Confused? Congratulations! How to use confusion to increase happiness, creativity and productivity.

Confused? Congratulations! How to use confusion to increase happiness, creativity and productivity.
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Do you know where you are going?

Do you know where you are going?

Marilyn Tam

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention ~ Tom Peters

Information floods into our consciousness continuously from many sources – news, social media, work and more – much of the information conflicts with each other. Inflation is going up; inflation indicators are steady; what inflation? Eggs are bad for your health; eggs are a great source of nutrition. Act after you get all the facts; move quickly to get first mover advantage. Etc. No wonder people are confused.

People in general prefer certainty to ambiguity. We don’t like holding opposing points of view; it causes anxiety because the perception of risk/danger increases. How can we flourish and thrive during today’s fast moving and confusing times?

I remember being afraid and hesitant to make a big decision because there were compelling pros and cons, and the stakes were very high. I felt confused and hesitant to do anything. What if I made a mistake? How can I recover? That one question to myself, “how can I recover” helped to move me forward. Once I knew that there’s a possibility of remedying the situation then I felt comfortable enough to start sorting out the next steps to a resolution. In the process of clarifying the possibilities, I made a much better decision than if I wasn’t confused. I learned a lot more, made some useful contacts and then based my decision on what really mattered.

Below is the process for clearing the confusion and making the best decision you can at the time. Things will change later but often we have to make a decision based on what we can determine within a certain amount of time. I developed this system for myself and the many people and businesses I’ve managed, coached and mentored:

  1. Admit that the situation is confusing. This in itself is freeing, to acknowledge that there are reasons for the doubt and puzzlement.
  2. Look for the bigger picture. Are you viewing the sky while sitting at the bottom of a well and thinking that’s all there is? Sometimes we may be focusing on part of the overall situation instead of seeing the total scenario.
  3. Research and list out all the points for and against the issue. Recognize that contradictory perspectives abound, and put more credence on sources you can trust.
  4. Weigh the factors against your principles. Ultimately we are more comfortable with our decisions if they are aligned with what we most hold dear. When our choice resonates with our core beliefs, our mind is at peace and we are able to be more creative, productive and happier.
  5. Develop a fall back plan. Even with best efforts, at times things don’t work out the way we want. Prepare for that contingency, this may include mental, strategic, physical and financial preparation and arrangements.
  6. Trust that all is unfolding as it should. And check regularly to adjust your follow through.

There you have it, in six steps you can go from worrying about the confusion to leveraging that uncertainty to better achieve your goals. Confusion is just another way for you to push yourself to excel and be happy.

Times of great calamity and confusion have been productive for the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace. The brightest thunder-bolt is elicited from the darkest storm.” Charles Caleb Colton

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