Order or Chaos?

Which are you?  Are you all for order, and organization and things being in neat predictable rows?  Or do you like things to be all over the place, with no clear order?

Spoiler alert, you are most certainly both.

When we think of order or chaos, we think of the two elements in conflict in the universe.  Systems are trying to assemble themselves into neat and orderly patterns.  Other bits and pieces are seemingly at random going in all directions pulling that apart.

In your life

In your life you will definitely experience and participate in both.  However, you will probably tend towards one than the other.

Order

You like order, so you like things to be predictable.  You like things to be lined up neatly.  The more complex something is the more you want it to be ordered, because this ordered predictability is what helps you deal with the complexity.  You like your paperwork to all have nice labels you printed on the label maker, right?  Maybe some color coding in there – all right in the file cabinet?   You fond yourself being kind of picky about office supplies – you like the nice stuff.  And if it all matches somehow even better.  You even use this organization need to motivate you to buy things like drawers, storage units, stuff for tour office.  So what if its a little more expense – that’s what the organized professionals use.

If you are big on order then your house being in disarray may really get you yelling.  All you want from the kids is for them to put their shoes in one place – it doesn’t have to look like theu exploded and all their clothes went flying, right?

How hard is it to not do that?

 

Chaos

You find things all lined up to be stifling.  Too much of that is just robotic, and what makes you human is your ability to create.  In fact, you find this forced order to be the mortal enemy of creativity. After all, writing, painting, photography, they are are produced by people who don’t do the same thing and fall in line.  The ones that even break the creativity rules (the order within the creativity) are the ones that get noticed and set trends.

You’re Both, but when?

So, like yin and yang, it is a healthy thing for us to be made of both.  And we are.  In the examples above you may feel you fit in one, or both.  We experience and participate in order and chaos all the time.  The question is when, and how it applies to our personalities, and our outlook in life.  We may feel that being in a ‘messy’ house means you are human, and that makes us comfortable.  Going to a house in which the person keeps it in pristine

On a dating site there is often a question:

Would you date someone who is messy?

Almost all women answer “No” because messy to them (in the specific context of a man) sounds like a slob, a lazy person who may even have bad hygiene.

A lot of men answer “yes” they would date a messy person because in the context of a woman for them they just imagine it as someone who is human, and isn’t too uptight.

Two views of the same thing.  In the case of the woman they value the order; in the case of the men it is the chaos that makes it attractive.

You may be someone who keeps an impeccably clean and ordered desk at work, but has a house in which things are a bit unordered.  For you it is a professional thing – you’d never be caught being chaotic at work because to you chaotic equals unprofessional and that’s unacceptable and embarrassing.  However, how you keep your home is another thing, and your business and doesn’t reflect poorly on you professionally.  In fact, a messy house to you means you are a good attentive parent and this messiness speaks to where your attention actually goes.

You’re both.  So is everyone.  It’s those that are so one sided that the trouble happens.  And sometimes the environment perpetuates this.

Take the example of the singer/performer who becomes famous.  They have a way of creating – they don’t care about order or showering or keeping a clean house.  They move around so much –  a trailer, hotels, etc, that all that mundane stuff is offloaded.  They feel very strongly that this stuff interferes with their creative process.  In fact fear plays a big part in keeping them chaotic and away from any kind of order.  So they go overboard.

 

Reflect

Reflect on what parts of your life are chaotic and what parts are order.  Why are they like that?  Do they serve you?  How does order make you feel?  Do you feel control?  Responsible?  Adult?  professional? Do you use order to push back on the world and say “yeah, I got this.”

How does chaos serve you?  Do you feel creative?  Special? Do you migrate towards others who are chaotic, because that makes them “easy going” and they too like to “stick it to the man?”

You may be suprised at the reasons why you do this.  You may have made chaos a security blanket.  Order may be used as  a shield.

Either way, make sure it serves you.  And don’t beat yourself up.

About Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford developed a system to recover time, energy and resources in your life called Alchemy For Life. He writes, coaches and speaks on the subject. For more information, tips and tricks, like Alchemy For Life on Facebook, follow Alchemy For Life on Twitter. Articles are posted regularly on AlchemyFor.Life, and LinkedIn.