By Lisa Cypers Kamen.
Chaos is a sneaky thing. Just when you think everything in your life is falling into place, chaos is bound to be lurking right around the corner.
It’s the mischievous little kid who loves to stick his fingers in the icing of a perfectly decorated cake minutes before the party guests arrive. It’s the sudden rainstorm that seems to appear out of nowhere during your relaxing early-morning hike. It’s the boss who dumps an overwhelming, unexpected project on your desk just as you’re starting to get your workload under control.
Ancient Greeks believed chaos was the empty space that existed before the Earth did, and the myth goes that chaos is the mother of night, darkness, light, day and all of humanity — so it’s no surprise that chaos is a part of our everyday life!
Chaos is a routine killer. It’s the wrench in your plan. But guess what? It’s also one of the most helpful tools in your toolbox. When everything in your life is going according to plan, it is easy to stop questioning what’s around you, gradually losing your crucial adaptation and problem-solving skills.
But when chaos strikes, we have no choice but to stop, think and evaluate our options. Think of chaos as a worthy challenge: The more we experience chaos and have our routine shaken up, the easier it gets for us to keep adversity in perspective. Learning how to deal with chaos forces you to sharpen those coping and problem-solving skills that we often forget about when life is smooth sailing.
The benefits of chaos continue on. Chaos is also a mechanism that helps us understand ourselves. It diverts us to an alternate path we never would have followed, prompts us to try a new way of doing things and forces us to think outside the box to solve the problem at hand. It may feel like a pain in the neck to deal with that extra project from our boss, but maybe it’s really a blessing in disguise. I guarantee you that if you find a way to complete that extra project, you’ll be rewarded somehow: If not with a bonus, raise or promotion, then at least with a valuable new strategy that lets you complete your work even more efficiently than you already are. Not to mention that overcoming a challenge feels good, even if it involves extra work!
So the next time fate throws a wrench in your plan, think of chaos as a worthy challenge, not a hindrance. By embracing chaos as a learning experience, you’ll walk away stronger, more aware of your priorities and better equipped to tackle just about anything life throws your way.
Happiness is an inside job. ®
On your next day off, attend a large community festival or a similarly crowded, somewhat hectic event. While at the event, immerse yourself in the chaos around you: See the people, hear the sounds and go with the flow as you encounter the unexpected. At the end of the event, reflect on what you’ve seen. How did the chaos and unexpected nature of the event make you feel? What did you learn about yourself while immersed in a few hours of chaos?