DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF

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This is one of my favorite quotes. Here is why, it is something that I used to be victim to quite often. As someone who takes great pride in his knowledge and always strives to learn new things, there is one thing I really dislike. The one thing that I try my best to avoid is looking foolish. I suppose on the surface that may not really be a bad thing. After all who wants to look foolish right? This is true to a point. My fear of looking foolish stemmed from doubting myself. What happened then?

Here is what the fear of looking foolish, and doubting myself did for me. Often times it kept me from trying something new. Everything we learn to do we go through a period where we are not yet skilled. Think of the job you work at right now. Recall your first day there, did you know everything you know now? Of course not. Even things like finding your way around, or knowing where the bathroom is. One cannot expect to start something new and know it all. Intellectually I knew this, yet emotionally that is what I did to myself. If what I was thinking of trying included a period of looking foolish before you got it right I would do one of two things. Either I would wait to try it until few or nobody was around, or worse yet I would skip trying it at all. Some of you may feel that same way.

So how does one face this fear and more importantly overcome it? Begin to look at things in two ways. One, think of all you will miss by not doing what you fear and two, think of all you will gain by doing it. It also wouldn’t hurt to consider other things in your life you might have overcome the new/learning period to become capable or even quite good at. One of my favorite examples is snorkeling. I love the tropics and love the ocean. I also happen to enjoy rum. So while on vacation I always saw snorkeling available. All my mind focused on was not knowing a thing about it from what equipment is good, to how to not drown while learning. That kept me from ever trying it. That is until one day when a nice young man by the name of captain Morgan whispered in my ear that I should give it a try. The first trip out took some getting used to, but by the end of that trip I learned how to dive under water with a snorkel, how best to swim and a million other things. Now when I go to the tropics about 8 hours of my day is spent in the ocean, a lot of that with a snorkel on. I could kick myself for all the fun I missed before all because I was afraid to try.

So think about your doubts, what are they keeping you from trying? You may discover a new passion, some new friends or a new skill you never knew you had. Now if you will excuse me I am going to put on my snorkel, get in the bathtub and dream of Jamaica.

STOP! STOP RUNNING!

This is a line I hear in the beginning of the show Ghost Adventures which I must confess came to mind as I read my daily inspirational calendar. It simply said “Sit with it” like many bits of inspiration this one can be interpreted in many different ways. Here is the way I chose to take it. Many of us spend our entire lives running from things we find unpleasant. Are you guilty of this at all in your life? I know I am. A lot of us run from our fears. Run from our disappointments, run from our crazy family members. Ok, sometimes that last one might not be a bad idea. The point is if we run from things we often miss the lessons they may be trying to teach us or may continue to give them control over us. Fear for example, as long as we run from it we cannot be at peace with ourselves. It is out there. It is lurking it is scary. When we sit down with our fears for a cup of tea or in my case a rum and coke, and say look you scare the hell out of me, why is that? Why are clowns so terribly frightening? They are just circus performers in costumes right? Ok well I’m still working on that one. The point is here when we stop running we take back control of our lives, the future seems a lot more certain and we often gain a very valuable lesson. So ask yourself, “What am I always running from?” Are you going to let it continue to control you? Are you going to continue to miss the lesson it is trying to teach you? Instead of running from it, try what my calendar suggests and “Sit with it”. Now if you’ll excuse me I must pour a rum and coke for the clown and I.