How to Thrive in Chaos: Find Your How

Can order come out of chaos? Or can we impose enough order that allows us to thrive?  Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

Can order come out of chaos? Or can we impose enough order that allows us to thrive?

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

By James Woodard

You know your “why” and your “what,” but “how” exactly do you achieve the goals of your new purpose? The next step on this journey is to understand “how” you take “what” you need to achieve “what” you want to differentiate and communicate your “why.”

You have a purpose, you have the resources, and you have the goals. Now, all you need is the plan! In the chaos of the 21st century, having a plan or knowing “how” to get from A to B on your path in life is what separates the fulfilled and happy from the empty and despondent. Due to the endless stimulus of our modern age, we are bombarded with prompts for an infinite number of “next steps” to take. Avoidance of reacting and/or acting to simply be busy is where the true resilience of the “how” you have chosen is put to the test. Simply put: if you don’t know “how” to start, do, or stick to it, you’ll use “what” you have on anything, you’ll lose sight of “what” you want, and you’ll wonder “why” it all happened!

Major Disclaimer: The “how” is not going to be perfect; in fact, it never will be. Also, no one else can tell you how to do it step by step, or do it for you, so stop looking to others to get you from A to B, especially when everyone you’re talking to doesn’t exactly know how to get from their A to B either!

The “How”: Focus, Discipline & Plan

Now, the “how” can be broken into a few areas: the focus, the discipline, and the plan. The focus of the “how” should not be initial correctness or efficiency of path. The focus should be on creating the maximum number of opportunities to act, change, grow, and learn, which keep you in line with your purpose. Don’t misuse your resources. and achieve your goals. The focus should always be to immediately start the pursuit of your goal, while you also focus on challenging yourself (in a positive manner) as much as you reasonably can.

The discipline of the “how” should be no more difficult than what you can willingly deal with initially, but, over time, it will need to increase to accommodate greater goals. Discipline can be developed by initially questioning and understanding how your actions will affect your current resources to get you closer to your goals. Initially, straying from the discipline needed for your “how” should both be easy to see and easy to correct. Over the long haul, however, it will become difficult to stray, as discipline becomes your predominant means to all your ends.

The plan of the “how” should always get you from “what” you have to “what” you want in the end, regardless of the number of acts needed to get you there. In the beginning, if you do not know how to start, just make your best assumption of the correct path and begin. If you’re wrong, correct your path as soon as possible and begin again. The number of acts needed to get you from A to B will be great at first but will minimize over time as you change your approach, grow from your failures, and learn what works best for your personality.

Within the plan, you should make room for acts that are both thought through and spontaneous. Acts that are thought through should be deliberated as much as possible to ensure the use of resources will achieve the highest quality output. Acts that are spontaneous should be constantly questioned as the events unfold with a simple yes or no check if this will match your long-term goals. The ratio of acts thought through and spontaneous could be 7 to 3 or 8 to 2. You can change this ratio to whatever suits you best, but just be forewarned that the more you wait for life to happen to you, the more likely you will not achieve what you want. A ratio such as this allows you to accomplish intermediate to long-term, intellectual and energy-intensive goals while providing you new, creative experiences that will keep you interested and offer additional, short-term successes along the way. Once the focus, discipline, and plan for the “how” is solidified and held to, the accomplishment of your “what” to communicate and differentiate your “why” is a mere formality.

The chaos of life cannot be stopped, avoided, or contained. But through proper filtering and selectiveness of what arises from it, the chaos can provide one with everything needed to sustain and develop greater. It can provide the completeness sought by many and only found by a few. In closing, let me reiterate: Embrace the chaos, but on your own terms.

Are your actions line with your “why”? Do you struggle to find the discipline to keep each step of your path in line with your goal? I’d love to hear about your experience.