Doubts. We all have them, it is part of being human. Depending on how you deal with them, they can guide you away from potentially difficult/dangerous situations or cause you to miss a great opportunity.
It is important we learn to understand why we get them and what purpose they are serving us under each situation. For instance, if I have doubts about a website I have built I have learned to trust my doubts as they usually lead me to a better design.
However, if I get doubts about going into a really busy bar I know it’s just because of all the new faces I am seeing and put it to the back of my mind.
Below are 8 different ways of how you can deal with your doubts.
1. Doubts are there for a reason
Firstly it is important to understand that doubts can happen for good reasons and it can be your subconscious telling you that something isn’t right.
Though doubts can be caused by all sorts of internal feelings, such as anxiety or fear of doing something new, it is important you view those doubts rationally.
If for instance, you have doubts about handing in an important essay to your tutor, it could just be your anxiety about what result you will get. However, it could also be that deep down you don’t feel the essay is good enough. You need to work out for yourself if the doubts are there for a valid reason.
2. Get the opinion of others
Few people are so confident in their abilities that they don’t need a second opinion from people to quench any doubts they may have.
Asking a friend or work colleague for their thoughts is a great way of getting an alternative and/or unbiased viewpoint that you may not otherwise be able to achieve from being so closely tied to your project/work. It can often either clear the doubts from your mind or give them some validity.
3. Gain some perspective
Because we can be so attached to our projects, goals and personal issues it can be difficult to set realistic expectations.
If you are having doubts it may be that you are expecting too much or being impractical about what can be done. In such a case you need to sit down and gain some perspective by re-evaluating what you want to achieve.
4. Push through the doubts
Sometimes doubts can happen regardless. For instance, you could be a shy person going to a busy party, or a student used to a small school taking the step up to a big university, or you could be just going for a work interview.
Doubts are normal and part of who we are, but it’s important to know when they are helping or hindering you. It’s not exactly a fun process, but if you know you are on the right track or you have to do something regardless, you may find you have to try and put those doubts to the back of your mind as much as possible.
5. Clear your head
Sometimes when you have all those doubts swirling around in your head, it can be useful to disconnect from what you are working on and do something else.
I personally find a brisk walk helps to clear my head and gives me a chance to think through issues with a refreshed mind. If the weather is bad, I sometimes read a book or play a game of soccer on my Play Statio 4 .
It’s amazing how by leaving something for a few hours, or even days, can cause you to come back to it with a completely fresh set of thoughts and ideas.
6. Plan, plan, plan!
Imagine that you are driving to a destination but you have no clear set of directions of how to get there. Your mind is naturally going to be full of doubts. I am going in the right direction? Should I have gone left at that junction?
Now, apply that same idea to a project. If you don’t have a clear plan of how you are going to work on it, what you are going to do, how long it will take, what the finished product will be like, it’s only natural that you will doubts.
7. See where your doubts lead you
Some of the best works of art or scientific discoveries have come from people who questioned every doubt in their mind to see where it took them.
If you have doubts about the color scheme of your bedroom, try a different one.
If you have doubts about the opening paragraph of your essay experiment with different wording.
You may find you like the changes, you may not. At the very least you will have learned something new: bright yellow is not a good color for a bedroom!
Just don’t go too far and decide to defy your doubts about jumping off a cliff to see where it takes you.
8. Resolve the unknowns
If there is one thing that will bring doubts flooding out it’s not knowing something.
The more information you know the fewer doubts you will feel.
Doubt is ultimately uncertainty in your decisions or actions so it makes sense that the more you know about something the more confident you can be in making the right choices.
I bet few people would have as many doubts about interviews if they knew what questions were going to be asked and who was asking them!