Importance of Clarity

Clarity is something we all try to achieve. We always want to know if what we’re doing is right, and so one way to validate that is to hope for a moment of clarity — one of those times where you look at all the variables and data you’ve been presented with and with a sweep of your hand conclude that what you’re doing must be correct.

Although this usually isn’t the case and isn’t really how the real world works, the desire for clarity is what drives me to reconsider all the data over and over again, especially when it comes to things within my own life. I always like to think that I’m one of the most self-aware people in the sense that I am cognisant of how I’m acting, what I’m doing, etc. Yet, as of late, my self-awareness seems to be off the mark. I seem to have lost my ability to accurately judge my own performance.

This has bothered me for a while now, with a string of test results that are far below average. Previously, it was easy to rationalize and make excuses — “if only I had more time to dedicate to each of my classes…” But in reality, I know that’s only partially true. What I need to realize, and what will continue in another post later on, is that I have my limits.

I fear the day where I realize that my intellectual capabilities have reached their ceiling and that there are just things beyond my abilities to understand. Whether or not this is something that will actually happen is yet to be determined, but it is a fear of mine. Luckily, when I talk about having reached my limits, I’m referring to my physical limits.

I don’t sleep enough.

I truly don’t. The combination of work and my relationship with sleep makes it so that I don’t sleep nearly as much as I should and it wasn’t until today that I fully realized how much it clouds my judgment. I know that when I don’t sleep that much, that there are times where nothing processes and I can only respond to things with a simple yes or “give me a second to think about it.” Having gone over one of the tests that I did poorly on, one that I thought was particularly difficult coming out of the exam room, I realized that my sleep-deprived state has far clouded my judgment. I stayed up the night before, got about 4-5 hours of sleep before the test, in the hope that my gamble of risking an hour or two of sleep in exchange for more time with the material would pay off.

Looking over my test, it’s clear that I lost. Silly mistakes, incoherent answers, and jumbled equations, that I know I wouldn’t get wrong if I had been well rested.

The lie that I kept telling myself was that being sleep-deprived simply meant that I no longer had the capability of being creative. I could still work through things, just without any sort of creative problem solving ability. I need to realize just how much being sleep-deprived impairs my judgment. I need to understand that I need sleep, rather than just simply wanting sleep.

But potentially, the solution to all of this is to flip the two around, and make myself want sleep just as much as I need it.

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