Doubt Is a Powerful Opponent

Few emotions can lower the probability of success than doubt. Doubt is insidious, a gradual, subtle emotion with devastating effects on the doubter. The power of doubt is that when it is present, individuals are unable to perform a fair estimate of their abilities, and, more times than not, they fail to even try to do that which they are not sure they can do.

I wrote once on being a reformed worrier, and I talked about not driving until I was in my 50s. It was a constant doubt that I could ever operate any type of machinery that kept me from even trying to learn to drive until I was maybe over thirty years old. I was happy just to be a passenger and to be chauffeured around by husband or my kids. Sure, I was nervous about hurting someone, but mostly, I just did not believe that I could do it. The doubt started long before a driver instructor told me that I was meant to be a passenger.

I would argue that it was doubt that fed my nervousness. As a child, I was never picked to play on teams, or I was the last one picked. It seemed that if you were academically gifted that people thought that you were not able to  do anything that called for physical prowess. That undermines you confidence and makes you wonder if other people know something about your abilities that you have not cottoned onto yet.

It wasn’t until I was divorced and living alone, with no one to drive me that I approached the idea of driving differently. Instead of getting in the car with the belief that I was wasting my time and the instructor’s time because I would never learn to drive, I started thinking in a whole new manner, one in which doubts were pushed aside.

I thought, “I am in college working on earning a PhD, the highest degree possible in my field. How is it possible that I can understand all the sociological terms but I can’t figure out how to steer a car, stay in my lane, and stop it at lights. Obviously you don’t need a college degree to drive, because even 16-year-olds can drive.” So, I started to believe that I could indeed drive a car.

So, I called the driving school full of confidence and with Philippians 4:13 in my heart: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When I got behind the steering wheel for the first time 20 years, I was nervous but I had no doubts that I could drive. As I drove that first day, the driving instructor was stunned to learn that I had not driver in so long, because I was doing so well. It seems that I had unconsciously absorbed a lot about driving from watching as people drove me around.

As I tool around town today in my beloved red Ford Escape, I find that I drive a lot like Douglas, who is the best driver I have ever seen. That’s probably because when we married, I could drive enough to go from point A to point B, but there was so much I needed to learn to be a really good driver and watching Douglas helped me to become a more consistently good driver.

So, take it from me, you can do it! I don’t know what it is that you think you cannot do, but considering that most of the people who follow the blog are bloggers themselves, I am going out on a limb and say that you don’t think you can write a book. I know also because I have felt the same way when people tell me that I ought to write a book on my life.

But, you know what I did? I bought a book on writing a memoir! Rather than feed my doubts, I just have to start the process. Seeing the covers for other bloggers’ books and reading the blogs of those who have started the process and are getting published or self-publishing, I realized that those wonderful people once doubted their abilities to write, until the day they laid their doubts down and started writing a future bestseller.

Fandango prompt is Probability. Ragtag prompt is Fair. Word of the Day Challenge is Insidious. Daily Addictions prompt is Approach.

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