3 Ways to Find Greater Clarity Through Disruption

 

If you want greater clarity when it comes to your vision for the future, then disruption may be your best solution. Now, I know this may seem counterintuitive, because when we think of disruption, we mostly focus on the negative feelings that come with it, like disappointment, failure, and regret.

In fact, we’re conditioned to avoid it at all costs, because of what we stand to lose (time, money, status), while little attention is paid to what can be gained from this experience. That's why it’s time we changed our relationship to disruption and acknowledge that we stand to benefit hugely from the greater clarity that a disruptive force can bring into our lives. 

 

Why? Because often the most clarifying moments for us are when our well-established routines, ideas, and assumptions we’ve made about how the world is supposed to work are suddenly brought to a halt. 

 

Take a second and think about a significant moment in your life where you gained greater clarity on a particular situation or a problem that needed to be solved. Did that come about without a significant change to your routines, ideas, or assumptions? Of course not! More often than not, clarity requires that you acknowledge someone else having a better, more efficient, or more accurate understanding of a situation than you do. They saw something you missed. All of us want greater clarity in almost every part of our lives, but few of us acknowledge the discomfort and humility it requires. 

 

Well established patterns, routines, and ideas, while they maybe beneficial at first, eventually lead to complacency, which I think is important to define here: complacency is “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.” It would seem that it’s “complacency,” not “disruption,” that should be avoided. Complacency shrouds our clarity, while disruption brings our defects into the light. If clarity is what you seek, you have to invite disruptive thoughts, ideas, and practices into your routine and strategy.

 

So with that in mind, here are three things you can do to gain greater clarity more consistently:

 

  1. First, recognize that “clarity” without disruption is just tunnel-vision. Think about it. Maintaining clarity is how we ensure we stay on a path that will lead us to our vision. Having greater clarity means we can see where we are going and where potential obstacles and pitfalls may cause problems as we move forward. It allows us to make better and more informed decisions about our next steps. Without allowing new disruptive ideas and technologies to shed light on your options going forward, you will miss important opportunities. You just won’t see that these options are out there until it’s too late.
  2. Second, understand that disruption is essential for long term sustainable growth. Think about the boom in fitness regimes and philosophies just in the last several years. Crossfit, P90x, Insanity (and I’m sure there are many others that fit this description) all have one thing in common: to disrupt the body’s normal regime by throwing in unexpected changes and levels of intensity, thereby forcing the body to adapt and get stronger. This is a great metaphor for what disruption can do for our strategy, if we allow it. We become highly adaptive and better able to weather the changes that the future brings. 
  3. Third we must recognize that disruption can be both accidental and intentional. By “accidental,” I’m simply referring to outside forces that you’ve unintentionally collided with. This is the experience most of us have. But, we do ourselves a disservice to solely equate “disruption” with the unexpected. Disruption can also be an intentional act that you bring upon yourself. In particular, intentionally challenging those things that may be keeping you in the proverbial dark tunnel, such as your mindset, assumptions, biases, and beliefs about what’s possible. Self-disruption is an important practice if you want to expand your awareness and your opportunities for growth. 

 

You have two ways of approaching change and disruption. You can stick your head in the sand until your strategy fails to hold. OR...

You can seek clarity about your situation and future prospects by intentionally incorporating disruption into your actual strategy and routine.

Here's a few ways to get started:

  • Seek out new ideas and practices.
  • Experiment with those that have the potential to serve or enhance your vision for the future.
  • Welcome whatever can shed light on the defects or flaws in your current strategy.

If greater clarity is what you seek, then allow disruption to be your teacher.

 

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