Why I love flawed systems – and you should too

People tend to think of designing systems and having the end goal be perfection. That one day you'll be able to figure out the perfect system with the perfect arrangement of if thans and all the contingency planed for and the system will be done.

These type of system though are actually absolutely useless.

You wanna know why?

Because you're human and this is a wonderful thing!

Join me for today's podcast to find out why you actually want to have flawed systems around you and the biggest mistakes people make in trying to design the perfect system and discover a system that you use every. single. day without realising.

A Note On Transcriptions – In the interest of simplicity, I'm using Descript* to make podcast publishing as easy as possible. This means that sometimes the transcript won't match what I'm saying and sometimes it'll be hilariously different (tag me on Twitter telling me the funniest transcription you've found).

Jonathan Stewart:

Often people see systems as props they're things you do, ways of being you impose on yourself to fix or manage you so you can pretend all those inconvenient human bits don't exist. And have a nice tidy productive life and business. However, there is one small problem systems are incredibly human. We ourselves are made up of multiple systems. Your body is multiple systems interconnected together. The way that you think you move around the world, the way you see things. Is a system. A system is not something you do, and it's not reserved for the people who are systems orientated. Systems are what we do. And in this episode, I wanted to explore the systems of humanity of us. The things that make us human. Because if you start with what you know There's a lot you can do. And this one I'm going to focus specifically. Around the cycle of experience. Our cycle of experience, how we experience life day to day. So the cycle of experience is a term used in gestalt psychology. And to put it plainly it's a way of viewing the fundamental human way of finding out what you need. Moving to action to actually get it and then learning from the experience, there have been so many different ways of thinking and talking about it but I think my favorite way is thinking of it simply as. Us moving through flow. It's the ability to go between withdrawal and not having any interest or any knowledge or any, anything into making full contact with what we do. And then withdrawing again and we move past this. Now in a previous podcast episode, I think either this one or another one. I asked you to stop and look around where you are now and just let your eyes. Look around the room. Do that for me right now. And as you do that, Notice what your eyes are doing. I said to look around the room. Look at what's around you. And you may have noticed that your eyes are. Focusing on things, moving from object to object, to object between objects over and over again. This in essence is the cycle of continuous experience. This happens every day, all the time. We go from focus or figure to figure we move between the plate that settle on the sofa across from me to the PS five controller. That's next to me. And the bit in the middle is the interesting bit. The part that is there, but it's not there. It's the ground, it's the background stuff that happens. The fertile void is what it's called. And I find that really fascinating. That us as human beings have a system of awareness. So if I was to break these down into each of the different flow states, because Of course I would. Why wouldn't I. We start with a sensation where you notice. Huh? That's the thing that's happening right now. Then quickly moves into that nagging of Huh, this is bothering me. This is distracting me a little bit from that you move into action. You know what you need to do. You've had the chance of figuring out the steps that you need to take to do it. And you're now moving towards it. Once you've done this you make actual contact. This is the height of the experience. This is the exciting part of that. Oh my gosh. I have achieved this. Then we move into the final stages where we're starting to withdraw from the object you have this sense of resolution. Now. Not necessarily positive or negative. But you have that moment of this is done. I've made that connection and now I'm moving away. It is coming out of my awareness of that area of experience. It's no longer. The main focus of my experience. And then from there, you're moving towards that completion. It's like, okay, I am done. I wipe my hands and put it away. It is now finished. And these three sections can. Be broken down into these multiple. These multiple stages can be broken down into three sections. You have planning. Doing and reflecting. Now. As wonderful, wonderful human beings. Often there are parts of those stages where we are not very good at. Or we spend too much time in. The idea behind the experience the cycle of experience is that it gives us the ability to see what we're doing to be aware of it, to make contact and then create meaning from the experience. So then it becomes part of us. It becomes part of who we are. This is the system that we do. And for those who are learning nerds, You would probably recognize it as gold learning cycle. It is the planning, the doing the reflecting it's that cycle of learning that we have to do. And the layers of reflection. And I find that fascinating because just bringing awareness to our awareness, which is exactly what I'm doing right now. Allows you to go. Huh. I struggle with this part. Not the best at noticing when