Self-doubt can cripple your life. Whether launching a new career, dumping a bad relationship, starting a meaningful charity or even carving out a six-pack of chiselled abs, there is always this dread, inertia, self-doubting, procrastination and soul-freezing fear that grips you.
Writer Steven Pressfield (Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire) calls this self-doubt as Resistance. Dorothea Brande, the kick-butt reporter from the 1930’s (when women reporters were unheard of) calls this self-doubt as the Will to Die.
Even worse, Pressfield insists that this self-doubting Resistance comes from your environment, friends and family and it wants to (get this) kill you!
I slug it out with Pressfield’s Resistance almost on a daily basis. Sometimes it gives me free reign to write, train, study and clean my damn car. Other times it pours so much self-doubt on my head that I think I am back in a complete white-out blizzard.
So, I take one step at a time. I fight for and gain that half inch of self-confidence ground. Here is the trick: I promise myself I can do something for FIVE minutes. Just five.
Five minutes is enough to write a paragraph, do ten crunches, read one page or at least wipe off the dashboard of my damn car.
And what happens after five minutes? One paragraph becomes two, three and then maybe four pages or maybe a bunch of garbage.t It does not matter. I just beat Resistance. I just overcame that shred of self-doubt.
In addition, after five minutes, the crunches turn to maybe 50, a stretching session and maybe a whole Pilates routine. One page of study did not kill me, so another couple were doable. And the car. OK, I can wipe out the back seat at least.
Some action. Any action will give momentum. I have seen it in the most unmotivated people around, including myself. Books get written, muscles built, courses passed and cars cleaned all in small increments. Rarely will creativity course through my veins like a jolt of electricity. Or some kind of primal energy takes over as I surge through Olympic workout routines, college exams and polishing my car into a glittering masterpiece. And all of my self-doubt vanishes forever.
Nope. It is the bit-by-bit, non-sexy work that gets great things done.
You cannot wait for the gym, latest-style workout wear or perfect time to workout or ponder which coffee shop is best for your writing and studying. Or wait for the perfect day to wash your auto.
Instead, take those five minutes to do a few crunches and dips, write a sentence or read that textbook page while supper cooks. And take five minutes to clean out that damn car.
Five minute rule. It works.
Find other self-doubt removing techniques in Flat Gut After 50.