Happiness Through Chaos

I oftentimes find myself in work situations where I’m juggling so many balls that I nearly fall off the deep end – this week (so far) has been one of those situations. Traveling, meetings, e-mail, phone calls, dinners, more meetings, interviews, crisis management, more e-mail – you get the idea.

Only when I can quiet the cacophony down and take what I call a “100,000 foot” view (like now while I write this on a plane) do I realize that the very thing that puts me near this precipice also makes me happy.

How can this be? Am I some kind of strange thrill seeker that can only enjoy life if all heck is breaking loose and I’m in the middle of it? Am I incapable of taking satisfaction of the “still spaces” in our lives?

This used to really gnaw at me when I was younger, because of the preconceptions I had of what constituted “happy”. I didn’t think work could ever equate to happy. It was a barrier to get around, or crash through. It was only a means to an end (i.e. I need to make a living so I could have the capacity to be happy outside of my work).

Now I realize that happiness can be found in many, many places. I can experience a blissful state as I hike in a pretty and peaceful mountain valley, my mind clear and my heart soaring. But I also can get it in a conference room when my heart is racing and my mind is going through its paces at a mile a minute. Or in an airport as I’m sprinting to catch my next plane.

The key is to be in a workplace that matters to you and draws on your core talents and abilities – if you are not, then yes, the happiness part isn’t going to work I’ve been in that situation before. When you can thrive on any chaos, and actually enjoy it, then you know you’ve found the right place. If it truly is a grind, then get out!

If I can offer any useful advice through these self described “ramblings”, it is exactly this – if you aren’t happy with your work life, take whatever steps you can to change, and keep trying until you too can stop worrying and love the “daily grind”. While I know it’s easy to feel “locked in” and be afraid to take a chance and make a change – I’ve been there – the rewards are well worth the effort.

James Michener spoke much more eloquently about the “happy place” I’m talking about in this famous quote:

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both”

While I’m no master yet, that’s what I’m shooting for. Now it’s back to the chaos – have a great rest of the week!


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