The Logical Thinking Process, Part One: Five Simple Pieces
What if there was a step by step way to solving any problem?
A simple, straight-forward path to getting everything you ever wanted?
To avoiding pitfalls and obstacles? To maximizing your potential and living your best life?
It’s called the Logical Thinking Process.
It’s got five simple pieces.
Five simple ways to think more effectively and see the world more clearly.
Over the next few emails, I’m going to be showing you how you can immediately apply these steps to your own life.
Let’s talk about problems.
What is the Logical Thinking Process?
“A bad system will beat a good person every time.”
- W. Edward Deming
Every human organization is a system.
This applies to “organizations” like your workplace…
But also to your relationships.
Your marriage is an organization of two. Your family is an organization of three or four or five or more.
The social groups you interact with are systems. The restaurant you order takeout from is a system….and, of course, the app you used to order is a system as well.
Systems grow in complexity as they grow in size. Changes in one part of the system affect other parts of the system. Often, these chains of causation grow so long and so complicated that the true “inciting event” may be completely invisible to us.
It’s the “butterfly effect”: we don’t see snow and know that a butterfly has flapped its wings in India. We see the effect, but we rarely understand the cause.
That doesn’t stop us from placing blame, though.
When something happens we tend to assume the cause is “proximal” – i.e., nearby. What happened immediately before our problem emerged? Surely, that must be the cause, right?
These dual tendencies – to miss the true causes of an event, and to place blame for the problems we run into – lead us to blame ourselves for most of our problems. After all, WE are the proximal cause of most of the things that happen to us.
Weigh more than I’d like? That’s my fault. I should have more willpower.
Needed to study, but didn’t? That’s my fault. Why can’t I focus?
Hurt someone I love? That’s my fault. Why am I so careless?
It’s a very, very short leap from my personal shortcomings are the source of my problems…
To I am not a very good person.
And that’s a tough place to get out of, once you’re there.
But, as Deming said: A bad system will defeat a good person every time.
It’s pointless to shame ourselves, degrade ourselves, beat ourselves up…
If we haven’t at least tried to address our problem from a systems perspective, first.
Weigh more than I’d like? Maybe if I remove trigger foods from the house…
Needed to study, but didn’t? Maybe it’s too noisy…what if I got noise-canceling headphones…?
Hurt someone I love? Is there something in our dynamic that sets me off? Could I prevent that from happening…?
That’s what the Logical System Process is all about:
We don’t focus on the person…
We focus on the systems that the person operates within.
And that makes all the difference.
What is the Logical Thinking Process, anyway?
It’s a process. You can run absolutely any problem you want through it – from purely personal issues to international.
There are five steps.
Each step has a specific purpose, and each will move you further towards solving your target problem.
The first step, the Goal Tree, is used to define a single goal we aim to achieve and what is necessary to get there.
Next is the Current Reality Tree, which explores why we have not already reached the goal. What’s in our way?
Once we define why we haven’t already solved our problem, we often discover deep and seemingly-insurmountable conflicts within us. The third step is to solve these conflicts with a Conflict Resolution Diagram.
The fourth step, the Future Reality Tree, is used to map out a strategy to achieve our goal.
Finally, the Prerequisite Tree is used to define the individual steps you need to take right now.
And that’s it.
Sometimes, you need all five steps to address a problem…
Sometimes, you’ll only need one or two.
I said these steps were simple…and they are.
That doesn’t mean that they’ll be easy, however.
Thinking logically – really examining our biases and assumptions about the world – can be difficult.
They payoffs, however, are incredible…and will radically transform your life.
Next week, we get right into things…with the Goal Tree.
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