Photo credit: Genelet via flickr used under a creative Commons License.
Here is a recent blog post by Sam Carpenter, author of Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less. To check out the wealth of resources he offers, please click here.
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I am not one to challenge the status quo in order to flaunt some kind of anti-establishment pathos. I’m not a drone, either. But most times I find the status quo is correct as-is, and I attribute this condition to simple cause-and-effect: Whatever a particular accepted status quo happens to be, it’s that way because, in all probability, that’s the permutation that works best. Over some amount of time, through trial and error, the status quo got to be an accurate representation of reality.
One could say that the status quo is the result of a kind of a random, free-market social tweaking.
I can hear the howls of dissention. My retort is that, for some people, accepting any status quo would seem reactionary. For some, casting aspersions at any commonly accepted notion IS the status quo.
Of course the status quo can be wrong sometimes. But, not usually.
In any case, once one acquires the Systems Mindset, the thought process doesn’t choose a positioning based on whether it fits the status quo…or the opposite. The new thinking process is more detached and mechanical than that. Got a problem? Sometimes solutions can be radically different from the status quo, but most times, just a small reiteration of what’s already there is all that’s necessary. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater; don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, etc.
Fresh starts are sometimes necessary, but knee jerk start-overs too often result in carnage. The problem system-whether it’s a marriage or a career or a government-whispers quietly, please don’t discard me so quickly. First, just get inside and tweak me a bit.
Don’t jump into a divorce. Instead, drop the emotional theatrics, isolate the mechanical sore-spot, and then manipulate the internal mechanics of that sore spot to find resolution. Financial problems, personal or governmental? Challenging the laws of physics by deliberately spending more money is flashy but ridiculous. Doing some serious cost-cutting is the less exciting yet rational approach. Depressed? Rather than scoring anti-depressants from the doctor, stop drinking (because, silly, alcohol is a depressant). Do I need to say this is not rocket science?
So, problems? There’s a good chance the box you’re in doesn’t need replacement. It just requires some internal tweaking. Of course, thinking-outside-the-box is a good thing and is exactly consistent with the systems mindset approach, but as you float outside and slightly above your world, examining the problems down there, consider that maybe your situation is not really so bad after all, and that the simple solution to smoothing things out lies right there, inside the box.
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A resident of Bend, Oregon, author and speaker Sam Carpenter has been featured by hundreds of media, including NPR, ESPN radio, US News Radio, and Small Business Television. President and CEO of Centratel (http://www.centratel.com/), the premier telephone answering service in the United States, he has a background in engineering, publishing, telecommunications, and journalism. Carpenter founded and oversees Kashmir Family Aid (http://www.kashmirfamily.org/), a 501c3 non-profit that aids surviving school children of the Northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir earthquake of October 2005. Originally from upstate New York, and an Oregonian since 1975, Sam’s outside interests include mountaineering, skiing, cycling, reading, traveling, photography and writing. He is married to Linda Carpenter who works with him as CFO at Centratel.