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Relax & Reflect

In this article, we explain one of the phases of system understanding.
© Except Academy

The story goes that Archimedes had been plotting on a complex math problem for days. Finally, his wife drew him a bath and forced him to relax a little. In the bath, he finally figured out the solution.

He had uploaded all the required data into his brain yet couldn’t figure it out by ‘thinking’. He just needed some downtime to let his subconsciousness work with it.

When he figured the puzzle out, he famously yelled ‘Eureka!’, the term forever associated with this “a-ha” moment.

Do as Archimedes did: Have some downtime. When you’re with a group, take a day or half a day off and process all this complex data by not thinking about it.

Take a walk in a forest, go knitting, or work in the garden. Whatever it is, make sure it’s mentally light, physically relaxing, and distracting. Nature is a great place to do this.

When you’re in a relaxed state, you’re also more likely to notice the subconscious biases that at times lead your work. Have you consulted all relevant sources for your research? Was your choice motivated by the will to get the broadest picture possible or to confirm some pre-existing information? Once you gain some new insights, make sure to revisit the theories you dismissed.

Similarly, have you spoken to all stakeholders that will be impacted by the project, and how did you decide who belongs to this group? Can you detach your emotions from the project and analyze it objectively? These are some of the questions you may want to ask yourself to ensure that your personal bias has no space in your project.

© Except Academy
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Systems Thinking for Sustainability: Practical application of the SiD method

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