Unrelenting Doubt, like disproportional Debt, is paralyzing. It’s worth making it a high priority to get out of Doubt as quickly as possible.
A Pilot Fire dabbler sent me a note a while back:
“I am stuck— I live in my head. I have lots of ideas and lots of things I want to do, but I just feel unable or not capable of doing them. I don’t believe in myself and listen to others’ doubts.”
I wrote her back and thought you might find my response useful:
We walking, decorpatated heads have a lot of work to do to connect with reality. I live in my head most of the time, as do many of my friends. Our little brains are full of captivating stories that can sometimes keep us so entertained we forget anything exists below our necks! As members of the cerebrally addicted, we must find a practice to access our hearts and bodies so we don’t forever lose contact with what’s best about being alive.
When we feel fear, our brains make up stories to validate the fear. Doubt is an effective force that occupies our brains so we don’t take action. Unrelenting Doubt is one of the Five Documented Hells known to extinguish Pilot Fire. It’s a Flow killer.
A Way Around
Here are three tried-and-true methods for getting past Doubt and doing stuff you believe in.
- Make it small. Really. Instead of pursuing your dreams full force, only to be thwarted by the monsters of Doubt, pursue today’s small decision to try something for 45 minutes, and without any judgement, do it, then later access how it feels. Make it something playful, if possible, but just challenging enough to keep you interested, and not so much so that you get frustrated. Find Flow, those moments in which you lose yourself doing something you care about. If 45 minutes is too long, try 5 minutes. Seriously, set a timer and make a race of your work. Once you find a way into Flow, you will be clearing the path to doubt-free, love-of-life moments called joy.
- Breathe. The fastest way to your body. When in doubt, breathe deep, make a decision, then do it. Let the doubt come only after you get a chance to act on a decision. There is no data without action and results, but you have to breathe my darling. Breathe. Remember, aspirations are your breath. (Look it up.) Give them life on earth with some reality based oxygen.
- Get help. (From someone who’s a Non-Doubter, Non-Suggester-of Ideas.) Find a human who can support you just for the act of facing your fears, without suggestions and judgments. Breathe and make your decision. Call your friend and tell her or him your decision, and that you will call in 45 (or 5) minutes, after you’ve taken action. Saying your decision out loud is very powerful. Saying it out loud to a friend, right before you do it, is like rocket fuel, especially if you are going to call back after you take the dive and try your best to do it.
Doubt is useful only when it reminds you to pay attention to something important. We all know people who could use some Doubt from time to time because they take action without proper reflection. I’m not talking about the usefulness of Doubt.
When it’s not useful, Doubt is just an old story telling you to stay frightened.
You can beat fear in small steps, taken after a deep breath, with the support of someone who cares about you. Then when you fail (and taking on fear requires some failure), you have every right to celebrate, “Yay, I failed!” Cheer madly with your arms in the air, “I tried something new and I failed!”
Then, take a deep breath. Make a decision to try something else. And do it. Repeat.
Your head will always be there for you. Give it a break for a few minutes and leap into the unknown.