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Self-Doubt.

September 11, 2013

“Self doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself, “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The Counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

– Steven Pressfield

 

So much of life is a balancing act, especially when you wake up at 24 and realize you’re an adult, and you finally better start acting like one.

Even if you’re an artist. Maybe more so for some.

Because most artists don’t make a whole lot of money from their art, so they have to learn to balance work for money, work for pleasure, and all the other stuff that goes with being a human being. You can’t use your self-proclaimed status as an artist to avoid responsibility, which lot of people seem to do.

I recently went through a long period of intense self-doubt, so reading the above quote was quite refreshing for me.

But, as much as self-doubt can be an ally, it can go both ways. You have to learn how to balance – use it as a motivator, but without letting it eat you up. I let it eat me up to the point where I was second guessing everything about myself.

There comes a point where you just have to stop thinking about what other people might think of you or your work. You just have to be honest, and if it turns out people don’t like, just keep doing it anyway.

It’s important to block out the white noise – what people may criticize, what people do criticize, etc. Because there’s always something to criticize, and in today’s day and age, there is criticism no matter what you do.

I can’t imagine being a professional athlete in the 21st century. Even the best basketball player on the planet, and arguably the best athlete on the planet, Lebron James, is constantly scrutinized.

Somehow, people expect perfection out of public figures, but that’s because of this divide we’ve all placed between celebrities and the common person. We fail to recognize that even Lebron James is no different than you or me – he just so happens to be really, really, blessed athletically.

You have to find that balance of admiring someone for their work and the impact it made on you, and allow that person to be a real person.

What if we admired and scrutinized everyone who had an impact on us like we admired  and scrutinized celebrities?

In that world, I’d hang a poster on my wall of people like Jared Juarez, my old boss, for not only being a great boss, but great at laying hardwood floors. Or, maybe of the farmers of ranchers who grow and raise my food – which I eat to survive, not to entertain myself…well, both I guess.

Or, maybe I just wouldn’t have a poster of anyone on my wall. Maybe I’d just have pictures of my family and friends, who actually care about me as much as I do them.

In that world where everyone is treated like celebrities, celebrities would cease to exist, because there wouldn’t be enough light to shine on everyone.

Point is, I think our perspective is important when it comes to dealing with fear and self-doubt.

It’s nice to know that Steve Nash deals with self-doubt when he’s away from the media – okay, that’s not a fair example. Steve Nash is a true hero and the only reason he doesn’t have an championship is because David Stern conspired against him.

It’s nice to know that know that the people who produce my food, who built my house, who raised me, and who are there to make me laugh, or tell me to calm down are the ones who make more of an impact on me.

It’s nice to know that they’re all humans like me. They’re all the ones who keep me from caving from self-doubt.

We’re not the same, but we all are one. We are a chain.

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