Many people love routine and predictability. It makes them feel safe. It keeps them from putting themselves out there and facing possible rejection, which makes them feel in control. But the reasons people cling to routine and predictability reside in the fixed mindset zone. People with growth mindsets understand that they must learn to embrace ambiguity and chaos. There are two reasons for this. One, they accept that ambiguity and chaos are a part of life. As I shared previously, there’s simply no way to control anything except your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Two, they understand that if they don’t embrace ambiguity and chaos, they’ll never try anything new because what is a new experience but unpredictable? If you’re in an unpredictable situation, chaos is present, if only in your mind.
Embracing ambiguity and confusion doesn’t mean you throw yourself into total chaos; it means you must be willing to let go of control and routine. Think of it as “organized chaos.” I first heard this term when I was a fire direction officer in the military. My section sergeant had a sign in our fire control center that simply said, “Organized Chaos.” He would use that term to describe to our team what it’s like in battle. Going into battle requires you to be disruptive and create chaos but, more importantly, respond to the chaos created when the enemy doesn’t follow your plan. (They never do.) When you plan for chaos, you can quickly adjust when it presents itself.