Vlog Episode 8.5 - Every Person Can Reach a Full Life
With enough meticulous planning you can make something that seems impossible, seem easy. I think that’s what people must have thought of Goldratt. He’d come into a situation, take a look around, think a little, and then point to this small change, that when they made it, changed everything. It must have looked easy, and people must have said to him, “You just want an easy life.”
He had a response. He’d say, “If you want an easy life, it’s simple. Just hit yourself in the head with a hammer hard enough and life will be so easy they’ll even bring you your food. No, I want a full life.” But what did he mean by that? It’s a strange sort of thing for a physicist to say.
Well, I think I know. I think he meant that everyone can reach a level of engagement in life where they are thinking clearly about their goal and, consequently, are able to move toward it. That’s why this is number five in the list. Once you’re doing the first four, you’re going to be enabled to think clearly and move towards your goal.
This sort of activity doesn’t require a genius level IQ. It doesn’t require advanced degrees in physics. It only requires clear thinking, which anyone can do. That’s the real message of TOC. It’s not really about increasing your census or doubling your profit, though those things are quite doable. It’s about enabling everyone to reach a full life. TOC exists to give everyone the tools they need to move toward their goal in an effective way. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so useful in clinical medicine.
Patients can be taught to see the world through the clear eyes of TOC, and once they are moving toward their goal in an effective way, how could outcomes not improve? Whether it’s addiction, or diabetes, or high blood pressure, whatever the illness, when you are thinking clearly, you are thinking effectively.
If thinking clearly is the way to a full life, we had better understand what thinking clearly is. It is simple. Thinking clearly is avoiding circular logic. It’s that simple. All we have to do is not reference a thing in its own definition. All we have to do is let go of all of our assumptions and think in a straight line where our assumptions don’t prove themselves. It oh so simple, but oh so hard to do. It takes work, not brains.
You might be saying, “But I never use circular logic. What kind of a person do you think I am?” Well, I’m sure you’re good, but maybe we should give some examples of circular logic just to show how common it is.
“You have to want to get better for treatment to work.” Anyone ever heard that one? Anyone ever said it? I have, but I don’t anymore. How’d we get to believe that? Did we delve down into the neurobiology of addiction and find the “want it to work” nucleus? Did we logically derive this fact from first principles? No, we believed it because it’s obvious. How do we know you have to want treatment to work for it to work? Well, we saw it didn’t work pretty often and when we asked why, it seemed the best answer was that the patient really didn’t want recovery or wasn’t willing to do the work. So, you must have to want it to work for it to work.
“He drinks because he’s an alcoholic.” Anyone ever heard that one? It doesn’t really answer the question of why, does it? It just refers the question to a higher authority or an already defined term. Alcoholics are people who drink too much and if you ask me why he drinks and I can say he’s an alcoholic, then I really don’t have to give a better answer. It’s just definitional and assumed.
Circular logic and self-referential thinking causes us to stop moving forward. Instead we go in circles, and moving in a circle is no way to get to your goal. Instead of moving toward the goal, we keep handling the same problems over and over as we encounter them in our circular path. It’s tiresome, and we have a way out. We can move in a straight line, and every person can do it. It doesn’t require genius or great leaps of intuition. It doesn’t require a vast education. It only requires the hard work. Whether we want to do it or not, I’ll leave to you.