The Value of a System

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The prospect of failure can often prove to be a source of procrastination for many.

For those people, a new perspective on failure will be valuable in taking properly calculated risks with the intent of developing a system for success. Even properly conceived goals when unrealised completely or even only partially achieved, cause feelings of failure and unworthiness.

The main point is that a properly devised system acknowledges that failure and setbacks will be a part of the process and that these things are actually vital preparation for success.

So, a good system might contain goals, but those goals are not critical to the outcome of the system.

An analogy might serve here.

Suppose you would like to reduce your weight by 10 kilos in time for a class reunion coming up in six months. This is a goal because it contains a specific target within a fixed period of time. If you were to lose 9 kilos by the deadline, or it took a week past the deadline to reach the 10 kilo objective, it would feel as though you had suffered at least a partial defeat, even though losing 9 kilos by the time the deadline arrived, or 10 just beyond the deadline were both worthwhile accomplishments.

The system designed to achieve a similar objective would have had deliberate actions associated with it.

You might decide to keep a calorie journal and reduce your food intake by 200 calories per day, which would equal 1,400 per week/5,600 per month/33,600 after 6 months. Since you knew that for each kilo you wanted to lose, you would have to reduce your caloric intake by 7,700 calories, simple math tells you that reducing your caloric intake 200 calories per day would produce a 4.36 kilo reduction in six months.

Common sense would tell you that you could double your weight loss result by reducing your intake by 400 calories per day, but that this might not be advisable or even realistic.

So, in addition to your calorie tracking system, you determine that you can easily add an exercise programme that would burn an additional 400 calories per day.

Your total is now a reduction of 600 calories per day. At the end of six months, your weight reduction would be just over 13 kilos.

More importantly, you now have a system that requires your focus for only one day at a time and you also have the flexibility of modifying the dietary or exercise components to accommodate any of the uncertainties that life constantly offers you. Your ultimate success is not dependent on an arbitrary number in some distant future.

Take this analogy and translate it to your business life. Think in terms of systems, rather than goals.

Can you see how focusing on what you can do today makes it easier to take action because you now have a system that automatically moves you closer to a desirable outcome without the anxiety created by a major achievement accompanied by a time limit?

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