When studying events, we look at them through analytical, logical lenses. We break them down into small, understandable chunks, and we fish for scapegoats while looking for cause-and-effect relationships. Is the economy going south? It must be the result of the poor decisions of a politician. Is the newspaper arriving late? That lazy mailman. For sure, he stopped to chat with the neighbor. Is your wife cold and distant lately? It must be her job. We seek linear, immediate, sensible explanations for problems surrounding us.

But by doing so, we run the risk of seeing issues as being inflicted upon us rather than looking for our responsibility in creating them. We voted for the politician, after all. Or, if we didn’t, what did we do to prevent their election? It was our choice to use one delivery service over another. And when it comes to our relationship, we have our mistakes in the mix.

— The Systems Thinker: Essential Thinking Skills For Solving Problems, Managing Chaos, and Creating Lasting Solutions in a Complex World by Albert Rutherford