It happens to us all. On a run, in the middle of a meal, or as we drift off to sleep. Suddenly, without warning, we have a life changing idea. Perhaps it is a revelation about how we can improve our lives. Maybe it is a ground breaking idea for a new product that could make us a millionaire. We find our minds spinning at the wonderful possibility of it all. We are certain that tomorrow we will be on our way to a successful future. Things are looking up.
Then, without fail, tomorrow arrives and with it the poison of self-doubt. “I am not really good enough to make that happen.” “My friends and family will think it is a stupid idea.” “I should focus on what I know, or how things are, because there is no way I can succeed at something as big as that.” “I am destined to fail.”
As William Shakespeare said in his play Measure for Measure:
Self doubt creates such a fear in us that we are unwilling to even attempt a new start, a new idea, a new beginning. Once that fear sets in, it becomes next to impossible for us to put our plans into motion, leaving our hearts to fall into depression and our ideas to die a painful death.
The obvious solution here is to overcome self-doubt. If we have the power and will to push past our doubts, silencing them before they even start, then the crippling fear which thwarts us all will not have the time to set in. Our plans will move forward, our confidence will grow, and our lives will change for the better. The question is, however, how do we put to rest those self-defeating doubts and insecurities…or at least quiet them enough so that they do not win out?
One of the greatest artists of the 19th century, Vincent van Gogh, said it best:
The only way to silence those voices and prove to yourself that you can do something is to do just that. Don’t focus on what other people might think. Don’t focus on the possibility of failure. The most successful people of all time have faced failure hundreds of times in their lives. The difference is that they overcame their self-doubt and continued trying. Micheal Jordan, arguably the best professional basketball player of all time, had this to say about his success:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
So if you want to start running, lace up your shoes and head out the door. If you want to be a chef, get in the kitchen and start cooking. If you want to change careers and chase your dream of being a writer, then pick up the pen (or keyboard) and start writing. You are the only thing standing in your way, and you are the only one that can make your dreams come true. No one else will believe in your dreams more than you do. So stand up, take charge, and make today the day you overcome your self-doubt and start turning your dreams into reality.