Monday, May 31, 2010

How to Thrive in a Chaotic World!

By Philip Humbert

I've noticed an interesting paradox: The most effective, most successful people I've worked with seem to have two things in common. They seem comfortable, challenged, even exhilarated by chaos, and yet they maintain balance and tranquility in their lives. It's a amazing set of skills!

The most effective people seem to thrive in a world of chaos and constant change. They understand life is not actually "chaotic," that the laws of cause-and-effect still apply, but they live as if turmoil and confusion are normal! They know that results are based on intelligent action and focused effort, while they develop superb skills to "play and win" in a chaotic, often contradictory world.

They are unusually comfortable with ambiguity. They know they will never have enough information. They know the rules are often out of date before they are even published, and yet they thrive.

In the midst of chaos, they go quietly about their business. When others are losing control, they remain calm. When others panic, they have a cup of tea and contemplate their next strategic move. They often move quickly, but always with a sense of confidence, power and grace. How can this be?

In this regard, I'm intrigued by the TV show, "Desperate Housewives." Millions of people identify with the chaos and confusion of the overworked mother with hyper-active kids or the dizzy divorcee.

Obviously the show is designed for drama and ratings, but what deeply troubles me is the level of wealth, beauty and "success" the characters seem to enjoy. People with confused, chaotic lives rarely live that well! The WINNERS in life do not live with over-whelm and dysfunction. They have to get things done!

Several things are necessary to thrive in the midst of chaos:

1. Exceptional boundaries. This is where the "desperate" housewives go astray because they seem to have no boundaries at all. Winners close their doors and ignore disruptions. They turn off the phone and claim their space. They know where they are going and tolerate few distractions.

2. Exceptional vision. Winners know their priorities and their desired outcomes. They know what they want and they can see, taste, smell and almost touch their results in advance. They have goals and tasks rather than mere hopes or wishes.

3. Exceptional self-direction. Winners are in charge of their lives and chaos around them is just that -- other people's chaos swirling around them, while they maintain an inner calm. They are not lost or confused about their values, their priorities, their direction or their most important daily tasks.

4. Exceptional optimism. They see chaos as opportunity. Chaos "stirs the pot" and opens doors. Rather than annoying or frustrating them, they love it! On a wild and windy day, a rainbow may appear at any moment and they are eager to welcome it.

5. Exceptional Reserves. They take care of themselves. They eat well, rest often, save and invest wisely and when opportunity knocks, they are waiting to answer the door. They operate from strength and stability, while a chaotic world wreaks havoc on the competition.

6. Exceptional response-ability. Rather than reacting from stress, anger, fear or anxiety, they see a magnificent, ever-changing world and respond quickly to once-in-a- lifetime opportunities. "Desperate" people react; winners respond.

John Lennon observed that "life is what happens while you were making other plans." Life will not wait until we are ready or until we catch our breath. Winners learn to thrive on chaos. They see and seize opportunities, and love the wild ride. They recognize the risks and enjoy the drama, while operating from a place of inner calm. In a world swirling with change and chaos, winners keep their balance, take care of themselves and focus on their goals.

Dr Humbert is a Success Strategist, author and popular speaker. Imagine what's possible! To inquire about having him speak to your group or organization, or to schedule an initial consultation, contact him or visit his site at Philip

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