Order and Chaos, Agents of Growth

In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, representing chaos and order, is a concept of dualism. Their cosmic creation story describes how seemingly opposing forces can complement, interconnect, and give rise to each other through their interplay.

I’ve witnessed others pass through these opposing cycles in different seasons of their lives. This week I chatted with a friend online who said his outlook had shifted from a place of professional ambition to one of pursuing personal interests and goals. He wrote, “I’ve undertaken a number of more personal endeavors recently, such as becoming a charter fishing captain, and these sorts of things have ended up generating a more purposeful and fulfilling lifestyle than I originally expected.”

When I read that, it resonated with me on many levels. I couldn’t help but want to pursue my own personal interests and reduce some of the current “chaos” in my life. Right now, I’m passing through a new period of growth, both in business and in raising teenagers who are exploring their independence. This period of chaos makes me thirst for order and the predictability of systematic life again; where I can pursue my own version of becoming a chartered fishing captain. Definition. Boundaries. Peace. Control.

Although many of us deeply value and strive for order, I’ve grown to understand that chaos will inevitably find its way into our lives. For my friend who has become a chartered fishing captain, it may be a stormy sea. For some, it could be a trying illness for an immediate family member. For others, it could be financial struggles.

Jordan Peterson, the author of 12 Rules For Life, reminds us that chaos was even found in the Garden of Eden. Our metaphorical or literal (take your pick) parents had to confront the serpent who somehow found his way into a very orderly system.

When I see people who seem to be passing through life with what appears to be impeccable order, it can cause me to regret my own chaotic circumstances. But in the chaos, we grow. We find new order. And the cycle continues as we become more capable, more thoughtful, and more evolved.

So if you find yourself stuck in the middle of a chaotic time in your life, I’d encourage you to hold on. If your clients are passing through a time like this, extend them the same encouragement. Chaos is part of life, and order is just around the corner.

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