Overcoming Self Doubt Pt.1

Self doubt is a dream killer. Let me rephrase that statement. We kill our own dreams because we give in to our own self doubt. As humans, we often underestimate our power.

I selected the picture on top not only because of the quote, but also the picture. It represents a popular story that I was told many years ago concerning a Circus Bull Elephant tied to a peg in the ground. The elephant had been tied to that same peg ever since it was a calf. Even though full grown male elephants can weigh up to 14000 pounds, this particular elephant had been conditioned to believe that it was bound by that short rope and peg. It was convinced that it was unable to set itself free. This poor beast had created a kind of mental prison for itself without even realizing it. Realistically , all it had to do is literally start walking forward and the peg would have uprooted without any resistance, end of story. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion, am I right? Yet, that wasn’t the reality experienced by that elephant. Potentially, it could have stayed the rest of his life there waiting for someone else to feed and take care of it. The chains of self doubt had a firm grip on the elephant and they were deeply rooted in the ground of his psyche. For many of us, I wonder if we are any different? I have said it before and I will say it again. Mental slavery is far worse than physical slavery will ever be. The first step towards freeing yourself is to first realize that you are enslaved. Next, is to do the work…

That statement was actually a quote by political leader and entrepreneur, Marcus Garvey. The reggae/folk singer and song writer, Bob Marley, popularized the statement in one of his songs titled , “Redemption Song.”

The words ring true for all of us striving to realize our highest potential in any area of our lives. Your thoughts become the things, people and circumstances that “show up” in your life. What do you really think about yourself , your environment and the people around you? Do you know your worth? How do you determine it? Is it based on others opinion of you or your own? Perhaps a “reevaluation” is in order.

You are both unique and precious. The depth of your potential for global impact is like a bottomless well waiting to be dipped into. There are no “true” limits other than the one’s that YOU establish. You are either your own jailer or liberator. I have identified some “keys” that perhaps you can use to break out for good! Lets’ get started.

Stop Dwelling on the Past

I like that last statement. Respect the lesson. Don’t dwell on it. Stop allowing your mistakes to define you. Own up to them . Be determined to learn from your failure so that the experience would not have been for nothing. Beating yourself up about something that happened years ago is futile. Why worry about what you can’t change? This is wasted energy. Focus on doing better and move on.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Personally, I have made this mistake numerous times. I had set benchmarks for myself that I was convinced had to be reached by certain points in life. For example, I believed that you had a homeowner by 30 years old in order to be considered successful. This is not true. Another example is that I believed that you had to be established in your career by age 35. This also is not true. There are many others that I could mention. The point is that based on the benchmark , I would compare myself with other men my age to gauge if whether or not I was on point in my life. I never took into consideration unexpected setbacks. I have had some major one’s in my life in past five years. Comparing myself to where others were in my life was a major “downer”.

Be careful with social media. In many cases, people seemed to be always posting themselves at different events while doing all of these great things. It’s easy to compare yourself with them. Always remember that everyone has a back story.Don’t get caught up in the hype. At certain points, I felt like a complete failure and felt so depressed that I wasn’t sure if I could ever bounce back. I felt hopeless to the point where I questioned whether or not I wanted to continue living at all. Yes, I actually contemplated suicide. Perhaps I was being melodramatic, but that is how I felt. I saw no way out because I kept comparing myself to others and what they had accomplished at certain points in their lives. How could I ever compete? I found that I didn’t have to.

What saved me was researching different successful individuals that had hit a “rock bottom” yet bounced back against the odds. At any point in history you can learn about someone who had to reinvent themselves despite their apparent circumstances. They all shared certain outstanding qualities that set each of them apart from the “herd.” They each established a clear , authentic, unique vision. They each also possessed a strong belief in themselves and an iron will. None of them determined their self worth through comparing their selves to others. This fact made them trendsetters instead of trend followers. Establish your own truth apart from the status quo. Be your own movement.

Use Positive Affirmations

In order to overcome self doubt, we must learn to manage our self talk.Affirmations can help. An affirmation is a positive statement that can help you to challenge and overcome self sabotaging and negative thoughts.By nature, we are creators. We create with our thoughts,words and actions. It is our nature for better or worse. Where you are at now in your life is a direct reflection of your perception of yourself and your world. The more conscious you are of your thoughts the more empowered you will be to change them. Your words are also powerful. They carry vibration and energy that always produce an effect on some level. The French psychologist and pharmacist,Emile Coue, coined an extremely popular phrase,”Everyday in every way I’m getting better and better.” This is a very simple yet powerful affirmation. It carries three profound implications:

a) Improvement is taking place in your life right now.

b)Improvements will continue to take happen in the future.

c) Improvements will happen in every area of your life.

This is an all-purpose affirmation. It’s also easy to remember. You can also create your own such as , “I am strong.”, “I am beautiful.”, ” I am smart.” etc… You get the idea. Words are powerful. Choose wisely.

Don’t Be Concerned With What Other People Think

Can I be honest with you? No one gives a damn about you! I know that sounds harsh and totally opposite of what this blog is about , but hear me out. I wrote the above statement for shock value. Honestly, for many of you , there are a lot of people who care a lot about you even if they may not always show it. The point that I want to make is that the vast majority of people around you are probably focused on their own personal situation(family,finances,job status, marriage,children,etc) It has been my experience that most people are too focused on trying to figure out life for themselves than to be concerned about yours. Get over it. If there are people who spend most of their time thinking about you , they have a personal problem. As the old saying goes,” If someone is talking about me behind my back, it’s none of my business.” Stop worrying about it. Invest the majority of your time on your own personal development.

Enough said.Be your own movement. Mind your own business. Demand happiness from the universe and the universe MUST give it you!!

Stop doubting yourself, okay?!!


Until next time…

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Practicing the Art of Living

To be honest,viewing everyday life as an art is a new concept for me. I have concluded that it is a valid description. When I think of art, I think of something beautiful. A “work of art” is defined as something of significant value. Some art aficionados might consider certain art pieces priceless. Isn’t this how the quality of life should be? Priceless? A work of art?

An artist is the master of his/her canvas. Indeed, to live a fulfilling life takes mastery. It is about knowing what it is that you desire from life and playing an active role in it’s realization.

Currently, I am reading a book titled ,”The Art of Living”by Epictetus. It is a short , yet insightful read filled with practical knowledge. This is impressive considering that it was written nearly 2000 years ago. So far, there are four points that Epictetus made that have especially impacted me.

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Learn to Accept What Happens to You

Life happens to all of us. Some situations are good while some seem not so good. Certain situations can be downright tragic. We each have our “buttons” or breaking points. Epictetus found it important to accept whatever happened to him at any moment. This conclusion came from a man who was born into slavery around 50 AD and rose to become a Stoic philosopher and founder of his own school.

Accepting what happens to you doesn’t mean giving up or doing absolutely nothing to improve your situation. Rather it is the first step in positioning yourself towards creating a new reality. In order to get to where you are going, you have to first establish where you are at.

Develop an “Iron” Will

It might seem like you can’t control what happens to you, but you can learn how to control your response to it. As the old saying goes, ” What doesn’t kill you , makes you stronger.” You grow strongest from challenge when your mind is set on growth. I think that it helps to get a little sadistic about it. Learn to welcome the pain because you anticipate growth. If it kills you then it won’t matter anyway. Fix your mind on winning in life no matter what happens. Life becomes more of a work of art when you take an active role in creating it as you go. It also becomes more of an adventure and fun. Be determined to make the most out of your life and never look back nor regret anything. Learn from your experiences. Be a persistent “student” of life. It takes an iron will to live your life on your terms. Those who live a “status quo” life are like the walking dead. The purpose of being alive is to LIVE. Figure it out.

Make the Most Out of Every Situation

The saying, “When life gives you lemons , make lemonade.”, reigns true. Once you have developed an iron will to look for the best in every situation, you can’t lose. Every experience ,whether perceived as good or bad, becomes an opportunity to learn and grow as a human being. Experiences become richer . You will also tend to remain more emotionally balanced . What I mean is that when something “great” happens , you won’t get overly excited. You respond with happiness, but remain level headed or sober. When something traumatic occurs, you will be less likely to stay bent out of shape. You may experience sadness and depression for a relative moment, but you will “snap back” significantly faster. You will have become a student of life. The joy is in the life journey and the lessons that you learn along the way.

Claim Nothing or No One , Yet Cherish Everything

A lot of our stress as people stems from our perceived affiliations with certain people , positions and things. This is a mistake. You and I are infinite ,eternal being having a finite, human experience. We are composed of 97% stardust( Seriously, look it up- carbon, hydrogen nitrogen, oxygen,sulphur and phospherous). I think that is pretty cool! I love Carl Sagans quote about us, “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” We are each unique and precious and so are the people and situations that “appear” within our life experiences. Take nothing or no one for granted. Savor each moment that you have the opportunity to be part of. Yes, it can be challenging, but well worth it. This point has special significance because nothing in this life stays the same. Everything changes. Attach yourself to nothing , yet appreciate the person or thing while it “exist” in the material sense. Everything and person is precious.

Also be sure to remember that nothing or no one truly dies, merely, transitions. Each of us will too. It is the way of things.


The wisdom found in this book is timeless. Although the author, Epictetus, was born into slavery , he was never a slave. His mind remained free and open for learning and expansion. Despite his immediate predicament, he appreciated the opportunity that life afforded him to grow past his circumstances. In doing so, he realized the ultimate goal of this life… mastery. He didn’t allow his external environment to dictate what he was able to accomplish.. He also didn’t allow others opinion of him to determine his self worth.

We could each learn from his example as well others throughout history that shared similar convictions. The term mastery as it applies to life is relative. When we think of mastery, we tend to think of perfection. With life, there is no true arrival. There is always room for experience, learning and growth. There are countless levels of mastery. In my opinion, there is no final destination only transitions. Let’s focus on the journey( life) while enjoying the “scenery” (circumstances). Until next time…