Structured Chaos

People learn differently. Some prefer slowly working there way piece by piece into a problem, while others would rather fully digest a new situation at once. I liken it to the challenge of learning how to swim.

Some children learn to swim by being “thrown into the water.” Others drown that way, and become far better swimmers by going at it one step at a time. 

I am not saying that one strategy is universally better. Though, I am saying that everyone has a leaning depending on the context of the task at hand. 

I have generally been a “throw me into the water and I will figure it out” type of person. I believe in the power of structured chaos – as you see in the title of this essay.

Structured chaos, to me, is this idea of a “purposefully chaotic system” that breeds randomness and crisis. 

Throw me into the pit, let me mess up quickly, and put me in a place where hard work and quick iterations are validated.

This is my dream environment for quick learning.

Very few organizations or systems offer this type of madness. Importantly, and I think this is the big distinction between chaos and what I am calling structured chaos, this “madness” is not motion. It results in progress.

I think there are lots of situations that are disorganized and messy…they are chaotic! Yes. But that does not mean they are high-growth opportunities for learning. 

I want opportunities where motion is not progress. I want progress. And I am prepared to digest madness to get there.

Surely this is a nuanced classification. But it really makes all the difference when you are thinking about where to go and what to work on.

Also published on Medium.