Wednesday, September 11, 2013

30 Days of Squat! (Day 11) - It's Never Just One Thing

"Problems are to reality what atoms are to tables. We experience tables, not atoms. Problems are abstracted from experience by analysis. We do not experience individual problems but complex systems of those that are strongly interacting. I call them messes.
Because messes are systems of problems, they lose their essential properties when they are taken apart. Therefore, if a mess is disassembled, it loses its essential properties. Furthermore, as in any system, if each part taken separately is treated as well as possible, the whole is not treated as well as possible. A system is more than the sum of it's parts; it is the product of their interactions. If taken apart, it simply disappears. ...[what is required is] mess management, not problem solving, and mess management requires creative and comprehensive planning."
(Ackoff's Best, pp.117-118)

I get a lot of correspondence from people on Facebook, YouTube, and email, asking about their squat form and (when their form has issues) how they can improve it. I've written about this before but correctly identifying and rectifying symptoms and causes can be more complicated that they seem at first glance. A squatter coming up on his toes might be a symptom of poor ankle mobility, a hip or knee problem, or even a shoulder issue. Correcting the issue might be as simple as a few mobility drills, changing stance, or giving a cue. On the other hand, the issue could be serious enough to warrant medical intervention. Symptoms very quickly create their own referred pain and further symptoms that can both obscure and feed the original problem. A problem (or a symptom) is, in Russell Ackoff's words, a systemic mess, requiring "creative and comprehensive planning" that gives thought to the interdependent whole - how the parts fit and interact.

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