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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

The Blog + Video Series #6: COVID-19 and the Art of Possibility

Possibility: Noun – a thing that may happen or be the case.

I’ve been thinking more about possibility this week. What’s possible in our new landscape? Are the same things possible today, as were possible 6 months ago?

Not sure? Me either, so let’s take a look.

The Art of Possibility is about creating a context. A context specific to new ways to think about old and or new problems or issues. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what is possible in a given situation.

The psychology of possibility is rather simple. Let go of the past, be in the present, and create the future from where you stand today, seeing reality as it is.

Not how we think it is, rather how it really is.

Seeing reality as it really is means being aware of our thinking patterns, and knowing when we are limiting ourselves by presuming or assuming we know all there is to know about a problem, issue, or situation we are faced with. Factually, humans know very little – if you don’t believe this blogger, read a little Socrates.

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The sociology of possibility involves creating traction with those around us in the art of possibility. As I’ve written elsewhere, humans are social animals, and rely upon connections with other humans.

It is only natural then that groups will function in accordance with the language they use to describe their shared reality. If that language is about limitation then limitation is what they will see and create.

If, however, that language is about possibility, then possibility is what they will see and create.

The possibility of possibility is about remaining open to new ideas, new understanding, and letting go of the notion that we know. Seems simple, yet can be difficult, as human beings are in some ways programmed to think they know more than they do, which is where vulnerability comes in.

Being open means being vulnerable.

Be vulnerable today in some way. Create and share a possibility with someone in your context, and, or create and share a possibility here. Either way, create and share. What else is there, really?

#covid-19, #creativity, #knowing, #learning, #possibilities, #possibility, #psychology, #sociology, #theartofpossibility, #vulnerability, #vulnerable

An Inquiry and Invitation Series 1: Imagination, Innovation, and Sociology?

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Have you ever thought about how the imagination works? I’ve not considered it overmuch, yet have been considering it more recently.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world is working to conceptualize new businesses, lifestyles, relationships, organizational structures, and staffing models.

There really is no safe haven from the need to innovate continuously right now. If you find yourself in a situation where creating new ways to conceptualize the aforementioned is unnecessary, I believe you are in the minority.

If you find yourself in the situation, like many, where the need to continuously innovate is your ever present reality. Breathe.

I’m thinking that a cursory look at imagination and innovation within a sociological context is an important inquiry. And, I think this inquiry is more important today than ever before. Why?

Because innovation is hard work. You can find yourself, as happens to me often, feeling frayed around the edges, and very tired. Yet, you must continue to persist.

Why? Because persistence inside of innovation is necessary and needed. The imagination, you ask? The imagination makes it all work.

Alright, so what does sociology have to do with the imagination?

As we’ve discussed in other posts, sociology is the study of group behavior. It is the study of how groups, and people within those groups, understand their place in a social and or cultural context. How they move, or are limited in movement, how they adapt, change, grow, work, and live.

Inquiring into imagination and innovation from a sociological perspective means taking a look at how innovation and imagination works in groups. Here are a couple of questions to get our inquiry started?

  • How do groups use their collective potential to utilize imagination in unique and innovative ways?
  • What are some strategies people can use to get the most out of their own imagination; and, harness the groups they belong to, to create innovative possibilities?
  • What does sociology have to do with imagination and innovation?

Okay, let’s start with these, and see what we get.

How do groups use their collective potential to utilize imagination in unique and innovative ways?

Though I can only speak to groups I’ve been a part of, I believe they probably function quite similarly, with some variance in the amount of creative output dependent on the members of the group.

For instance, in my current workgroup, we went from somewhat creative, to more creative in about 2 years, to very creative in year 3, and now, hyper-creative. Why the latter? Necessity.

As I’ve mentioned, the current state of reality right now demands it. You must stay on top of innovation, and your own personal and professional imagination is the gateway.

Here are some ways groups use their collective potential to imagine and innovate.

