There are situations in life where we develop fairly consistent negative predictions regarding how those situations will turn out, but then we don’t actually honor those predictions.
For instance, suppose you’ve had some corporate jobs, and they’ve never turned out well for you. You never really liked them. They’ve never put you in situations where you’ve deeply enjoyed your work each day and where you’ve felt aligned with the company’s purpose. Suppose that something about these jobs always felt off to you.
And suppose that currently you find yourself unemployed and wanting some income. Does it make sense to apply for another corporate job?
If you repeat this type of experience again, it may yield some income for you, but it will likely hurt your sense of clarity because you’ll be deliberately acting in opposition to the clarity you’ve already developed. You already know this isn’t likely to lead to a positive outcome. You’re already able to predict that the outcome won’t be very good.
So why would you repeat what’s likely to be a predictable mistake? Why would you make a deliberately bad decision like this?
Well… note that you can still do this. People do such things often. But you also have to accept that if you’re willing to do this, it absolutely will hurt your ability to have clarity. How can you possibly hope to have more clarity if you’re failing to act in alignment with the clarity you’ve already achieved?
If you desire clarity, then clarity must become a high value in your life. You have to elevate it to a level of importance and keep it there.
Otherwise if something else is more important to you than clarity, such as having a stable job, you’ll keep going back to the stable job even if it degrades your experience of clarity. Or if you need a relationship more than you need clarity, you may often find yourself in a confusing relationship.
One obvious way to improve your experience of clarity is to stop doing whatever opposes your current best predictions. Stop taking those actions that give you a negative outcome, which you’ll perceive as a negative internal reaction.
This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid every negative situation. Just start avoiding the most predictable ones. Stop taking the actions that you already know aren’t going to lead to positive outcomes with positive internal reactions.
The sheer obviousness of this stares us right in the face, doesn’t it?
How can you expect to discover foods you like if you always keep eating foods you already know you don’t like? It’s never going to happen. You’ll never get clarity about the foods you love if you’re wasting time eating what you don’t like. The way out of this trap is to stop eating the foods you don’t like. Reject them soundly. Honor your best predictions.
What would happen to a kid who adamantly refused to eat certain foods that she didn’t like? Eventually the parents would get a clue and would stop offering her those unwanted foods. And then she’d have a much better chance of being offered foods that she actually liked. This isn’t particularly complicated, right? Just say no to what you don’t want, and you’ll have a better chance of getting what you do want.
But what if this same child doesn’t object. Or what if she only puts up some token resistance and then eventually caves in and grudgingly accepts the unwanted food? Well… most likely the parents will keep offering her that same food in the future, right? If they learn that she tolerates it, then she’ll be given more of what she tolerates.
Moreover, if the parents keep giving her tolerable but still mostly undesirable meals, then what chance will she have of discovering more desirable foods? Very little, unless some outside force disturbs the situation.
Are you succumbing to this pattern in any areas of your life?
Are you tolerating a job that you don’t really like?
Are you tolerating a relationship that isn’t what you actually want?
Are you tolerating living in a city that you don’t like living in?
If you’re doing anything along those lines, then here’s a big dose of clarity for you. As long as you’re willing to keep doing those things – as long as you’re willing to tolerate these situations – you’ll make it essentially impossible to improve your sense of clarity. You’re absolutely going to stay confused, and you’re very likely to keep experiencing what you don’t want.
That’s pretty much a given, isn’t it? How are you supposed to map out what you want while you’re still tolerating what you don’t want? Those paths are incompatible.
Is it absolutely guaranteed that if you leave such situations, you’ll find something better? Not quite. But it’s highly likely, especially if you haven’t explored much of the possibility space yet. If there’s an expansive space you haven’t explored yet, you have a good chance of finding something much better than the merely tolerable.
That said, you may have to explore a bit to find it. But isn’t it better to explore and have real hope of finding something better than not to explore and cling to irrational false hope?
The lesson here is both simple and unpopular. When you’ve figured out what you don’t want, stop doing it. Stop doing what’s similar to it as well. Say no loudly and proudly. You needn’t explain yourself. You needn’t apologize for your lack of interest. Just let your no be a no. This is critical if you ever hope to discover your bigger yes.