From Confusion to Clarity Part 2: Think About Confusion and Clarity as A Relatable System

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Why is understanding the world as a system important? Hm. Well, if you consider all that you know, feel, and see as unrelated, it feels precarious. Like we are sort of floating around, devoid of any relation to each other, and all that we see, feel, and know.

If we, however, consider the world, and all that we know, feel, and see as a connected system, it provides a grounding of sorts.

In From Confusion to Clarity Part 0: Change As A System of Related Parts, I write about considering confusion and clarity as part of a related system. And, then in From Confusion to Clarity Part 1: From Confusion to Clarity in 5 Simple Steps, I write about 5 steps you can take to move yourself from confusion to clarity.

Now let’s consider confusion and clarity as a system using the system we used to consider change. Ready? Let’s go.

First, let’s redefine our system of change, and the related parts. It looks like this.

Alright, now let’s take a look at confusion and clarity within this same system. It looks like this.

Alright, there we go. Now, as we did with change as a system of related parts, let’s go through each of these.

Order and Clarity

When things are ordered we feel a sense of clarity. When they are not, we don’t. What does it really mean to have clarity?

Let’s define clarity.

clarity 

noun/ˈklærət̮i/ [uncountable] 

  1.  the quality of being expressed clearly
    1. a lack of clarity in the law
    2. The brilliant clarity of his argument could not be disputed.AWL Collocations
  2. the ability to think about or understand something clearly
    1. clarity of thought/purpose/vision.

There we go.

Now, if the external world is occurring in a way that makes sense to us internally, we can say that we have some sense of clarity. And yes, clarity, like most things, lives along a continuum. Meaning that some people have more clarity, and some less.

There are, of course, other internal factors that contribute to our sense of clarity. What are those? How we eat and drink, and how we exercise and sleep are very important in the clarity department.

As we can see then, there are two ways to think about clarity and order. That which we see as ordered externally, and that which we feel as ordered internally.

Either way, when a change occurs externally or internally, it can disrupt our clarity, and cause disorder. What kind of change? Any change really. However, the larger the change is, the more disorder we will know, feel, and see. And, the more subtle the change, the less disorder.

Know that there is always change. Sometimes the change is so small we don’t actually notice it. However, when the change is large, like COVID-19, we definitely notice.

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Disorder and Confusion

When there is a large change, there will be lots of disorder, both external and internal. The level of disorder and the confusion that follows will depend on your particular context. Meaning, how much you are affected by the change.

Now, let’s define confusion.

confusion

noun  /kənˈfjuːʒn/ /kənˈfjuːʒn/

  1.  [uncountable, countable] a state of not being certain about what is happening, what you should do, what something means, etc.
    • The announcement caused a lot of confusion.

Very good.

With a change like COVID-19 the level of external change for everyone has been high. However, the level of change still lives along a continuum. For instance, if you work in the medical field, your level of change is very high.

Likewise, if you are a small business owner, very high as well. Depends on what you do, where you live, and how much the change is impacting you and your life.

The higher the external change, the more disorder and confusion you may know, feel, and see. However, the level of disorder and confusion is directly correlated to the amount of internal disorder and confusion you feel.

If, for instance, you have high levels of resilience, you may feel less disorder and confusion than someone with lower levels of resilience.

Therefore, someone with higher levels of resilience will begin reordering their life and perspective more quickly than someone with lower levels. Important.

Because clarity and confusion are a relatable system, we know that disorder and confusion will eventually stabilize for everyone. Because human beings are resilient, we are always reordering that which we know to be true about the world, even when we are unaware of doing so.

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Reorder and Translate

As we begin to reorder our perspective and lives, we essentially take the new information (due to the change we’ve experienced), and translate it into chunks of information that fit into our worldview.

We then assimilate the new information into what we know, feel, and see. We, in essence, make the change we’ve experienced, or are experiencing, “normal.”

Meaning that we shift what we know, feel, and see to ensure they are conducive to our new reality.

There is always the possibility of resistance. Of course, this also happens. Yet, to survive any change, we must, at some point, begin to reorder and translate our new reality into something we can understand. Something we can understand and ultimately thrive through.

Yet, like all concepts we’ve discussed, thriving also lives along a continuum. Meaning that some people will thrive more during change, and others less so.

There is also a correlation between thriving and resilience. Therefore, the higher your levels of resilience, the more likely you are to thrive during change.

And, guess what? Just as we reorder our internal and external realities to thrive during the present change, another change happens, and the confusion to clarity system begins anew again. Yep.

Again, with smaller changes, we may not be aware of traveling through the system from clarity to confusion, and back again. Depends on our level of awareness, how observant we are, and how sensitive we are to change.

Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash

Order and Clarity

Back in an ordered world, both externally and internally, we have more clarity. We know, feel, and see more clarity. We’ve done the work necessary, whether we are aware or not, of moving ourselves through a relatable system from clarity through confusion and back to clarity. Phew.

