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You have now successfully enrolled and are almost ready to begin your first step in an exciting and practical learning process. This course will provide you with effective tools to use in your life.

This course is laid out in a step-by-step manner, with a sequence of study and exercises for you to do. And since the entire course is self-contained from within your personal logon, you can simply log in at any time to progress through your assignments to full completion.

Important Note

In doing this course, be very certain you never go past a word you do not fully understand. The only reason a person gives up a study or becomes confused or unable to learn is because he has gone past a word he did not understand. More

Important Note

In doing this course, be very certain you never go past a word you do not fully understand. The only reason a person gives up a study or becomes confused or unable to learn is because he has gone past a word he did not understand.

The confusion or inability to understand or learn comes AFTER a word you did not know the meaning of. It might not only be the new and unusual words that you did not understand.

One of the most important facts in the whole subject of study is that you must never go past a word that you do not understand.

In every subject that you took up and then left incomplete, you will find that there were words that you read but you did not know what they meant.

So while doing this course be very, very certain you never go past a word you do not fully understand.

If what you are studying becomes confusing or you can’t seem to understand it, there will be a WORD just earlier that you have not understood.

Don’t go any further, but go back to BEFORE you got into trouble and find the word you did not fully understand. Wherever you see a word that is underlined, you can click on it and it will immediately give you the meaning of that word.

As you go through the course, you can also click on the menu at the top of each course page where it says “Glossary” (which is a list of words and what they mean) and it will take you to a list of words used in the course and give you the meaning of each.

If you cannot find the word you are looking for listed in the glossary, get a simple dictionary and look up its meaning there.

Welcome to the Tools for the Workplace Online Course

A tool is something you can use to improve things or get something done.

In today’s world, there are a great many troubles in the workplace. You often hear of people being fired or laid off from work and becoming unemployed. And those who are working often complain about working with their coworkers or bosses.

To some, work seems like something they have to do to earn money to pay the bills and stay alive. When they feel like that, work becomes an unpleasant experience.

And many talk about being exhausted by their work. They come home at night, eat dinner, watch TV and go to bed.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways to help make you bright and alert and not feel tired after a day’s work. There are things you can do to help make the workplace a happy area where you get your work done and feel good at the end of the day. This chapter will give you the tools to make this happen.

Important Note

In doing this course, be very certain you never go past a word you do not fully understand. The only reason a person gives up a study or becomes confused or unable to learn is because he has gone past a word he did not understand. More


Handling Confusion in the Workplace

Someone might tell you that there is something confusing about his job. And if he does not know how to handle that confusion, he certainly experiences that emotion because he does not have a way to solve it. A confusion is something that does not seem to have any immediate solution.

For example, if you walked outside your house and suddenly there was a strong wind blowing leaves, papers and bits of garbage all over the place, that would be a confusion.

Another example could be if you were working on your computer and suddenly the screen started to flicker and the image disappeared.

When you look over the many things that can influence and upset you in your life, it sometimes seems that all difficulties are caused by some sort of a confusion. A worker may realize that something is happening that is confusing to him, but if he does not know how to handle it, he just tries to go on and somehow come out of it okay.

When you have a lot of unsolved problems, they add up to one huge confusion. Every now and then, a worker can get orders that are so different from each other—sometimes even telling him to do the opposite thing—that he can become very confused.

A modern factory can be so poorly managed that the entire place appears to be one big confusion—so confused that there does not seem to be a way to handle and improve it.

People usually depend on luck to help them out of any confusion that is too much for them to handle. Luck means depending on something other than your own decision-making for what will happen in your future, with you having no control over it. If you were to let go of the steering wheel while driving a car and hope that the car stays on the road by luck, you would often be disappointed. And so it is in life. Those things that you do not handle and just hope that luck will solve do not usually work themselves out.

You may have heard of or seen a friend that just ignores bills he has to pay and grits his teeth while he hopes that he will win some lottery or horse race and make a lot of money to solve all of his problems. You may have known people who handled their lives this way for years. But relying on luck to see you through the confusion is the same as no longer holding the wheel and steering your car. The confusion will not handle itself.

It would be wise, then, to understand exactly what a confusion is and how it can be handled.


As mentioned above, a confusion is something that does not seem to have any immediate solution.


If you were to stand in heavy traffic, you would probably feel confused by all the motion whizzing around you. If you were to stand in a heavy storm, with leaves and papers flying around, you would also likely feel confused.

Is it possible to actually understand a confusion? Can a confusion be broken down into parts? Yes, and yes.

For example, if you were a receptionist in a large company and you had ten calls coming in all at once, you might feel confused. But is there any answer to the problem?

Or, if you were a workshop foreman and you had three emergencies and an accident happen all at the same time, is there any answer to that?

Yes, there is. You can handle any confusion once you know what a confusion really is and how to handle one.

A confusion is only a confusion as long as all the pieces or parts of something are moving. A confusion is only a confusion so long as no part of it is clear to you or understood.

