Understanding the world in 2016

2015 was an intense year. There is no reason to assume that 2016 will be different. Making sense of all the things that are happening in the world right now is, in my opinion, harder than ever. I see a lot of people who struggle with comprehending what is going on. I do so, too.

I am not sure if anyone individually really can grasp the complexity of everything. However, there are ways and models which can improve one’s understanding of the world in 2016. Here are a few that I try to employ for myself, and that work well for me. Feel free to question them or add additional ones in the comments.

1. Thinking in systems, not in cause-and-effect style
The common way of how society reacts to major news events and incidents is to look for THE one root cause, and to come up with a counter-measure against this specific cause. Think Donald Trump who wants to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. to decrease the risk of terrorist attacks. This cause-and-effect style of thinking is misguided in today’s complex world. Often, a better way is to think in systems. System thinking means acknowledging that changes to one part of a system will have bigger consequences to other parts of the system, even to other systems, and they might create feedback loops which lead to completely different outcomes than those initially desired. Read this great piece to learn more about thinking in systems. Continue Reading