"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." ~ Albert Einstein
What if I were to tell you that there is great opportunity in chaos. A hard concept for anyone of us to believe while in the midst of said chaos. However, should we decide to stop, breathe, close our eyes for a moment and recalibrate, we'd see the opportunity(ies) that lie ahead.
I make it sound easy, don't I? And I smile, knowing what your responses are. Is it as easy as I make it sound? Oh heck no! But here's what I've learnt over the years, having had my fair share of, what I term as, chaos.
But before I get into it, let's define chaos and opportunity and set the basis for my story.
Chaos (noun), according to Merriam Webster is (1) a state of utter confusion or (2) a confused mass or mixture. Similar words - disorder, disarray, hullabaloo, and frenzy. For some reason, I think I like hullabaloo and frenzy best, sounds less damaging. While Opportunity (noun), means (1) a favorable juncture of circumstances or (2) a good chance for advancement or progress.
Now that we've defined those, let me get straight into it. Chaos brings about a certain level of disruption. A disruption that can have you feeling uneasy, fragile, unworthy, unhappy, depressed, and in some instances you may even question your sanity, or your reason for being. In other instances, this disruption can leave you financially, emotionally, or mentally devastated.
Rachel Hollis once said, in her book, Girl Wash Your Face, "the difficult seasons we walk through are how we learn to build up strength to manage any situation." She went further to ask the question, which I'm posing to you now, "how do you handle chaos - ignore it - battle it - drown in it, or embrace it?" Over the years, when faced with chaos, I've opted to either drown in it, battle it, and, what used to be my favourite was to "ignore it." They say with age and experience comes maturity and wisdom and so now I've moved into the "embrace it" phase. One of the things I say to myself now is this, "well, it's already the worst, in my estimation, so, how can I change that situation or more importantly, how can I change my mindset to make this situation better." Do I always have the best and most practical answer to give myself? Nope. Sometimes I still allow myself to drown in it or ignore it for a bit, but then I put on my big girl panties and go embrace it.
Recently, I attended a webinar where one of the speakers reminded us that for every chaotic situation opportunities can arise, and this opportunity is sometimes what brings out our creativity. Chaotic situations also form the basis for innovation.
How many of you can attest to becoming creative during times of chaos? If you're broke, you're gonna find a creative (legal) way to earn, don't? And if you just went through a "spine-breaking" relationship, you're gonna eventually learn how to walk again, don't? Every situation we've ever encountered in this life had a purpose. Every death, every marriage, every accident, the rains, your spilled breakfast, a redundancy, or the phone you just broke. EVERYTHING!
But sometimes our minds are so clouded by the situation that we fail to see the purpose of it all. We fail to recognize that there is possibly an opportunity somewhere in there. However, once the clouds clear, we oftentimes have an ah-ha moment, "so this is why this happened!" Mind you, some of us never have that ah-ha moment, we never see the purpose, we never ask ourselves what opportunity exists in this? Why? Because we can't possibly fathom how something good or useful can come from a bad, or seemingly bad, situation. But it can. Perspective, attitude, and having an open mind helps.
On that note, how many of you can also attest to the great opportunities that came as a result of that creativity? I can and I am sure many of you can too if you think about it.
Every chaos is an opportunity to learn something and once you learn something, to me that means you can translate that into growth. Remember, not every bad situation is bad. I believe the problem why we can't see beyond the chaos is that we are programmed to think that every opportunity has to have a monetary component, and it doesn't.
Below are some of the chaotic situations I have dealt with and what I consider to be the opportunities and creativity that have emerged as a result.
We can take it a step further and look at this current pandemic, Covid-19, which frankly just reeks of chaos. Yet still, as debilitating and traumatizing as this pandemic has been to most - loss of loved ones and jobs, etc. - reports have shown that there has been a drastic increase in entrepreneurial ventures across the world.
According to the Census Bureau, more than 4.4 million new businesses were created in the U.S. during 2020 — the highest total on record.
Senator Wehby, in his speech at the opening 2021/22 State of the Nation Debate presentation in the Senate on Friday (June 25), stated that a total of 12,809 business names and 3,935 companies were registered by entrepreneurs and investors with the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) in 2020.
As Jok Church said, "Chaos does not mean total disorder. Chaos means a multiplicity of possibilities. Chaos is from the ancient Greek words that means a thing that is birthed from the void. And it was about that which is possible, not about disorder."
We can't run away from chaos, even if we were the great Usain Bolt. So, allow yourself to embrace the chaotic (hullabaloo); give yourself permission to feel and to heal; give yourself grace, understanding, and patience; seek help if needs be and when you're ready (and sometimes even when you're not), be open to the universe and all the beautiful things it has to offer.
I leave you with these quotes.
"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you." ~ Deepak Chopra
"It is the chaos of the time that creates the conqueror in the man." ~ Bishop TD Jakes
"That's not an impossible situation," said Stuart. "It's bad, but it's not impossible." ~ taken from the book Stuart Little
"The Renaissance took place in chaos and plague." ~ Shiva Ayyadurai
"Chaos is the score upon which reality is written." ~ Henry Miller
"Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit." ~ Henry Adams
According to Bruce Garrabrandt, "Creativity doesn't wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones." I'd dare to say the same, but switch it up a bit to say, "Opportunity doesn't wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of chaotic ones."
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