Refusing Confusion

Are you ever confused?

Confusion is a kind of psychological paralysis that produces an inability to make decisions and act on them.

It has at least three varieties.

Sometimes people feel confused because they lack essential information.

If we try to make a decision without adequate knowledge of a situation and our options, we will feel and act confused, when actually we are inadequately informed.

Much of the time, we could and would find the information we need, if we recognize this as the source of confusion.

Other times people actually want to be confused, surprising though this sounds.

This happens when they want others to decide for them or when they would rather not decide at all.

An example of the latter situation occurs when someone is dating two people and wants to keep them both.

Yet, the most frequent cause of confusion is something I call “pendulemia.”

Pendulemia is the kind of either-or thinking in which we confine ourselves (dichotomously) to two choices.

Usually we do not like either of them, essentially trying to choose between “awful” and “terrible.

Distressed thinking tends to be dichotomous.

This creates a feedback loop, where the stress of important decisions brings pendulemia, and trying to decide between “awful and terrible” brings more stress and confusion.

If you are making a decision and you can only come up with two options, there is a way to refuse the confusion.

Take a break from the decision, like a mechanic who is unsure of what to do next and takes his hands off the machine.

Next, switch your focus to something more pleasant in order to reduced the stress.

You can also get some more information, such as by consulting with someone else.

Then, count up your options again.

Once you have more options, you still may be unsure what you want to choose.

I think that the best choices are the choices that leave choices.

In other words, smaller steps that keep other options open are usually the most helpful as well as the least stressful.

All you ever have to know is your next step.

Further, each step you take provides more information, helping you make the next choice.

As you start to move through small, exploratory steps, you are no longer frozen in place.

No more psychological paralysis equals no more confusion.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 9:58 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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