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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 do you reflect upon your relationship with chaos?

Today is December 19 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you reflect upon your relationship with chaos?” Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung noted “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams, who looks inside, awakes.” Today’s reflection involves an assessment to help you wake up and better understand your relationship to chaos.

In today’s world it is easy to define chaos as it ranges from all-consuming technology, political upheaval, a global health concerns, massive income inequality, as well as many other issues. Those who navigate the chaos, however, often have a different view of chaos. Instead of including the external dynamics in their definition of chaos, those who translate one dream after another into reality realize the internal dynamics driving chaos generally far outweigh other factors.

To illustrate this, and in the back of their 2011 publication The Chaos Theory of Careers: A New Perspective on Working in the Twenty-First Century, authors Robert Pryor and Jim Bright provide a series of 20 questions designed to help the reader better understand their relationship to chaos. None of the following questions deal with an external event going on today; as each one deals with you, your level of self-awareness, and your ability to reflect. Read each question and circle each one where your response is YES; or, if you prefer, write YES after each one where you agree.

  1. Have you ever made a decision which then had some outcomes you had never thought of at the time of deciding?

  2. Has fear of taking a risk ever prevented you from doing something important in your life?

  3. Have you ever wanted something, obtained it, and found out you preferred something else?

  4. Have you ever had the experience of seeing a situation one way and find out someone else sees it in a totally different way?

  5. Have you ever experienced an unplanned event that had a big impact on your life?

  6. When making a decision, do you sometimes just choose an option without worrying about whether it is the very best choice or not?

  7. Have you ever found it an advantage not to know something?

  8. Have you ever had a crisis or conversion experience that changed your life in some significant way?

  9. Have you ever had the experience of being in either the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time?

  10. When taking action, do you ever just follow your instincts or your intuition?

  11. Have you ever relied on information when making a decision only to discover later that it was incorrect?

  12. Have you ever distorted the truth either to yourself or to others?

  13. Have you ever set a clear goal or a precise objective and discovered a better one along the way to the original goal?

  14. Have any major decisions in your life been made on a basis that was not totally rational?

  15. Have you ever had the experience of being told something personal about yourself, of which you were complexly unaware?

  16. Do you ever act before you think as a way to investigate a situation or to make a decision?

  17. Have you ever experienced a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy?’

  18. Have you ever made a small mistake that resulted in a big problem later on down the line?

  19. Have you ever found wishful thinking to be an advantage?

  20. Have things occurred in your life that you never thought would have been possible?

How many times did you answer yes? _____

If you answered yes to 12 or more questions, you realize life is indeed chaotic and uncertain. Now remember, none of these 20 questions have anything to do with external events happening in the world today. Each question deals with a decision, aspect, or life situation. By designing this assessment in such a format, Bright and Pryor allow you to accept that chaos has always been, and will always be, a part of life.

There is no escaping the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of life. Every generation experiences chaos. The external dynamics driving the chaos may change but the internal factors, those within our control, remain the same. Today’s assessment as provided by Bright and Pryor, provides an important perspective and helps anyone willing to do the work, increase their self-awareness.

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

  • What role does a better understanding of your relationship with chaos play in your life?


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