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11 – The Law of Constraints

The holes in your cheese

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Dear Reader,

Wrapping up our little sequence on Personal Action Power:
It is not about doing more and more or putting more stress into your work. It is about concentrating your energy on the right goals and the right spots to constantly get better results with less and less effort and to get encouraging feedback to do it again and again, each time at a higher level.

In the 19th century peasants in Europe had learned that it is a good thing to apply fertilizer to their land. So they thought if this is good, let’s put as much of the good stuff into it as we can afford.
The result? The soil went sour and the crops were bad. The production went down and down.

The German chemist Justus Liebig analized the phenomenon and found out that if you give the soil only a teaspoon full of what it really needs, you will get exponential results.
Any additional effort is wasted and in many cases even detrimental.

This discovery is now known as “The Law of Constraints”.
It simply says that in any system the level of energy is always the highest where its constraints are.

Therefore, if you see any of your desired achievements as a little “system”, find out what its logical sequence is and where the “teaspoon of fertilizer” is needed to overcome its constraints, you are on the right track. You are using the “Constraint Concentrated Strategy” that will get you ahead of yourself and ahead of your competition.

Tests have shown that, in this sense, mice are cleverer than man.
If a mouse searches for cheese in a labyrinth and does not find any for a while, it will stop searching and will try to find a better place to look for cheese. Not so the humans. They will refine their seaching methods and dig even deeper into the old holes that already previously proved not to contain what they were looking for.

Another principle that illustrates the same wisdom is the “Pareto Principle”. It says that only 20% of our efforts are responsible for 80% of our good results. The rest, therefore, would be idle and wasted energy.

So what can you take away from all this?

1. Find out what kind of “system” you are. What makes you tick, and what are the achievements you most desperately need?

2. Break down each of these desired achievements into a logical sequence, find out where their constraints are, and concentrate on giving them the “teaspoon of fertilizer” they need.

If you train yourself to do this, you will be using the most effective strategy for your Personal Action Power that humanity has ever discovered.

See you in the next lesson.


Chris Kessel
Personal and Business Coach

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Illustration “Mouse & cheese”: © 123rf/stockfoto/ragnarocks