Personal Growth

How to Gain Clarity in Life and Stop Getting in Your Own Way Discover the Goldmine You've Been Sitting On This Whole Time

how to gain clarity in life
Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash

Why do we keep sabotaging ourselves? Why do we keep making bad choices when, in retrospect, the right choice seems so obvious? The answer lies in clarity. Discover how to gain clarity in life and stop getting in your own way.

Awful decision-making in action

The other night, my boyfriend and I watched John Huston’s 1979 classic?Wise Blood. Hazel Motes, the protagonist, is adrift. He returns home from World War II to find his home in shambles (literally) and his family gone without a trace. Now that a road has been built in his small southern town, everyone’s fled for the city. Resigned, he heads to the city as well. A fish out of water, he dons a black hat which causes everyone to mistake him for a preacher. This infuriates him.


wise blood
I’m not a preacher!

Finally, he caves in and decides he will be a preacher. Only he’ll be a different kind of preacher. One who leads a “church without Christ.”

This is both an attempt to rebel against a troubled religious upbringing and to carve out an identity in a world where he feels he serves no purpose.

As my boyfriend says, as charismatic as Hazel is, his behavior becomes frustrating. All he seems to do is make bad decisions. At one point, he pitches his church idea to a crowd of indifferent spectators. Out of nowhere, a man named Hoover Shoats upstages him, captivating the crowd. Hoover, unlike Hazel, is a skilled salesman.

Rather than recognize that Hoover would make an excellent business partner, though, Hazel’s pride gets the best of him. In fact, throughout the movie, his pride and stubbornness cause him to blunder one opportunity after another.

Sound familiar?

Often, we’re our own worst enemies. We miss amazing opportunities staring us right in the face. We ignore our own gifts, running off in some inane direction.

In my grad writing program, I completed a collection of short stories. One of my professors was convinced that his friend would publish it. And once I was published, he said, all sorts of teaching and writing jobs would open up for me.

But instead, I was convinced that my sole priority was to pay the bills. Meanwhile, I put all my dreams on hold. Plus, from my one year of experience as a TA for a freshman composition class and a brief stint as an unpaid film critic, I was convinced that teaching and writing non-fiction weren’t for me.

So I spent hours each day looking for waitressing jobs on Craigslist. Even though I was a terrible waitress. Plus in a city of aspiring actresses and models, landing a job at a good restaurant is actually quite tough. All the while, I occasionally made changes to my manuscript.

It wasn’t until years later that I finally got the courage to send the manuscript to my professor’s friend. At which point he’d already moved on.

Looking back, what I SHOULD have done is obvious. But at the time, I was stumbling through life in a haze. What I lacked was clarity.

Why do we keep sabotaging ourselves? Why do we keep making bad choices when, in retrospect, the right choice seems so obvious? The answer lies in clarity. Discover how to gain clarity in life and stop getting in your own way. | clarity in life | self sabotage | limiting beliefs | discover your potential | fulfill your purpose |

How to Gain Clarity in Life and Master Your Goals

Uncover any limiting beliefs that are holding you back

If I’d been honest with myself, I would have recognized that a deep-seated fear was blocking me from sending out my manuscript and really going for it. I didn’t think I could handle the rejection, so instead I distracted myself with other things. I also bought into the lie that I couldn’t possibly make money as a writer.

You could also ask yourself, “Am I letting my pain (or fear of pain) mask my true desires?”

For Hazel in Wise Blood, all his decisions are an attempt to lash out against his hurt, burying his cravings for love and approval and perhaps even connection to a higher power. It’s appropriate that blindness is a motif in the movie. Blindness = the opposite of clarity.

Explore all your options AND give yourself enough time

Often, we lack clarity on our goals because we aren’t considering all our options. For instance, for those of us building a website, attracting traffic through SEO is an elusive goal. But are we fully exploring ALL the ways (keyword research, link building, guest posting, etc.) we can gain visitors? Are we giving ourselves enough time to rank in Google’s search engines? I know I’ve fallen short in these areas.

We hear these stories of people achieving big results in our field, experience a burst of inspiration, and then get deflated when we don’t achieve the same results right away. The truth is, it takes time. And what worked for someone else might not necessarily work for you.

Identify allies who can assist you on your path

In Wise Blood, Hazel turns down a promising business partner because he’s convinced he can hack it on his own. In the same way, I didn’t take the advice of my professor or anyone wiser and more experienced than me for that matter. I thought I knew best.

I think it’s pride, combined with this silly notion of the “self made man” (or woman) that makes us resist asking for help or refuse good advice. But the truth is, we all have people who can lend a helping hand. We just have to be open to their suggestions.

So make a list of anyone: former teachers, classmates, etc., who you think could be potential allies in helping you reach your goal. Come to them with clear, specific? questions, preferably at a moment where you’re?not?desperate.

Once I sent out a bunch of emails with the word “help” in the subject line and something along the lines of, “I need a job. It doesn’t matter what.” Not surprisingly, that didn’t yield any fruitful results.

Make a list of talents you’ve been neglecting

Often, we’re just as blind to our own talents. For me, not only was I not taking advantage of my fiction writing skills, but I wasn’t pursuing all the other avenues in which I could make a living as a writer: copywriting, editing, non-fiction ebooks, etc.

So explore not only your talents but the areas in which you can utilize these talents.

Also, talents are not limited to a typical vocation or hobby. They can manifest as personal qualities such as an ability to empathize with others or to mediate conflicts.

