Shahriar Shahriari

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Creative Confusion

Chaos raises its ugly head everywhere. Confusion seems to be the order of the day. Change is the only constant, we are told. Everything is unstable, and nobody knows what is happening tomorrow.

Naturally we are all worried. Concerned for our jobs and businesses, for our savings and wealth, we try to take it one day at a time, and every night, we are grateful for making it through one more day.

But why? Simply because we have been trained to believe that stability and equilibrium are desirable. That constancy is a sign of maturity, wisdom and success. But this is not so.

Everywhere we look in nature, we find signs of disequilibrium, because disequilibrium is what creates a potential, a natural state of tension which then becomes fertile ground for creation of resolution.

Nature does not say "Oh my God, something is wrong. Things are changing too fast. I am confused. I am panicking." Nature very calmly looks the confusion in the eye, and then resolves to proceed with what it desires to create. And every time without fail, nature creates something new, which overshadows the old.

During a recent visit to mount St. Helens, I was amazed at the extent of devastation and destruction that took place. But more amazing than that was witnessing how life seemed to find its way back into the region. New plants and animals started growing back within weeks of the eruption, and today in the landscape one can witness new life flourishing next to the old devastation.

Every evolutionary jump in our natural history has taken place by allowing for a period of confusion and even complete chaos. The species in question seemed to have tried to evolve in every possible direction, and for some time it did. Until finally one direction became the predominant evolutionary change. Out of the confusion came the next direction of growth.

In our business world today, we seem to be standing on the brink of one of these evolutionary jumps. Our old institutions are undergoing change at a volcanic speed and scale. And all of us are running around, trying to survive day by day, waiting for the next evolutionary jump in our economy.

Perhaps we should have more faith in our economy and our own creativity. Perhaps we can recognize this confusion and chaos as a necessary step in the evolutionary growth of our economy. We should realize that confusion is good. It is fertile ground for creativity.

Instead of falling into the trap of our old training and giving in to desperation and panic, perhaps we can become more proactive and creative. Perhaps we can even use our imagination with such faith and confidence that we can steer the direction of our economic evolutionary growth.

Who knows, our idea which may have seemed insignificant to us, may just be that next evolutionary jump waiting to happen.

Shahriar Shahriari
May 1996
Vancouver Canada


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