The temptation for every individual is to be caught in the present moment that demands our attention. Particularly in a growing environment where shock value is the manipulating tool of all forms of media. The most shocking headlines and teasers grab our attention and hold it for only the briefest of moments until the next shocking thing comes along. The allure of the present moment assures a lack of attention will be paid to the future that allows individuals to shape their lives rather than react to it. By spending time thinking about the future, contemplating why the patterns of life keep repeating themselves and step away from the events of life, individuals will allow themselves the opportunity to shape life for a purpose.
Events create patterns, which are trends or changes in events over time (Anderson & Johnson, 1997). By taking the time to recognize patterns in the events of life, each person is empowered with the ability to begin searching for a fix to the recurring problems in life while also becoming intentional about repeating the things they love about life.
Going a step further, though, an individual who can understand the structure behind of pattern is not only equipped with the ability to stop recurring negative events or repeat recurring positive events, but she is now equipped with the ability to create the future. Thinking structurally is recognizing a pattern and having the curiosity to ask ‘why is this pattern occurring?’. Thinking at a structural level is thinking about causality, which holds the key to lasting, high-leverage change (Anderson & Johnson, 1997). Seeing how a system is structured provides insight that goes beyond the parts (Kauffman, 1980) and determines the dynamic behavior performance over time (Morecroft, 2015).
What makes it difficult to think structurally beyond events and patterns?
Anderson, V., & Johnson, L. (1997). Systems thinking basics: from concepts to causal loops. Cambridge, Mass: Pegasus Communications.
Kauffman, D. L. (1980). Systems one: an introduction to systems thinking. Minneapolis, Minn: Future Systems.
Morecroft, J. D. W. (2015). Strategic modelling and business dynamics: a feedback systems approach (Second edition). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.