We all live our lives embedded in systems. A system can be school, a car, or Earth itself. At its most abstract, a system is a sum of elements and interactions between those elements.
Looking a system holistically, with all its buffers and redundancies, it seems impossible to change. In reality, a small stimulus can upheave a system if it creates a virtous cycle.
Take my behavioral system for rehydrating. Seems simple enough: I drink when my brain signals that I’m thristy. Yet the combination of coffee, exercise, and really good books leaves me chronically dehydrated.
That is, until my parents gave me a wonderful hydroflask when I visited home. Once I started carrying that behemoth of a water bottle, I had to justify my efforts by drinking from it. The more water I drank, the better I felt. The better I felt, the more sensitive I became to symptoms of dehydration. Iterate through this cycle five or six times and voila, dehydration problem solved. The tiny water bottle has fixed a systematic issue.
Many people bemoan the scaracity of our planet. I’d be happy if I had more stuff. You could definitely write that book if you had more time. We could solve world hunger if we had more money. The truth is, money doesn’t buy happiness past approximately $100,000. You have the same 24 hours in a day as Stephen King. We could solve world hunger today.
The resources to solve most poignant problems exist. The issue lies in the allocation of resources. Instead of throwing more of the status quo at a problem, consider introducing a small, self-propagating element.