6. Reverse The Structures Of Doubt: The Power Of Bright Spots, Belief, Confidence And Energy
“Self doubt undermines the process of finding our gifts and sharing them with the world.”- Brené Brown
Self-doubts are negative and inhibiting thoughts much like other mental negative chatter. Over time and with continued focus, doubts magnify and make you believe that that it will not be possible for you to do something.
The more energy you feed into your self-doubts, the stronger they get. Whenever you look for the evidence that supports your doubts, you end up making them stronger.
However when you decide to stop feeding the doubt and consciously focus on self-belief, confidence and desire, you are redirecting your doubt into something productive.
In the book, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, they describe the effectiveness of “bright spot thinking” or efforts that have been successful and are worth imitating and repeating.
They give the example of Jerry Sternin who was working for “Save the children,” an international organization that helps children who are in need. Sternin was invited to Taiwan to open a new office and to fight the rampant problem of malnutrition with only 6 months to make a difference.
After reading about malnutrition, Sternin decided that the common causes such as sanitation, poverty, clean water and ignorance about health were all TBU or True But Useless.
Sternin travelled to villages where he met with groups of local mothers and asked them to go as teams to weigh and measure out every child in their village.
The idea was to find any children who were bigger and healthier than the average village child and ask what their mothers were doing differently. This focus on bright spots or success stories that were worth repeating went past the complexity of all the issues of malnutrition to focus on practical and applicable solutions.
They constructed the conventional wisdom of feeding kids by talking to families and found that kids ate soft, pure foods like rice twice a day with families. This was compared to the bright spot kids who were being actively hand fed four times a day.
Bright spot kids’ diet also included tiny shrimp and crabs that mothers collected from the paddy fields and sweet potato greens that were generally considered unsuitable and low-class foods for children. They were also being fed when they were sick while average kids were discouraged.
Cooking groups for families were set up where 10 families would meet and bring shrimp, crabs and sweet potato greens and practice the new form of cooking instead of just being told about the new ideas that bright spot mothers were following.
Thus mothers were taking action into a new form of thinking about making nutritious meals with what they had and moreover the solution had originated with the local knowledge and they were not resistant to that change.
Develop the confidence and belief that you can achieve and overcome problems. Self-doubt is based on low confidence levels and a deep lack of self belief.
When you experience a low energy level, you are more likely to have self-doubt about your abilities. Managing your energy levels and making an assessment of when your energy levels are lowest and at their highest and correlating them with self-doubt levels is a good idea. When I am exhausted, my levels of self-doubt increase significantly.
When you have self-doubt and the path is not clear, look for bright spots or practical ideas that have worked for you and for others and that can be emulated and implemented easily.
Make a list of what went right in your life, what is going right and your past achievements and pick out the bright spots.
Are you managing your energy? When you have low energy and are tired, doubt creeps in.
Assess your strengths and weaknesses accurately and play to your strengths. What skills do you lack to complete a project that might bring self-doubt?
Develop high levels of self-confidence to overcome self-doubt.