There is a saying, “Doubt kills more dreams than failure,” and it is true. Most people fail in life and they are not pursuing their dreams because they doubt themselves. They underestimate their own abilities and they think that they can’t do it. They allow their doubts to stop them from moving forward.
Think about it, just how many opportunities, projects, and goals have you let pass simply because you feel that you’re not “ready” or that you’re “not good enough”?
Everyone has dreams. Everyone has something that they want to achieve in life. But not everyone has the courage to pursue what they want. And most people are not taking action because they doubt themselves.
The key to success, according to World Economic Forum, is confidence, and not talent.
It is easy to relate. You can grow any talent and skills when you have the confidence. Like playing tennis, guitar, violin, painting, and writing, these are skills that anyone can build and master.
But the problem is that most people are stopped by their self-doubts.
They think that they can’t do it. They think that they are not good enough. They think that they are going to fail. Etc.
Thus, when you get rid of your doubts, you can proceed with confidence.
Success is a Cycle
Yes, success is a cycle. As what Tony Robbins said:
“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
When you are confident, you take action. You make progress and you created small victories. And when you see the accomplishments, you strengthen your confidence and you take even more action.
The same goes when you are in doubt. When you doubt yourself, you don’t do anything. And if you are not doing anything, you will never produce any result. You feel down and you doubt yourself even more.
Do you see how it works as a cycle? As long as you don’t do something different and you continue to let your self-doubt stop you, you will never get to a new ground.
And this is what this article is all about – to get rid of your self-doubt and to grow your level of confidence.
So here are 7 effective ways how you can do so:
1. Surround yourself with positive and confident people
One of the most effective methods to stop your self-doubt is to surround yourself with positive and confident people. The people who you mix with can shape and rewire your brain.
From my previous article, I mentioned that your environment can shape your life. And who you spend your time will determine a great deal of your life’s direction.
If you make friends and spend most of your time with people who complain, blame, and talk about other people, guess what, you will become one of them. You will join the party and become someone who complains and gossip too.
Therefore, when you’re in doubt, go and talk to someone who is positive and confident. Let their positive energy affect you. Let their thinking rewire your brain and become positive too.
What You Can Do:
Stop mixing with negative people. This is especially true when you’re down and in doubt. When you need support the most, don’t talk to negative people who will drag you down.
Instead, choose to talk to people who are positive and people who will support you.
When you’re having tough times and you talk to the pessimists, they will tell you to give up. But if you talk to positive people, they will encourage you to press on and pursue what you really want.
2. Stop the comparison game
If you want to solve a problem, you need to solve it at the root level. And one of the root causes of self-doubt is none other than comparison.
People feel doubtful when they try to compare themselves with others who are doing much better than them.
When you compare with someone better, most of the time, you will feel that you’re not good enough. And that’s what kills your confidence.
You will then begin to doubt yourself if you can do it.
“When people compare and then feel depressed and demoralized, it’s often stemming from a belief that you’re not good enough, and you’re always on the hunt for validation of that belief,” says Kathy Caprino from Forbes.
What Can You Do:
First, be aware of your thoughts. Are you trying to compare yourself with others? Are your thoughts and self-doubts stop you from moving forward?
Once you’re aware of your thoughts, eliminate the negative thinking by substituting them with the positive ones. You can use positive affirmations if you want to.
3. Read about other’s success stories
Another great method to overcome self-doubt is to read about other people’s success stories.
When you think that you can’t do it or that you’re not good enough, read the stories of how people have gone through a similar situation like yours, and they successfully made it.
The key is to read a story that you can relate to.
For example, if you’re a working mom and you want to build a successful blog, but you’re feeling doubtful whether you can do it, just read the success stories of how other moms manage their time and create outstanding blogs.
When you can relate to the story, it makes you feel good and it boost your confidence. It shows you that if others can do it, so can you.
“Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age 3, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.” – Oprah Winfrey
What Can You Do:
Read more. Spend more time reading great books that inspire you to achieve greater success in life.
4. Focus on your victories
People doubt themselves when they focus on the wrong thing. When you worry about the problems, whether you will fail, or what will happen if you fail, you are creating doubts in your head.
Instead of thinking about all the problems, failures, and rejections that may happen, choose to focus and concentrate on your victories.
Think about all the progress and the small wins that you have made that got you so far.
When you focus on problems, you will have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you will have more possibilities.
Hence, think about all your past wins. Focus on the victories and not your problems. In other words, count your blessings.
