Most people like to be good decision makers and most people enjoy the feeling of knowing something.
When you have decided something, it brings with it commitment and comfort. These are strong emotions that have a sense of security and stability. They meet the need for certainty, which allows you to relax and be completely at ease.
Knowing carries similar weight. When you know something there is certainty in the knowledge you have. You can be more solid and more sure than when you do not know.
Deciding and knowing give a sense of completion. The questions and conundrums are solved. The boxes are ticked. The thing you were considering you need not give anymore of your attention to, because it is resolved and sorted.
Prior to knowing and deciding is choosing. This occurs when you have finalised some viable options. You know that there is a suitable direction but you need to choose which one. Choosing is great because in “choice” you know there are several direction you can take but it doesn’t have the comfort of knowing or having decided.
In NLP we talk a lot about the benefits of confusion. How that state is simply your own minds way of searching for the solution. Confusion is good because it means you are trying to find the right way forward and that you are open to the possibilities that there are available.
So we know that the final chapter is deciding or knowing, before that is choice and before that is confusion, which is the search for solutions. Before those however, is another state of mind. It is one far more powerful in my opinion than any of the other previously mentioned.
It is the state of mind called not knowing. Not knowing what to do has enormous power. Most people see not knowing as a weakness and are keen to get themselves out of this state as quickly as possible. I’m going to suggest that we all spend a bit more time basking in not knowing. Here’s why:
When you don’t know, there are many ways in which you can know. When you haven’t decided, there are many options of decisions you can make. They say knowledge is power, but when you know, you are much less likely to ever look for or consider the other ways in which you could have known. Not knowing is power!
When you haven’t decided, you can have a million different options available to you, but without yet being aware of what they are.
Take this analogy. Lets say that you want to get from Hertfordshire to North Wales. This is a journey you have never taken before and you do not know the way. At this moment in time you do not know how to get there and you have not decided how to get there.
You could then move into a state of confusion where you are looking at a map, trying to establish the general direction from Hertfordshire to North Wales.
Out of the confusion comes a choice between motorway or A-roads to get there. It’s one or the other so you weight up the choices and out of those you then know the best option and you make your decision. Motorway it is.
But if we go back in time to the powerful state of not know and not deciding, we’ll find that there were so many other options that were not available later once confusion had set in.
When you didn’t know and you hadn’t decided here are just some of the other options that were available to you:
The next time you don’t know or can’t decide, embrace the uncertainty, which is also an essential human need. Enjoy the awareness of the options and choices available to you, even though you don’t know yet, what they may be.
Then get yourself out of not knowing not by trying to know but simply by asking yourself “What would happen if I did know/decide?” In knowing what you would get as the outcome of your decision or knowledge, you may find yourself making a better quality choice than if you allowed a natural state of confusion and decision to take hold.