In the last few weeks, I was listening to several podcasts by Joe Rogan with Jordan Peterson. Peterson says that our lives go back and forth between the domains of chaos and order.
You’re in the domain of order when your actions produce the results that you expect. You’re in the domain of chaos when your actions don’t produce the results that you expect.
I really like that definition of chaos and order. It’s relevant to us who dare to get out of their comfort zones or who are forced to get out of their comfort zones by life.
When you’re in uncharted waters, you inevitably get into the domain of chaos when your actions don’t produce the results that you expect.
The Back and Forth between Chaos and Order
Success requires going back and forth between the domains of chaos and order. You need to go into the domain of unknown, try a series of actions, and probably fail at most of them. You need to keep doing that until you succeed.
Once you find an action that succeeds, then your work is to bring that action into the domain of order. You build a system around it. You increase your efficiency. And you scale it. In other words, you make unknown known and bring order to chaos.
Edison and the Light Bulb
With his attempt to invent the light bulb, Edison went into the domain of the unknown. He failed at thousands of experiments to produce the light bulb. This is the exact definition of the domain of chaos by Jordan Peterson.
Forget the fact that we have the light bulb for a moment, and think about a man who fails thousands of times at his attempt to invent a piece of technology. What would you think about him? How would you feel if you were him? That must have been a frustrating process, isn’t it?
Once Edison found a setting that worked, he documented it, got a patent for it, and built a business around it. In Peterson’s terms, he brought it into the domain of order.
Edison’s light bulb venture fits into our requirement for success, which involves going back and forth between the domains of chaos and order.
Applications in Daily Life
You don’t need to be an inventor to benefit from the theory of the domains of chaos and order. You can use it in your daily life as well. I use it often in my day job.
My job requires learning a new piece of technology every once in a while. When that happens, I’m in the domain of chaos. I’m clueless. Most of the time, my actions don’t produce the results that I’m aiming for. That can be a frustrating process at times.
I learn by reading the existing documentation and through experimentation. I keep working on it until I get the expected results. Once I figure it out, I immediately start with the documentation process. This is how I bring that piece of technology from the domain of chaos to the domain of order for myself.
I use Evernote for documentation and tag my notes so that I can find them easily the next time I need them. As a result, I ended up with a knowledge library over the years, which is proven to be very useful when I have to deal with a piece of technology which isn’t documented anywhere else.
There is nothing worthwhile in the domain of known. You need to get into the domain of unknown to discover something valuable. Once you do that, you need to bring it back to the domain of order. That’s how you succeed.
Getting into the domain of chaos inevitably involves failures. A series of failures result in frustration. How are you going to deal with that frustration? That will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.