Overcoming Doubt with Mindfulness

By Andrew Fredette 

You will never create anything of value through doubt.

Ironically the further down a path of creativity or entrepreneurship you go, the more frequently you will have to face doubt. We might as well figure out how to intelligently deal with it.

It’s essential to our happiness that we critically examine our lives to make intelligent choices, but doubt is not critical examination. Doubt is the tendency to second guess, to create illusory obstacles for ourselves. It’s the habitual questioning of your worth, skills, and potential. Critical thinking is objective and clear- it doesn’t start with a negative assumption.

By seeing doubt for what it really is, you can absolutely abandon it. Doubt is a mental parasite you don’t need. It serves no purpose other than creating a personal crisis. An imaginary crisis is very fulfilling for the ego, but utterly useless in all other regards. Doubt and negativity of any form is an indulgence of the ego. Like Krispy Kremes and reality TV, it’s best not to indulge too often.

Abandoning doubt doesn’t mean that you won’t experience it anymore; it means that it no longer informs you. By accurately identifying doubt as a useless mental abstraction, you immediately liberate yourself from the need to respond to it… at least in theory. The actual practice of relinquishing the power of doubt requires mental awareness and ability to identify doubt as it occurs.

Practicing mindfulness is essential for pulling this off (A note from the editor: For an easy-to-read explanation of mindfulness and meditation, check out this article). Unless you are used to objectively examining your mind, it will be difficult to identify doubt without getting caught up in it. A mindful mind will quickly identify the pattern of doubt and ignore it. Untrained minds will get wrapped up in a cascade of negative thoughts. Mindfulness training is the antidote to the monkey mind’s feverish movement.

With this meta-awareness, there’s less inclination to take thoughts too seriously. The value of the pattern of thinking is considered rather than the content of individual thoughts themselves. This larger perspective is empowering and completely changes our relationship with the contents of our minds.

Mindfulness increases mental resilience. It diminishes the negative effects of doubt and makes us more effective people. Like all things, developing the ability to identify and detach yourself from doubt is a practice. It requires time and consistent effort. So while you’re developing your mental superpowers, remember to be gentle with yourself.

Meditation, meditation, meditation. The science of it’s benefits can’t be ignored. It’s a new year and there’s no better time to start a new goal. 10 mins in the morning and 10 mins in the evening will work wonders- especially if you’re on a creative path, or would like to begin one.

TL;DR: Doubt can and should be completely ignored. It is inevitable and a subjective way to look at the world. Practice mindfulness to get mental superpowers.

Andrew is a 27-year old meditation advocate, blogger, and entrepreneur living in Portland, OR. He’s voracious explorer of science, self-improvement, and philosophy. His writing can be found at www.revolutionme.net.