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How to Find Clarity in the Midst of Confusion

by Dr. Amy Johnson on October 13, 2014

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People really don’t like to be confused.

It feels so powerless…there’s a choice to be made, a decision at hand, and we’re unsure what to do. It’s enough to make anyone freak out a little bit.

Confusion itself is not a problem. It is a perfectly natural, totally self-correcting state, as this course will explain. It’s what we make of our confusion and what we do when we’re faced with it that really has us suffering.

We tend to instinctively try to “fix” our confusion or force a decision because that looks like the way to feel better.

But making a decision from within the thick mental fog of confusion only leads to poor decisions. And that makes everything worse.

Read (watch) on to get a different, far easier perspective on finding clarity when you don’t know what to do.

10 Big Ideas

1. Clarity is always there, but you don’t always see it

Your innate, default nature is full of clarity. When you’re not lost in temporary, personal thought, your mind clears a bit. When your mind clears a bit, you typically have a sense of direction. You naturally, instinctively know what to do next, because clarity is always there for you.

2. Thought (confusion) clears on its own, always, so there is nothing to do but wait

Not everything you think is confusing, but confusion always indicates that you are lost in thought.

Thoughts are sort of like clouds. They roll in and cover up the clear blue sky and bright, shiny sun. Then they roll out. Thought does the same thing. It rolls in and covers up your clarity, and then it rolls out.

As your thoughts start to break up a bit and your busy mind slows down, you reconnect with bright ideas. You start to feel a pull toward something.

There is nothing you have to do or even can do to force clarity. Simply wait for the clouds to pass.

3. New thought is always on the way

Do you ever wonder where new thought comes from?

It’s amazing, really. You can be minding your own business, just going through your day, when suddenly something you’ve never thought before pops into your head.

You didn’t make it happen. New, fresh thinking is a gift we’re given hundreds—if not thousands—of times each day.  None of us know what we’ll be thinking two minutes from now, which is such a testament to the availability of helpful, insightful thought at any time.

4. Keep letting the slate clear

Although new ideas are always possible, it can certainly feel like you’re stuck in the same old thinking day in and day out.

But here’s the thing—your internal slate is designed to clear. It does so all of the time and when it does, you’re back to home base where clarity and fresh ideas abound.

Your internal slate may not feel like it clears, but that’s only because we pay so much attention to the habitual stuff that shows up. Look for new thought, and you’ll find it. Look for how your slate clears, and I know you’ll see evidence of it.

5. When you feel confident, you’re warmer. When you feel confused, you’re colder

Here is an extremely simple rule of thumb: When you feel clear and confident—like you’re simply of the world, not thinking about it so much—you can trust your decisions and conclusions.

When your mind has relatively little on it, things feel easy. You can trust that feeling.

Conversely, when you’re feeling mentally full, confused, or lacking confidence, your decisions and conclusions are less trustworthy. They are being guided by a lot of subjective, biased, personal thought in those moments, so they aren’t decisions you want to bet on.

Begin to become suspicious of what you think when you’re not feeling confident or clear. Wait until you are in a clearer, more confident place to trust your thoughts. It’s much easier that way.

6. Good choices make themselves

Think about some of the best decisions you ever made. Those choices pretty much made themselves, didn’t they?

There is almost a sense of “you” not having a choice to make at all. It doesn’t feel like you “choose” the people you love, for example, or that you “choose” to do the things you most love to do. Many decisions feel like they are made for us and we simply follow suit.

Not all decisions will feel like that, that’s for sure, but some will feel closer to that end of the spectrum while others will feel further away.  At the far end, decisions might feel very mental and effortful, as if you are slugging through pros and cons and facts and figures to make them.

Those decisions are based on opinion, judgment, and personal thought, all of which is flimsy and subject to change.

7. Time lines and limitations are self-imposed and illusory

I know you may be arguing with me right now but I’m going to say it anyway: Most of the time lines and limitations you put on your choices are arbitrary and self-imposed.

You have far more flexibility than it may seem. You are far more able to take some liberties with your time and effort than you may be used to admitting.

8.  What is a “wrong” choice, anyway?

That you could possibly make a wrong choice is another illusion.

It can certainly feel that way. But calling a choice “wrong” is your opinion. Opinions aren’t truth, they are opinions. Opinions change, too.

I’m not talking about putting an intentionally positive spin on things or looking for the gifts in every choice you make (although those certainly aren’t bad ideas if it occurs to you to do that). I’m simply saying—if you believe a decision you’ve made is or could be wrong—how do you know?

There are always different ways of seeing things and your entire perspective can change in an instant.

9. You always have another chance to choose again.

Remember in Big Idea #4 when I talked about the slate clearing?

When you let your internal slate clear, and you stay in this moment rather than mentally living in the past or in the future, you find that you can always choose again.

If you don’t like the move you made, make another move.

The only “problem” would be if you decided that choosing again is not okay. But if you are okay with having (and maybe making) an infinite number of do-overs, you can choose again as often as you’d like.

10. Follow the energy

There is energy and momentum within you. It is moving you toward clarity.

It is safe and wise to let that momentum guide you.

What this means is that when you step away from your personal, opinionated thinking and just BE in the moment, you reconnect with your innate clarity and you get ideas. You get pulled toward something.

Follow that pull. It has your best interest at heart and will do most of the hard work in decision making if you let it.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Simeon Taiwo October 6, 2016 at 8:35 pm

This is really great. I’ve learnt so much from you, Dr. Amy Johnson. Thanks so much for sharing.

I’ve a question concerning decision making. Is it important that we take a long look into what we expect for the future before making an immediate decision or take an urgent step or do we just consider the present facts, figures and realities? What would you suggest, please?

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