Personal Development

Escaping From The Grips Of Self-Doubt

While none of us are immune to self-doubt (with the exception of some serial narcissists that come to mind), we all have the ability to keep it from directing our decisions, continuing our silence and shaping our lives. So how do we banish the doubt? We cannot. What we do is learn how to reclaim the power it has held over us. Here are four ways you can do just that.

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

Vincent Willem van Gogh

Self-doubt is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, self-doubt forces you to approach a project from a different angle or re-evaluate an idea that sounds good but difficult to implement. The artistic accomplishments by our musicians, graphic designers, writers, and painters that we see today are the product of dealing with their self-doubts. Self-doubt acts as a reminder that we are destined for so much more, so much more than what we have become.

On the other hand, self-doubt serves as a barrier that keeps you away from trying out new things. It whispers in your ear that regardless of how much time and energy you are willing to sacrifice and how careful you are, it will never work. Self-doubt crushes your self will, especially when it makes you look for an excuse for why you are unable to keep going, and makes you embrace failure.

With that in mind, here are some ways to overcome self-doubt:

1. Everyone is “jack of all trades, master of none.”

Just because your friend scored flying colours in every subject at school, plays every sport imaginable, and has a dream job, does not mean she is good at everything. No one has their sh*t together, regardless of age. No one is good at everything. Do sell yourself short simply because your friend is better than you at bowling or drinking. It is all right to have things you dislike or skills that you are lacking of.

2. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Because you cannot master every single thing in life, it makes sense to look for people who are adept at the things you are not so that you can clear your to-do list. For instance, if you are an excellent graphic designer and photographer but not a great salesman, reach out to people who know a thing or two about digital sales and marketing and ensure that they share the same level of excitement as you. Their deeply held beliefs about your project and emotional investment will help you overcome any self-doubt you have undertaking a new project, particularly in areas where you believe you are not good at.

3. Connect with people who are truthful and will value your talents.

Drown yourself in a pool of positive vibes emitted by people who are curious about the projects we launched and want to do in the future. Simultaneously, surround yourself with honest people who will not hesitate to say the truth to you, even if it stings you. They will expose you to new perspectives, encourage you to take more calculated risks and pull you out of danger if they see that you are going too far.

4. Failure is not just a possibility; it is a given.

Every venture you chase after may not be what you expected, and that thought alone is enough to discourage people from thinking about it in the first place. However, you would not know the outcome(s) if you do not give yourself a chance to try. If you recognise that you may have to return to the drawing board, feeling of self-doubt is irrelevant because at the start, you are prepared to go back to basics and keep going until things are where they should be. Remember that failure fuels success. J.K. Rowling’s pitch for Harry Potter was rejected twelve times before it was accepted by Bloomsbury. Her life journey serves as a reminder that all it takes is perseverance and patience.

Final 2¢: Sounds easy? Not so much.

We know overcoming self-doubt can benefit us in many ways. However, knowing and doing are two very different things. Like many things, conquering self-doubt is easier than done. It represents one of the high points of your twenties. The sooner you get to it, and the more frequent you convince yourself that things will fall into place eventually, the quicker you can ignore past (and future) failures and succeed in your dreams.  

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