When Doubt Gets In The Way of Success


Doubt. What is that? To me it feels like a wall, sometimes a big one. The feeling of doubt is one that stops us, maybe not forever, but at least for a while and it can really get in the way of success.

One approach is to bully it aside, just brute force my way to a better mental state. The suppression of doubt does not deal with it but rather buries it. The doubt remains, we are just not addressing it. This is the Ostrich technique. What is your best guess of what effect this method could likely have in going forward? Before you answer that, consider this question, “what is my concern about?”.

Move my thoughts from consequences if I do nothing to that which is of concern, that which is at the root of the doubt. What is my concern about?

Now notice what has started to happen. For many, what happens is that the shift from doubt (wall, stopped, scared) to concern seems to naturally break the source of the doubt into parts. My answer to the question is a list. A concern is much friendlier than a doubt. The release of pressure somehow causes the mind to move to inspecting the components of the doubt. We move away from that doubt wall and now see components that support the doubt. Much easier to deal with the smaller parts than with the whole thing in one gulp. We can even say yes now because we can say yes with some of the concerns. That makes some of the situation way more OK.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to now get curious about the concerns. You can now see them because they are not quite so overwhelming. We can now move toward solutions, which was a tactical error before. By going from doubt immediately to solutions, the mind can sometimes go deer in the headlights. That is the wall mentioned before. By seeing smaller issues as simply concerns and adopting an attitude of curiosity toward those items, we come to understand them better. We start to have little ahas and moments of yes, I get this now.

A danger at this point is to require that any solutions be 108% perfect. We can set the bar so high that it is almost unachievable. So as we curiously walk around the components of concern, just collect information. Allow the ideas to come in without prejudice. When I enter a room and feel like everyone there has the intention that I will fail, well, I am not then at my best. Same for observations we come across as we remain curious. Just be curious. Leave expectation aside for the moment. Give yourself permission to remain just curious for the time being.

Now, while remaining curious, set the intention that at least a partial solution is in among my observations, somewhere, like looking for Waldo in one of those complicated pictures. With this intention firmly in my mind, doubt all but evaporates. Now I again have all my power to apply to solving concerns. I’m looking for solutions, or partial solutions, to parts of my original doubt. Doubt is no longer in the way of my success.

Joseph Seiler MCC