Discover more from Life According to D
The Anatomy of Doubt
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." - Edmund Hillary
The word "doubt" comes from the Old French "douter," which in turn was derived from the Latin "dubitare," meaning "to hesitate, be doubtful." "Dubitare" is formed from the term "dubius," which means "doubtful," and it is related to "duo," meaning "two." The connection to "two" is significant, as doubt often involves being torn between two choices or possibilities.
Sometimes the most significant obstacle to pursuing dreams is doubt, particularly our self-doubt. All of us deal with doubt for one reason or another. In my case, I had a teacher in Grade nine ask what career I was interested in. I said architect, and he responded, “You are too stupid.” I know it sounds crazy, but I took those exact words to heart, and when I told my parents, they said, “well, being the teacher, he knows best.”
I will not take you on a journey of self-pity here, but their words had self-destructive consequences and gave cause for a few years of personal dysfunction. But, happy to say I am long over it and during my life used my imagination to design restaurants, stores and gardens.
Some people I know have held themselves back from attempting something new because of a lack of confidence, a bad case of comparing themselves to others, or just plain old fear of failing.
Doubt can be a positive thing; uncertainty can be a productive emotion and prompt us to seek more information, challenge our assumptions and reconsider our beliefs.
But you can’t quit just because you doubt!
I love what Mark Twain said, “focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself.”
Fear is a bit different. First, it is an emotion triggered by a perceived threat or danger. Then, there is the fear of the unknown, which can bring on doubt.
Talking with others can negatively or positively affect our mindset. If they speak negatively, consider the source and motivation to instill doubt into you or your ideas.
Sometimes they fear how your ambition affects them; be aware of their motives, biases, and expertise. Don’t take it as being the absolute truth.
Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it. ~ Polly Berends
Overcoming doubt can be achieved by taking action; even small steps can help reduce doubt and increase confidence. You start by seeking information and knowledge by talking with or reading the words of experts or seeking advice from trusted sources. The more information and knowledge one has, the less room for doubt.
It is good to know that self-doubt is a shared experience; almost everyone experiences it at some point. While challenging, some strategies can help overcome self-doubt and increase confidence.
As I learn to write, I must replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
I’ve found biographies of writers and the writing habits of other writers helpful. They had doubts, and they learned to live with them. And this Substack writers community is a supportive platform with everyone sharing their love of wordsmithing.
But, of course, the most potent positive reinforcement a writer can get is positive comments from readers.
Have a great day, no doubt about it!