Clarity empowers progress. So how can one create clarity?

  1. Looking ahead creates clarity. We know intuitively and almost immediately if something is life-giving or life-taking, and when something consumes rather than creating energy it’s clear that we can’t continue down that path.
  2. Action creates clarity. We live in an age of idle philosophers; hungry souls fiddling with recipes on paper. Action creates clarity in one direction or another, even if it takes us through conflict. Action delivers from worry and immobility. We discover a way ahead when we take action.
  3. A good question creates clarity. Sometimes we founder because we are asking the wrong question. Rephrase your questions for clarity. Instead of asking Will things never change? ask How can I make this better? One posture is passive while the other is active. What question would bring the clarity you need?
  4. Good advice creates clarity.

The ancient historian Herodotus described a Persian practice for personal problem solving: When a man had a problem his friends would gather and get him drunk. Once the person with a problem was inebriated, he described his problem to his friends without holding anything back. The friends asked questions to be sure they had all the information, then, they gave advice. In the morning when the man was sober again, he could stick with their advice or set it aside.

In Steinbeck’s masterpiece East of Eden Samuel Hamilton goes to his neighbor and friend, Adam Trask, and punches him in the head, once, and then again. That’s when Trask comes to his senses and stops pining for the wife who shot and left him. Sometimes we need a metaphorical hit in the head to bring us to our rightful mind.

Clarity leads to action. Not just a clear and active mind, but clear and active emotions too. The next step is easier when we have clarity.