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Self Doubt

Should I? Should I not?

Will it be great? What if I fail?

How often you dive into the oceans of uncertainty, questioning your potential, deselecting your career options and working environment by underestimating your self-worth.

Honestly, I faced this quite often, until the day I discovered this questioning to be a well-known fact in human psychology, as "SELF-DOUBT."

The Oxford English dictionary does a nice job defining doubt as(1) the (subjective) state of uncertainty with regard to the truth or reality of anything; undecidedness of belief or opinion. The condition of being (objectively) uncertain; a state of affairs such as to give an occasion for hesitation or uncertainty

And when this state is connected to one’s self, defined as that which in a person is intrinsically he [in contradistinction to what is adventitious]; the ego; a permanent subject of successive and varying states of consciousness,

Each of us in life has this encounter with the uncertainty of the outcomes, instability in self-views, tasks, where we tend to put ourselves at stake. If I succeed, I'm a hero, a warrior; on the contrary, if I fail, I am looser. Will I achieve heights, fulfil the requirement, and many such questions followed by the long queue of uncertainty ahead. Especially when in a leadership position, these self-doubts haunt more, it is natural, but when we as individuals give more time thinking and questioning, it emerges as disastrous as other emotions like anger, rage.

Procrastination of work, the pilling up of the negativity, the regret looking back at moments which passed, lack of confidence and decision-making power are some of the common experiences when we doubt ourselves. Also, a sudden rush of emotions, inclination towards the easy-going fantasy world, over consciousness followed by accusation and victimizing when knocked down by adversity are some of the aftermaths when individual fall prey to self-doubt.

However, there exists a world beyond the wall of doubt. Doubt also means we possess an active intelligence, and we actively look at everything; we question our actions, question our thoughts, which is a blessing to the homo sapiens on earth. Self-doubt allows learning and growing by self-evaluation. The uncertainty about one's competence and potential for success are a fundamental feature of self-evaluation. Self-evaluation enhances our critical thinking and can help individuals achieve a more determined, dedicated path to life goals. When individuals are uncertain whether their ability alone can produce success, there lies a possibility of exerting an extraordinary amount of effort to enhance the prospect of success.

Before we are determined to eradicate self-doubt by dint of efforts, I feel the need to have clarity of thoughts and purpose. An example is when we as fresher run in a rat race driven by the herd of people emphasizing the high success rate in one particular stream without clarifying whether the high success rate drives us or our inner purpose for pursuing it. Therefore, the strongest force of human personality is the need to remain consistent in how we define ourselves along with the clarity of our aim.

One of my favourite lines, "Smooth sea never made a skilled sailor" by F. D. Roosevelt, helps me connect the dots of competence, self-doubt, and adversity. So, if we aim to be a sailor, we need to learn to master the trap when adversity knocks the sailing boat of life. I believe in the journey of emotional maturity, there is a day when we have to realize that life is not a comfort centric experience but has to be a growth-centric experience. The growth mindset, which has the clarity of thought, sense of commitment, has the power to sow seeds of benefits that adversity brings along. The commitment to one's purpose and programming our mind is what we can control and rely on, except the external stimulus and immediate surroundings, along with doubting our self. Even if we fail, we should have the courage to place our failures and success on the same table because both can help us uncover our hidden potentials and strengths.

When struck by adversity, when the situation seems unfavourable, when the world seems to be odd, or simply when self-doubt is at its peak, I just question myself, "Will I change my path because of these issues?". It deepens my understanding that "It is me who chose this, it is the path that will build who I want to be." Hence, believing in "ME, WHO I AM," coupled with self-reliance is the way to build confidence and overpower the world's uncertainties. Gaining confidence is also re-thinking our relationship with self-doubt in a more constructive rather than destructive way.

I leave you with a short story to ponder,

What if a minute, sowed dormant seed questioned itself and kneeled before soil due to the acute pressure and strain it experiences? The outcome is clear, the seed accepting its fate, no sapling growth, no leaves, no trees and no life on earth. Contrary to the effects, a sowed seed never doubts itself. It never complains to enduring pressure but germinates above all, like a sapling that transforms into a blooming tree that sustains life on earth.

Summing up, each doubt helps us in discovering the realm of our self, which is in a dormant state and needs clarity of thought, self-reliance and commitment to being a skilled sailor in the sea of life.

Author : Shaiya Yadav, student at IIT Jammu Image Credits: Author

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