One of the most thought provoking books I read last year was How to Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. He is the cartoonist who draws the Dilbert comic strip. The book describes his life and lessons which are fascinating because he doesn’t think like anyone else and his life story reflects it.
There are a lot of good takeaways from the book but the one that I’ve incorporated the most is his philosophy that “Systems are for Winners.” Without getting into lots of detail, his point is that things tend to reliably happen when we have a system for them to happen. So if you want a cleaner environment, buy a quality vacuum and calendar in time to use it twice a week, for example. Or if you want to maintain a consistent weight, make it your system to never have soda or junk food in the house.
Adams says goals are nice but systems are what really move the needle, which has got me thinking “systems” like I never have before.
And today I have the perfect beauty example for you.
One of tasks that goes along with wearing makeup is cleaning your brushes. Clean brushes are better for your health and skin, they deposit and blend makeup better and they’re just overall nicer to use. We all know it but cleaning them regularly is kind of a pain.
I was percolating on this recently and thanks to Scott Adams I thought, what system could I implement that would make this process smoother?
And viola – the answer presented itself in the form of a silicone brush mat. I bought the one pictured here but if you type “silicone brush mat” on Amazon you will find many different shapes, colors and styles.
They are just mats that are covered with different bumpy shapes that you put in your sink. As you do your makeup you can give the brush a quick swirl under water on the mat and Bingo, it’s nice and clean. Feel free to use soap or just water depending on what you’re cleaning. Then just pop the mat somewhere out of sight.
I just got my mat but I anticipate being able to toss it in the sink as I work is going to be a game-changing system that solves a long-standing challenge in keeping my brushes clean. And that feels good.
The next time you’re facing a recurring challenge, I invite you to ask yourself, “What system could I implement that would solve this challenge once and for all?” And then just sit back and see what happens. My bet is – something magical.
Barbara Wayman, APR