I Am the Perfect System

I had a great conversation with my uncle today while in the car on the way to my appointment at the social security office. He told me that most performance errors are not the fault of any individual; they are the fault of the system. He told me a story that he had heard: It seemed that a small post office was having a major problem with misfiled letters. They identified a single employee who appeared to be at fault. Almost all of the misfile mistakes happened during her shifts. So what was the post office to do? (this is where you chime in and say, “well fire the woman, duh!”) It seems logical that if this employee is the cause of the problem, you ought to fire her and be done with it, right…?

However, the people in this postal service were smart. They decided to investigate further. It was learned, after an inspection of the office, that the labels on the bins into which the mail was filed were the problem. The bins were labeled in such a way that the ones on the top level were completely readable….as long as you were over a certain height. However, anyone shorter than that would be completely unable to read any of the bins on the upper level. Guess who the only employee in the office shorter than that critical height was? Yeah, of course. The woman who was causing the problem.

She wasn’t failing the system. The system failed her. The post office re-labeled the bins and the problem went away. A much simpler, cheaper solution than firing an experienced employee and hiring someone else and training them to replace her.

My uncle brought this up in conversation about what I dealt with at the pharmacy yesterday. He thought there might be some sort of systemic failure in the pharmacy that was causing all the problems I’d been experiencing there. (if you haven’t read my last post How to Harmonize, take a look – I describe my pharmacy problems in detail there)

But his story got me thinking along a whole different track. If I think about myself: body, mind, and spirit – my whole being…. if I think about me as a system, how does this idea of systemic failure apply?

Because I am a system. I am a network of interlocking cells made up of molecules made up of atoms made up of subatomic particles made up of (theoretically) vibrating strings of energy. I am a system of firing neurons, chemical changes, hormonal balance and imbalance, spiritual light and darkness – I am energy in all its forms woven together to create a being that is much more than the mere fabric of my body. I am a system of grace and beauty. I am not cobbled together from spare parts that the universe has discarded – no, I am made of the same stuff that is all around me, yet the creative life force designed me with infinite care, giving me self-awareness, intelligence, and a small part of  itself: the ability to create and to destroy.

While systems created by us, by humans, who are, ourselves, a product of the universal creative life energy, are always destined to have failures from time to time, I think that nothing about me is a failure.

I am, always have been, and always will be a system of perfect design.

I’m not saying that I don’t make mistakes, cause I sure as hell make them all the time. But I don’t think I am a mistake. I firmly believe that I am here on this earth in this form at this time for a damn good reason. I don’t know what that is yet, but perhaps the more that I open myself and all parts of my “system” to the world around me…well, perhaps I will begin to learn what role I play in the enormous system of this fantastic universe.

What do you think? Who are you, what are you, and what part are you playing in our cosmic theater?

I’d love to hear some responses. It doesn’t matter if what you think is that I’m full of sh%&. I’m still interested to know what your story is.

 

-Nathan

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4 responses to “I Am the Perfect System

  1. A design can only be evaluated in the context of it’s function. You can change your design, but if that isn’t working, you can always change the way you apply it. You rebrand. Just look at scotch tape.
    In the field of design, failure is seen as a key piece of the road to success. In failure you learn both about the design of the system and it will also reveal things about the function of the system.
    So I think it’s important to find the right purpose for yourself, but don’t be afraid to go through a few design iterations along the way as well.

  2. Life is a school where we learn to remember what our soul already knows. I believe this is one of the most important lessons we human beings can learn — I am here for a reason, and I am no mistake.

  3. Yes! There is no mistake in who we are. This human form we inhabit is truly amazing and I believe that it is our humanity that embodies and reminds us of our most powerful lessons. I know that when I listen to my body, it has so much to tell and I often receive my most powerful insights from simply listening to my own body. When you were talking yesterday about your pharmacy experience, I was thinking about how easy it is for us all forget the experience of others when we are thick in our own story. The funny thing is we can always convince ourselves that we are right in whatever context. When I am serving and someone asks me for something more than once I am thinking “yea I know, cant you see I have 20 other customers too?” but when I am sitting at a table not getting my drink I am thinking “that flakey server must have forgotten my drink!” or in the car when I am in a hurry and someone is in front of me going slow because they are looking for their turn I am thinking “come on idiot! get a clue!” but when I am the person looking for my turn and someone is riding my ass I am thinking “jeez guy, chill out!” I think the thing to acknowledge in these situations is look at ourselves and recognize why this emotion is coming up for us. Maybe when I am a hurry and stuck behind someone slow it makes me mad because I value being seen as responsible and I worry that if I am late someone will think poorly of me for some reason. I think these emotions that arise in us can be our biggest teachers.

    Yesterday when you were talking about feeling panic around not being able to deal with stress and situations like this, feeling like you wanted to freak out on this woman that was making your experience so difficult, I was thinking about when I was dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety. I had a lot of similar experiences during this time. Its like I was living at such a level of panic and anxiety all the time that any small thing that added to my anxiety in any way was almost unbearable. The smallest stresses would make me feel like I was going to fly off the handle. But what I began to recognize was that that anxiety was there for a reason. (Here’s where I tie back in to what you said about being a perfect system, in this human form, body, mind and soul.) What I began to realize was that that anxiety was guiding me to make the changes I needed to make in my life. It was reminding me to speak my heart, to follow my dreams, to not settle for something that doesn’t lift me up and fulfill me. It was like my body wouldn’t let me be complacent, it was pushing me toward the life I really wanted to be living, forcing me to grow. My own body/mind were going to make my life more and more unbearable until I made the changes I needed to make. I am learning that my own body, mind, emotions… my humanity is my teacher, and the things I hate most about my human form seem to be the places where there is the most potential for growth and learning.

    Thank you for sharing your story Cuz. It is truly inspiring, and heartwarming to hear your experience. Your quest for wellness is something that I believe is so important for us all, each in our own way. I have been inspired to think about what my wellness quest looks like. I will share more about that later. Right now I have to go to sleep.
    Love you!

    Lindsay

  4. Just knowing that the “I Am” is perfect, is a major revelation in and of itself. It is the first step that will lead you to fill in the blank of what the I Am is.

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