Systems and I

July 12, 2010 at 10:13 am | Posted in Blogroll, Out of my mind, Self Improvement, Systems Thinking | Leave a comment

Each of us as an individual is a system by itself. We are also continuously in interaction with other systems; whether our family, the organization for which we work, our city & country, social groups or professional bodies of which we are members and so on. These interactions have both a positive as well as negative impact on our body mind and soul. Positive impact makes us feel more energetic, lively healthy and happy. On the other hand, the negative impact reduces our immunity and makes us fall sick at the slightest exposure, makes us depressed / angry / frustrated and in general leaves us confused and in conflict with ourselves.
 
While dealing with other systems, we normally have a guiding question at the back of our mind, whether consciously or subconsciously, “What is in it for me?” About a couple of years back, I deliberately made a small change in my approach to life. I started asking myself just two questions,

  • What is in the best interest of the system I am part of?
  • What can I do about it within my strengths and interests?

For example, when I am in office I think of what is in best interest of the organization; when at home – of the family; when in the club in evening – of the club members and so on. By now it has become an automatic process. it is deeply satisfying. It influences all my thoughts and actions, both reactive and proactive.

Over a period of time, I found that this approach started dissolving all my negative thoughts and feelings. I started getting all the benefits of positive impact cited above. There was a noticeable difference in the way other people started reacting to me. My credibility went up substantially.

Why is it important to think of our strengths and interests? There are certain things each of us are good at and not so good at. If our interest is in working for the best interests of the system it makes sense to focus on areas where we can add high value for given efforts. Similarly, there are certain things that excite us, make us feel passionate about. Such are the areas where we will be self-propelled, work against odds and have a much higher chance of persevering to the end. Sometimes we are tempted to get into areas or activities not suited to us either for side benefits or because we feel compelled to take that route. In might be good to resist such temptations or pressures and look for long term benefits.

There are situations, especially when I am part of two systems that their interests seem to clash with each other. It used to create a dilemma for me whether to go this way or that. There was no easy or sure solution. In such cases, I found it best to listen to my inner voice. More I trust it, better the suggestions that I get. It is a positive reinforcing loop. Now, even without my consciously asking I seem to get the answer. When the answer is put in practice, I may not always end up having the result I wanted to have. But largely it is a result that turns out to be in my best interest as well 🙂

Getting back to the original question “What is in it for me?” the ‘me’ part depends on what we identify with. When we work for the interests of the system, ‘me’ scope expands and starts including those systems as well. When we work for the system; the system works for us. I have experienced it time and again. Surprisingly, when I am not thinking of what is in it for me in a narrow sense, those interests are also automatically and handsomely taken care of; sometimes even in ways that I had not anticipated.

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