Confusion/Martin Rosenfeld,JD

Posted on January 3, 2021


Alan Cohen is a co-founder of an entity named Liazon. He is known as an innovator in the business world. A quote of Mr. Cohen’s has gone viral: “Confusion is the last stop on the way to clarity.” Sometimes, in our lives we see the truth of the statement that “The night is darkest just before the dawn”. There are times when confusion reigns and a solution to the challenge we confront seems quite distant. Yet, often there is the arrival of the dawn and a new day.

But this is a blog about mediation. How does the insight by Mr. Cohen intersect with mediation theory? The answer is rather self-evident. A productive mediation session can help the parties understand their needs more clearly. This in turn often helps them as they seek a solution to their deadlock.

I once had a few sessions with a divorcing couple. The sessions seemed to be helpful and directed to an ultimate divorce agreement. On this one occasion, the couple announced at the onset of the session that they were facing a new problem which threatened the viability of the mediation process. They assumed the process had been aborted. I immediately saw a rather simple solution. I guided the couple to the solution but let it be their “discovery”. When we finally got to the acceptable solution, the metaphorical “lightbulb” was turned on for the two parties. What had happened in those few minutes? It was just as Mr. Cohen analyzed. The last stop to the solution was the temporary confusion. A party can accomplish much if they are willing to engage the opposing party, and listen, and strive for Win-Win. Perhaps it could be said that in this case, the dawn and the solution arrived simultaneously.

Mediate don’t litigate.