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Doubt, Not Fear, Is A Dream Killer

michael jordan

“Why should I worry about a shot I haven’t taken.” – Michael Jordan

Last week I wrote a post on how to overcome fear of failure and doubt. Some people asked me to unpack it a little bit more, so I’ll do that here for you. Fear of failure paralyzes people. I know more people that are paralyzed by fear than those who are not. But get this, all of them have some form of self-doubt.

Self-doubt, we all have had it at some point. To achieve anything, and give your best, you can have fear; but you can’t have doubt. The minute you have doubt you start overanalyzing things, thinking about the negative things of something. Doubt, not fear, is a dream killer. 

Fear is an instinct. Doubt is created by you. Fear can drive you, doubt drowns you. When you have fear you play to win. When you have doubt you play not to lose. When you play not to lose, you end up never playing your best.

So how do you overcome doubt?

You try, give your best, live with the results and learn.

There’s no magic formula, it’s a mindset and attitude. Personally, I’d rather not live with regret that I didn’t do this or that, tried this or that, than have a bunch of experiences and lessons from doing something.

I’ve always been fearless and had great confidence in myself. I can’t remember a time when I was truly fearful. But I can remember a few times when the voice of self-doubt stuck into my head. This happened in my mid-twenties, and it wasn’t fun.

I had a little bit of a perfectionist attitude when I was younger. I’ve never liked losing at anything. I still don’t. I dealt with that attitude by trying to control everything. I had a stretch in my life where everything went my way; I was always winning. And I became very arrogant because of this. One time I told my mom, “All I have to do is snap my fingers and shit happens for me”.

Yup, I was all up in my head.

But I changed my mindset when I things stopped going my way. As I started getting my hands into different interests, and things didn’t go my way, I started accumulating failures; aka lessons. Self-reflection, looking for answers, letting go of things and working on shutting down my self-critical voice pushed me through. Doubt has never been a big enemy for me. Self-criticism was my toughest enemy to defeat. I’m highly critical of myself and expect a lot of myself; and have made myself cry when I haven’t lived up to my expectations.

Losing sucks. But not trying sucks more for me. That’s why I’ve always followed my interests with complete disregard for what the end result could be. I’ve never seen my experiences as win or lose, rather as things I want to do; and whatever I do I give it my best.

We all know people who live their lives avoiding fear and pleasuring their self-doubt. They’ve basically surrendered to their self-doubt. Don’t be that person. Take action. Don’t let self-doubt dictate who you are and who you can become. It all comes down to your mindset and attitude. I can control my attitude. So can you. But we can’t worry about things that are out of our control.

Just do it.

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The pandemic has changed many of the ways we’re used to doing things. It’s created loss for many, anxiety for others, and frustration for most everyone. Personally, I see people on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram expressing their frustrations about the state of the world and how they can’t wait for things to go back to normal.