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5 Ways to Stop Self Doubt in its Tracks

5 Ways to Stop Self Doubt in its Tracks

Self-doubt is a killer.  Pure and simple, but when faced with one of the most deadliest of dream killers,  once you learn of its intent, understand its nature and where it thrives, you can stop self-doubt dead in its tracks before it can kill again.

Personally, I suffer from self-doubt very often, but then again, so do most people.  It seems the more creative you are, the more it appears!  For example, even as I begin to write this post I wonder; will it be read? Will it be interesting enough? Will I even like it?  However, the difference between my self-doubt and self-doubt of others is I have begun to understand that it will crop up from time to time and to accept it. The clue is however, in how you deal with it.

Learning to understand that self-doubt will always be hiding behind a door somewhere, ready to pounce (usually at the most inconvenient of times), is half the battle.  As long as you can remember the reasons why it does that, to remind you that what you are trying to do actually matters, you’ll learn to harness it and use it to propel yourself into action!

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With this in mind, here are 5 ways to stop self doubt in its tracks.

Whatever you are thinking, doesn’t mean it’s true!

Self-doubt will tell you, in its sweet little voice, things like, ‘you know you’re not good enough, so why even try?’ or ‘what are you doing, they are going to laugh at you’ with each thought, grinding away at your confidence, until you make a choice, to either believe it and do nothing or listen and decide to do it anyway!

It’s all about whether you believe your self-doubting thoughts or not.  Obviously, the easiest option is to give in and quit.  The better option would be is to hear it, understand that it’s there as a test and keep moving forward.  If you see it as a gift, rather than something bad, you’ll go far.

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Get some fresh air!

When you’re plagued with those self-doubting thoughts, rather than try to battle on, head out somewhere and tune out for a bit. This works for me! I normally grab the dog and go out for a walk.  I’ll breathe slowly, take in my surroundings and remember what’s important right now, which is to be present and relaxed.

Getting out and about in nature brings you back to a quieter state of mind and opens up your thinking for a few minutes.  It’s when you look around and actually notice the trees, the sky, the birds or whatever you might be surrounded by, you can provides your mind with the necessary space to unwind and get back to the present moment.

Turn to others for support

This is so important and can be anyone as long as it’s someone who understands you and knows where you are coming from, like a close friend, or a mastermind group, or even your therapist.  If you can reach out to someone from time to time, just to get you back up and on your feet again, is great, just as long as you don’t rely on them to do this all the time.  Remember, you are responsible for your own life and choices.

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I work from home with only my dog for company, if I’m not careful, I can sometimes not speak to a single soul for days, this is when self-doubt can run amok!  Luckily, I am involved in a mastermind group with 3 other entrepreneurs, whom I hook up with weekly to go through issues and problems, but to also share successes and achievements.  This is my sanctuary and without it, I’d probably be carted off somewhere by men in white coats! It’s so important and good for the soul to connect with those who support and encourage, so try to do it as often as you can.

Focus on the ‘why’ rather than’how’

When I have doubts, it’s normally centered on my business and whether I think I can ‘make it’ or not.  I have days where the self-doubt creeps in and out, whilst other days I have none whatsoever!

When I have one of ‘those days’ I reflect on why I am doing what I am doing, where I want to be and the core reason for getting up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to write.  This is my purpose in life and the reason why I am here.

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However, if I focus on the ‘how,’ I’ll get bogged down with thoughts of ‘how will I be able to get this done?’ and ‘how long will I have to wait until I can really make this pay off?’  When you remember that the ‘why’’ gives you a sense of purpose, the ‘how’ will just fade away as you’ll have utter faith that they’ll take care of themselves.

Take action and create!

Self-doubt can come up for many different reasons, it’ll normally appear just at the time you are about to make a decision or about to start something new.  For me, it’s when I am doing something out of my comfort zone like writing or creating.

When this happens it is important to do it anyway, to take action in-spite of the self-doubt. It’s the work and the action that’s the vital part in this story. As long as you continue to create and move forward, it’ll give you the ammunition, not to stop the self-doubt, but to stop the self-doubt from stopping you!

Now you have the necessary tools, when self-doubt rear its ugly head for you.  Are you going to let it stop you from taking action or are you going to push on through?

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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