Doubt: The Silent Killer of Hope

Ok, I will admit it. I have doubts. I often doubt myself, my faith, and especially my future. With all my writing and talk about hanging on to hope and believing in a better future, here I am, awake in the middle of the night wondering how things are ever going to get better. I doubt that I have the skills to bring my business to the next level. I doubt that God cares enough about me to notice my struggle. Before I know it, I even doubt that there is any meaning to life.

There are countless articles and books about how business owners, and people in general, need self-confidence to succeed. But there seems to be little information on self-confidence’s evil twin, doubt. The scary thing about doubt is that it uses stealth tactics to sneak up on you when you are most vulnerable. It hides like a ghost in the night, waiting to haunt your dreams and break your spirit. Doubt starts out small; you question a small decision you made or quietly wonder if you really have what it takes. The seed has been planted. Doubt is now growing inside of you and, before you know it, a full-grown rebellion is born within you, threatening to mock, ridicule, and extinguish everything that you believe in.

Yet despite the horror that doubt can bring, it seems such a natural emotion. We all have doubts. We all wonder what the future holds for us. Perhaps this is why it is so dangerous. We allow doubt to sit close to us…you could even say that we hold it close, cuddling warmly beside it. Doubt almost brings us comfort. Why? Because doubt gives us the excuse to maintain the status quo, to cozy up in our comfort zone and never venture out. Doubt tells us that we are safe where we are, so we assume and accept that that is where we should stay.

How then do we turn our back on our old friend? How do we move forward when we are so willing to simply settle for where we are? Sure, most of us have bigger dreams, larger hopes, and great expectations, but these things take a backstage to what we really want. We really just want life to be easy, to go our way, to not cause us any trouble. The problem is that the moment we step out of our humble home, the whole world is at our back. The harder we push, the more we work, the tougher life gets.

The real solution to overcoming doubt is not self-confidence but it is a realization that in order to do great things, we must be willing to fight for those things. I use the word fight on purpose. A fight is not easy, it is not safe, and the outcome is not always on our side. But the thing about a good fight is that it teaches us how to be a better person. It strengthens our resolve and it exercises our mind and body. We doubt ourselves, not

because we lack self-confidence, but because we lack the will to fight, to make waves, to get a little dirty and have sweat on our brow. We are full of eagerness and self-confidence until the moment we break a sweat. As soon as things get hard, we assume that we must be doing something wrong so we stop in our tracks and look for an easier way. But the easy way is not the most rewarding path.

As a hiker, each time I go out to the mountains, I have a choice to make. I can take the valley path, the flat road that goes around the mountain. I can stay on that path and enjoy the awe-inspiring wonder of the distant hills. I can think to myself how beautiful the mountain must be at the top, but I will never know for sure unless I veer off the easy path and start the daunting climb to the top. It is not an easy climb. There are boulders and cliffs, and dark bends on untested roads. Doubt would say it is not worth the hike. It is too hard, too dirty, and too exhausting.

By believing the lie that the easy path is the right one, we have allowed ourselves to miss the views at the top of the mountain. We have been deceived by doubt into thinking that we are not strong enough, smart enough, or worthy enough to fight for what matters most to us. The real kicker is that without a will to fight, without the willingness to sacrifice and struggle, what do we have to hope in? We can hope that things get even easier, but how do we hope in a better tomorrow, stronger communities, and recovering economies if we are not willing to fight?

As we give in to doubt and settle deeper and deeper into the status quo, hope dies and withers away. With no one willing to roll up their sleeves, hope has no one to plant it, no one to water it and no way to grow. In order to overcome doubt, we must overcome our aversion to fighting. Hard work is good for the soul!  A good sweat and a little dirt on our hands remind us of what we are truly capable of: making a stand for our dreams, for our faith, for our families, and for our communities is the only true cure for doubt.

In the world, life is hard, but it is through these struggles that accomplishments are made. It is time that we all get a little less cozy with our doubts and a little more comfortable with a life lived fighting for every inch of ground that brings us closer to our dreams, closer to making a real difference in the world, and closer to setting a positive example for the next generation. We must set a new example that screams “fight for what you believe in and never give up,” an example that proves that the right path is hard, but it is always worth taking.