Imagine that this system happens over and over and over again. Again and again, all the time. Anytime we face a change, no matter how small or how large.

Of course, as was aforementioned, the larger the change, the more we are aware of moving from clarity through confusion, and back to clarity.

Why is it important to understand confusion and clarity as a relatable system?

Well, confusion can be scary. When COVID-19 began to take hold here locally, I was very confused. I remember being at work, sometime around March 12, and saying or thinking, not sure which, something like, nah, they won’t close the college. Phew, little could I have imagined what was about to occur.

It is important to understand our own confusion, where it comes from, and why we have it when we do.

Likewise, understanding confusion and clarity as a system can reduce anxiety and fear of the unknown inside of larger changes, like the pandemic.

Knowing that we will eventually work ourselves back to order and clarity is important. We must know, however, that confusion will come again. It has to. The world is full of chaos and confusion.

We believe the world is ordered and stable. Well, philosophically that is not so. And, it is also not practically so. Both.

If anyone you know has ever argued against the last statement, ask them now. COVID-19 has shown everyone that the world they know, feel, and see as stable and constant is not constant and stable. Constancy and stability are an illusion.

The world is chaotic and unstable. Yet, remember, change, like clarity, comes and goes, just like everything else on this planet. Including us.

Definitions taken from Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries.

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From Confusion to Clarity Part 0: Change As A System of Related Parts

August 16, 2020

It occured to me after writing, From Confusion to Clarity Part 1: From Confusion to Clarity in 5 Simple Steps, that there was a need to create a post about the context of change. How and why change occurs, prior to thinking about the distinction between developmental growth and transformation.

I created the above video for this purpose. Let’s also discuss it here for a few moments.

A system of change?

Change is actually a rather ordered system. Meaning that it always occurs, and in a similar manner, no matter how small or large. Important to remember that even when we don’t notice, change is always happening. Always. Alright, let’s take a look at this system.

Here are the four parts.

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Photo by Yan Ots on Unsplash

1. Order

We live, work, and love, and we do so in an ordered system. Yes? Meaning that we order our world. It’s different for everyone, yet everyone has some sort of way they order their lives. Even if we don’t write out our goals, objectives, and priorities, we have them, and know them. At home and at work.

We believe that how we order our lives is unchanging. Solid. Stable. Then what?

Something Changes

Most recently, COVID-19. Massive amounts of change. Changing all that we thought we previously knew about our ordered lives. At home and at work.

Creating a necessity to pivot businesses, and create new goals, objectives, and priorities. Yes, in business, and yes, at home. Both. Personally and professional, we’ve all been affected.

When this happens we all go into disorder. With the scale of change that COVID-19 created, the whole world went into disorder.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

2. Disorder

In disorder, we are trying to understand what is happening. Confused, worried, fearful, yes. And, at the same time, we are in survival mode. What can we do? How can we do it?

Moving anything and everything forward that we can. Personally creating new ways to shop, to exercise, to socialize. Professional, creating new business models in our new reality. Everything delivered remotely. New engagement methods, new financial models, new everything. Right? Phew.

And then?

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Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

3. Reorder

Professionally, we begin to once again create longer term goals, objectives, and priorities. Sometimes going out a year, and working backwards to priorities for the next quarter, then the month, and then the day. Beginning to create a sense of order once again.

Personally, we also begin to think about longer term goals. Creating new ways to think about living inside of our new reality. What’s possible? How can we create it?

Then?

4. Order

We have a new order. Phew. Lot’s of work. And inside of this new order, we continue to move forward. Creating, moving, creating, moving, creating, moving. Again, and again. Life.

Something Changes

Of course inside of this new ordered system, we must keep in mind that it is inevitable that another change will occur. It has to. It’s part of the system we call life.

And, what happens when that change occurs. The cycle starts all over again. Really, it does. Here.

  1. Order
    1. Change
  2. Disorder
  3. Reorder
  4. Order
    1. Change
  5. Order

And so on.

Another thing to note is that even the most subtle changes cause this system to move. It is always moving. We may not notice it, yet it is there. In the background it is always functioning.

Usually, it takes larger changes for us to notice.

Alright, that’s thinking about change as a system, which I think will be helpful in engaging with the aforementioned post on developmental growth and transformation.

Be well. Love well. Live well.

#change, #confusiontoclarity, #covid-19, #creatingnewpossibilities, #decreasingconfusion, #development, #disorder, #fromconfusiontoclarity, #growth, #increasingclarity, #livingunlimitedlives, #mindulness, #order, #orderedsystems, #reorder, #selfdevelopment, #systemofchange, #systemsofchange

From Confusion to Clarity Part 1: From Confusion to Clarity in 5 Simple Steps

Photo by imaad whd on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking a lot about limit and limitlessness this week; and, I’ve been thinking about the connection between knowing we are unlimited, and confusion and clarity.

Where do you suppose confusion comes from? Or, lack of clarity? And, how do you suppose limited thinking is connected to confusion? Lastly, how does having clarity reduce confusion, and our own limited thinking? Hm. Not sure. Well, let’s take a look.

