top of page

The entire Navigate the Chaos collection of all 365 blog posts is now available in a paperback entitled Navigate the Chaos (795 pages for $24.99). A smaller collection of thoughts from the Navigate the Chaos collection is available in paperback entitled Wonder (94 pages for $4.99)

How often are you working on making this world a better place?

Today is November 12 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often are you working on making this world a better place?” Entrepreneur and publisher Robert Abbott learned how to navigate the chaos and became one of the nation’s most prominent post-slavery black millionaires.


Abbott proclaimed: “No greater glory, no greater honor, is the lot of man departing than a feeling possessed deep in his heart that the world is a better place for his having lived.” As you go about translating one dream after another into reality, remind yourself that you do have the opportunity to make this world a better place as you navigate the chaos. Sometimes making the world a better place requires the acknowledgement of others, while other opportunities demand one to demonstrate courage.


The examples of actors Michael Douglas and Meryl Streep illustrate the power of acknowledging others by serving as a mentor to those navigating the chaos. Early in his career Michael Douglas starred in the police drama The Streets of San Francisco. The lead on the show was Karl Malden.


According to a 2021 interview by Douglas “Those days, when you were the second banana on a police show, usually you were a stop or two behind the lead because the focus couldn’t hold both actors. Karl was the first guy who said to me, ‘come on up.’ He shared the spotlight, cared about others, said I was the son he never had. A good mentor can save you a lot of pain.”


Fellow actor Meryl Streep contributed in her own way to mentoring another. During her 2009 SAG acceptance speech for best actress in Doubt, Streep called out “the gigantically gifted Viola Davis.” Streep raised her arms and shouted, “My God, somebody give her a movie!” Davis only shared one eight-minute scene with Streep in the 2008 film Doubt, but made a lasting impression on her co-stars, moviegoers, and producers. Streep’s call was answered when, three years later, Davis starred in the 2011 film The Help. Davis would eventually go on to win the 2016 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film Fences.


When Davis received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2017, Streep was there to honor her friend. In her opening remarks for Davis, Streep delivered this detailed description of Davis’s talent: “Viola Davis is possessed. She is possessed to the blazing, incandescent power. She is arguably the most immediate, responsive artist I have ever worked with,” Streep said. She then went on to describe Davis’s ability to be “so alive she glistens” and to “write paragraphs with her eyes.”


In addition to mentoring others, there are times when demonstrating courage is demanded of you in order to make the world a better place. People who navigate the chaos understand the etymology of courage comes from Latin cor meaning “from the heart.” Having heart is often the deciding factor between those who translate their dreams into reality and other who just dream. 


Born Ginette Dior in 1917, she would eventually change her name to Catherine. Her mother died when Catherine was 14 and then her father suffered significant financial hardship during the Great Depression which forced the Dior family moved to a dilapidated farmhouse in Provence in southeastern France. To support her family, Catherine grew green beans and peas. 


By the late 1930s, both Catherine and her brother Christian Dior, the French fashion designer, were living in Paris, but when the Second World War broke out, they returned to the south of France and grew vegetables that they sold in Cannes. It was then that Catherine’s life changed forever when she met Hervé des Charbonneries, a member of the French resistance - groups of men and women who fought the Nazi occupation of France.


Despite him being a married father of three, as well as more than a decade older than her, Catherine fell in love with Hervé, and soon joined the Resistance herself. She used her brother’s Paris apartment to host underground Resistance meetings, and things went well for a time, but then, in July 1944, she was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo.


Even she was tortured in the Gestapo house in Paris, Catherine never betrayed any of her fellow Resistance fighters. The Nazis then dispatched her to a French prison and, later, a series of concentration camps: Ravensbrück, Torgau, Abteroda, and Markkleeberg. Christian repeatedly tried but failed to arrange her release. Towards the end of the Second World War, in April 1945, Catherine was released and went back to Paris.


When she arrived back in Paris, she was so emaciated that her brother Christian didn't recognize her and she was too sick to eat the dinner he'd prepared to celebrate her return. In 1952, she testified in a trial against 14 people responsible for the Gestapo office in Paris where she was tortured. Dior was awarded several medals of honour for her acts of resistance: the Croix de Guerre – a distinction usually reserved for regular armed forces –, the Combatant Volunteer Cross of the Resistance, the Combatant's Cross, the King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom and was named a Chevalière of the Legion of Honour.


As Radhika Seth wrote in a February 15, 2024, Vogue article “Catherine had little interest in fame or fortune. She lived the rest of her life away from the spotlight on a farm in Provence and sold blooms alongside Hervé des Charbonneries at the flower market in Paris. Upon her brother’s untimely death in 1957 at the age of 52, she devoted herself to preserving his legacy, carefully cataloging the contents of his home, and serving as the honorary president of the Musée Christian Dior until her own passing in 2008, at the age of 90.”


  • Has someone mentored you?

  • Have you been open to someone mentoring you?

  • Have you missed opportunities to be mentored because you were closed minded?

  • Have you mentored anyone? If so, how was the mentoring experience on your end? And how was it received?

  • How often do you reflect upon your relationship with courage?

  • How often do you remind yourself to do what you can to make the world a better place every day?

  • How often do you call upon previously untapped strength to make the world a better place?

  • How often do you reflect upon your ability to have heart and demonstrate it through vulnerability?  




bottom of page