Understanding the Voice of Doubt
Doubt can be challenging, even if it is necessary. I could, right now, recall a thousand different times where I’ve sat down here to write these things, unable to see the point of it all. Doubting my ability, my impact – doubting myself.
Doubt can be a challenge because all too often it results in the conclusion of something. It is difficult to persevere and continue in the face of doubt – it is more common to call it a day when the doubt creeps in.
Once upon a time I used to fear doubt. I felt that if doubt began to roll in like a thick fog over the hills then it was a sure sign that whatever situation I was pondering was coming to an end. This could be anything from a relationship, to a book, to a run I’m considering. If the doubts began to swirl around me, then it suggested that whatever I was considering was the wrong thing to do. This was my framework for doubt – it only predicted negative outcomes.
And I was dead wrong about that.
Doubt is our natural mechanism for double-checking. That’s how I define it now. It is not this sinister precursor of the end of days. Rather, it forces you to make sure that what you’re doing is the thing you ought to be doing. There is doubt attached to everything, so deciding to not continue down any path simply due to the presence of doubt will result in you doing exactly nothing with your life.
What doubt is – at least for me, now – is a way for me to see the challenges that lie ahead. If I doubt my ability to achieve a task or goal, then this allows me the space to learn more in order to successfully achieve the goal. If I doubt a budding relationship, this allows me to address my hesitancies by communicating effectively.
I think we all have a habit of hiding our doubts away from the world. The world wants us to be certain about everything – goals, beliefs, opinions, ambitions, relationships, careers – the list goes on. However, despite its best attempt to convince us otherwise, the world is a tumultuous and uncertain place, and so to be certain of yourself in an uncertain world is a form of madness.
Embrace doubt. Understand that when doubts begin to pour in, this is your subconscious double-checking and making sure that the decisions you are making are the right ones.
In other words, doubt is working for you, not against you.
The mechanism of doubt we all have is part of the hard-to-pin-down gut feeling we all rely on. Our intuition depends on our ability to doubt. The less certain we are about anything, the less disappointed we are about everything.
Be uncertain. Take chances. Listen to the voice of doubt. It is not the villain in this story.