Lesson #1 For the LewCrew
Making effective decisions can be a simple or a complex process. It depends, of course, on the person making the decision, the environment in which the decision is being made and the informational resources available to the decision maker. The better a person is at predicting what might happen in the future based on the evaluation of current information, the more effective he or she will be in responding to unexpected events and a changing environment.
Unless one is making a choice intuitively and without much thought it can be assumed that that choice is being made systematically.
Systems tend to work consistently and are quite stable. This stability is essential for estimating what may or may not happen in the future. This stability is also valuable for the effective operating of complex functions such as those associated with extreme problems.
In my work, we often speak about the distinctions between ordinary and extraordinary thinkers. Extraordinary thinkers understand that if we can estimate that a disaster might happen through systems-based assessment tools that we need to do so and respond appropriately. Ordinary thinkers just don’t care about the consequences of an action.
Ordinary thinkers are resistant to change no matter what the cost might be to them for remaining in a particular situation or environment. One reason for this is that they would rather stay with what seems familiar- even if unpleasant, uncomfortable, unproductive and ineffective. And yet there are few limits to human potential. Even an ordinary person if shown, would understand, that there is stability, rigidity and consistency inherent in many systems that help us make sense of the world on the most basic of levels.
One of the first things an effective decision maker comes to understand is that we need systems to live.
So how are systems structured?
Here are some basic concepts that we need to know about systems.
- All consistent (stable) systems are composed of various individual parts or components.
- The individual parts of a stable system are tightly interconnected.
- Due to this tight inter-connectedness most stable systems resist change. If they didn’t resist changes they would be unstable.
- Together the resistant elements of all these parts brought together can create a level of resistance that might seem impossible to overcome.
An example of a stable system is “a sky scraper”. Here hundreds of thousands, even millions of small screws, bolts and beams, sand, and water when brought together on a construction site can become a hundred story skyscraper, resistant to wind, weight and gravity.
What master decision makers understand is that even the most rigid and stable system can be influenced to change. One of the greatest obstacles to change are people. Human beings, especially in groups have a natural attraction to “habit”. Add this attraction to “habit”to the emotional resistance many people have to change, the fact that systems are consistent and stable, and it is easy to see why change happens so slowly; yet change is part of life and cannot be avoided.
A small change in circumstances or some other unseen factors may affect a small part of a system and put a change in motion that will affect the entire system through the domino effect and the ripple effect.
When this takes place this change will often be a sudden and dramatic one – commonly known as a non-linear factor, or black swan effect – because it breaks a formerly consistent pattern, and was unseen and unexpected. The best a person can hope for is to have enough reserve – stored energy – to compensate for this radical shift. If there is no reserve the entire process collapses. This is why many people have chaotic and self-destructive lives. They focus on short-term gratification and pay little or no attention to long term issues.
Skilled decision makers understand that there really is no way to know for sure what causes some event to happen or unfold. Sometimes it is a world-changing event, the assassination of a political leader, or a natural disaster for example. Here we can see change the course of history occurring. Often however, the starting point for a major change is some small, seemingly insignificant occurrence; an occurrence that creates the environment for substantial effects to take place.
When dealing with what seems like negative occurrences, the notion that a calamity might be the unintended consequence of subtler causes, doesn’t hold the same appeal as the idea that it has come about through a large shift in the environment or some substantial event.
Part of what defines an individual as a skilled decision maker is that they have the ability to leverage various skills and resources needed to respond to scenarios that require difficult and complex decisions.
If we have a reserve of resources in life then there will often be an easy, fluid shift in a seemingly rigid system. Often the right decision can take a stable system and make it more stable and thus more effective than it was previously.
Throughout these lessons I often reference to what I call the Nineteen Strategic Resources (NSR). These are specific tools, and concepts that one can leverage, explore and apply to address various challenges. When mastered in the NSR can be used to create reserve needed to survive and even prosper in times of scarcity. They also give us the ability to create greater love, freedom and abundance in such times and enable us to use existing systems more efficiently and effectively.
The skilled decision maker has the ability to balance between micro analyses – a study of the parts that make up a system; and macro management – how to use the various interrelated components of that system. Add to this, how our own unique personality and style relates to these two elements and a person can actually predict with pretty good accuracy what is likely to happen in the near future.
The skilled decision maker skills uses a plethora of skills, some quite subtle. These include skills that might be associated with a stage “Mentalist”, a magician, a poker player, and, a martial artist would possess. At times it seems that this individual is able to read the future.
It spite of how it might appear on the surface the skilled decision maker can’t see the future in any esoteric or metaphysical sense and yet it seem as if they can. This person can see probabilities that others cannot and know exactly how to respond to get the best results with little effort.
In life there will always be some situations in which an individual, with a highly developed understanding of how a specific system works and it its components can exert a slight effort and effect large changes throughout that system. In this sense one can actually influence the future. This is known as leverage. If leverage could be done, without anyone noticing that it was being done, one could actually appear to be defining what the future would look like. When we have a greater the understanding of a system as a whole, and its component parts, the greater the amount of leverage we have to effect what will happen. In addition we can do so with little physical or emotional effort.
The greater one’s ability to leverage various systems, the greater one’s ability will be to avoid problems and transcend challenges obstacles when they arise or appear.
Ultimately the more we understand ourselves the easier it is to leverage our resources, manage change and create a life of love, compassion and material abundance.
Name some of the challenges and problems in your life for which there seems to be no workable solution.