Self-doubt? Rise above it.

Is it true that we rarely rise higher than our self-doubt? This week I’ve been pondering a statement I found in the manuscript I’m currently editing. The actual wording is: “Few people rise higher than their self-doubt”. When I first read that I thought: That’s so true! That’s deep, man. How often do our fears, our lack of confidence, our doubt, hold us back from achieving our heart’s desire?

I can remember, back in ye olde school days, desperately wanting to sing in the school concert but I was too afraid of not being good enough, so I didn’t audition and missed out. Now don’t feel too sad; in later years I participated in numerous musicals and theatre productions. I even sang in a “folk club” in a hotel for a short while! But I confess, any situation in which I’m being “assessed” (I translate as: judged) I break out into a cold sweat, get an attack of the runny-bums and will go out of my way to avoid it. I truly admire those brave souls who try out for televised talent shows and face possible public humiliation.

One of the reasons I’m such a late-starter as a writer is that when (back in my early twenties) I screwed up the nerve, hoiked up my loins and finally sent off a submission to a magazine, it was returned with a page-long rejection letter. I took that as the universe telling me: You really aren’t good enough. So I retreated into my cave and merely wrote for my own pleasure. I lived in a country town and had no real contact with any other writer, so I had no idea that a page-long rejection letter was not only unusual, it was downright fabulous. Talk about the “if-only-what-if-why-didn’t-what-could-have-been” blues!

However, I did finally take the plunge, signed up for a workshop or two and put myself out there once more. Many of my friends, especially the creative types, have done the same thing. They’ve decided that their passion for what they do is stronger than their fear of failure and the pain of rejection, and they keep on keeping on. And well done, everyone!

Back to the statement: Few people rise higher than their self-doubt. I understand the sentiment but I think it’s not correct. Many people do rise higher…etc. Perhaps it would be better to say: If you want to achieve your heart’s desire/your life’s purpose/your raison d’etre, you must overcome your self-doubt. You must choose to ignore that nasty, nagging, negative little voice in your head until it becomes no more than a nuisance, and a whispering one at that.

Hearty congratulations to all of you who choose to face your fears and soldier on. Good on, ya! Well done. Give yourself a big pat on the back (if you can reach – you lucky ducks) and say: I think – no – I know I can!

(Okay Wendy, preaching to yourself here so, bum down, head down and get on with it.)


  1. But true to Bachelor form, they conquer their fears, take the plunge, and of course Jake uses the opportunity to get a Spider Man style kiss in.

  2. Cialis
    Feb 10, 2012

    Hawdy blog owner! I totally agree with your thoughts. I really appreciate what you’re doing here.

  3. Ken Rolph
    Jan 22, 2012

    I seem to have outgrown all that stuff. You made me realise that I no longer think about doubting or achieving at all. I think I’m content. I just go on living bit by bit and concentrate on each task aat hand, not whether I can meet any goals or where they will lead. Im sure business seminar people I used to know would hav me rubbed out if they found out!

    • Wendy Noble
      Jan 22, 2012

      What a wonderful place to be in, Ken. Good for you! 🙂

  4. Rose Dee
    Jan 21, 2012

    I think that the statement is inherently true. But I have often heard: ‘never die wondering’. I don’t know that it’s a case of either of these extremes working. The norm must be somewhere in between. You have to take risks in life. And isn’t it human nature to rise above adversity. Than there’s the fear of trying and of failure. I always approach it like this – if it’s on your heart to do it then get to it – because ultimately the desire is there for a reason. Good, bad, failure or success it’s a learning curve that will strengthen faith (if you let it)

  5. Wendy Noble
    Jan 21, 2012

    Quite right, Michael. What I think is incorrect is the word “few”. Then again it might be that I move in a special circle of people who all belong to that select sub-group! One only has to watch the tennis on television to see who is, in their mind, already beaten, and who is the player who continues to believe right up to the last shot that they could still win. (e.g: L. Hewitt)

  6. Michael Wishart
    Jan 21, 2012

    Well written, again, Wendy. I agree that rising about one’s limitations means overcoming them. And I think the original statement is still very valid, as you have noted. If we doubt we will succeed, we will most likely fail. This is a mantra that motivational psychologists and coaches repeat ad nauseum. Belief in one’s ability, or in the ability of a higher power, to overcome a situation is the key to overcoming that situation.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *