Monday, December 21, 2009

Confusion in Your Life and Mine, Part 2

Part 2 of Confusion in Your Life and Mine
In the first post the information on confusion dynamics did not address personal confusion in detail. Today I want to discuss just a few of the main sources of personal confusion; these sources are somewhat similar to those in the first post,but apply more to ordinary life.
1. Overload
Too much information floods too many of us. You know your own flood, and you have probably developed some coping tactics to survive it. You may write notes, or use an organizer either on paper or in a computer or hand-held device.
Does that work? To a point. But most people reach saturation/overload and need to escape. They go for a walk or a run if their neighborhood is safe at that moment. They meditate, if they know how and have a place and time for practice.
They may use one or another drug or substance.
You can list some of the ways you escape.
As you know, some coping tactics don't work well in the long run. Drugs and drinking can cause problems. Meditation needs careful support--from yourself and those around you.
So there may come a time when overload beats you down: too many deadlines, too many emails, help!
So you give up trying to cope, either temporarily or permanently (as by dropping a course or quitting that job.)
But sooner or later, some other source of overload looms. You start coping again. Or you get overwhelmed.
Here is the key idea
Too often the way people cope with any source of confusion--such as overload-- makes that source worse, or fails to reduce it. In other words
Sources-->;Confusion-->;Ineffective Coping--Worsen (or fail to reduce) Sources-->Ineffective Coping-- >on and on.
You may  be able to find better coping methods that work for you. Read on to see where we wind up in this post. I'll have more to say below, under the heading, What Do People Do About Personal Overload and Complexity?
2.  Complexity
Some problems don't so much overload us, as tie us up in the knots of complexity. One example: trying to find a job when the economy is on life support. This is a challenge because you need to know how to make your application stand out from all those others. That raises a set of complicated questions. Suppose you decide to get advice. Enter "How to make your job application stand out" in Google and you get over 1000 hits. That's an overload.
Oops, I said just above that "some problems don't so much overload us, as tie us up in the knots of complexity." Here we are back to overload. How'd that happen?
We got back to overlaod because sources of confusion may dovetail and make each other worse.
Here is complexity: gauging what the employer or employment agency wants and tailoring your information to suit their needs. You have to do some research about the companies your resume might go to. You need to keep that information in focus while at the same time you explore other companies with somewhat different needs.
But if you go looking for expert help to guide you through the complexity, you get overloaded with information. None of those 1000 websites asks themselves, what do I have to offer in this site that is different from all the others. None of them ask: will the seeker become overloaded? They're in the same spot you are! You're trying make yourself stand out in a crowd of seekers. They're trying to get ranked as high as possible in the search engines' lists of experts. But they wind up saying much the same thing in their sites.
3. What Do People Do About Personal Overload and Complexity?
The most fortunate are those who can go to a mentor, talk over the challenges they face, and come up with a plan. Mentors come in many forms: a guidance counselor, a friend, a therapist, sometimes even a relative!
Haven't tried talking this over with anyone?
Maybe you need to rehearse. Practice with someone. Not the person you plan to ask to be a mentor, they can be someone willing to let you rehearse the questions you want to ask your mentor. If you can get as clear as possible, that should help focus with the mentor.
No mentor in sight?
When I searched just now using "How I got my job" (In quotes) in Google, I got over six million hits. More overload! But buried in those hits are many success stories. These can be important in two ways:
you might get a specific idea;  or at least you might use these stories to keep you hopes up.
Fighting Discouragement
I'll stay with the topic of a job search, but almost anyone can also use this same advice: when you find yourself discouraged, get rid of that feeling. Check the internet for "Thought Stopping" or 'Positive thinking." Those sites can guide visitors to techniques for cutting down on the amount of time they spend thinking negative or discouraging thoughts.
This may sound hokey, but there is increasing evidence from brain research: stopping negative thoughts and substituting postive ones can change brain cell patterns in some people: that can help you to keep your spirits up. The idea goes back for thousands of years, in various traditions.
To wrap up for today: overload and complexity dovetail, no matter whether you're looking for work, or facing any other challenge. You can cope, but you may need some help along the way. I've offered a few hints; write, if you have time, to tell us what works for you.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! I, too, have felt a sense of overload when it comes to things related to a job search. I created the How I Got My Job audio series as one way to be inspired from other people's success stories. Feel free to reach out and get in touch if you'd like: daniel AT howigotmyjob DOT com