THE BOOK • 29-11-2013

Union Station, CHICAGO

SYSTEM'S PURPOSE - What do I want my system to do for me?

The easiest way to begin answering the question: "What do I want my system to do for me?" is getting back to Fundamentals: Focus, Control and Direction. These three ideas are intricately connected, influencing each other, and many times each system component may apparently target one in particular, but be in fact addressing all at the same time. Bare in mind that this interdependence also makes it a bit of a "weakest link" case.


A good system will allow you to be conclusively focused.
Firstly, by providing for a rhythm that reduces the mental "setup-time" of interruptions. Secondly, and probably even more significantly, it will enable you to feel a strong safety of choice. And that is mandatory for a special peaceful-yet-sharp state of mind where your inner genius likes to work in.

That focus-state, or "flow" or "zone" or whatever you want to call it, is a vast free safe space for your mind to wonder and explore. And it can happen in the middle of apparent chaos. It's exactly the place where you give birth to your most creative power and better produced top-level brain-intensive decisions. It's the ultimate mental horse-power measure. (it's actually the first thing I assess when I'm coaching any executive wanting to power up their results.)

More subtly (maybe even paradoxically), having a good system will allow you to expand your awareness at chosen moments, so you can feel the joy of life in its most exhilarating state, emptied of all lists and tasks, sure that you are doing exactly what you are supposed to, may it be an exciting meeting on your professional project, a quiet contemplation of the ocean or painting a wall for your baby's bedroom.

All this gets easier if your system is a trustworthy source to ask "Is it ok to dive into this thought or activity for a while, not caring about anything else? Is everything under control? Can I 'lose' myself a bit for the next hour? Will you let me know and ring an alert when (and only when) I'm absolutely needed, please?". These are the kind of doubts that can stand between you and your ticket to focus-wonderland. A good system should make it easy to handle these. (a more-zen approach to reality will also play a major role here - your perception of self-efficacy and the feeling that you'll be able to cope with whatever comes in your way - but that's a topic for the next chapter. For now, let's see how the system itself can help to get enhance your safety.)

Now ask yourself:
- is my system being able to provide me with this state of "flow" often?
- does it answer the questions I've just mentioned?
- what else needs to be in place for that to happen even better?


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