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The Systems Mindset would work for your personal life.

Consider the following quotes from Sam Carpenter's book "Work the System" :

"Unhappy people are not in control of their lives because they spend their days coping with the unintentional bad results of unmanaged systems. Happy people are in control of their lives, spending their days enjoying the intentional good results of managed systems."

..."each of us is a system of systems. But here’s the rub: some of them—each of which, always remember, can be visualized as a distinct entity—are headed in oblique directions, confusing our efforts to reach our conscious goals."

So basically, we act as Project Engineers who constantly work to tweak and perfect the various systems that make up the various aspects of our lives. To move forward in an integrated manner rather than "firefighting" or constant crisis management.

We start this by taking a stance "above and apart" from the issues so that the distance gives us the detachment to study the various systems that we are part of.

Think about the 3 main documents that Sam Carpenter talked about in the book which he says is vital for business.

These are :-
1. Strategic Objectives
2. Operating principles
3. Working procedures

In your personal life, your strategic objectives would be your ultimate purpose or life mission. Operating principles would be the principles you use to make decisions and should be congruent with your strategic objectives. And working procedures would be how you do any specific "thing".

For instance, if one of your strategic objectives is to live with integrity, your guiding principle for that would involve asking if a particular action is congruent with your sense of integrity. Then one of the working procedures for your relationships would deal with honest communication.

Eg. in your "Late going home" procedure, you might have the following steps : 1. Call spouse 2. Inform true reason 3. Inform what time you can be expected back.

"Inform true reason" would be congruent with your objective. You would communicate the true reason and not an excuse.

The above is a rather simplistic example but this entire approach can be useful to all areas of our lives even if we don't create detailed working procedures as we would for businesses.

This is how the Systems Mindset can be applied to our personal lives. It would help us identify our values and live more in line with them. And to live more effectively and efficiently too.


I was trained as a Mechanical Engineer and now, run a few businesses.

One thing that really helped me figure out the answer to your question (which was my question too) was to take a step back from trying so hard to identify my passion or make a decision. Instead I focussed on doing a few things e.g. write a journal, read widely in any topic of interest to me, take long walks and relax. The mental break that I got from doing this relaxed me. And the practice of reading and journaling began to bring clarity to the direction I should take.

Hope this is helpful and feel free to ask more...


Writing it yourself is the best choice if it is your personal story. And as a first time writer, it would be a learning experience too. But once you have tested the "publishing" waters, getting hired help is an option worth considering. If you are clear about what sort of writing you want and select your contractor well, there is much less risk of getting a "junk product" as you mention


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