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5 Unexpected Dangers of Self-Doubt

5 Unexpected Dangers of Self-Doubt

As one of the greatest obstacles that hinders humans from fulfilling their dreams, self-doubt is what almost all of us struggle with at some point in our lives. Dozens of experts have written widely on how to overcome this scourge, and philosophers have thousands of quotes on self-doubt attributed to their names. This shows the extent to which self-doubt has become a pervasive issue for humans.

If you’re battling with that persistent voice that keeps telling you how things could go wrong, how you may not have worked it out right, then you’re dealing with self-doubt. Self-doubt can be dangerous to your overall wellness; it is not only physiologically harmful but also harmful in terms of living productively and with emotional and spiritual wellness.

The following are some of the dangers of self-doubt you should know about. I believe if you discover how self-doubt contributes to most of the productivity-related issues we face at work and in life, finding the voice to say NO to it won’t be as hard.

Self Doubt Weakens Your Self Will

Self will is still one of the strongest gift we inherited from God.

Being able to determine that we want or do not want something and being able to go ahead with our decision is not an ability all creatures enjoy. Where self-doubt becomes really dangerous to your self will is when it makes you seek encouragement or an excuse for why you can’t still move forward or for why you’re not able to accomplish a goal.

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The problem with seeking encouragement is it makes you lose your self-esteem. Most of the bravest and most successful people today needed no one to encourage them, in fact most had no one to do so. Giving excuses on the other hand makes you embrace failure, which ultimately crushes your self will.

If you’re looking for a reason to kill that self-doubt, think of how it could damage your self will.

Self-Doubt Breeds Procrastination

Could self-doubt really be the reason the majority of people procrastinate?

Procrastination may seem harmless at first, but when self-doubt begins to creep in and you’re consistently considering starting that first paragraph later, then you’ll begin a long cycle of procrastination that will prevent you from getting anything done.

Hesitation is one of the grandchildren of self-doubt. When people are hesitant about doing something, they procrastinate until they miss out on that opportunity and find an excuse to justify themselves.

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Opens you up to regrets and self pity

When you fail at something, it’s natural to feel emotional about it. The emotional feelings often associated with failure include fear, disappointment, regret, pain and anger. However, many have mastered how to turn these emotions into their strengths and it helps them to move forward.

Self pity and regret will do the opposite.

By giving room for self-doubt, you’ll only allow the two least helpful emotions that follow failure to take control. Regret will make you wish you hadn’t started. Self pity will prevent you from moving ahead.

To prevent self-doubt from keeping your stagnant, fight it and prevent it from breeding other low emotions such as regret and self-pity.

Self-Doubt Kills Personal Growth

Self-doubt prevents us from experiencing personal growth.

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We often experience our greatest moment of personal growth and fulfillment when we give ourselves the freedom to pursue that which we desire without the fear of failure or worries over what other people might think about us.

When you begin to doubt your ability to achieve your dreams and fulfill your desires, you’re consciously preventing yourself from experiencing growth.

Hinders Creativity

Creativity is one of the greatest natural resource tools we humans can always tap into. It’s what helps us to create the most precious things we admire and work hard to achieve our dreams. It’s what helps us to design a way out of unfavorable situations.

But self-doubt will effectively shut down our ability to think creatively.

Self-doubt makes you question the rationality behind your ideas and prevents you from being bold enough to show your most creative ideas. At its worst, it makes you totally unable to see a way forward in tricky situations.

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Conclusion

Doubt is a part of being human. This is a normal experience that we’ll face as we navigate through the several stages of our lives, but it should not be given the power to determine our success. By recognizing the dangers of self-doubt, you can fight its ill-effects more easily.

Are you battling with self-doubt? Will knowing about the dangers of self-doubt make it easier for you to overcome these challenges? If you have any personal experiences with self-doubt, or ideas about dealing with self-doubt, we’d love you to share in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Majo Gordillo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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