the “system” and all the bars on the cage

If you only see one bar at a time, you will not know that you reside in a cage. Here I attempt a systemic view, a whole picture. This work requires further refinement, but it’s a good start:

Update 5 August 2018

I received the following (welcome) response to this graphic:

I responded as follows:

If you only see one bar at a time, you will not know that you reside in a cage. The hope in this is that a picture explains quickly what takes 1,000 CNN and Huffington Post editorials to say.

I don’t know how to teach lateral, non-linear thinking, but hope lies in teaching young people that actions often have compounding and unexpected consequences. I know from being an engineer (engineers are the worst culprits of linear thinking) how easy it is to miss the big picture.

I summarized this concept in “Emily’s 1st Law of System Complexity“:

“For every reduction, there is a greater and opposite clusterfuck.”

My hope flies high, or I wouldn’t be writing my book, wouldn’t be mapping systems, wouldn’t be operating a business. And I usually operate “one soul at a time”–mentoring individuals, providing friendship, giving my best to relationships in the moment they take place.

It’s a labor of love, and love is built on hope:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)


a non-linear and holistic work ethic

I started working out a holistic map of my work ethic and work values, and quickly found that linearity failed to cut it. Essentially, I need to capture the interdependencies between spiritual, social, and financial wealth. More importantly, I need to illustrate the crucial balance between these factors. Enter non-linear system dynamics:

Simulation, based on ad-hoc parameterization (because there is no way to actually measure most of these variables), demonstrates that I’m at least moving in the correct direction:


Used Vensim PLE to create and simulate the model.