“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” – James 1:6
Have you ever felt like the wave James describes above? When we let doubt creep in our business or personal lives because of some trial or challenge, it’s easy to feel like we are being tossed around aimlessly, uncertain of our future.
Everyone who has experienced the anxiety and uneasiness of doubt understands the difficulty in pulling yourself out of it. Yet, in these times, James calls us to consider it pure joy when our faith is tested, “for we know the testing of our faith produces steadfastness”. On the opposite end of doubt is faith. Faith fosters hope, purpose, and passion. It shines a light in the surrounding darkness that doubt creates, preventing it from ever affecting our vision and action.
We often forget the power faith has to restore our energy and clarity for the goals we have dreamed about and set in place. When you feel like your plans have fallen apart, remember God’s plan is steady and he is at the helm. Here are three things to remember in times of doubt that will increase your faith and eliminate doubt.
Reflect on the Past
Everything you are today is a product of the hard work, training and diligence you have carried along the way. Will Durant, one of the most respected historians of all time, describes a helpful way to view the past and present:
“The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.”
To take positive, deliberate action towards our goals, we need to understand the progress we have made and lessons we have learned. When I begin to doubt myself, I try to think of previous trials I have faced and how I was able to overcome them. Often times, when I do this, the trials that seemed so difficult at the time end up seeming trivial.
Meditate on the Source of Your Doubt
One of areas I personally face doubt is in my hobby, leather working. There are so many amazing craftsmen throughout the world, it’s difficult not to compare myself to their abilities and accomplishments. When I come across a new pattern or innovative product, I tend to question my own creativity. “How am I ever going to create something like that?”, I ask myself.
When I get lost in this self-doubt, I try to break down the problem down in small pieces, and think about them individually. When we look at someone else’s work, we only see the final product. We do not see the many failures and steps it took to reach that final product. Something seemingly extraordinary ends up being quite attainable if we really dive into the process.
One of the 48 Laws of Power in Robert Green’s infamous self-improvement book is, “Make your accomplishments seem effortless”. When we see the final product without all of the hard work that goes into it, that person seems more powerful than really are. When you feel overwhelmed with doubt, I encourage you to break down the issue into practical steps that are easy to understand and get you back on track. Here are a few quotes I like to ruminate on when I find myself in a similar situation:
“If you let these irritating outside influences get the better of you, you are confessing your inferiority to them, by permitting them to dominate you. Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun.” – The Majesty of Calmness by William George Jordan
“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.” – Voltaire
Don’t Lose Your Identity
A common trap many creatives and business owners alike will find themselves in is identifying themselves with their work. If we do not make something perfect, or achieve this or that, we tend to think there is something wrong with us. This is a dangerous place to be in, and the negative effects on your psych will start to affect your coworkers, family and friends.
We are much more than our work. When you feel overwhelmed with doubt, take a step back and focus other areas of your life that may be being neglected. A healthy lifestyle means a balanced lifestyle, both mentally and physically.