Be Careful What You Give Your Attention To
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.” — Dale Carnegie
Fear and doubt are like uninvited guests, who show up for the night and overstay their welcome. They have nothing to impart other than a distorted reality. We fear what we don’t understand and then doubt ourselves. This steals away the preciousness of the present moment because we succumb to a fictitious reality. Have you experienced something like this, whereby fear and doubt convinced you of something that wasn’t true? You wouldn’t be wrong in succumbing to this scenario because they collaborate to pull us into a pit of despair.
But it needn’t be this way, since we can choose to see things differently. For example, when the Coronavirus pandemic started, there was a lot of fear and negativity perpetuated by the mainstream media. They hijack our attention by reporting bits and pieces of the actual story. I immediately turned my attention to the health professionals, such as infectious disease experts, epidemiologists, virologists and senior health experts. As time went on, I was reassured that what the media was depicting was not reality but a false narrative to sell a story. I’m not suggesting the virus is anything to ignore, but we must be careful what we give our attention to because it may not be serving our best interests.
Think about the areas of your life where fear and doubt have gained a foothold? Perhaps it is your relationships, finances, career, your dreams and highest ambitions? If I asked you to journal the narrative fear and doubt promote, what would you write? Is it lack of choice? Self worthiness or self-esteem? It’s important we understand what we’re up against, so we can deal with it effectively. To overcome fear and doubt, we must first understand how they operate in our life. They try to undermine us, like a virus weaving its way through our thoughts. Either way, we must confront our limiting beliefs and analyse them for what they are; an unrealistic plan to sabotage us.
We’ve Got To Show Up Fully For Our Dreams
“Life isn’t much more than a big dig through layers of doubt and fear into new levels of power and potential.” — Robin Sharma
Fear and doubt offer nothing in return, other than to steal our joy and happiness. In contrast, confidence and encouragement are allies that work together to support our goals. We ought to sow the seeds of these virtues in our psyche and extract fear and doubt from our minds. Fear is the enemy of confidence because it tries to convince us of an unfavourable future. However, confidence moves towards tomorrow armed with conviction to achieve excellence. This doesn’t mean we must eradicate fear from our lives but acknowledge it for what it is. As the self-help author Susan Jeffers once wrote: Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.
That is, we walk towards our fears and take inspired action, regardless. Because every time we overcome fear, we silence our doubts and lay to rest the hijackers of tomorrow. Fear and doubt will try to steal our best laid plans. But it is not enough to ignore them, we must face them directly and change the narrative they promote. Consider this in your own life. What have you overcome in recent times that fear and doubt tried to sell you? Perhaps it was entering a new relationship, starting your own business, or leaving a lucrative career? Sometimes fear and doubt can show up as an unwanted gift, presented by those we love. Family and friends will convince us not to change careers or get intimately involved with that person because they are no good for us.
But this is like asking those who’ve never been where you’re going for directions. You assume because they are wiser, they hold the answers, but they may not be the answers for you. So, question everything and test it for yourself, to see whether it will work for you. It is better to make a hundred mistakes on your own, than live inauthentically based on other people’s opinions. We’ve got to show up for our dreams and command them fully, irrespective of what others think. It requires moving through our fears and doubts, which accompanying us on this journey of life. Because when we reach our ultimate destination, we will have overcome these mountainous hurdles through hard work and perseverance.
Knowing this, I invite you to make time to examine areas of your life where fear and doubt have infiltrated. What is the message they’re trying to sell you? Is it real? Can you be sure that fear and doubt is real? What do you want for your life? Write down two columns and examine your fears and doubts on one side and your vision and purpose on the other. After you’ve explored each area, sit with your feelings and note which area you are leaning towards? Do you want to be an 80-year-old who was allowed their fears and doubts to overcome them, or do you want to be an 80-year-old who has lived the best version of their life? Either way, you get to decide the storyline for your life, so make it a remarkable one!