Another invisible vampire we all face regularly is self-doubt. This is an area that people are purportedly optimistic about, and it usually ends up being an area where resistance appears quickly.
Steven Pressfield, author of “The War of Art” (2012) and “Do the Work” (2015), has a theory: There is an established feeling present in all of us called resistance. It’s the force that forever keeps us from realizing our dreams and accomplishing what we were meant to do. To summarize Pressfield’s theory, anything new in our routine that takes us away from the habitual is naturally accompanied by resistance. In this case, the resistance is negative, and it always opposes change. For example, if you feel the call to start a new innovative project, resistance will be the voice that urges you to stay the course and not try something so risky. If you want to start a new diet, resistance will be the voice that tells you, “I can always start the diet tomorrow, even if I don’t today.” It doesn’t discriminate, either! It’s the reason a seasoned, experienced thespian or musician might still throw up before a performance.
Fear of failure, self-doubt, and procrastination are all forms of resistance that come into play for us often. We can defeat these things by remaining committed to learning and accepting that these forces exist as a necessary part of the journey. So let’s explore them a bit more…
Fear of failure.
Instead of letting this form of resistance stop you, use it to your advantage. It’s okay to feel fear and self-doubt! It means you really care about the work that you’re doing. Fear can be a good indication that your idea or your vision is meaningful enough to pursue. Power through it. Don’t sit around waiting for lightning to strike. It probably won’t. Painter Chuck Close once said, “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just show up and get to work.”
This one is hard, but try to use your self-doubt it as a litmus test for your knowledge. Knowing yourself and learning your limitations is the key to getting better at anything in life. Admitting when you need help, asking for guidance from the people around you, and surrounding yourself with people you admire are all key to growth. Without this self-awareness, self-doubt can never truly be overcome or worked through.
This one is gross. Most of us struggle with procrastination all the time. Staying organized is a huge component of pushing procrastination away. Patience is the other component. The emotional high of making things materialize rapidly is addictive, so planning often gets thrown by the wayside. Details get pushed off, and unrealistic goals are set. Slow and steady win the race.
The bottom line is this: Fear means you’re headed in the right direction and self-doubt helps you define your limitations. Procrastination is fought with careful planning and patience. Don’t let the invisible vampire of resistance keep you from doing your best work!
“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” – Steven Pressfield