Confusion is the basic cause of stupidity. To anyone who is stupid, all things except the very simple ones are confusing. So if you know what confusion is made up of, no matter how bright you might be, you would be brighter.

If you have ever had to teach someone who is not too bright, you will understand this well. You try to explain how something works. You go over it and over it and over it. And then you send him off to do the thing and he immediately makes a complete mess of it. He says he “didn’t understand” or he “didn’t grasp it.” The simple truth is that he was confused.

Ninety-nine percent of all education fails, when it fails, because the student is confused. He is not only confused about what he is trying to learn to do, but in life itself. When someone fails, it happens because the person is confused. To learn about machinery or to live life, you have to be able to take the confusion apart and handle it so it is no longer a confusion to you.

In handling a confusion, there is a rule you can use. It is called THE DOCTRINE OF THE STABLE DATUM. Doctrine means a rule or law and stable datum means a fact or piece of information or even an object that is reliable and does not change. You can use it to help you straighten out confusion or even prevent it from happening.

For example, if you saw a great many pieces of paper flying about in a room, they would look confusing until you picked out one piece of paper to be the piece of paper to look at. You could then see that everything else in the room was in motion (moving about). In other words, a confusing motion can be understood by finding and deciding that one thing is motionless.

You can do this yourself if you take a handful of small scraps of paper and toss them into the air. Now take one of the pieces of paper and color it black. Throw up the scraps of paper again and spot the black one. There seems to then be less confusion because you are using one stable datum to align (put into order) the rest of the confusion.

In a stream of traffic, all cars moving about would be confusing unless you were to spot one car and decide that one was motionless in relation to the other cars. You could then watch the other cars compared to the one you chose and see how the traffic is flowing.

The receptionist receiving ten calls at once solves the confusion by deciding on one call as the first call to receive her attention. It doesn’t matter which one she answers first. The confusion of “ten calls all at once” becomes less confusing the moment she singles out one call to be answered.

The shop foreman, presented with three emergencies and an accident, only needs to decide which one he will handle first to make the situation less confusing and get things under his control.

Until you select one piece of information, one item, one particular thing in a confusion—the stable datum—the confusion continues. The one thing you select and use becomes the stable datum for the remainder of the items in the confusion.

Any piece of knowledge—say, for example, how to bake a cake—is built from one datum. That is its stable datum.

In baking a cake, the stable datum might be that when you put all the ingredients into an oven, it bakes and cooks into a cake. If you try to make the stable datum wrong or false, all the knowledge you had can become confusing. For example, if someone said that an oven was a bad thing and cakes should not be cooked in an oven, the whole subject would become confusing for you.

A stable datum does not even have to be the correct one. It is simply the one thing that aligns all the others and keeps things from being a total confusion.

If you were teaching someone how to use a machine, if he failed to understand and follow your directions, he did so because he did not have a stable datum. He first has to understand one fact. Once he has understood and grasped that one fact, he can grasp others. Any person will have trouble in a confusing situation until he has fully grasped one fact or one item.

Confusions, no matter how big and hard to overcome they may seem, are made up of information, laws, rules or pieces of something. Grasp one piece or law or rule and you will be able to handle the confusion. Once you have grasped how to make one part work, see how the others work when compared to it and you will have steadied the confusion. And then, making other things line up to what you have grasped, you will soon be able to take control of and fully handle the confusion.

In teaching the person to use a machine, don’t throw a whole lot of information at him and then point out the things he did wrong. That would be confusing to him and will make him act stupidly. Find some place in his confusion to begin, one datum. For example, tell him, “This is how you start the machine.”

When you find someone who is confused, it may be that all the directions were just thrown at him, without him understanding them, and he therefore does not have a clear idea of what things are or how they work. To handle someone like this, you could start with the very simple, like, “This is a machine.” Then make him sure of it. Make him feel it, fiddle with it, push at it. And you’d be surprised how long it may take, but you’d also be surprised how his certainty increases. Out of all the complex or difficult things he must learn to be able to operate the machine, he must first know one datum. It is not even important which datum he learns first, as long as he learns it well. It is always better to teach someone a simple basic datum. For example, you could show him what the machine does, you could explain to him what the machine makes or you could tell him why he has been selected to run this machine. But you must make one basic datum clear to him or else he will be lost in confusion.

Confusion is uncertainty. Confusion is stupidity. Confusion is insecurity. When you think of uncertainty, stupidity and insecurity, think of confusion and you will be correct.

What, then, is certainty? Certainty is a lack of confusion. What, then, is intelligence? Intelligence is the ability to handle confusion. What, then, is security? Security is the ability to go through or around or to bring order to confusion. Certainty, intelligence and security are lack of or ability to handle confusion.

How does luck fit into confusion? Luck is the hope that some uncontrolled chance will get you through. Counting on luck is losing. It will not help you to be successful.

NOTE: In order to continue, you must complete all previous steps in this course. Your last incomplete step is
NOTE: You had several answers that were incorrect. In order to continue, you should re-read the article and then test your understanding again.