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Single Points of Failure in our Lives

Louie Bacaj
Louie Bacaj
1 min read
Single Points of Failure in our Lives

If you've watched Star Wars, you'll know that the Death Star had a fatal weakness in its design. If a proton torpedo hits an exact spot in the Death Stars trenches, a chain reaction will occur that would wipe out the entire planet-sized, planet-destroying ship.

In my industry, that's known as a single point of failure. Apart from the system, that if it goes down, it could take the whole system down with it.

We laughed at the Empire in Star Wars for years for building such a supermassive ship with that flawed design. But yet we live our own lives with many single points of failure. Few of us stop and think about what some of those points of failure might be.

For example, if you only have a job and one income, you have a single point of failure. Being out of work could be catastrophic for you and your family. If you have one skill and only one thing you can do to make money, you may have another single point of failure. These are just a few of those points. Even supermassive things like entire industries collapse or get disrupted.

We solve this in systems by painstakingly identifying our bottlenecks and what those single points of failure might be. Then we build redundancies around them. That is, even if the worst case happens, the system will continue to operate.

We need to do this for our own lives; consider the things that could be catastrophic to us, and start building redundancies. Start learning and building new skills long before the failure happens. Build cushions large enough to withstand a significant failure. Create new income streams long before our job is gone.

Murphy's law says:

"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

Even the death star was destroyed. It's best to take stock of the points of failure in our lives and plan some contingencies, ideally before we need them.