How to Stop Doubting Yourself

Doubt ______ instead

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For most of my life, I doubted myself.

Whether it was learning a new skill or trying to get in shape, I had a little voice in my head telling me “you’re not good enough” and “you can’t do this”. This voice held me back and sent me through a whirlwind of depression and drugs.

I’m happy to say that after many years of torment, trials, and tribulations, I’ve won the battle with the voices in my head. That voice has been successfully decapitated and replaced with a different one. Instead of doubting myself, I now doubt something else: my work’s quality. Here’s what that looks like:

Doubting Yourself 🗣

  • “I can’t write a great newsletter like [writer]”

  • “I can’t grow a big audience on Twitter like [big creator] because they’re so smart.”

  • “I’m not [funny, good-looking, etc.] enough to grow on YouTube”

Doubting Your Work 🗣

  • “I need to edit the intro to more before I publish it”

  • “I should cut down the hook to 3 sentences instead of 4. Less is more.”

  • “Let’s cut the video at the 30-second mark so people don’t get bored”

What I’ve found is that by removing your ego, you have more space in your mind to improve your work. When I was doubting myself, I was so scatterbrained comparing myself to others and experiencing anxiety, I wasn’t even thinking about the quality of the work!

When you’re in self-doubt mode, you’re just thinking about yourself. When you're thinking about the quality of your work, you're thinking about how it will help other people. Will people enjoy this? Will my readers get a lot out of this article? Will they laugh during this video? You stop worrying about whether you look silly or stupid and you start focusing on how your work will impact other people—and then doing whatever you possibly can to make sure it gets the desired result. Now that I focus on the work, I make better and better work and my ego is over in the corner thinking about how I can get tacos ASAP.

They lied to you in psych class

The goal is to be fully present in the work like a musician recording in the studio only thinking about getting his lines right, not worried about what people are thinking about him or trying to win a Grammy. Speaking of music, today’s post was inspired by legendary music producer Rick Rubin. In the words of Rick, “you can doubt your way to excellence”.

How do you fix the voices inside your head?

How do you stop doubting yourself? I’m no certified therapist or psychologist (although I’ve seen quite a few), but here goes nothing.

When your natural voice is self-doubt, you have to pause after your first thought and force yourself to think again and challenge the first thought and focus on your work. If the first thought is “I can’t grow an audience” then you have to react to that first thought with a “Why can’t I?”.

This is the basic premise of cognitive behavioral therapy. My therapist had me look at a list of cognitive distortions and see how many I did every day. It was all of them haha. It’s lazy thinking. I was a lazy thinker and I was unhappy because of it so I stopped thinking lazy. But you can’t stop at just challenging the thought and not thinking lazy.

The voice of self-doubt will only go away if you put in the work to prove it wrong.

You can write out affirmations everyday but if you don’t focus on the work, you’ll still feel self-doubt. So it comes down to a) thinking you can grow and b) doing the work everyday to grow. As time goes on, you’ll grow and the voice of self-doubt will shut up as you prove it wrong. When you do end up proving it wrong—which I believe you can do—it’s the best fucking feeling in the world.



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🤝 Lex Fridman and Mark Zuckerberg spoke in a hyper-realistic simulation. Insane how much progress has been made. Zuck is so back, baby.

🤯 I just learned you can do voice-to-text on a Macbook in any program (Twitter, Google Docs, etc.) so I legit spoke out a first draft of this blog post.

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Thanks for reading nerds.

Create some cool shit this week.

Jason Levin

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