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The Familiar Comfort of Confusion

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One of the themes that came up over and over again at my Creating Irresistible Presence event was how comforting it is to feel confused.

What?

How can confusion be comforting?

Because it is familiar. Because it keeps us from committing. Because it absolves us of responsibility.

Some pretty nice payoffs if you ask me.

Being trapped in confusion is like a dog chasing its tail. Lots of energy is spent going round and round, feeling really busy, but making no forward commitment whatsoever. Commitment means risk. And if we humans are anything, we are risk averse.

See, here’s the thing. The topics I talk about a lot are clarity, confidence and courage. People say they want them. And then they sit and wait. And wait. And wait.

Or they run around taking a ton of courses, reading a ton of books, talking to a ton of people. All in the hopes of  clarity, confidence and courage suddenly appearing and instantly changing everything.

It doesn’t work that way. In fact, it works in the opposite direction.

We move in the world as if we are clear, as if we are confident, as if we are courageous. Then and only then do these qualities come to us.

So how do we move in the world in this way?  The answer is simple. (I didn’t say easy. I said simple.)

We make a decision. We challenge our confusion. We ask:

“What would I say if I did know?”

“How would I act if I were confident?”

“What would I do if I were courageous?”

And we do those things. We PRACTICE being those things. We strengthen those muscles by working them, just like we strengthen our physical muscles by working them. And, as we all know, going to the gym requires a decision. 🙂

Another way to challenge our confusion is by using something author Julia Cameron calls “Filling the Form”. The idea here is that when we are pondering the answers to questions, we aren’t allowed to leave anything blank. We have to put SOMETHING in the form. Once we have something there, we can work with it. Do we like that or not? Do we want to go closer to it or further away? What if we refined it like this?

Get the idea?

Leaving questions unanswered simply allows us to claim “confusion” as our reason for staying exactly where we are.

So today I challenge you to leave the comfort of confusion behind. Move forward. Decide. Today. Right now.

And then tell me all about it in the comments because I cannot WAIT to hear!!

(If you want to talk more about this confusion thing, I held a livestream chat about it earlier this week. You can catch the recording here : bit.ly/nH9FJe)

 

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  • Oh Sarah that pesky Filling The Form thing hehehe

    I know we’re not born confused because babies know exactly what they want and how to get it.  At what point did we lose/forget that ability?  I guess that’s not really the question here but it is something I’m sure I’ll stew on for a while.

    Thanks for a reminder (to me anyway) about Confusion. It’s really no place to be.

    xoxo

    Lori F

  • Confusion does absolve us from responsibility. That’s why we cling to it like a kid with a security blanket. It’s comfy like you said. If we’re confused then we suddenly don’t have to worry about why we aren’t making progress. We don’t have to think, analyze and make hard decisions. We don’t have to do anything – because we’re confused. 

    Getting clear on what you want means you can’t hide behind the excuse of “I don’t know” anymore. It means you actually have to put in the work – the HARD work. That means facing the unknown, failure and all sorts of other gremlins. But without letting go of confusion, you’ll never move forward. You’ll never reach your potential. You’ll never pass GO and collect $200. And that’s a shame.

  • Great post.  I’ve never looked at “confusion” in this way before, but you know, it makes perfect sense.  Sometimes I have claimed confusion, when really it has been a lack of commitment.  Wow.  You really hit the nail on the head.  Thanks!

  • I loved how you said (or how I heard) that we can fill the form w/ inklings if concrete responses weren’t ready.

    Kind of reminds meof asking someone to think about two things they like AND THEN TELL HIM/HER TO “SAY THE ONE THAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU NOW, NOW!” and the person blurts out the thing that matters most. Magic!

    Yeah, it’s cool to have that form (partially?) filled out…even if at least in pencil. 🙂

  • Crystal

    The link to the  audio doesn’t work :(… could it be fixed? I’d love to hear more on this subject!

  • Susan Lim

    Great post!
    I am confused whether I am comfortable or uncomfortable being in confusion. I thought I am always uncomfortable. However, this gives me a new perspective and make me think twice. I might have been settling in staying confused. 

    Susan Lim