What You Can Do:
Use the “Reverse Gap Thinking” to shift your focus to the positives and not the negatives. Just like this article from LifeHacker suggested:
“Rather than constantly focusing on your future, remind yourself regularly of where you were 2 years ago. What did your life look like? What was your career like? How were you? And when you think about that, celebrate how far you’ve come in the last 2 years.
You need to train yourself not to only think about the future but to also celebrate what you’ve accomplished in the past. Pay attention to your “reverse gap” the period during which you had successes but also difficulties that you’ve overcome. That’s how you create happiness and gratitude in the now.”
5. Do the worst and best case scenario
Whenever you are in doubt, ask yourself these 2 questions:
- What is the worst that can happen?
- What is the best that can happen?
You will often discover that the best scenario almost always outperforms the worst scenario.
For instance, if you want to start an online business, but you’re afraid that you may fail, just ask yourself these 2 questions.
So what’s the worst that can happen?
Perhaps, you fail. You waste some of your hard-earned money. You waste your time. And maybe some of your friends may laugh at you. But that’s all you will get from the worst.
Now, what’s the best that can happen?
Well, if your online business is a huge success, you can become really rich. You can enjoy financial freedom, travel first class, move to a bigger house with your family, drive your dream car, travel around the world with the people you love, etc.
See? The best case scenario almost always outweighs the worst case scenario.
So what’s holding you back from taking action?
When you do the best and worst case scenario, you take your self-doubt out of your mind.
What You Can Do:
Get ready with a pen and paper. Ask yourself the 2 questions and then write down all your answers. You can also choose to do this exercise in your head, but I suggest you write down the answers because you can then clearly see the differences.
After you have done this exercise, your self-doubt will automatically disappear.
6. Confront your doubts
Here’s another great way to stop your self-doubts – confront them.
Why do you feel that you’re not good enough? What’s the reason behind? Why do you doubt yourself? Is it that it is difficult? Or is it because you don’t have the skills, or you don’t have the capability?
You see, when you confront your doubts and you find out exactly what is going on inside you, you open up yourself for solutions.
Like how you overcome your fears. The best way to do it is to face your fears.
When you face your doubts and do it anyway, your doubts will be gone.
You have to understand that your doubts only exist in your mind. They are not real and they are yet to happen.
Yes, you may lack the skills or knowledge, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to fail. Even if you do, that’s okay because everybody fails at some point.
And when you fail, just learn from the experience so that you can start again wiser and stronger.
But first, you must conquer your doubts. Find out why you think that way and what makes you doubt yourself.
What You Can Do:
Take some time to ponder and think about what makes you doubtful about yourself. Is it that you think you lack the skills? Is it because too many people have failed and not much succeeded? Or is it because it is difficult?
Find out the answers and get through them.
If you think that you lack the skills or talent or capability, is there any way you can improve or if you can’t, can you get someone else to do it instead?
If you think that too many people have failed, that’s absolutely normal. Success is meant for the minority and that’s why you’re doing it, right?
The key is to look for solutions to overcome your doubts. Face them and find the solutions.
7. Take action and make progress
The last technique that I want to share with you to stop your self-doubt is to take action and make progress.
No matter what happens, you are doubting yourself because you are staying stagnant and doing nothing.
When you take action and make progress, your doubts will disappear.
I like how Riskology puts it, “It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.”
You just need to keep moving. How do you validate your self-doubt? By taking action.
Want to know if you are good enough or you don’t? Simple, just take action and you will know.
Of course, when you take action, you put yourself in the action cycle. And when you see your progress, you will feel good and want to take even more action.
That’s when your doubts will be eliminated.
Thus, don’t stay where you are. Take action. Do something, anything.
What You Can Do:
The only way you can progress and move forward is to take action. Don’t just wait for things to happen, you need to act in order to get the results that you want.
When you started to see results, your doubts will be gone.
Hence, whenever you are in doubt, take action. Just do it. Don’t think, let your action speaks, not your doubts.
So be the one to take the initiatives and make things happen.
Self-doubt kills more dreams than failure. Your doubts stop you from taking action. Your doubts paralyze you. And if you let your doubts to overwhelm you, your dreams then will remain as dreams, forever.
Therefore, do something about it now. Learn to stop self-doubt, get rid of it, overcome it, face it, and eliminate it.
When you are full of confidence and are crystal clear with what you want without self-doubt, nothing can stop you. You will fly like an arrow straight to the bull’s eye.
Successful people have doubts, too. But they never let their doubts stop them. They confront their doubts and kills them before they take over their lives.
You should do the same. You must. And success will be yours.