  • Share ideas with each other, all of them – often people are shy or fearful about sharing their creative potential, their own imagination to innovate. Don’t be. Share, and create, it is an awesome process.
  • Take people’s ideas further – when you are working with someone on a project, and they have an idea, take it further if you can. Step outside of timidness, and give all of your imaginative power to the project. You will get more innovation this way.
  • Step into ideas that live at the edge of what’s possible – live in a limitless space when you are imagining and innovating. Stay away from limits. Putting limits on your imagination, limits the project’s possibility.
  • Continue to reflect – even when you are not directly working on the project, continue to reflect upon the last conversation. You may get more imaginative insights, which will make your project more innovative.

What are some strategies people can use to get the most out of their own imagination; and, harness the groups they belong to, to create innovative possibilities?

There are many strategies you can use to kickstart your imagination. And, there are also various strategies to keep your imagination moving. Meaning, strategies to keep you open to more possibilities in the realm of the project you are working on. Let’s take a look at some of these.

  • Just get those ideas out – any way you can, get your ideas out of yourself, and into the world, somewhere, anywhere. Where and how matters less, than simply getting them out. An aside – once my oldest son came into my office, which was plastered with very large whiteboard post-its, and both white board walls were also full. He felt a little uneasy. He is now at a local company doing a computer science internship, and just recently shared with me that he understands the process of pouring forth your imagination in a whole new light. Get your ideas out.
  • Invite others to give you their insights – when you have your ideas out, have other people give you their insights. I find collaboration inside of imagination and innovation highly productive. You will find that they will take some of your ideas further, and then, guess what? You will take their additions to your ideas even further. A wonderful gift.
  • Let the ideas sit for a little while – one strategy I employ everyday inside of using my imagination to innovate is to let the newest ideas sit. Then I take time to reflect upon the ideas to see what other insights I get. Fun. I always get more insight after the initial creative output and collaboration.
  • Create a plan – as I’ve written about in many other posts, in order for your imaginative output to actually create innovative results, you must create a plan to bring the ideas into the world. Create a 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day plan, step 1, 2, 3, etc., to bring the project into the world.
  • Take action – once you have your plan in place, take at least one action a day. In order for a plan to actual bring forth your ideas, you will have to create time to actually work on the project. Too often projects fail, even with great ideas, because the actions to bring the project to life are not followed through on.

There are five very pragmatic strategies that, when used on a daily basis, will bring your imaginative potential to bear, and create more innovation within whatever context you are wanting to develop new possibilities.

What does sociology have to do with imagination and innovation?

How important is it to understand well those people you are in a relationship with? Yep, very. It is equally important to understand the groups you belong to just as well.

You must understand who in the group is the most imaginative and innovative. Why? Because you will know where to go for collaborative insight into the projects you are working on. Important.

And, to understand groups, it is important to understand how groups work, how they function within the greater context that the group belongs to.

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For instance, if you are on a team within a larger organization, you need to know what are the limits on your creative possibilities. How is the group looked upon within the organization? Are they seen as an innovation center? Or, are they required to work within a more strict protocol?

After working on my current team, I can tell you that a mandate for any future endeavor will have to include the ability to imagine, innovate, and create. A must. A dealbreaker for me if it is missing.

However, if you are not thinking about these questions and concepts before taking on a new job, or project, and you are an imaginative and innovative person, you may get stuck in a situation that limits your potential. Not helpful, and can feel quite limiting and restricting.

I should add here that we are all imaginative and innovative. Sometimes that imagination and innovation gets covered up with concepts like adulthood and being grown up. Sad, and unnecessary.

The most productive and timeless contributions to history are made by those with no limits. Who take on their work and their projects with a sense of play.

Creating possibilities through their imagination and innovative ideas, while also bringing those around them into the conversation to take their playful ideas even further. Wonderful, exciting, and really being alive.

An Invitation

Alright, your turn. I know well that we all think differently, and use different strategies to imagine and innovate, so I would love to hear from you. And, here is a question you can play with, or feel free to create your own, which would be very much in line with this post.

What do you think about imagination and innovation, and their relation to sociology, and understanding well the groups we work with?

#creativity, #group-behavior, #imagination, #innovation, #innovative-possibilities, #innovative-strategies, #inquiry, #invitation, #play-at-work, #possibilities, #sociology, #work-as-play