People often think confusion is a sign of a slow mind, when, in fact, it’s what spurs an intelligent mind and leads to greatness. Scientific studies have shown that when people are presented with a confusing situation, they actually become more critical thinkers, and the acquired skills carry over into future learning opportunities.
Artist Salvador Dali once explained that he believed in systemically creating confusion, because it sets creativity free. Instinctively, the human mind wants to create order out of chaos. It seeks to find ways to identify, categorize, and explain that which does not make sense. Confusion, itself, is the catalyst that sparks ingenuity, or as Socrates said, “is the beginning of wisdom.”
Although philosophers through the ages have sung the praises of confusion, they didn’t know what psychologists and neuroscientists are aware of today. Our brains become lazy, and will perform out of behavior, always expecting the same result. Introducing the unexpected, or a concept that conflicts with our perception creates cognitive dissonance, forcing us to take some kind of action.
In your daily life, you can use confusion as a mental coaching method. Find puzzles that engage your brain, or have discussions with people who hold beliefs that are different from your own. You can even watch an illusionist, and try to make sense of his “magic.” The more often you challenge your brain with the unexpected, the harder it will work for you. After all, the thinking mind will always find things to be confused about, and will therefore continue to flourish.