Note: This is a modified version of a bonus white paper that appears as part of the upcoming Productivity Blueprint. In it, we discuss one of the more advanced ways of handling distractions both beneficially and optimally.
Let’s talk about a concept we call Riding the Chaos.
It begins with the idea that the world is a generally chaotic place. At any given moment, in both our lives, there are hundred if not thousands of things happening around us. Just looking out my window I can see cars going by, motorbikes weaving through traffic, the monorail flying past, people walking about, people selling grilled chicken and freshly-cut papaya by the side of the street. And for each of these people, there are hundreds of things going on too – what they’re doing, the people around them, notifications on their phones and their thoughts about what they did this morning, what they’re doing now and what they’ll be doing later today.
Yet in this mess of an environment, human beings are able to survive and get things done. And it has less to do with being productive and efficient than you may think. You see, when we began to study and dig into people who created amazing results in their lives, we found that both organized AND disorganized people can get things done. It just differs as to how they do it.
3 Types of People
We believe that there are 3 types of people out there.
1. People who generally do the right thing.
These are the people who regardless of what happens or what is going on around them, find themselves focused, disciplined and doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They follow systems, structure and processes really well and often rely on them to get through otherwise chaotic environments.
I (Aaron) consider myself one of these people.
The problem with this is that chaos, or random events (“black swans”) tend to derail systems and structure as they cannot be predicted or foreseen.
These people also tend to miss out on a lot of opportunities, as being focused creates a tunnel-vision effect, so they are not aware of them.
2. People who thrive in chaos and disorder.
These are people who don’t have concrete goals or systems or structure, but somehow manage to make things work regardless.
You may know some people like this – they lose their car keys, they forget their passport on the way to the airport, and their idea of task management is texting someone over iMessage.
I have 2 very good friends who are like this – yet both of them do amazing things in their live.
3. People who fall somewhere in-between.
This is actually most people. Not super-structured and organized, but not really thriving in the chaos and disorder either.
So why the 3 types of people? Because I believe that there is a middle path (part of #3) where you get to both do the right thing, and thrive in the chaos – and we call it, Riding the Chaos.
What Riding the Chaos looks like
In real life, here is what Riding the Chaos looks like. It’s about assessing opportunities, and using the idea of minimal investment/dose to see where it goes.
From the Productivity Blueprint:
So in real life, it looks like this. Every situation you come across, you need to have the ability to make a snap decision based on calibration as to whether to pursue the situation or not. You can think of it as putting out little feelers, as a minimum expenditure or letting opportunities play out – whatever works – but the point is you want to take the promising bits of chaos and ride them for a bit. Everything else, you want to ruthlessly ignore and remain apathetic towards.
In other words, by following a middle path and Riding the Chaos, you get the best of everything.
Another way of describing Riding the Chaos is this.
You get the focus and and sheer concentrative power of having goals/outcomes and gunning for them. You also have the advantage of being able to hop onto short-cuts or quick boosts that will accelerate your progress towards those outcomes, faster.
If Riding the Chaos interests you, make sure you’re on our advanced notification list of the Productivity Blueprint – you don’t want to miss it.
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