Are you Confused? Good!

Contrary to what you have been told, confusion can be a positive state of mind.

Sometimes, discombobulating events or circumstances can show us the places in our lives where we are outgrowing the old and calling for the new.

Believe it or not, confusion can lead to good things

Huh?!

Just as in my previous post where I spoke about the Benefits of Fear, in this one I want to let you in on a valuable secret: Confusion about something can sometimes be a good thing.

When we know the parameters of what to expect in our relationships, job, or health, we seem to breeze through life without anxiety, and we like that! Most of us would prefer the feeling of certainty and the comfort it brings rather than the disconcerting feelings that come with chaos.

Except Life isn’t always so easy.

Confusion can show us an open door

Just as pain or fear can motivate us to make a change, confusion lets us know where there might be an open door or window to new opportunities. Turning a routine on its head is upsetting, but think of it as clearing the cobwebs out. Dust flies but the result is something newer and brighter.

Examples

Ok, so let’s say you are thinking about retiring but you cannot afford your current housing situation as well as having a second house in your chosen retirement location. The entire situation has you uneasy because perhaps you don’t really want to sell your place anyway, and besides, the current market for housing has been sludgy.

Perfect.

What to do about Home Sweet Home?

Pair of what?

What you might require is a paradigm shift. Those are fancy words for “considering your options.”

Take a piece of paper and on the left hand side write the word “Housing.” Draw a line down the center and on the right side of the line begin to brainstorm anything possible to solve your situation. Move your mind from the “problem set” and walk into the “solution set.”

Even if an idea seems a repeat, or seems obvious or might even be something you don’t care for, don’t stop listing. Keep the momentum going until you run out of steam.

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Sample Solutions

Doing a house exchange

House sitting in a new location

Renting your house out while you travel

Rent just a room in your home for the extra income

If you have a bi-level, rent out one level to cover expenses

Consider becoming snowbirds as an option

Renting in the new location instead of buying

Listing viable options to your dilemmas

The above possibilities are just starters. What else can you think of?

Perhaps you want to retire or even semi-retire, but you don’t feel that you have sufficient funds. Get out the piece of paper again with the word “Money” on the left side, and Options on the right.

Sell your dog

Have a lemonade stand

Part time work

Teach English as a second language

Make money from a hobby

Pare down to one vehicle

Try ride sharing

Consider non-financial exchanges for services given or received

New combinations can reveal your solutions

Write as many outlandish or common sense ideas that you can come up with and keep that list growing.

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The next step

Now, on a separate sheet of paper take any of your possible solutions and list all the reasons why it could work. You might already have resistance to some of your responses – so go ahead and write those down too, but on a different piece of paper and place that sheet aside. Here on the solution page, you are trying to build up the reasons why your possibilities could actually be implemented.

Play devil’s advocate

If you have a spouse or a good friend whom you can trust, take turns playing devil’s advocate for why these are good ideas. We can all find reasons why something won’t work. You want to find ways to substantiate why your ideas can be feasible.

Clear that mental dust away.

Bring order out of seeming chaos

At the end of this exercise you should have a list of viable alternatives to your previous conundrum and you won’t view your circumstances in the same light. Sometimes it might take a combination of these options to have a workable solution, but at least now, you are not grabbing at air. You have solid choices. Going through new doors is scary, but it’s the way to create the life you want.

As long as your confusion continues, proceed with the above exercise to generate ideas. Welcome confusion as holding a key to a future that you create yourself and which better matches your needs and wants of today.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired two decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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