What to do with Doubt

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

William Shakespeare, “Measure for Measure”, Act 1 scene 4

As a teenage long-jumper my goal was to jump 7metres. That was the mark of respectability that seemed to elude me. 6.90m, 6.97m, 6.99m but never the prized 7m. After several seasons of failure I decided to stop worrying so much about 7m and to just try to enjoy myself. You guessed it, one warm summer’s day at the age of 17 I ran down the runway and leapt to a magnificent 7.07m!

The funny thing was that after that jump, I never jumped under 7m again, EVER! Now what happened? I was the same boy with the same talent (or lack of). The only thing that changed was that I knew I could jump 7m, because I jumped 7m. The doubts and fears in my mind that had held me back had now disappeared.

This is the same reason why many of us find it so difficult to reach our goals in life, self doubt and fear. When challenges face us we often feel overcome with fear “I’m not good enough, I’m going to fail, I’ll be laughed at.” So we don’t try which means that we definitely Fail. Fear keeps us prisoner, not allowing us the freedom to try. We need a fresh perspective when facing trials. Rather than looking at the problem as a stumbling-block, treat it as a stepping-stone. Here’s what I mean:

“If David never met Goliath, he would never have become King”

Nobody ever wants to meet the Goliaths of life such as having financial, health or relationship problems. But you will often hear of people who’ve been fired from their job only to start a more successful business or who’ve been dumped in one relationship only to find the love of their lives. As a doctor I’ve seen peoples health improve simply by helping to eliminate fear and doubt, it lowers blood pressure and stress levels and helps to prevent illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

So when challenges come, they can make us Bitter or Better, which will you choose?