The Duality of Doubt and Belief

“Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief that sustains thought and holds the worlds together.”

       Soren Kierkegaard

     When you think of something you either doubt it or you believe it. If you have some doubt then you have doubt.  If you have some belief then you have belief.  Doubt and belief both sit on the same scale at opposite ends.  It is completely healthy to experience both ends of that scale.  However, for the most part doubt is on the negative slide of the scale and belief is on the positive side of the scale. When faced with jumping out of a moving car going 80 miles an hour it is good to doubt you will survive.  Yet for every example of doubt being great for survival there are infinite examples of belief being the conduit to keeping this world together. What you believe is what you will ultimately achieve.  Our world is built off the product of our ability to belief.  The world would crumble if all we did was doubt. 

Doubt is a Part of Life

      Yes you know nothing is 100%.  It would be impossible to only believe and never have any doubt.  Our brains are built to protect us and many times that protection comes in the form of doubt.  You may doubt that someone is being genuine because you want to protect yourself from being hurt.  You may doubt your ability to afford something because you want to protect yourself from being in debt.  You may doubt your ability to sell a product because you want to protect yourself from feeling disappointment.  You may doubt your ability to get that job because you want to protect yourself from wasting effort trying to do so.  You may doubt your ability to run a marathon to protect yourself from the pain you will encounter trying to do so.  We are all human and we will all have doubt in our life. 

     Knowing that doubt is a part of life you should take every action to remove or mitigate it when it presents itself.  The beautiful part of life is that you have the ability to do so.  You see doubt and belief are controlled only by your own thoughts.  You decide what to think.  The more positivity in your life the better life becomes.  The more you believe the better life becomes.  This is true as long as your belief isn’t a limiting belief.  That is a topic for another day.  So in this case we are discussing non-limiting beliefs.  We are discussing beliefs that will benefit you and everyone around you.  Those are the beliefs you need to bring to the forefront.  Bringing those beliefs to the forefront is the smartest thing you can do to improve your chances of living a great life. 

Take Control by Adding Belief 

     To take control of your thoughts here is what you should do.  The next time you start to doubt the outcome of a situation shift your thoughts to focus on what you believe.  For example you may doubt that you can run a marathon.  You have never run more than 6 miles and you highly doubt you could finish 26.2.  Yet you do believe you can run more than the 6 that you’ve ran before.  You do believe that with the right training, nutrition and proper rest you could improve.  You have no doubt about that.  So when for whatever reason you are faced with training and running a marathon do not focus on your doubt of being able to finish it.  Focus on your belief that you can do better than you have done before no matter how small or large.  By focusing on that you will take action like finding the right training, eating the proper foods and getting sufficient rest.  13 weeks later you may find yourself completing that marathon that you initially doubted you could finish.

      Here’s another example to prove the point.  You’ve never spoken in front of a team of executives and that may make you uncomfortable.  To help you feel comfortable you begin to doubt you will do a great job.  That doubt will make you fearful of speaking in front of them.  When you walk into the meeting room you are not at your best because of that fear. Does this sound familiar?  Here is another approach. You’ve never spoken in front of a team of executives but you know your stuff.  You believe you can answer any question someone will ask about your topic.  You believe you can prepare properly to deliver your content.  You believe that you are fully capable of being the best you possible and that is always enough.  You are confident you will do your best when you walk into that meeting room.

Your Goal is to Pivot

    You don’t have to run a marathon or speak to executives to prove this point.  There are multiple opportunities each day to prove the point. Unfortunately many of you have become way too accustomed to taking the easy route.  When there is a challenge in front of you that you don’t know you can complete it is easy to turn to doubt. You are conditioned to believe you are protecting yourself.  Your doubt is actually feeding your fear or maybe your fear is feeding your doubt. In either instance you are not helping yourself achieve what you ultimately desire. To achieve what you desire your goal should be to pivot from doubt to belief.  Your goal should also be to pivot from fear to faith. It won’t always be a one for one pivot.  You may have to do a little work to determine what you believe, just as you may have to do a little work to determine what you have faith in.  That is the type of work that will benefit you most and therefore you must find a way to do it. 

     To do the work you need to become more aware of your thoughts.  Over the next week pay particular attention the next time you have doubt in something.  Listen to hear yourself say “I doubt that….” Or “there’s no way….”  When you catch yourself using those phrases ask yourself “If I doubt that then what do I believe?” or “If there’s no way then what is possible?”  In order to make a change you will have to increase your awareness.  Secondly you need to put habits in place to remove your doubt and increase your belief.  One of the simplest ways to do that is to create a gratitude journal.  In that journal write down 3-5 things you are grateful for each day.  At the end of the week go back and read all the things you were grateful that week.  Some of those things will be accomplishments by you or someone else.  All of those things will be positive aspects of life that will help you believe in the power of life.  That more examples you see the more you will believe.  The more you are aware and the more examples you see the easier it will be to pivot. 

     Doubt and belief are a part of life.  They both play an important role in what you ultimately get out of this life.  Doubt is best used when you are protecting yourself and belief is best used when sustaining or improving yourself. To get the most out of life make sure you have a heavy dose of belief flowing at all times.  You may have to put in some work to accomplish that but it will be well worth it.  All you have to do is monitor your thoughts and create some good habits and you will be well on your way.  One by one we will all make this world a better place.  As always I wish you the best and highly recommend you enjoy the journey.

With gratitude,

Drew

 

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