How to Stop Being Confused

How to Stop Being Confused

The world today is filled with distractions. Everyone is fighting for your attention. And the messages that are coming through are increasingly incoherent.

The proportion of irrelevant or disruptive information (noise) to important and useful information (signal) has greatly increased compared to the way life was for humanity just 20 years ago, let alone 200 years ago.

In the days of old you went out and found the news; it wasn't coursing through your home at the speed of light.

Back then what you got wasn’t much more than what was in the local news paper, your neighbor’s gossip or the bar in town.

Now we have information and sensory overload everywhere. Unless you’re in a remote village with no internet, you’re on the crossroads of informational chaos.

Is it any wonder that both children and adults are equally confused about nearly every fundamental aspect of our civilization and the natural world?

Politics, social issues, entertainment, health, education, the sciences; none of them are immune to the ravages of confusion. The effect that creates for the forward progress of mankind is damaging beyond calculation.

This article is going to explain the anatomy of confusion, and the antidote you can employ in any situation.

The Anatomy of Confusion

The definition of confuse reads: “to perplex or bewilder.”

That’s fine as for the symptom of confusion, but doesn’t get at the cause. So lets examine it…

Let’s say you're at a football game. The team members are all moving around on the field and there is a lot of motion going on.

Even if one doesn’t know the rules you can see clearly that one team wants to get the ball to the other side of the field and vice-versa.

Now imagine there are five balls in play at the same time.

Instant confusion for all involved.

The spectators’ attention is split among all these moving parts. The team members are unsure of what they’re supposed to be doing. The coaches are losing their minds. It’s just a mess.

Now, imagine this same scenario but instead of the ball multiplying you had the teams double in size.

It would make the game more interesting for sure but it wouldn't have quite the same effect. Everyone would still have their focus on the ball.

So what exactly is it about the ball? Well, it turns out that the entire sport, every team member, ever spectator and every play is based around it.

The ball could be considered the stable datum of the game.

The Stable Datum

Stable is defined as, “resistant to sudden change.”

Datum is defined as, “a single piece of information.”

Therefore, a stable datum is a piece of information that is not likely to change.

When you have a stable datum you can't be confused about it.

It doesn't even have to be true to be considered a stable datum.

Did you know that we are moving in about eight different directions at once through space? It doesn't feel that way because the Earth is a stable datum.

Similarly, someone could have as a stable datum that “All members of X political party are idiots.” This of course is not true, however it gives the person some certainty and they will base their actions accordingly.

Say this person later sees a video online of someone making a great point about the economy that they really agree with. Then she discovers that this person is a member of the opposing political party. An upset can occur.

See, this has now challenged her stable datum and a confusion can result.

The Antidote to Confusion

“That's all well and good,” you say, “but how do I use this info?”

Let me just enter this side note here: I will never write anything that won’t be of value to you. All the information on is meant to be a nugget of wisdom that will help you get to your next level.

Back to the point now, the simple formula to handle any confusion where everything is in motion is:

  1. Pick one particle out of the ones that are moving.
  2. Follow that one and handle it.
  3. Pick out the next particle, and handle it.
  4. Repeat.

It’s really that simple.

For example, when fixing a car you open the hood for the first time and you see a maze of tubes and wires coming and going, this way and that.

The engine compartment of a car.
Opening your hood can reveal a seeming confusion of parts, wires and tubes

It can be an overwhelm. This is why car manufacturers have recently started putting plastic covers over the engine so a laymen wouldn’t get confused.

However, being a layman you could actually handle your confusion by picking one thing under the hood and deciding it’s a stable datum.

Now, ignoring all the other components you can find out what it does and where it sends and receives particles from.

An engine compartment with the coolant system in focus and the rest of the engine and components blurred out.
Selecting out a component, in this case the coolant system, the confusion instantly becomes less.

Then you can follow that through to the next component and do the same. By only handling one item at a time your confusion becomes less and less.

Do this with enough of the components and you now understand exactly how the engine works and what all the parts do. It’s no longer a confusion.

This is one of the keys to understanding things. Including life, social issues, politics, technologies… anything.


This website is dedicated to the dissemination of good ideas and wisdom that has been accumulated over the ages.

The purpose is to uplift humanity by increasing wisdom, one person at a time.

Like nearly all human knowledge, I did not come up with this principle of the stable datum myself. I read about it in a book by L. Ron Hubbard called The Problems of Work.