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The Theory of Constraints

There is a popular way of thinking called the Theory of Constraints which can best be summarized like this: “The limits of the weakest element within any system will be the limits of the entire system.”

The weakest link limits the chain

The image of the chain comes to mind (a chain is only as strong as its weakest link), in the chain example, every link may be strong enough to hold up an entire car, but the one link which isn’t causes the whole thing to fail. The one weak link limits the capacity of the entire system.

I like the chain example, but it is a bit simplistic for our purposes today. A chain is a very linear thing, a straight line example, every link is related to every other link in exactly the same way. The Theory of Constraints allows us a bit more versatility in our modeling, because a human life is a much more complex thing than chain after all.

When are looking at the influence of order in our lives, and we step away from the simple notions of neatness, we can begin to see every aspect of our lives being interconnected, intricately interwoven distinct elements.

The Three Human Focuses: Love, Health, and Wealth

The Key which holds it all together

Now let’s bring these two ideas together: The general notion of Order and the Theory of Constraints. When you do this, and look at your life as a whole, you can see that elements which are in good order are limited by the elements which are not. The good news is, there are really just three types of human experiences.

As humans, we all share these big three focuses: Love, Health, and Wealth. We call them the spheres of focus and can pretty much place any topic or experience into one or more of these three spheres.

Our experience of life depends on how well these three spheres are in ‘Good Order’. The Theory of Constraints goes even further and tells us that the weakest of these three will limit the strength of the other two. This is easy to see in divorce court, the number one cause for divorce? Financial disagreements. In that example, the order in the wealth sphere limits the order of the love sphere.

Today’s exercise will continue this theme. Using the Three Spheres Imagery – Love, Health, and Wealth - attempt to identify the most well ordered and the most disorderly aspects of your life. I strongly suggest taking the time to make yourself some notes on this one, because we’ll be building on them as the week progresses.

See you tomorrow!

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