Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:
- Chaos is a Threat
- Chaos is an Opportunity
Chaos was one of the many Greek Gods, and was seen as a personification of the void which existed prior to the creation of the Universe. It was believed that out of this chaos Gods, People and all Things arose.
We have all experienced degrees of chaos in our personnel or work lives e.g. facing difficulties with finances, with parents, with partners, with children and/or with work colleagues/companies. At the extreme in these situations, we likely perceived this chaos to be a threat to ourselves and in particular to one or more core aspects of our lives. At these moments it is likely that there did not appear to be a good path forward, or indeed in any direction. As an example, many large company mergers/takeovers go through this period of chaos at some point in the integration process, and for many in both companies it feels as if everything is falling apart around them and that there is no sense of timing as to when it will get better.
However it is know in the quantum world that disorder can be a source of new order and this concept was captured beautifully by I. Prigogine in his term, “Dissipative Structures”.
And so it is in life – every Fall we watch the leaves fall off the trees only to reappear in the Spring, people lose their jobs at which they were very successful (and happy), only to get another job later which they enjoy more and which pays more, entrepreneurs start one business which fails miserably and then they go on to start another one which propel them to billionaire status, people participate in relationships which appear to be perfect and which then end, and eventually they move on to one which is really perfect, parents watch their children struggle and fail at times and then out of this struggle they see them become stronger and succeed, and so on and so on.
Therein lies a key message – Chaos is a part of life and we can perceive it as a threat (and it is easy to do this when the chaos is happening all around us). At certain times it may be useful to face this threat, challenge it and work to defeat it. Alternatively, rather than defeat chaos, even if that is possible, it may be more productive to embrace it as a fundamental component of change that will open up other doors of opportunities and outcomes that we may never have imagined.
Finding the right balance on this paradox continuum is not always easy; however it is necessary to accomplish this if one wants to grow and be successful over the long term.
- Accept Chaos as a Positive Component of Change