Life is a blend of the predictable and unpredictable.
For example, the mail comes everyday to your house at 1:00 PM. Predictable.
But what about the day when it comes at 3:00 PM?
Not really that chaotic…unless it’s a big check and the bank closes at 2:00 PM…
I live in Wisconsin and most people are fans of the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback as of this writing, is one of the best ever. And one of the things that makes him great is his ability to adapt to chaos.
The team leaves the huddle with a play in mind. They run it, but Rodgers knows that in football things get chaotic. So he often embraces the chaos and looks for opportunities.
Other quarterbacks can succeed when the play works out perfectly. Not as many can succeed when the play breaks down and things turn into chaos.
The Benefits Of Planning
There are certainly tendencies in life. And successful people often look at what’s been happening for years and plan that those same things will continue to happen at least in the near-term future.
For example, people have been eating for all of human existence. Chances are pretty good that people will continue eating for the foreseeable future. You can make plans for that type of trend.
In business, you can look at your own history to plan for the future. That was a big part of my first job. We would look at what had been happening in the recent past to create budgets for the coming years.
This planning allowed for expectations on revenue and expectations on what costs would be and how we should spend money to look for new opportunities.
That’s why when you’re planning on taking a check to the bank you can look back and see that the mailman has been there at 1:00 PM everyday for the last three months and count on it happening again.
It’s why Aaron Rodgers usually runs the play that’s called in the huddle. The play will usually work out as planned.
But if you also look at history you can also see that chaos happens fairly regularly.
The first step is to accept that chaos will happen.
If you’re like me that can be tricky. I like to plan things. I like to control things. That works out a lot of the time, but it certainly doesn’t work out some of the time.
The second step is to accept what’s happening with curiosity and optimism. This is a big one. If your plan isn’t working out the usual first reaction is to panic. We like to see things as black or white. If our plan is black and it doesn’t work out we see it as white. The opposite. So it must be entirely bad.
But obviously that’s not the case. If we embrace chaos with curiosity and optimism we can start seeing opportunity. Maybe what will happen turns out to be even better than our original plan.
I have to think that is what Aaron Rodgers thinks when a play breaks down. He may have loved the play that was called. When it breaks down he could get frustrated and throw the ball away, but instead he often looks for opportunity. He thinks to himself that maybe something better will happen.
And it often does…
Julius Peppers comes free. Jordy Nelson, Rodgers’ favorite receiver, gets knocked down.
Who knows what the original play was. It doesn’t matter. Rodgers embraced the chaos and found opportunity to win the game with a great play.
Chaos is part of life. It’s going to happen. In fact, the weird thing about chaos is that you can count on it happening. The key to it all may be recognizing when things aren’t going as you planned, but instead of panicking looking for the opportunity in the situation.
Something great may be staring you right in the face.