Monday , 17 June 2024

Confusion Is The Precurser of Clarity and Understanding

Confusion is often triggers us to surrender, which is sad becasue in most cases, confusion means that we are about to win the war. We are actually about to master some new idea, knowledge, or bit of wisdom that previouly seemed too complex.

I cannot tell you how many times people have told me that they gave up on something important to them because they felt confused.

Have you? Have you ever wanted something, perhaps even desired it, only to give up at the first sign of confusion (or within 10 or fifteen minutes of confusion’s arrival)?

There are certain types of organic disorders and brain injuries where confusion cannot or does not always lead to clarity and success. It is a persistent state. Yet, even in those case we are hot on the trial of drugs and treatments that may help. But for most of humans (and that probably includes you and me) the feeling of confusion is like Columbus’ sighting the new world.

What? Confused? Good. Because confusion is what we usually feel right before we make a break through in thinking and that break through is often a permanent expansion of our consciousness and our abilities.


Well, when we encounter new knowledge, new ways of looking at a problem, and new information, we just don’t have an existing neural path or mental system to simplify that knowledge or to fully process it. Confusion results.

Then, we try fitting that information into our old ways of thinking. When it doesn’t easily fit, we either give up – “I’m confused.” – or we try new ways of looking at that information. We experiment with how the new idea might work and how and why it is different from what we already know. We synthesize that information with ideas and existing knowledge that already serves us and that we understand. But the new synthesis is still more complex and we don’t have any experience. We haven’t tested the new ideas in the real world of out experience.

If we are willing to live with confusion (even for a short time), we might get a radically new way of looking at and solving problems, creating things or feeling about ourselves and the world.

So, confusion should be a welcome sensation. Stop looking at it as a sign of weakness of mind, but rather as strength of mind. It is the signal that you are about to make a new break through. And, once you combine that new information with your existing systems, problem solving tools and knowledge, your mind is richer and more powerful. Usually, clarity returns but it is an expanded and more capable clarity.

From now on welcome confusion as a sign to keep going and a warning that the solution is near.

So, here is to confusion! May it light the way to new worlds. Or may it at least help you find happiness and a new brand of beer, wine or a great new restaurant. You pick.

Dave Frees

Photo Credit: Let Ideas Compete