I was looking for something else in the 43 Folders archives, and came across this gem of an article:
My theory is that the secret code for most self-improvement systems-from Getting Things Done through Biofeedback and the Atkins diet-is not hard to break; any idea that helps you to become more self-aware can usually help you to reach a goal or affect a favorable solution. That’s pretty much the entire bag of doughnuts right there.
Self-improvement juju works not because of magic beans or the stones in your soup pot; it works because a smart ‘system’ can become a satisfying cipher for framing a problem and making yourself think about solutions in an ordered way. Systems help you minimize certain kinds of feedback while amplifying others.
In the comments, ex-psyop Adam Greenfield says:
In my experience, the most elegant statement of this insight is something I’ve heard floating around the Special Ops community, and nowhere else: ‘Control follows awareness.’