6 ways of tackling self doubt

Most people give their dream a try at least once. Most also are not able to go all the way through.

Between starting out on our dreams and crossing the finish line, lies the real test. Past the initial enthusiasm, we may encounter months or years of uncertainty and doubt. So many succumb to these two at one point or the other.

What can you do when those ‘what ifs’ rear their ugly head?

1. Turn around and face your doubts. Instead of avoiding these doubts, face them. Give them a listening ear and write them down. Then look at the worst case scenarios. What will your options be? What can you do when the worst happens? Having an action plan for the worst case scenario takes away a lot of fear.

First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst. -Dale Carnegie

2. Write down your purpose. Why are you doing whatever it is that you are doing? What is the final aim? The work we do may become such a drudgery that the very wisdom behind all the effort may look questionable. We start doubting our motives.

Having a written, clear purpose statement helps a lot in such times. Write it down on a piece of paper and carry it with you. Whenever in doubt, take out this piece of paper and read your purpose. Your mind will quieten down slowly. Looking at your purpose statement also keeps you focused, clear headed and motivated.

Life without a purpose is a languid, drifting thing; every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves, ‘This day let me make a sound beginning, for what we have hitherto done is naught!’ –Thomas Kempis

3. Auto suggestion. Get into the habit of imagining your dream state. What will it be like once you have achieved your goal? What would you be doing? Imagine vividly. This exercise has a unique and potent way of motivating you. It fills you up with energy and enthusiasm.

The starting point of all endeavors is desire. But when we get down to the nitty gritties of daily life, we have a tendency to loose track of the big picture and our desire wanes.

This exercise will strengthen your desire. When you practice auto suggestion, you replenish your desire so that it becomes as strong as it ever was.

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything. -Napoleon Hill

4. Your personal achievement story. Look back to a time when you conquered great odds to achieve success. All of us have those private moments of achievement when we displayed courage and determination to get what we wanted. Remind yourself of the time when you cleared that difficult exam, stood up to your boss and had your say, learnt driving a car, learnt walking, got over that illness, won that tournament, stood up alone for what you believed in, conquered a fear…

The human spirit is infinitely powerful. Sometimes, all we need to do to get over doubt is to remind ourselves of our limitless potential.

The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good. -Brian Tracy

5. Find positive inputs. Whatever we have in our lives, affects our attitude. So if you have only negative friends, or if you read negative literature primarily, you are bound to feel negative.

Create a positive environment around yourself. Seek out positive friends, books, movies… A positive environment is a breeder of positive, encouraging thoughts, and kills negativity and self doubt.

By building an environment that excludes negativity and building around you only positive influences, you’ll begin to make real advances in your life that will support everything you do each day in a positive way and help you to constantly maintain a positive frame of mind. -J Charest

6. Show up. A lot of times, doubts are just passing phases. You feel low for a while and, if you continue in spite of this feeling, you just wake up one day to find your spirits lifting back up again. What is important here is to keep showing up. Once your mind recognizes you are not going to listen to its imaginary tales any more, it sulks for a while and then goes quiet on its own. Show up, no matter what.

Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.  -Woody Allen


Self doubt and uncertainties are the hurdles you have to go past, before you experience success. While they may look bad and undesirable now, they are making you stronger and more deserving of what you desire. Hold on and try to enjoy this journey.

Image: graur codrin


  • August 31, 2011 - 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Excellent points Rahul.

    There is saying “Faith moves mountain, and doubt creates it”.

    I think with your suggested points one can clearly combat doubt and continue his journey towards success.

    Keep it up.
    Naveen Kulkarni recently posted..5 Fear Based Traps To Avoid

    • Rahul
      August 31, 2011 - 11:00 pm | Permalink

      “Faith moves mountain, and doubt creates it”
      So true! It seems to follow that success and growth depend on how much we can develop our faith and diminish our doubts. I am reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography these days and can relate this quote to his survival for 27 years in jail. It seems to be his faith in his beliefs, in himself, in the future of his country and his own, that kept him going for so long.
      Thanks for adding to the post Naveen.

  • September 1, 2011 - 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Rahul for such a wonderful post.Keep on writing.
    Aniket Ujjainkar recently posted..Law of Attraction

    • Rahul
      September 7, 2011 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Glad you like it Aniket. Keep on visiting! :)

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