Ask yourself what you CAN do

Photo by Adele Payman on Unsplash

Years ago, I got fired from a job. A job I despised, but nevertheless, I was upset. I called my friend. “I worked so hard to get this job,” I told him. “Let’s be honest, though,” he replied, “you can always do more.”

It stung a little at the time, but it’s so true. This doesn’t necessarily mean working harder, but exploring new angles and approaches.

In the Night Pages, taken from Derek Rydall’s book?Emergence, there’s one section called “I Can/I Am Able.” He explains it in detail here.

Personally, doing this exercise has given me clarity in so many areas where I felt like I was lacking certain tools or knowledge. As it turned out, I already owned courses and books and had access to articles that would point me in the right direction.

Doing this exercise also motivated me to schedule an action plan for publishing my first novel!

What Now?

It’s never too late. Even if you’ve made poor decisions in the past, you can always turn things around.

For me, with all the opportunities afforded through self-publishing and blogging, there’s no better time than now to succeed as a writer. Best of all, the power is entirely in my hands. I don’t need a code to pass through a gate keeper.

Need more guidance? I highly recommend that you check out Brian Tracy’s program The Power of Clarity. You’ll learn how to gain control of your time, discover your special calling, and stop spinning your wheels so you can focus on what truly matters.

Tell me: In what areas have you felt stuck? What helped you to gain clarity?

36 thoughts on “How to Gain Clarity in Life and Stop Getting in Your Own Way Discover the Goldmine You've Been Sitting On This Whole Time

  1. This post resonated so much with me! I’ve realized lately I’ve been getting i my way in so many areas of life – and in SUCH weird ways – but I feel like just by realizing that you’re doing it so much changes. Great post!

  2. This is a very interesting perspective. Maybe because you used a movie but I really like it. This is the year for me that I conquer some of my own fears, particularly around my writing and just do it.

  3. It is so important to make a note of all the skills that we are neglecting. It’s a great way of reminding ourself that we need to sharpen those skills! Great post!

  4. Thank u so much for sharing this. I know I am my own worst enemy sometimes. Always fearing what people will of me, on what I do but I’ve learned to do it anyway

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Yeah, it’s amazing that even as adults that fear and self-doubt still stays with us. I always thought once I graduated high-school I’d be done with it haha. But thankfully I’ve learned that you can act anyway in spite of fear.

  5. This is so powerful! For so long, I held on to my limiting beliefs before i realized how much they were holding me back. Now I try to lead with my gut and do what I feel is right. So far, I have been really successful!

    1. Great to hear, Melinda! Yes, I think those limited beliefs can be so deeply embedded in us sometimes that we don’t even know that they’re holding us back. But listening to your intuition is crucial.

  6. Great list! I go back and forth between giving myself too much time to make a decision and constantly second-guessing and then not taking nearly enough time and making a snap judgment.

    1. Thanks, Gemma! Yes, in so many cases I get impatient and just want to arrive at the goal already, but the process of working on my goals can also be really fun — and rewarding!

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful, Julie. Yes, I’ve been in the same place. An analogy I’ve used is trying to jam an iPhone charger into a port that doesn’t fit and somehow thinking this time it’s going to work! But you’re right in that so many times our gut knows what to do.

  7. Hoy yoy yoy! – Have I done all of this?
    But, with a bit of luck, I’m getting better at not rushing in blindly, or the opposite – getting fed up and frustrated and just doing ‘something, anything’ – without thinking it through.
    Good article Kate!

    1. Thanks, David! Yes, my students force me to practice these lessons every day (for good or bad). For once, I’m starting to see there’s something to all these classroom management strategies we learn at the beginning of the year (that I usually promptly ignore once the school year is upon me).

  8. I love this post. It’s sounds so familiar to me. The mind is so powerful, and when you connect it with your soul and body there are no limits anymore. 3 years in a row I made one bad choice after another. Didn’t look for a job, didn’t do anything anymore in the end. The growing begins at the end of your comfort zone. But you gotta trick your mind, as it’s there to keep you safe. I think you got it almost all covered, the only thing I’m missing is the pointing fingers and the boohoo mentality. I blamed like everyone around me for the choices I made. But the truth is, it’s all on me.

    1. Yes, Jonas, that describes me to a T after I finished school! I kept making all these decisions that I knew weren’t working, and my parents kept trying to tell me, but that silly rebel part of me wanted to prove them wrong! And yep, blaming everyone but myself, too 🙂

  9. I agree that most of the time are our limiting beliefs to hold us back! I have found your post so inspirational and have just pinned it to come back to it later. I’m sorry to hear you missed an opportunity with your professor at the time but I’m glad you now have an action plan to publish your first novel! You go girl and keep us posted. I can’t wait to read it!

    1. Thanks so much, Claudia! Yes, I could beat myself for those missed opportunities but that wouldn’t solve anything, and better ones always open up down the road 🙂

  10. I really like the example you gave at the start of your post. I think it’s often easier to see how To do things better when we se a character acting a certain way vs ourselves acting a certain way.

    There are so many times in life when I didn’t act in my best interest, but at the time I wasn’t able to see clear enough.

    1. Absolutely, Sarah! We have so much more clarity when we see a character (or another person) making the wrong decisions. The key (especially for me) is to use that moment of clarity to shine a light on my own behavior and not just stay stuck in the judgement phase.

  11. What a great read! I find that I sometimes underestimate what I am capable of and start second guessing that I am on the right path.

    Great points for me to remember here in my business, but as well as my personal life. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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