5 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

So here you are; there is something you really want to be doing, something you know you should be doing, but for some reason you can’t. The real reason that most of us never change the things we should do, into the things we will do, is because of self-doubt.

Self-doubt can be crippling, overwhelming, and incredibly disheartening at times, but it is important to know that self-doubt can be overcome with the right mental tools, and the first step is to stop saying ’I should find a way to beat self-doubt’, and to start saying ’I will beat self-doubt’.

"If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced."-Vincent Van Gogh

1. Reprogram Negative Thoughts With NLP

Negative thoughts are like a sickness that spreads rapidly: choosing to allow just one single doubt to creep into your intentions and thoughts, and it can turn into a pandemic of fear.  NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming is basically the study and belief that our thoughts and language (words) will greatly influence our mind.  While NLP’s effectiveness is often debated in the scientific world, there is no doubt that NLP can be highly effective at removing self-doubt and negative thoughts from your mind.

NLP techniques for removing self-doubt all involve "reprogramming" negative thoughts, or in other words, changing negative thoughts into something different whenever they pop up in your mind.  Techniques to remove self-doubt include: thought replacement (replacing a negative thought like "I am not experienced enough", with a positive thought like "I can learn how to do it"), though destruction (destroying a negative thought immediately with either logic as to why it is false thinking, or simply by reframing the thought with something like appreciation for what you DO have), and thought minimization (repeating a negative thought over to yourself but in a high pitched and annoying clown voice).

NLP techniques serve to remove the power that negative thoughts have over us, and instead puts the power directly into our own hands.

2. Try Visualization

Sports physiologists have long used the power of visualization to enhance the performance of professional athletes, but the same techniques used by athletes can be used by people just like you.  Visualization produces powerful mental and emotional responses that make us more confident, more likely to succeed, and able to ignore self-doubt.

The next time you experience self-doubt, try visualizing yourself doing exactly what your self-doubt says that you can’t do.  If your mind tells you that you can’t lose 50 lbs, picture yourself 50lbs lighter.  The power of visualizing comes from truly trying to imagine and experience what you are visualizing, so imagine how your body feels, imagine how happy and confident you now are, and imagine how good it feels to know you did it.

3. Consider Past Successes

A great way of overcoming self-doubt is simply to remember times in your own past where you accomplished something, even though you doubted your ability to do it.  If most of us are willing to look back at our lives, we can often find many times that we thought we couldn’t do something, or we thought something would be very difficult, yet we accomplished them regardless of our doubt.

Self-doubt has power over us only if we believe it is stronger than us, and taking a look at our past success will remind us that doubt is just a trick of the mind.

4. Learn About The Success of Others

Taking time to learn from and about the success of others is a great reminder that we are often capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. People like Sylvester Stallone, Steve Jobs, and even Henry Ford are all sobering reminders that most of the greats in history had to overcome tremendous challenges and failure to achieve success.

When we observe the success of others, we will realize that you may not come out squeaky clean, and it may not always be easy, but if you don’t give up, then you can do whatever you put your mind to.

5. Remove Sources of Negativity

Sources of negativity are all around us: criticism from friends and family, negative news and television, and even in our workplace they make us to feel smaller.  The important thing to know is this: you can escape negative environments and people simply by choosing to get away from them.

If you are around people who doubt you or your abilities, stop being around them; if you are working at a job where your boss or co-workers treat you like a buffoon, leave your job; and if you are watching shows or movies with negative and depressing stories, stop watching that type of media.  Your mind is a huge composition of what you are exposed to, what you believe, and what kind of people you put yourself around, so being around negativity and doubt will only breed more doubt in your own mind.

See Also: Are There Limits for Self Improvement

You can beat self-doubt, but it is up to you to do it.  The question is not ‘Can you beat self-doubt?’ the question is ‘Will you beat self-doubt?’

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them."-Michael Jordan

Has this post helped you in any way?  Do you have any questions or would you like to leave any helpful tips or experience for other readers? Please let us know in the comments section below.