No Plan Survives Contact


I liked a Huff Post article today by Alena Hall explaining coping mechanisms for nurses. One of the great parts of the article is the explanation by the author of fractals and chaos theory.  Now you probably don't have time for mind bending theories of the universe, and frankly neither do I. We can save the true rocket science for another day and just pull out the stuff that works, whether or not you're a nurse.

Here's what works for all of us:  chaos theory by definition tells us things change. Duh!  We all shrug, and say, Knew that! What we don't know, or at least can't see as it's happening, is the process of chaos itself.  Get this, the process itself is very predictable. Nothing stays the same. Yes, that's unpredictable, we all get that piece, but it's the unpredictable event that then causes predictable patterns of response or reaction.  What Hall is doing with nurses we can all do. Saying, hey, I don't know what's going to happen, but when it does there are things I can do that shift the unpredictable into manageable. And that's all most of us need. Manageable. 

Here's one of the phrases I use with clients to help them deal with the chaos of their work life:  no plan survives contact. The US Naval Academy teaches this to the Plebes on their first day.  They consider it one of the most important lessons of a future Naval Officers' career. No plan, no matter how well crafted and well thought out, will play out the way we think it will. Know that, prepare for that, and most of the situations in life will be less .....chaotic!