Dealing with doubts

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Doubts. The little buggers. Creeping up on us, wriggling around in our brains, leaking into all our positivity by screaming ‘BUT WHAT IF?‘. I have a lot of them.

In some ways, they’re healthy. They can prevent rash decisions, mistakes, and foolish behaviour. But, do they go too far? And by going too far I mean, do they limit me? Do they hold me back from doing the things I should do?

This had me thinking, are doubts actually akin to a conscience? That little voice of reason? Are doubts actually just balancing out the right and wrong choices to make and actions to take? I don’t know.

What I do know is that doubts have to be challenged. Doubts exist to stop us from doing, rather than compelling us to do. I want to be a doer. So, naturally, that means I have to challenge any doubts I have about ‘doing’.

I’ve had to face a lot of doubts recently. I’m still facing them. Part of me thinks I should let them win. They’re right! I can’t do it. It’s a silly idea. But the braver side of me deduces that doubts are not real. Their lack of tangibility equals a lack of reality. In other words, doubts might not come true.

For example, one of the doubts I’m facing at the moment is, ‘It will probably fail, so what’s the point?‘. Well, the point is, it might not fail, actually. If I was to listen to that doubt, I would be repressing the strongest form of myself. I would be wrapping an invisible chain around my own potential.

I would be contributing to my own failure. By not trying.

Not trying means not achieving.

And I will never know what I can achieve unless I try. I think that’s the answer to life, don’t you?

But in order for us to take that small step, or make that giant leap, we have to deal with the doubts. This is the best way I can sum it up:

Those seeds of doubt that have planted themselves in your head? You must starve them of water. You must starve them of water until they dry and wilt and eventually turn to dust. 

Be rational, of course. Doubts only grow themselves in order to protect us. But it is for us to realise when our doubts are growing more than we are. And, in those circumstances, it’s our responsibility to stunt them. To find the strength to quash what is hindering us. Because, if you let your doubts grow, they will transform from seeds into weeds.

And weeds are no good to anyone.

Weeds are spoilers. They thread themselves through all that is good and try to take over. Let them spread too far and the damage will be irremediable. The scales will tip in favour of your doubts and there will be no turning back.

Don’t let yourself reach that point.

You control your doubts, and the effect they have on your life. Not the other way round.

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My reversed lent

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I’m not religious. That’s not to say I haven’t given things up for lent before, I have (tried). Just not for religious reasons. Yes, I understand lent is about penance and self-denial, but deprivation isn’t what I’m looking for right now. I’m looking for enrichment. That’s why I’m using lent as a reason to add something to my days, rather than take something away.

This year, there will be no commitment to giving up chocolate. There will instead be a commitment to write. Outside of work. Every. Single. Day. It will be tough. Especially as I’ll be on holiday for a week of it.

Lent is about challenging yourself to do without, but I’m challenging myself to do with. To do with a pen and paper or a keyboard and screen. To do with thoughts and words and ideas. To do with taking a blank page and embellishing it in whatever way I feel like. I’m not giving myself minimum word counts to achieve – I’m someone who believes firmly in quality over quantity – but I am pledging to create something, every 24 hours.

Doing this will hopefully bring me closer to the elusive sense of purpose I seek. Seeing things come to life, literally through my fingers, in a few short weeks. Seeing how far I can go. How much I can grow. No more ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I’m too tired’, or ‘Shall we stick Netflix on?’.

Having ambition is one thing, but achieving ambition is another.