Here’s what we’ll cover.

  1. Where does confusion and lack of clarity come from?
  2. How is limited thinking and confusion connected?
  3. How does having clarity reduce limited thinking?
  4. 5 Simple steps you can take to reduce confusion and increase clarity.

Here we go.

1. Where does confusion and lack of clarity come from?

A lot of confusion comes from over active minds. In some ways, human beings are programmed to think and think and think. Think about the past, think about the future, yet not so much the present. The issue?

When we are thinking about the past or the future, we are not present. In these moments we are literally living in the past or the future. And, when we are not present, we are confused about our current reality.

We cannot see our current reality, right there in front of us, when we are thinking about what we should or could have done yesterday, or when we are thinking about what we are going to do tomorrow, next week, or next month. Impossible.

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

In a sense, we are confused and don’t even know it. How can this be? We are too busy thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, as we act today. When this happens we are living in yesterday or tomorrow.

All the while the present moment is being missed.

When this happens we also have less clarity. Simply because the mind is so busy thinking about other things, worrying about something that was said or not said, or something that was done or not done. When your mind is that active, you cannot have clarity. There is no space for it.

Clarity comes when we are able to leave the past in the past and the future in the future. Simple. Well, not really. Takes lots of practice. And, yet it is possible, and is quite amazing to have the space for more clarity. With more clarity, of course, comes more insight. Fun.

2. How is limited thinking and confusion connected?

When we are confused because we are focused on the past or future, we are also limiting our thinking. We are concentrating on events that are not in the here and now. Because we are not focused on the here and now, we are limiting the possibilities that live in the present moment. Limited.

Think about a time that someone asked you a question about a topic or event, and you, instead of being present to the conversation, started to think about how something similar didn’t work last time, or how the result will need to be this way or that way.

We are actively limiting the potential of the moment, because we are living in another time. Literally.

We have, in effect, created limitation. Important to note here that the limitation being created is not created intentionally. It just happens. That is why noticing when we are focusing on anything other than the present moment is important.

Limited thinking, then, is connected to confusion in that when we are confused we limit our thinking. Meaning that all the things that are possible in any given situation or event are limited. They are limited because we are paying attention to the past or the future instead of what is right in front of us.

Photo by Sep on Unsplash

3. How does having clarity reduce limited thinking?

As we’ve discussed, when there is less confusion there is more clarity. When we are focused on the present moment, we have more space for insight, and for all possibilities that might present themselves in that moment.

Conversely, when we are confused and are limiting our thinking, we have less space for those same insights and possibilities.

Therefore, clarity is created by focusing on the present moment, and letting go of thoughts about the past and future. Again, I know it sounds simple, and in language it is. In practice it is more difficult. Why?

As was aforementioned, we are in some ways programmed to focus on the past and the future. As I’ve written about in other posts, humans are meaning-makers. Which means that we are always creating meaning about what we are doing, and we are also always relating it to what we know.

And, what we know lives mostly in the past.

Additionally, we are socialized, especially in the U.S. to focus on results. When we are focused on a result, we are now focused on the future, not on the present.

Both focusing on the past and the future detract us from the present. What can we do to increase clarity and reduce confusion? Let’s take a look at 5 simple steps you can take to begin to increase your clarity.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

4. 5 Simple steps you can take to reduce confusion and increase clarity.

When you notice that you are thinking about past events, whether it is something you wish you wouldn’t have done, or something that you wish you would have done, shift your thinking to the present. It takes practice.

Notice without judgement. Once you are more aware of your thoughts, you may get frustrated when you catch yourself focusing on the past or the future.

It’s okay. Normal. Don’t beat yourself up. You are human.

When we get frustrated, we can actually create more confusion. Think about it. If you are focused on the past and you notice, and then get frustrated, you have now filled your mind with both the past and frustration in the present moment. More confusion.

If you get frustrated, notice that, and let it go. Again, it takes practice. Here are the steps again.

  1. Notice when your thoughts are in the past or future.
  2. Shift your attention to the present.
  3. Notice frustration if it arises.
  4. Let go of the frustration.
  5. Repeat again and again.

It works the same for future events. Same process, same steps.

Remember, we don’t create confusion and lack of clarity for ourselves intentionally. It just happens. However, there are steps you can take to increase clarity and reduce confusion. How to begin? One step at a time.

And, when you get frustrated, which will invariably happen, remember that frustration will only attract more confusion. Take it slow. Breathe. Practice. And, please give yourself the grace you deserve.

#becominglimitless, #fromconfusiontoclarity, #frustration, #increaseclarity, #increaseyourclarity, #limitedthinking, #limitlessness, #noticefrustration, #pastandfuture, #possibilities, #potentialofthepresentmoment, #present, #reduceconfusion, #reduceyourconfusion, #shiftyourattention, #thepresentmoment, #unlimitedthinking