CONFUSION IS A LIE

Most of us think confusion just happens to us. We think it’s a real thing, a state of being. As if confusion signifies something real about our knowing or not knowing what to do.

But here’s the truth: Confusion is an emotion created by your thoughts. Most often by the literal thought “I’m confused,” or “This is confusing.”

Confusion is such a waste of time, and yet we love it so. Why?

One reason we like to stay confused is because we don’t want to take responsibility for making decisions. We’re terrified of how we will think and feel if we decide something and feel it was the wrong choice later.

Another reason we stay confused is we’re giving future circumstances the power to create our feelings. We believe the circumstances that may arise from our choice will create our feelings. This creates what I call “analysis paralysis.” If we don’t believe we can manage our minds in the future, we fear what our unmanaged minds will do to us.

Fundamentally, confusion is a sign of an unmanaged brain in two ways:

1. You aren’t managing your mind because you are accepting “I don’t know,” or “I am confused,” as an answer and believing you can’t change your confusion or that certainty will just magically arrive.

2. You’re believing that in the future you will not be able to manage your mind either. So rather than know you can decide how to think and feel no matter what circumstances or results happen from making a choice, you are abandoning yourself to the mercy of your unmanaged mind in the future.

Here’s how you stop being confused: You just decide.

Stop taking “I don’t know” as an answer from yourself. If I let my clients say, “I don’t know,” I would literally never be able to coach them. Your brain will always prefer to say “I don’t know,” because knowing requires attention and effort. Your brain would rather take a nap.

The second thing you can do is stop believing the thought “I am confused.” You don’t feel confused because of all the different options—you feel confusion as an emotion because you’re saying the words “I am confused” in your brain.

But the deepest level of eliminating confusion in your life comes from understanding and eliminating the source of the confusion.

There are two categories of confusion, with two different distorted thoughts underlying them.

One is confusion about what someone else is doing, saying, or thinking.

The distorted thought underlying this confusion is the idea you need to understand someone else’s thoughts, words, or actions. You only think you need clarity, so you can decide what to think and feel, but you can decide what to think and feel for yourself no matter what they are thinking, saying, or doing! All you need to know is what you want to think, how you want to feel, and what actions you want to take (or results you want to create). Then you come up with thoughts to achieve those.

The other thought distortion that underlies confusion is that it’s possible to make a right or wrong decision.

There is no such thing. How do you know if a decision is right or wrong? Only by having a thought about it. The only way you know if a decision is right or wrong is if your brain looks at whatever results you have, or new circumstances you are in, and thinks, “welp—that was a mistake!”

It’s just a thought in your mind, not objective reality. Your brain must analyze what it sees and judge it to know if it’s “right” or “wrong.” It’s just a thought. And whatever your thoughts are, you can manage them. That’s what this work is all about!

Confusion is caused by believing one decision is right, the other is wrong, and your happiness or success depends on choosing the right one. But they don’t. Your happiness and success depend on your thoughts. And when you understand you can always choose how you want to think and feel, there’s no reason to fear the future.

Comments

  1. Rebecca

    As one who experiences a state of confusion around all manner of issues on a nearly daily basis, I absolutely *love* this post. And the whole thing about trying to figure out what is going on with someone else! Wow! I’ve recently been hung up on that, devoting substantial psychic energy and time, in a person situation and a work context. But right! *I* can decide what to think and feel regardless of them. Woohoo! Thanks so much, Kara — you rock!

    1. Kara Loewentheil

      Yes – giving up puzzling about what other people are thinking saves SO MUCH TIME!

  2. Kristin

    I feel like in general I am a lot more indecisive than confused in my everyday life. Does that have any play here?

  3. Edith

    I haven’t read anything that put it this bluntly and clearly. Very useful and insightful post!

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