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You’ve probably heard of the “Great Resignation,” but do you know about the “Great Reflection?” To achieve lasting, meaningful change and avoid slipping back into old patterns, it’s vital to pause, reflect, and think — not just about what you don’t want, but what you do want.
By learning to embrace chaos vs. trying and failing to tame it (an impossible task), we can move forward in more personally meaningful ways. Some theories in neuroscience actually suggest that our minds always operate at a “critical state,” which is like the brink of chaos, somewhere between randomness and order.
Knowing this, how do we start to work with chaos instead of against it?
Wearable health trackers capable of reporting on heart rate, physical activity, temperature, sleep patterns, and more are the latest example of two very human (sometimes oppositional) desires for autonomy and structure. With all of this incoming information, though, we can end up on autopilot, conforming to structure without question; and, in doing so, give up the very autonomy we crave.
The human mind is predisposed to getting trapped or side-tracked by easy, obvious solutions. We’re enamored by the “Idea of the Day” and can become stuck inside the message of a recently released book, a single quote, or the latest podcast. This is never more true than when our mental reservoirs are depleted.
Overwhelm breeds an unconscious (or conscious) need to unplug that can easily turn into a bit of mental laziness, which ultimately means we’re not tapping into our full potential to confront issues and solve problems.
In most cases, toxic positivity comes from a lack of understanding about how to respond to difficult or uncomfortable situations. It may even be an honest effort to make yourself or someone else feel better, but ultimately, it dismisses legitimate emotions instead of affirming them. Similarly, it dismisses legitimate barriers and obstacles.
The desire for change — in career or location — has always been influenced by the sense most people have that if they were just in a new environment, everything would be different.
In actuality, when we make big external changes, regardless of context, we bring along our old habits, behaviors, and patterns of thought. After the initial shock of any change wears off, we realize that nothing’s different after all. Real change — the kind that follows you wherever you roam — occurs within one’s self.
The economy is larger now than pre-pandemic; however, we’re down 5 million U.S. workers from before COVID-19. The concept of burnout has existed since the 70s, but never before has there been such a steep climb in exhaustion, fatigue, and reevaluation.
We all crave certainty and, even more so, control. Having it makes us feel like we determine our own destiny. Honestly, the idea of control feels powerful, and power feels good; but control is mostly an illusion — the harder you fight for it, the farther away you get.