When it comes to business management, giving up control probably seems out of the question. That’s what entrepreneur Bob Miglani thought as he felt his life losing its axis. Work was moving along at a breakneck pace. He felt left in the dust as he tried to “identify the new rules in a changing world.”
Sound familiar? We’re willing to bet that almost every entrepreneur has felt this way at some point or another.
Well, good news, Miglani found a solution, and it’s in the title of his book: Embrace the Chaos.
What Could Business Management Possibly Have To Do With A Trip To India?
Miglani found that the more he tried to control each and every detail of his life, the more anxious he became. Finally, this anxiety led to an intense case of “analysis paralysis.” Whether you’ve heard the phrase or not, you know the disease. It’s the one where you think so much, you become unable to actually do.
When a friend asked Miglani to tag along with him on a trip to India, he was game. He had no idea he was about to discover the new life rules he’d been searching for. And he didn’t know that they wouldn’t be rules at all.
In India, Miglani found a country bursting with what he calls “the four forces of chaos”: uncertainty, unpredictability, complexity, and speed. These, he argues, are the four contributors that cause us so much stress in our daily lives.
Yet, in at least one international rating, India — a country of more than 1.2 billion people crammed into a country about one-third the size of the United States — far outranks the United States in the happiness index.
How can this be? Miglani writes that chaos is so woven into the fabric of Indian life. It’s part of going to the market to buy food, figuring out how to get a postage stamp, and trying to do a business deal when there is such an insane amount of competition. But it’s something that Indians just automatically embrace.
The fact that control is completely an illusion is just a given in Indian society. There, you don’t struggle against the things you can’t change. You don’t sweat the fact that the bus is late, or whether one of your thousands of competitors will swoop in at the last minute and steal your sale. Instead you work toward the things you can control: your own words, thoughts, and actions.
Miglani uses vivid, often funny stories of his many trips to India to urge the reader to “embrace the chaos” through three specific principles. Whatever business management techniques you use in your day to day, they are certain to benefit from these three basic tenants.
1. Accept What You Can’t Control
Miglani writes: “accept that life is uncertain, unpredictable, complicated, and fast.” Allow it to be fluid and spontaneous. Be flexible — adapt on the fly. This allows us to focus on the thing we can master: our own behavior and mentality. We can’t always control the problems — er, opportunities — that come across our desks. But handling them as just that — opportunities to react to in a positive way — can change everything about who we are as leaders and team members.
2. Don’t Overthink
Hyperfocus and over-planning can result in paralysis and missed opportunities. These can prevent us from growth and progression. This is not to say, though, that we should not think at all. Rather, Miglani recommends that we trust our internal instincts instead of trying to predict the future.
3. Move Forward
Once we’ve accepted and curbed our tendency to overthink, it’s time to jump. Act and react to changing challenges and shifting expectations. Have a plan, but live in the moment.
Too often, Miglani says, we spend our hours “catching up.” But there’s no such thing as catching up with eternity, and there will always be something else for you to accomplish in your business or at home.
The solution: Appreciate the moment, and embrace the chaos.
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