As you probably know from listening to my show, I play pool. Pool is not a game that you can just play. You have to be in the right mindset. You have to turn your mind and body over to it, and be loose and relaxed. But of course, every once in a while, a negative, itinerant thought creeps into your head: I don't think I'm going to make this shot.
The minute you say that to yourself, you miss the shot because your body goes, "Oh she said we are going to miss, so we must not have aimed correctly. We have to change that." So your body, like an alien creature, changes everything simply because you told yourself that you weren't going to make it.
Self-doubt is incredibly strong and powerful because negativity creates reality and becomes belief.
The question is, how do you conquer it?
- Acknowledge that YOU are perpetuating the negativity. If you think you suck at something, you are going to suck. If you are adamant that people won't like you, they won't like you because you will come across as standoffish. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Identify the source. Look at your history - where does the negativity come from? Were your parents critical? Were they perfectionists? Etc.
- Recognize the circumstances. Are there certain situations where the negativity is more likely to pop up?
- Trust your I.Q., not your feelings. Emotions are more powerful than reality, belief, and truth - they trump everything. You have to stop with the emotions and ask yourself rationally, "Is it really true that I can't do this?". The answer is probably no.
- Think of self-doubt as a speed bump. It's only a temporary condition. It rattles and jostles you, but you can get over it.
- Have a support system. It really helps to have someone who can drown out your inner critic, even if you only believe them for five minutes. It lets you relax, which allows your mind and body to get in gear.