Confusion learned

Do you know what’s really funny? Or actually it is not. That if someone asks you what you do, they expect an unambiguous answer. That is common. If you answer that you are for example a salesperson or manager, they understand. That’s easy.  That’s clear. But if you answer that you are a writer, a baker and a DJ, then most of them are confused. That’s learned confusion learned.

Then you can expect a reaction like: ‘oh … you are .. eh … creative?’. Isn’t it crazy, that we need a name for it? We think it’s normal. Otherwise it is weird. And confusing. Of course that’s not normal. In short, how do you disentangle confusion?

What if you are multiple things. Have multiple talents. Then you’re everything but normal. I hardly know people who are multiple things. Or actually I don’t know any. As a result, as a child I felt different from the rest. As if I were the only one who could not concentrate on one thing. Which is quite difficult if you like so many things. And if you simply cannot choose. The story of y life.

Concentration (rain)bow

So I was always easily distracted. I still am. They call that a short concentration curve. The only thing that I can concentrate on easily and effortlessly is television. That works like a magnet. If a TV is on while I am talking to someone, my attention is as it were being sucked to the TV. Then there is little conversation left.

Anywayz. Short concentration curve. At least, this is how it’s recognised. According to some experts, people with a short concentration curve, or concentration problems, have difficulties learning. They even claim that it’s a lack of motivation. Or that it has to do with fear of failure and uncertainty. Then you would expect that nothing much wil become of these people, right?

Now this is quite interesting. Because this is supposed to be about me. But it does not work that way. And I’m not saying that to be recalcitrant. Or to make it even more confusing. I’m just trying to disentangle it. I’m everything but recalcitrant. Just for the sake of clarity, the definition of recalcitrant is: resisting authority or control; not obedient or compliant; refractory, hard to deal with, manage, or operate. (source:

Lack of what ..?!

I am the opposite. I adapt easily. Man times too easy. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything. Only I do not always have the urge to convince someone else of my opinion. So I should be the opposite. The antonym (opposite) of recalcitrant is ‘acquiescent‘. Strange word. Never heard of it. So let me look it up. According that means: obedient, compliant, submissive, prohibitive, docile. Confusing. Meaning ‘Non-recalcitrant’.

Let’s get back to the claims of the experts. Lack of motivation, well not me. It’s rather the other way around. Too much motivation. Wanting to do a lot. Fear of failure and uncertainty are partly true. Only the uncertainty comes from my “being-blessed-with-the-curse-of-perfectionism.” Either the urge to do it well. Or say prefect. You can see that as a fear of failure. But then to say that I have learning difficulties. No. I can pick up things very quickly. I only need time, space and focus.

Confusing, right? The only way to disentangle everything is to find an unambiguous answer. Which everyone understands. Only then you are no different than the rest. That’s safe. That’s nice. How confusing it might be. I’ve been looking for that one answer for quite some time. Maybe even my whole life. It took a while, but I found it.

Confusion learned comes with years

Do you think that’s why they say that wisdom comes with the years. Omg, that it took so long for me to understand how I work. Ironically the world is more and more confusing to me. But fortunately I understand myself more and more. You know what it is. It is actually very simple. And quite logical.

There is this picture everyone has, which is called expectation pattern. You might call it social expectations. Or social expectation patterns. That’s the norm. That’s safe. It’s everything but confusing. The majority, or society, meets that expectation. That’s clear. That is normal.

Only I do not fit that picture. There are not many of me. Actually there’s only one me. But please don’t get me wrong, I’m not alone. Not at all. Fortunately, there are more people ‘like’ me. They also do not fit the picture.

Now you can try really hard to fit the picture. Only exactly that is confusing. It’s actually beautiful when you do not fit the picture. Because in this picture you get stuck. But outside you’re free. Who doesn’t want to be free. After all, nobody wants to be stuck, right?

There is even a word for it. Derived from ‘medieval mercenary warrior’ (source: wiki). A medieval mercenary or free warrior: a free-lance. In the Middle Ages, a knight had a lance as a weapon. A free knight indicated that their lance was not sworn to the services of a king. So it was a free lance. Or free-lance.


So how do you disentangle learned confusion? By keeping it as simple, as unambiguous as possible. So if someone asks you what you are doing, then from now on you answer: ‘I do not want to confuse you, but I’m freelance’. Love, Poptasi 8] x


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