The System made me

Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language outside of school? How did that work out for you? Are you now proficient in the second language as your native language? My best guess is that you haven’t. Now think about all the stuff you learnt in school, all the stuff you became proficient at because of the school system. I learnt Statistic, Pure Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and a whole bunch of other stuff. The system made me.

When I say system, what do I mean? I mean structured activity with set time and place. System tends to be graduated with rules and punish for break those rules. Systems also, tends to rank its members and also reward high achieving members i.e members who best adhere to the system. My thesis is that engaging in systems is an easy way to gain proficiency in a field which would lead to success in that field, not the only way, but an easy way.

I was born into a very structured family. We went to church on Sundays, School during the week, Bring and buy on Saturdays, we got up around 6, went to bed around 8:30pm or near there. Now looking back, we were really structured. I remember neighbourhood kids laughing that we weren’t allowed to play on Sundays. I was born into this System, and it came as natural. It didn’t occurred to me to question the chains that was the system I was born into.

You will notice, that the activities we engaged in had a specific time and place, and they were repeated on a periodic basis whether weekly or daily. I never tried escaping the system to find out the consequence of going out of my Familial system. But, it would be reasonable to assume I would be spanked back into obedience to the system. So, yes the system did have punishment. Rank in the family was determine by birth order. Also, there were competition for academic success… my dad would reward us with $100 if we came 1st in Secondary School.

So, our family has all the hallmark of a good system; the chief of which was structure. Another good hallmark of a system is it incorporate other good systems. You will notice that the family system required me to engage in other systems such as the Church, School, and After Classes. I remember as a kid my grandmother telling me what Secondary School I should want to pass to, Antigua Grammar School. Antigua Grammar School, I would consider it to be in the top two schools in Antigua at the time I went, if not the top school. My point being good systems know other good systems and know the requirements of entering these systems.

At Antigua Grammar School we had structure, rules, reward and punishment. You had to be at class by 8am(I think, this was a while back) and school finishes at 1:30pm. Each class was a hour with 15 minute breaks somewhere in the day. For being late to class, you were either given a demerit, caning[six of the best] or sent to pickup garbage. There were five forms, from third form you were allowed to wear your shirt out of your pants, ie the system was graduated with recognition going to higher levels. Also, at the end of year top students were rewarded with a prize at the annual speech day. My point being Antigua Grammar School had the hallmarks of a good system.

Why do systems produce success

Social — Some members would realise that they would never be in top position to be reward. What’s in it for them to be a part of your system? The social aspect is sufficient enough for them to be a part of a system. Just imagine being Einstein best friend in University. Not only do they have a chance at being someone successful, they also have a chance at being friends with the highly successful people by engaging in your system. This keeps the system self-perpetuating. System produces highly successful members, potential members want to join because they can be highly successful too or be friends with highly successful people or both.

Feedback from success members — Hopefully, teachers and some of the students will have gain some measure of success in their field. From the information they gain they can direct the system as what it needs to do to ensure the success of future members of the system.

Obligation — system are good that require members to take desirable actions at a particular time, space and standard or face consequences of the short comings. In essence, obligation prevent members from slacking and also from quitting. Our school system was enforce by a legal requirement to attend until you are 16. Also, education is kinder of a social obligation too; it is required for jobs. Quitting a good system isn’t easy.

Rewards — Obligation only requires members to meet a standard, rewards drives members to go beyond anything any other member has done before. Rewards creates the super successful. Because there is competition for rewards, members will tend to want to out do each other, and in doing so set new bars for standards and expectations of the system.

Standards — Systems know what it takes to succeed after finish their system. They also recognize the survival of their system hinges on people being successful after their system is finished. In order to ensure the requirement for subsequent systems are met, they would need to keep standards high.