system (or process, protocol, mechanism, or machine) that executes over some period of time to produce a particular Result. The first step leads to the second step, the second step leads to the third step, the third step leads to the fourth step, etc. until the Result is produced.

To keep the systems formula simple I’ve shown only four steps. Some systems are 3, 10, 20, or 1,000 steps; others are 100,000 or more.

And yes, right now in your body and your life, and all around you, there are countless systems executing; each working per the systems formula toward results that will be produced in the future.

Remember, the execution of a system is linear and step-by-step and always takes place over time.

Nothing happens instantly.

So, again, here’s how the systems mindset operates: Everything that occurs follows the formula 1→2→3→4 = Result. It’s how things happen.

Your Business is Failing.

One could make a general excuse involving financing, a bad product or the general state of the economy. The Systems Mindset sees the situation in a completely different way, a way that puts the power to fix things back into your own hands. It will inspire you to dig-deep, separating the parts of your business into individual modules until the real source of the problem, the bottleneck, is found. It’s my guess that your business nightmare will be due to a simple system that is dysfunctional, not the entire business concept! Maybe there is a recurring production glitch that can be fixed with some intensive analysis. Maybe your brother-in-law needs to exit management. Maybe it’s simple chaos and fire-killing that only requires documentation and structure (ALL large and successful businesses have, without exception, documented their systems). First, fix the most damaging bottleneck! Next? Find the next most-dysfunctional subsystem bottleneck and then fix it, and then move forward again to find the next most problematic system. Do this search-and-fix process over and over again. It’s what you’ll do with your time. You’ll work on your separate systems, one at a time, making your overall machine – your business – efficient and profitable.

Now, Look at Your Own Life

Think about it. Let’s presume you have shoes on right now. How did that occur? At some point in the not too distant past you expended the necessary energy to put your shoes on. Those shoes didn’t get on your feet via spontaneous materialization. It was a one-step-at-a-time linear physical process that unfolded over a period of time. You started the put-shoes-on-my-feet process by first thinking about doing it, then sitting down, then (perhaps) putting socks on your feet, then fitting the shoes on one at a time. Then you tied laces, secured straps, or zipped the shoes so they were tight to your feet…or maybe your shoes are slip-ons and you skipped the fastening step altogether.

In this very moment as you read this, your shoes are on your feet because, in the past, you did what was required to put them there via a 1-2-3-4 protocol. Putting them on was a managed process – a managed system – and you caused it to execute in a linear sequence that executed over a period of time.

The next time you put your shoes on you will manage the process/system so it executes in the same sequence and over roughly the same amount of time in order to get the same result: shoes comfortably and firmly secured around your feet.

Everything that occurs follows this sequence exactly.

And know that the vast majority of systems in your life are recurring. They happen over and over again. (So far in your life, how many times have you put shoes on your feet…or eaten dinner, driven to work, brushed your teeth, and so on?)

Here it is: Your existence is a collection of recurring systems that has produced the you of this very moment…and these and other systems will produce the you of the future.

So ask yourself: are you intensely managing your systems so you get the future results you want? Or are the systems of your life unseen and therefore executing randomly – or worse – being managed by someone else, to produce results that you don’t want?

Which of those conditions do you prefer?

1→2→3→4 = Result

Since this systems protocol is how the whole world works, doesn’t it make sense for you to operate according to this reality?

A wonderful nuance of your new systems mindset will be that you will see that the systems of your life are unrelated to each other. It will be obvious to you that they intermingle and compliment – or confuse – each other, but nonetheless that they are separate from each other. This fact makes getting things fixed simple and clean: You’ll fix your problems one at a time, starting with the most problematic and working downwards… 

But what about the 60’s credo that, “we’re all one!” That’s true enough on an atomic level, but here in the hands-on world that you and I negotiate, it’s worse than nonsense. The “all one” presumption is a roadblock to getting what we want out of our lives, and in creating the best for those around us. The complexity of the concept is paralyzing.

It’s more accurate to say, “We’re all separate, and that’s a beautiful thing…”

 Whether you see it or not or whether you like it or not, your life is a collection of separate systems.

And I’ll say this again, to drill it home: the systems of your life are executing in every moment, whether you manage them or not.

1→2→3→4 = Result

And of course, if there is no system established to execute, there will be no Result.

I don’t need to give you some clever philosophical quote to further confirm this formulaic fact-of-life, and there is no additional explanation necessary. Now, the challenge for you is to internally grasp this “one layer deeper” perception of reality so you can begin to create the future you want. It’s not enough to understand the logic of it in your head. You need to “get it,” deep down in your gut.

When you achieve this new systems mindset state of mind you will be able to determine your future results because you’ll be working with the root, mechanical cause of how things are put together and how they happen, here on planet earth…

Simple enough, yes?

Your Love Relationship Seems to be Busted.

Separate it into parts. Maybe one of you snores, so the other is suffering from chronic lack of sleep. Maybe there is an alcohol or gambling problem. Maybe it’s child-rearing theory that is in dispute (or more probably, just one element of it). You can fix these isolated subsystems! Don’t let one or two of them take down the whole relationship! Maybe you need to drink less coffee. Maybe each of you needs to make time for the other on a regular scheduled basis. Perhaps less TV at night is the simple solution, or at least a good place to start. It’s almost always something isolated and simple! Acknowledge that 99% of the partnership is good! Literally, count your blessings! Find the specific problem and isolate it from the rest. Fix it, see that it’s good, then go after the next less-than-perfect subsystem, and fix that. Always remember that 99% of your marriage is fine, as-is!

(This is the end of Part One of the two-part series. Part Two will be published Wednesday, October 26th.)

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