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Positive Chaos: How to Transform Crisis into Clarity and Advantage

Positive Chaos

CHAOS is ubiquitous and inevitable. But with the right mindset and skillset, you can turn it to your advantage. In Positive Chaos, Dan Thurmon explains how to do just that. He says, “The trick is to intentionally and consistently choose a perspective that serves you.” There are many ways to see the world.

Quite naturally, we tend to see chaos as overwhelming, confusing, stressful, and frenzied. But as random as chaos may seem to be you will often find that there is order in the chaos.

Chaos and order aren’t polar opposites. They coexist. They are interrelated and connected, two sides of the same coin. There may be order in what you currently perceive as chaotic, and amid the unknowable and seemingly random circumstances, there are predictable opportunities.

Everything is connected. Everything affects everything else. When chaos happens, we are more inclined to flee than to grow. Chaos happens, but we need to become a creator of positive chaos. That is to say, we need to seize the chaos as an opportunity to transform ourselves, accomplish, and positively influence others to do the same. Why don’t we? Why do some people grow and learn, and others flounder? Thurmon says we limit ourselves around three issues and questions:

WillingnessWill I do what it takes? Why does this matter?
AbilityWhat does it take? What must you know and become capable of doing?
CapacityHow much can you give? (time, thought, energy, money)

We must take control of our inputs. “Small, almost imperceptible changes to the inputs produce huge variation over time. What are your inputs?” Thurmon often asks, “What is the one action you could take or change that would effectively change everything?”

If you limit yourself to what’s comfortable, you deny yourself what’s possible. No matter where you look, you have a buffet of built-in excuses and justifications for mediocrity.

For change to occur, things must be out of balance. Balance is static. So, you must go off-balance intentionally to grow. “To make things happen intentionally, you must maintain stability while creating disequilibrium.”

A system, an object, or a person can preserve stability while they undergo change. And the more stable, functionally sound, and grounded they are, the easier the person, system, or object can incorporate changes without being completely disrupted.

A change in perspective will help you to upgrade your response system. What’s happening to you is not new. Life presents us with reoccurring patterns. “Today’s chaos is a new version of what you’ve already been through. The key to working with chaos is your perspective. I challenge you to place more emphasis on the long-term recurring challenge versus the next right move.”

When uncertainty and randomness strike, whether the immediate perception is threatening or exciting, you don’t take it personally. You simply see it as a new factor to incorporate into your life. This is not about the challenge coming at you. It’s about the challenge coming from you. It’s not what’s testing you, but how you are choosing to test yourself.

When chaos and uncertainty loom large in our lives, we tend to turn negative and overthink. We need to pause and ask, “Are these thoughts helping me now?” To face what is happening with confidence, we need to “find the familiarity by seeing similarities to other situations we’ve already been through—other skills and lessons we’ve already utilized. Leverage your past to be more present and create a better future.” Draw upon what is already within us.

Build momentum. “Momentum is your ability to move yourself and your initiatives forward. If you aren’t moving, thinking, creating, growing, connecting, or exploring, then you are beginning to weaken, withdraw, and stagnate.”

In times of chaos and uncertainty, leaders provide clarity. “In an environment where everything is loud, important, and overwhelming, they point to the one thing that matters most. They emphasize values and reinforce intentions. Further, they spread the mission through their daily actions, constantly reminding others: This is what we do. And this is why we do it.”

I’ve just hit some highlights here that will hopefully stimulate your thinking and add to your perspective. There is so much to gain from this outstanding book. You’ll even learn a simplified version of Chaos Theory and how it relates to your life and growth.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:59 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Change



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