Let’s start this post with a hypothetical situation. Imagine you are in an empty room with a bunch of Lego building blocks. You have a certain number of blocks and you are free to do whatever you want with it. You make a building. Then maybe another. Then maybe a robot follows. And then something else.
Soon you have used up all the blocks and built a lot of different things. Then what will you do next? You want to build more, but there are no more blocks available to you.
Simplest solution in this case would be to break some of your creations and use those blocks to build new structures. It may seem counter-intuitive to break something to build something but it’s easy to see that it will work.
Now let’s think about Chaos and Order.
When we think about chaos, we usually associate a negative feeling with it. Most of the self-help books or even conversations with friends and family is around bringing order into our life. Get settled. Get our shit together. Get more productive and organized.
I have been guilty of the same line of thinking. I can’t count how many times I have felt that only if I get my sleep cycle in order, get physically and mentally fit, find my truest passion and work on it, get supportive and healthy relationships, then I will be unstoppable.
It’s like a constant force that’s pushing us to crave order in our life.
We see this in nature as well. Everything flows towards order or symmetry or some kind of arrangement. We like when everything is in its proper place.
But is that actually all that’s happening? We see the move towards order, but we don’t see the chaos that precedes order.
Social media is a great place where we see everyone’s perfect lives. On a casual glance, we see everyone doing what seems like a perfectly planned out life. Vacation pics, reaching big life milestones. It gives us a feeling like everyone is moving forward while we are stuck in some kind of quicksand, slowly sinking us.
But what we don’t see is the “behind the scene stuff”. Everyone has a behind the scene life which they don’t share with anyone. Not even the closest friends come to know about the storms going on inside a mind. We become experts in smiling and convincing everyone that we are doing great.
But what does all this have to do with Chaos and Order?
When we feel stuck in our life – be it our career or relationships, only a little bit of chaos can shake things up and help us get out. Once we are out, we need structure and order to help us grow and become a better version of ourselves.
But the story doesn’t end there. As we grow and evolve, we will again get stuck. Have you seen plants growing in pots? Then you know that the plant will grow and then might outgrow the pot. We need to take the plant out and re-pot it in a bigger or different pot. If growing is order, then re-potting is chaos. Both are part of the cycle.
And all my rambling in this post is just about that one fact – Chaos and Order both are an integral part of life. We just can not choose one and hope never to come across the other.
So when we are seeing picture perfect lives of everyone around us, we just need to remember that they are not showing you the chaos part of their lives.
Chaos is uncomfortable. It is uncertain. We don’t know what is about to happen. We can’t prepare. We don’t have all the answers. And that’s why we try to avoid chaos as much as possible.
We say we are seeking peace and predictability when we actually mean that we seek familiarity. There is a lot of comfort in familiarity. Even when we are in an unpleasant situation, it is difficult to get out because we get too comfortable in our comfort zone.
Our comfort zones blind us so much that we actively resist anything that will challenge that state.
But what will happen if never leave our comfort zone? Same question applies to chaos and order.
What will happen if we are always in chaos or always in order?
Only chaos will lead to disaster. There is no doubt about that. But we can’t always grow in a safe and orderly environment.
Remember the logo bricks story at the beginning of this article? If there is no chaos, then after a point we just can not grow. Like the potted plant, we need more room to grow.
When we are growing up we all go through growing pain. That’s part of growing. It cant be avoided. As adults, we are still growing. Only now the growth is more in wards. And so are the growing pains.
So, if anything in your life makes you uncomfortable, then that’s a good thing. You will struggle when you are uncomfortable. That struggle will help you get unstuck and take you to a place where you can grow more. But don’t get too comfortable there, too. Because soon you will outgrow that comfort zone too and then chaos will make sure you move on to your next growing grounds.
Nature is all about balance. Night-day, heat-cold, everything has a balance and when the balance is gone, problems emerge.
Similarly, chaos and order need to be in balance. Remember this the next time you feel stuck and uncomfortable and wish for things to get better.