Chasing Clarity

What does looking for clarity actually look like?

Let us first note what doesn’t qualify as looking. Waiting for clarity is not looking. Sharing your lack of clarity is not looking. Distracting yourself is not looking. Only looking is looking.

How can you tell if someone is looking for clarity? What would you expect that person to be doing? What activities would you classify as “looking for clarity” if someone else were doing them?

Are you regularly engaging in similar activities?

I can tell you what it’s like when I’m looking for clarity. I’m reading books and listening to audiobooks on the subject. I’m researching online. I’m talking to people with more experience. I’m going to club meetings and related events. I’m making phone calls. I’m sending emails.

I’m asking questions. I’m gathering information. I’m recruiting social support.

I’m writing about the subject in my journal. I’m brainstorming ideas and drawing up lists of questions. I’m meditating on the topic. I’m muttering aloud while going for a run or walking in the park. I’m relaxing on my couch, staring up the ceiling, and daydreaming about possibilities. I’m often blogging about the subject while I’m still trying to figure it out.

This works. I normally feel extremely clear about my path. I almost always know what I want and where I’m going. It’s rare that I get stuck in confusion or uncertainty, and when I do it’s usually just a short pause. And I think the main reason is that I assume full responsibility for creating clarity. I know that those islands of clarity are out there, and I accept that I must put in the effort to find them, so I make the effort. Time after time this approach succeeds.

Sometimes I’m wrong though. Sometimes I race like a madman to an island covered in seagull poop. But it doesn’t matter. When I realize I’ve made a mistake, I quickly start looking for another island, and I’m off again in a new direction. Enjoying each island’s beauty and wonder is a temporary experience, but in between I’d rather be searching for the next one (even if I don’t know where it is yet) versus drifting around bored at sea, wondering what to do and coming up blank.

When you desire clarity, if we watched a week of your life playing out on a movie screen, what undeniable evidence would we see that you’re actively looking for clarity? If you can’t name several visual scenes that would prove that you’re actively looking, then you’ve got an obvious problem, wouldn’t you say? And the solution is equally obvious, is it not?

If you wait for clarity to come to you, you may randomly bump into an island in the sea of chaos. You may randomly win the lottery too. But it’s more likely that you’ll find clarity by actively looking for clarity. And by actively I mean that we’d see clear and undeniable evidence of your efforts if we watching were you on video.

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Read Chasing Clarity by Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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