Gaining control of ourselves and our emotions isn’t a hard thing to do, but it is something that many must dig deep to find because most people’s natural reaction to chaos is to either become involved in it or to avoid it completely. Sometimes however the latter may not be an option, so that’s where your calmness under pressure needs to kick in.
While some people lead more chaotic lives than others, many will know what it means to find yourself up against the pressures of work where intensity and chaos become a regular part of your day, but you need to recognize that this is an unhealthy habit to be involved in, especially for your mental wellbeing. You may have colleagues around you who are unhappy about something work related and you’ve become immersed in it, and although you may agree with them, you need to grasp that control and if need be, offer a levelheaded opinion rather than one based on your emotions. Likewise with a family issue, with a partner, or a friend, taking control of the situation and not allowing yourself to become embroiled in the chaos, is key to you not being immersed in it. When all around you are losing their heads, now is the time that you need to keep yours.
You can of course be the master of your own chaos, you may be stuck in a rut, you may be in a relationship which you feel you can’t get out of, even though you know you should. You may be unhappy and feel unfilled with your work or career choice and it’s becoming problematic in all areas of your life. Remember what I keep saying — you have control and are the CEO of your life, so grasp it and make decisions that are beneficial to you. This inner chaos that you’re creating for yourself can cause you untold problems such as depression and anxiety, it can bring out mood swings and hold you back from changing aspects of your life which you’re unhappy with.
These issues can fester and magnify unless you get control of yourself and change your way of thinking and doing, so don’t roll the dice with it. The moment you feel that you’re unhappy with something, then go to work on it immediately and change it, don’t let that inner chaos take a seat at your table. Some of the things which can help you with this is by taking care of yourself — sleeping well, eating healthy, working out, and ensuring you have a good work / life balance. These are important factors which you can control and action within your day-to-day life and why each are focused on in this book.
If you look at the world news today, it’s nothing but chaos, hate, divide, worry, stress, and fear. There are major racial issues which are occurring daily, protests, attacks, as well as countless divisive opinions. There are political divides where you’ve got so called leaders creating a level of chaos and confusion. Most of these people aren’t leaders, in fact they wouldn’t know the meaning of the word and yet they are appointed and voted into these highly regarded positions, positions filled with chaos that some of them willingly contribute to.
Given my work in the global security field, world news has had to play a role in ensuring I’m fully aware of domestic and world matters. Although I used to watch the news daily, I found that it was becoming extremely toxic for me, it was manipulative and often conflicting. For that reason, I made the decision during the pandemic in 2020, around the time of the Presidential debates, to deflect the negativity that I was seeing and hearing and remove it from my life entirely. All I felt it was doing was bringing chaos into my life, and I had no room for that chaos, so I learned to navigate around it and block it out as best I possibly could, and I was happy to do so.
I didn’t really need the news on in the background when I was working in my office, and if it was something breaking such as a terror attack, then I had an app on my phone which would alert me. I didn’t need to be so focused on a project to then be sidetracked or frustrated by something on a news channel — the bickering, the hate, the scaremongering, or the back-and-forth debates. You may feel the same about the news today or it may not bother you and you feel that it’s important for you to be fully, and sometimes overly, aware of what’s going on, but for me I feel as though my mind has been somewhat cleansed from the toxic news that I was allowing into my life. I feel better for it in that I’m not carrying a level of anger which others have contributed to — it feels good.
When I talk about navigating the chaos, especially during my coaching and mentoring programs where it’s one-to-one learning, I discuss with my students to neither seek nor avoid chaos, but to embrace it if it comes their way. It is through embracing that level of stress and drama where we truly have an opportunity to learn and grow, but we must maintain our self-discipline when we are immersed in the chaos. It could be a family dispute or a conflict in a relationship, it could also be work related but either way and as I’ve said before, chaos is chaos no matter how you try and dress it up.
There are some who continually walk down a dark path where chaos is their comfort zone, they love a bit of gossip or they enjoy a back and forth over often trivial things, they are creating a cocoon of chaos because they are often lost without it in their lives. These are the people you want to be deflecting because you don’t need it in your life, you don’t need that negativity. The idea of a calm abiding center is a very important tool to develop and nurture but when immersed in chaos, we can all be pulled in varying directions where that calmness becomes void. If this applies to you then the next time chaos comes into your life, try to become conscious immediately of what it is that’s unraveling around you and in your head.
Learn to manage your discipline while maintaining that inner calmness so that you don’t become embroiled in the argument or drama that’s unfolding. It’s ok to embrace what’s going on as difficult as it might be, but work on yourself and portray that levelheaded calmness for you to de-escalate and defuse the situation, not only for yourself but for the others involved as well. Don’t try to control the chaos, just let it be, remain un-objective, and manage the situation through navigating around the obstacle.