Doubt, but keep going.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Doubt. We've all felt it. It's that little thing that makes you hesitate before a decision, and even once you've made the decision it stays around, asking you whether you're sure that you did the right thing - are you sure that there wasn't another option to pick, a better option? Doubt can come from different sources: it can be from an offhand comment from a friend that didn't mean much but sets off a series of questions in your mind, it can come from a fear of the unknown keeping you off-kilter and making you question that which you can't possibly predict, or it can be from insecurity, an inability to trust your own decisions. It's the last source of doubt that can be the most damaging. 

Doubt can be a good thing, as it can make you double-check to see if you really do have your keys, or it can make you question a person's motives when they don't seem entirely genuine and save you a whole world of hurt. However, when you doubt yourself on a regular basis, it is rarely beneficial. There is a difference between questioning yourself and doubting yourself. When you question yourself, you ask pertinent questions to make sure that you're doing the right things for you: do I really want to take this course or am I doing it to please my parents? Do I like this style of coat or do I want to buy it because everyone else has it and I think I'll feel better when I 'fit' in? Am I happy with this relationship or has it become more of a habit? 

Self-reflection is important so that you always have a sense of self: who you are at the moment, what you want, and the general direction you're heading. Questioning what you do provides you with answers to move forward. On the flip side, doubt does everything it can to keep you stuck in one place. Imagine that you have a wall which you need to climb over - you have two options. Option one, you ask yourself how you're going to climb over it, who you know that might have a solution to your current or if you could Google a way, in order to work out a strategy. Option two, you doubt whether you can even get over the wall. You question your decision to even climb the wall. Why climb the wall? What's wrong with being on this side of the wall? 

In one scenario, you're moving forward, because after all, nothing stops you from climbing back over once you know how to climb it in the first place. The other scenario stops you from doing something that you might like to do or getting the hurdle that will bring you closer to what you want. And the funny thing is, both options take about the same time, but only one of them gets you results. The time you spend questioning a decision is about the same time you could have spent executing it. 

For years I have let my dreams lie dormant because every time I made the decision to follow them I would be racked with doubt: do I have what it takes to be a writer? Would I ever even make a living writing? How could I possibly have original content when there are so many other writers out there? Hasn't it all been written before? During the time I was doubting my dream, I could have been asking more pertinent questions like: if I want to be a writer, what do I have to do? What can I do today that would take me in the right direction? Instead of doubting my dream, I could have been moving towards it.

Now that I've started blogging, I still have doubts: I doubt whether I'm taking the content in the right direction, whether there's any point of having another blog in the sea of blogs, and whether I shouldn't be working on fiction, or non-fiction, or anything else really. However, I've learnt over the past couple of months that doubt, like fear, will always be there, it's just a question of not letting it get in the way. Over time, you begin to doubt what you do with less intensity and regularity, but in the beginning - especially if you have a habit of doubting your decision - it's going to be difficult, and some days it'll feel almost impossible to look at practical ways of getting over your current obstacle rather than wondering why you should get past that hurdle in the first place.

My only advice is: doubt, and keep going. If you don't like where you end up, go back, but don't let doubt paralyse you. Doubt the doubt, but don't doubt yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment