Do You Feel Confused?

Feeling confused happens. It’s happened to me and I’m sure its happen to you. It seems to happen cyclically like most things. I go through periods where I feel very certain and committed about my goals and tasks then a short while later I may feel confused and frustrated. 

This can happen when I finish a goal and have not set a new one. Alternatively, it occurs when I have forgotten why my long term goal is important and my priorities have changed. Other times it happens when I realize that my current activity will not ultimately achieve my long term goal. Or, ultimately I may just feel tired and need to rest. Its all so confusing and frustrating at these times.

Sometimes I feel confused because something feels wrong and I don’t know what that is. It is even worse when I feel like I should be doing something but don’t know what that something is. This is really messed up, but solvable. I notice that when I sit down to define my problem or decision I’m confused about in specific detail then I pretty much always am able to come to a good resolution.

If you’re confused and you’re having trouble writing out your problem ask yourself questions or find an app that will help through a personal audit and discover what is bothering you. Then, write a specific problem statement and define your resolution goal which is the opposite of your problem statement. Prioritization is important. Write short, medium, and long term impacts to that problem. This will help you focus on solving and making decisions about problems that are the most important. Once you resolve the most important problems then you can shift to the nice to haves. 

Generally, it also helps to write or speak in a stream of consciousness then analyze and organize later. Confusion can happen because something is overwhelming and you may not be in the right mindset to solve it. Get your thoughts out of your head by speaking into a recording device or writing them down. Later figure out what they mean or what to do about them. Often you may realize that you’ve solved your problem just by getting it out of your head and seeing it from a third person perspective. 

Next, brainstorm solutions. Read what other people have written about your problem, watch YouTube videos, and talk to other people about their ideas. 

Once you have enough solutions about how to solve a problem list the pros and cons of each decision alternative. The pros should align your long term goal while the cons take you further away from it. 

Allocate a specific time period and define a due date so you don’t get stuck in each step of the process. Your goal is to eventually reduce confusion and make good long term decisions in the most efficient way by following a systematic process. 

In the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman they talk about first and second systems. The first system is fast and automatic while the second is slow and deliberate. You need both to function well. Think of the first system as your animal instinctual mind while your second is your logical rational mind.  When the two systems are in conflict and/or imbalanced I believe that you get confusion.

That said, I feel like there is too much emphasis on the second system and not enough put on the first system. The second system exists to guide and manage while the first system is used to reduce overall effort and focus on day to day activity. Therefore, focus on how to create good habits and eliminate the need to make choices with your second mind on a daily basis. That will then allow your first system to function automatically to move closer towards a goal and feel less out of alignment with the second system.

Generally, following a systematic process to reduce your number of daily decisions will allow you to feel less confused and more certain because you’ll have the energy to focus on more important problems. Consequently this reduces procrastination and making the cognitively easy choice due to decision fatigue. 

Sometimes helping others solve their problems can help you solve your own. I find it easier to analyze other people’s problems because I can think objectively about them. I notice that I gravitate subconsciously to people who are similar to me and run into the same road blocks. You’ll find your roadblocks and short comings are not unique. Eventually you’ll solve a problem enough to where it is routine and just ‘another one of those’.

When I am confused sometimes I’ve lose focus or belief in my self defined long term purpose. When this happens imagine a vision of what my ideal life will be like 10 to 30 years from now. When you can envision your long term future then break down actions into their constituent parts required to get there each year, month, and day.

When you set a long term goal you have to first believe that you can get there. Sometimes feeling confused means that you are losing faith in your capability to achieve that long term goal. Therefore, continue to strengthen conviction by increasing certainty. You can increase certainty by using the scientific method to plan, do, and analyze on a set of tasks in the near term. When you are certain about a sequence of events you can then forecast what actions will need to be taken to achieve a goal over a specific period of time.

Have patience and conviction in your logic. Impatience and distraction can be a source of confusion. Getting into a flow state by speaking observable logic is a good way to get out of this confusion. I feel like I can get out of confusion by finding an easy repetitive task that will get me incrementally closer to my goal and just focus on doing it over and over again. Taking this action takes the anger, frustration, and confusion out of my life. Often times after focusing on a repetitive task for a long period of time my mind feels more aligned and everything flows easier.

If all else fails consider if you are just feeling bored. When things are going well sometimes it can be easy to self-sabotage. Self-sabotage happens when we procrastinate or make a choice that is instantly gratifying. 

Confusion comes and goes cyclically. However, the sooner you can identify what specifically is confusing the sooner you can get onto solving it. It is usually quite simple when you slow down but it starts first by getting your problem out of your head and into a form where it is tangible and systematically solvable.

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