Of the many emotions that influence our actions, doubt is certainly the chief catalyst for our failure to perform. Today, with the internet, social media has transformed how we view ourselves in comparison to others. As we watch our brothers and sisters do amazing things, we often see things that we could never visualize doing ourselves. When viewing the pinnacle of human success and achievement, it can lead to a range of feelings, including motivation, envy, and perhaps most significantly, doubt.
When doubt creeps in, as it is inclined to do, it becomes a wet blanket weighing us down on our passage toward improvement. Doubt stifles our motivation, dulls our wonderment, and ultimately causes paralysis by virtue of an easy excuse to give up. Given enough time, that doubt will even reduce otherwise easily attainable goals into nothing more than a fantasy. We begin to tell ourselves that “those goals are impossible” and “there is no chance I could ever achieve that degree of success.” Doubt becomes the harbinger of “can’t.”
However, despite the heavy weight of uncertainty, somewhere in that shadow is a light and that very illumination is what we need to leave doubt behind. We are all driven by reasons that are our own and at the end of the day, those motives are all we need to shed disbelief. If we hold onto those motives, keep them alive, and let them guide us toward our goals, doubt simply stops being a barrier to our success.
Make no mistake, nobody said it would be easy. Anything worth having is worth the struggle and the more the struggle, the more the reward. But those intentions that scatter our doubts will see us through the many hardships on our journey and help us keep driving one foot in front of the other.
If you need help finding your light, as we all do, simply look to those who have found their success in alignment with your goals. Each one of us was born naked and afraid. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry had to start somewhere and it is exceedingly rare for true success stories to have been conceived by an external factor. In business, multibillion-dollar companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Under Armour were all started in dorm rooms, garages, and basements on a shoestring budget by people fueled by goals. Those goals illuminated their respective paths through periods of insufferable doubt and uncertainty, and the same principles can be used for us no matter what our goals may be.
It is only through grit and determination that we rise above, especially for athletes. Although genetics are a real factor as discussed in a previous article, they are nowhere near an insurmountable influence. Simple science decrees that for every rep you lift and for every step you take, you will be that much closer to your goal. We all start on a common level: Naked and afraid. It is through training and sacrifice that we start to pull ahead in spite of unavoidable periods of doubt.
Our performance is governed by our will to succeed. Even when doubt casts a shadow from time to time, we should look to our goals and motivations to lead us back into the light where we can again march toward the finish line.