Photo: Mike Engel
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” Those words were coined by a man named Sun Tzu, a Chinese general who lived from 544 to 496 BC and is credited as the author of “The Art of War.”
Although when Sun Tzu spoke those words, he likely did so in a military reference, his words struck a chord with me because, as an editor, my job is to make order of chaos. That’s not to say all writing is chaotic; it certainly isn’t. But grammatical errors and misspellings can sometimes be construed as chaos, and can leave a reader befuddled. Yet in that seeming chaos, there is opportunity. A confusing sentence could have a variety of possible meanings.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
In chaotic events in our lives, there is also opportunity. When a woman receives a breast cancer diagnosis, she can take on a victim mentality and feel sorry for herself, or she can choose to be positive and fight the cancer with all of her might.
When you lose a loved one, there is opportunity to keep that person’s memory alive by sharing his or her story, furthering a cause that was near and dear to his or her heart, and/or pouring into the lives of his or her immediate family members.
When you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam, there is opportunity to listen to a podcast or an audio book, or to sing at the top of your lungs to your favorite playlist.
When it feels like your world is caving in around you, there is opportunity to be a light to others who are experiencing a similar situation.
When you’re a parent of multiple young children, it can feel pretty chaotic. Yet there is opportunity to invest in the lives of those little ones, knowing their youth is temporary. Someday you’ll look back and wish you could relive some of those times.
No matter what you’re dealing with or going through, there is opportunity in it, if you’ll just look for it.
The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary defines opportunity as “a combination of circumstances, time, and place suitable or favorable for a particular activity or action; an advantageous circumstance or combination of circumstances especially when affecting security, wealth, or freedom: a time, place, or condition favoring advancement or progress.”
More often than not, we think of times of chaos in a negative light. Maybe we just need to change our mindset, realizing those times actually favor advancement or progress.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"