Human health is complex and requires complex systems thinking to optimize performance. Systems health is the answer.
Why do we treat it otherwise?
Do you have issues with sleeping? Go to the doctor.
Do you want to lose weight? Go to a personal trainer. Or a nutritionist? Or both?
The current system favors specialization.
It is outdated and needs correction.
Donella Meadows, Dartmouth College professor and author of Thinking in Systems (also from Illinois!), described a system as:
“A set of elements or parts that is coherently organized and interconnected in a pattern or structure that produces a characteristic set of behaviors, often classified as a function or purpose.”
Any system has three common characteristics:
Based on the above, how many systems can you think of?
The last one is a stretch. However, the list is endless.
This includes your health.
Today’s health model is sick care.
You go to the doctor when you are sick. You get a pill to relieve your symptoms. You move on with life.
Some call it a “pill for the ill.” Others call it disease and cure. Our society performs this allopathic approach extremely well. Cure a common cold with penicillin. Antibiotics for infection. Advil for your hangover.
There are a number of problems with this approach.
This is the current model. A reductionist approach which looks at one problem and seeks a solution through a specialist.
Yes, the world is living longer (when you don’t strip out infant mortality).
But at what cost? And what if you want to avoid disease states? And to blow everyone’s mind — what if you want to climb the corporate ladder by unleashing new levels of mental performance?
For this, the world needs systems health.
What is your goal?
This is a question every one of our client’s answers before entering the door.
Taking a systems approach to health allows you to optimize the human to reach new levels of performance.
I would know. You can read my full background here.
Only when I started taking a systems view of health did
So what do I mean when I say systems health?
The current method (typical supplement commercial or branding)-
This pill promises increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, and an amazing sex life. Because we have them in our commercial, beautiful women will surround you.
Note: results not typical
You buy expecting the best outcome. You get disappointed when you fall into the “results, not typical” group. No muscle, same body fat, no new women.
Back to square one.
Let’s acknowledge the many factors influencing the human.
Each of these is systems on their own, but these interact with each other forming the human system.
A host of questions needs answering before recommending a supplement.
Humans are complex systems. Any approach to improving your performance needs systems thinking. Each of these factors interacts with each other. By optimizing only one or two of systems in the complex system of human health, you end up with imbalances. Imbalances end in disease. Disease brings us back to sick care.
The next time you look to make a modification, go through the analysis. Maybe, it is only right for two of seven areas. Maybe it will cause problems in others areas of your life.
Once you see the world as a collection of systems with stocks and throughputs, it will affect everything you do:
This is difficult. Especially in health. Complex systems require complex thinking and analysis. If you are ready to elevate your physical and mental game, get in touch with us today! Precision health is your future.
Meadows, Donella. “Thinking in Systems: A Primer.” Chelsea Green Publishing. December 2008
Read, Proctor and Compton, Dale. “Building a Better Delivery System: A New Engineering/Health Care Partnership.” National Academies Press. 2005.
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