Recently I had the chance to drive in an F1 car at the Circuit of the America's. It was an experience that is difficult to explain, and somewhat overwhelming.
They don't tell you, before the driver punches the accelerator, how the powerful F1 engine affects your eyes. At speeds over 130 mph, your eyes actually start to vibrate in your eye sockets. The result is blurred vision; everything around you becomes a blur of electric color whizzing by.
Once I saw the blur, I started to panic. The chaos that this unnatural occurrence around me caused was overwhelming, to say the least.
What was more overwhelming to me, was the fact that the guy driving the car was calm and in control (while I was sweating)! So how did this guy keep his cool? Were his eyes able to overcome the blur from the crazy speeds?
Once I had squeezed out of the tight cockpit I asked him, "How long do you have to drive before your eyes stop getting blurry?"
His cool reply shocked me, "They never stop, you just get used to the blur."
I was amazed- in the moment I didn't think anyone could possibly get used to what I had just experienced. Then again, this was my first time in an F1 car. Later that day I was able to take another lap, and it was considerably more predictable and less intense. I wondered what would happen after dozens of laps?
Sometimes a business is a lot like that F1 car. Things feel like they are moving so fast, that we struggle with finding a solid target within the blur.
So how can we become like the driver, and adjust to the chaos?
We first have to accept that this driver was driving fast cars since he was six years old. At one point in his life, the chaos created by the blur of vision from incredibly high speeds was just as uncomfortable as it was for me. However, the more he drove in intense high speeds, the more adjusted to he became to the chaos around him.
Now, I am not advocating that you seek out chaotic situations so you can become good at them. Use the driver as an example of reassurance-as you run your business, you too will gain experience to see through what would be a blur to someone else.
However, we can approach chaos with some simple steps:
- Find some quiet time- Try to give yourself some space to be grounded. I would recommend journaling during this time, and using it to plan your course of action intently within your situation. Giving your brain space to sort through the chaos, will allow you to adjust more quickly to it.
- Be flexible- Understand that chaos is not forever; the blurred vision will eventually clear. Remember, during these times of stress and chaos, you will be gaining an immense amount of experience. Allow yourself to be stretched, and you will be surprised at the knowledge you will gain.
- Find Opportunity- Instead of panicking, find the opportunity in your situation. Use your quiet time to solidify where those areas are. So when things get blurry, you can use those opportunities as solid targets to help you easily function within the blur.
Also remember to acknowledge your progress after the chaos subsides. You drove through the blur and did not crash! Use this confidence next time in the face of chaos; instead of stepping on the brake, you can step on the gas and propel right through it.
It is during the times of greatest chaos that we learn the most, and gain the experience we need to truly push towards accomplishing even greater feats.
So next time you feel out of control in chaos, like I did flying around the track, know that these lessons you are learning will be with you forever.
Alex & Cadey Charfen are the Co-Founders of the Charfen Institute.