how to overcome self doubt and succeed in life

How to overcome self-doubt and succeed: 7 ways to boost your confidence

Self-doubt can be characterised as a feeling of uncertainty that causes us to lose our confidence and question our own abilities.

Your boss is pleased with your performance and decides to give you added responsibilities. However, instead of considering it as a reward for your hard work, you begin to worry about whether or not you will be able to handle the extra workload. You start doubting your abilities, as a fear of failure springs panic. This increases your stress and eventually affects your decision-making prowess. Over time, this small issue turns into a big problem as it affects your motivation to work, which reduces your overall productivity.

This example illustrates the adverse effects of self-doubt when we don’t deal with it constructively. It usually creeps in when we are facing a challenging situation or starting something new. The feeling of uncertainty causes us to lose our confidence and question our own abilities. We end up asking ourselves whether we are qualified enough to accomplish a particular task. We feel incapable and worry that things might not go as planned despite all our experience and capabilities.

However, it is important to note that self-doubt is not always harmful. It can help keep you on your toes, allowing you to focus on the areas that need improvement. But negative self-doubt can prevent you from grabbing the opportunities that knock at your doorsteps. Here are a few ways to overcome self-doubt and achieve success in life.

Practice self-compassion

When we make a mistake while doing something important, we may become overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. We beat ourselves up for not being good enough, which further hurts our confidence and increases our self-doubt. A good way to counter such feelings is to practice self-compassion, which is about developing understanding towards ourselves even when we fail or make mistakes. Understanding that mistakes and failures are an essential part of our lives can help us grow and achieve success in life. Studies have shown that practicing self-compassion self-compassion is “significantly correlated with positive mental health outcomes such as less depression and anxiety and greater life satisfaction.”

Change your circle

The people you surround yourself with play a big role in shaping your perspective. Notice how they react when you make a mistake. Are they supportive or do they make you feel worse about yourself? If it’s the latter, it is time to change your circle. Be around those who can offer constructive criticism and not just mock you when you fail at something. They will help you become better, which will make you more confident, and eliminate self-doubt.

Stop looking for validation

While seeking input from others is helpful, it can make you question your own abilities if you continuously look for validation. For example, if you are undertaking a new project, it is fine to take suggestions and ask for feedback from your colleagues. But if you keep making changes to your project based on others’ opinions, you might lose your own voice, and the result will be far from what you had in mind. Take help from others but do not solely depend on their feedback. Trust yourself and make the final decision based on what you feel is right.

Focus on what you can control

Sometimes in life, you will find yourself stuck in tricky situations. No matter what you do or how much effort you put in, things will not turn out the way you expect them to. During such challenging situations, it’s easy to ruminate about the things that aren’t working for you and worry about what might happen later. But such negative thinking will drain your energy and put you down. However, if you can accept the situation and focus on what you can control, you will be able to move on and stop self-doubt from taking over your life.

Remember your past achievements

When you look back on your life, what stands out the most? Do you remember the positive things or focus on negative experiences? For example, you may remember the time you got yelled at by your boss or when you embarrassed yourself at work. These moments may loom large in your memory, but they are not as important as you might think. If you pay attention, you’ll realise that these are few and far in between. The main problem is you are forgetting all the good moments—moments when you succeeded, made progress or achieved something. Remembering past achievements can make you feel more confident and eliminate self-doubt.

Know that failure is an option

Oftentimes, it is the fear of failure that causes a person to doubt themselves when they are starting something new or taking on a challenging task. If you want to eliminate self-doubt, you need to know that failure is what keeps you on the path of growth. After all, you learn from your mistakes. Take entrepreneur Elon Musk for example. When talking about SpaceX, he told Fast Company that “failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” When you accept that failure is inevitable, you will stop fearing it and start treating it as a stepping stone to success.

Change your self-talk

A good way to eliminate self-doubt is to change the way you talk to yourself. The words you say and think create your reality. So, it is important to identify the words that are limiting your beliefs. It could be anything that makes you doubt yourself. For example, if you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” change it to “I can do this,” stop your inner critic from taking charge of your life. Fight with it and turn it into something that inspires you to be better. Once you do that, self-doubt will make way for self-confidence.


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