Monday, May 28, 2012

Fighting Self Doubt

If there's one thing holding me back in my many goals in life, it's self doubt.  I doubt I'll be social enough.  I doubt I'll be physically strong enough.  I doubt I'll be smart enough.  I doubt I'll have enough inner strength.  This is a major problem holding me back, and I'll bet it's holding back a lot of others.

I've taken steps lately to fight back against self doubt.  I'm trying a lot of new things that I never thought I would do.  In the past week, I ran a 10k.  Ok, 'ran' is a strong word, as I walked nearly a third of it.  If my brother's foot is up to it, he and I will be running a 5k in a few weeks, with the goal of running the entire thing.  My brother will be there for moral support and to keep my mind off the the fact that I will really want to walk.  If I can run 3.1 miles, why can't I do other difficult things?

My brother and I will also be going skydiving fairly soon; it's just a matter of getting our schedules to work.  If I can jump out of a plane and free fall at 120 mph toward the ground, why can't I handle other difficult things.

I have a bit of a fear of heights, though only in certain situations.  I can stand at the edge of a cliff with little worry, but nearly panic when standing on a chair, ladder, or stool.  I will be doing a ropes course when visiting family in Florida this summer.  If I can get myself to be 15 feet off the ground for an hour straight, why can't I do more difficult things?

Next summer, my brother, sister, and I will go to Cedar Point in Ohio.  I'm not a fan of roller coasters.  Therefore, we're going to ride every one of them, starting with the worst (in my mind) and work our way down.  If I can handle riding a bunch of roller coasters that make my stomach move in horrifying ways, why can't I do more difficult things?

Last summer, I found I have a bit of claustrophobia.  I was swimming in a spring in Florida with a mask on and started to feel a bit closed in.  Some time within the next few years, I'm going to earn scuba certification.  If I can beat claustrophobia, why can't I handle more difficult things.

Yet another bit of self doubt is that I won't be able to  handle something mentally difficult, like the mathematics for autonomous robotics.  While I'm learning about that, I will also be learning one or more languages.  If I can handle learning another language, why can't I handle more difficult things?

When my brother graduates from college in four years, he and I will head to Arizona and go on a four day white water rafting trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.  I have a slight fear of drowning.  If I can handle being in fast moving water for a few days straight, why can't I handle more difficult things?

What self doubt do you have?  What actions can you take to fight it?  Who would support you?  Why can't you handle more difficult things?  What is holding you back and how can you get past it?

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