something is drawing my attention, the planning stages. I have a tendency to perhaps rush in to making action and contact. I don't plan. I don't have that moment of. Sensation or awareness. I'm not aware of it until the very last minute. And then I'm already making contact with it and it's too late. Or perhaps you're like me and you have a tendency to mess the reflection of satisfaction you move from. Withdrawal to action. You move from. Contact an action. You got action contact. You just continually move from one thing to another. From one thing to another, you notice something, you do it, you go back to noticing someone else, you do something else. And you're just constantly going back and forth, back and forth. Instead of having time to reflect. This is something that a lot of people, I talk to a lot of my clients. I noticed that straight away is the fact that they know what they want. To achieve, they know the end goal, but they don't know what they actually want and what that looks like, what that can actually be, how that actually can show itself. Now, this is, this is a bit of a heady topic for this one. And I want to give you a real example of like, what. Let's talk about a real, tangible example of. That flow of continuous experience, that, that way of where we experience things. And the example that was taught to me. Was. Having a drink. So I'm sat here. Talking to you. On this podcast, recording it in my living room, but I notice. Just just the little sense that my throat is a tiny bit dry. It's just that little bit now. And as I'm continuing to talk to you, I can. See that there's a bottle of water next to me. And it's now beginning to distract me. I can not really focus fully on what I'm talking about because I'm looking for my bottle of water. And now I need to go, okay, well, what am I going to do? What am I going to do about it? What action do I need to take right now? Is it, would it be, would it make sense for me to grab my bottle? Would it make sense for me to grab my bottle right now? Can I. I don't seem to have it in the room for me, but I know it's there. And so I understand what's happening next. I can take a drink if I had it with me. I could take a drink. And I have. Contact with that. So, what am I going to do about it? That's the next point is what action do I need to take? Well, I need to grab my cup. That's the simple fact I need to come in and, and grab my cup. Once I've grabbed my cup, I can take a drink. I can tip it up. And I actually have contact with that liquid, with the sustenance of having a drink. And now I know. Ah, yes, that's better. I've swallowed my drink. My throat is no longer dry anymore. And I'm ready to go on with the episode. I'm ready to continue with what I'm talking to you about. Okay. So what the actual hack does having a sip of tea have to do with building a business. And being productive and finding simplicity. When it comes from that fundamental aspect of starting with you. Everything you build starts from you. Every part of your business and your life stems from where you are right now. As I've said in previous, upstairs, I don't know. I will keep saying. If you're able to understand how you as a system work, you can start to use the systems that. Every single human being has. To create a business system to create a project manager, a task manager, whatever the tactically things. It starts from understanding why you start from. What is the context that you're staying with? What is the context that you're coming from? Because as I said, right at the top of the episode, Instead of seeing your systems as props. You could move from a place of ha I am a human being, which means my system doesn't have to be. Perfect. It can be flawed. Um, Flexible and work in different ways based on where I am right now. That's where the humanity comes from your systems and being able to go in and say, well, how do I want it to feel? Because we are emotional human beings. We run emotionally. Every single client I work with. I am always asking that same question. How do you want your system to feel? What does it need to feel like for you? And I don't necessarily mean it from a, uh, a woo or a spiritual standpoint. I mean, from a real tactical standpoint, do you want it to feel simple? Do you want to. Would you want it to feel, uh, deep, but you want it to feel shallow? Like what you want it to feel like? Because as I've said multiple times before the words matter, so words you're using, when you're talking about your productivity or what you do. Because then you can define those things, the feelings that you're feeling defined them, and it gives you something to work from. The most overwhelming part of setting up a system. From the experience I've had with my clients is knowing where to start. Why do you start? I'm starting from scratch. The cool thing is you're not starting from scratch. System's a human. You are a human. Start with you. And if we're in the like, you know, 50th century and there are aliens around who. Systems work differently, but I am sure that you have some form of a system too. So. Systems are not. Something. That is external. They start internally. And I think that's where a lot of. Systems design is full short. It's a prescription. It's a, this is how you work. This is how you fix what is broken. This is how you do things. This is how you stop to work in the right type of way in the right format, in the right. Et cetera, et cetera. You are not broken. Your system, isn't something to fix you. It is not a thing to make you better. It is. Uh, part of you. As a human being.

Got An Impossible Problem?