Don’t let your own self-doubts hold you back from your real potential.
“Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. Don’t let the limitations of others limit your vision. If you can remove your self-doubt and believe in yourself, you can achieve what you never thought possible.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Self-doubt is an extremely crippling thing, and I have first-hand experience with it. When I was younger I was an aspiring artist, and I spent years telling myself that I would never succeed. That I would never have the skills, abilities, or motivation to be one. My room would be filled with balled up drawings and dozens of nearly devoured erasers.
I started this toxic behavior very young, and it substantially affected my growth. I liked to follow these YouTube tutorials on “How to Draw Blank”, but I was such a perfectionist that it was no use. I’d give up halfway through, when I made a line not straight enough or a circle that didn't perfectly line up.
My depression has always held me back from doing what I love. I was constantly comparing myself to people who had decades' worth of experience. Yet I had virtually none, as I never actually applied myself. I didn’t know how to let myself learn, because all I ever thought about was how much worse I was than all these other people.
I did this for years upon years, never making any real progress. The reason that I didn’t improve had nothing to do with my actual skills and abilities. It was purely because of my mindset. If I had spent years believing in myself and living how I do now, I would be ten times better at art. This applies to everything you might want to achieve.
The most difficult thing for me was realizing that you should be grateful for your flaws and learn from them. When I was young, my mindset was always that mistakes were disgraceful. However, I soon learned to feel the opposite. I discovered how helpful it is to see your mistakes as a sign of improvement. Once you discover an error in your work, you have already started improving. You are one step ahead of where you were before that error was made. Understanding how mistakes have helped me improve was a life changer.
“We learn from failure, not from success!”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula
Nobody can become good at something without first correcting their flaws. Every single successful person has adapted this mindset. Making mistakes doesn’t bother them, it motivates them to push harder. Your errors are a learning experience. You should accept them, embrace them, and study them. Look at your work, and try to see what is wrong with it. Only once you see what’s wrong can you start doing what’s right.
Most professionals you see weren’t born with a natural talent. They were just like you at some point. The only difference between you and someone successful is that they fought hard, staying committed for years. They were simply very good at learning from their flaws.
Once you have adopted this mindset, you should improve fast. Your newfound motivation will send you flying to new heights, building your skill like never before. Your self-doubt will no longer hold you back, allowing you to move on to another important part of improving your work.
Controversial opinion; you should be comparing yourselves to others. Specifically professionals in your industry. Doing this will show you exactly what it is that you’re doing differently from the people who have success. That difference is key to discovering your flaws. Abolishing that difference is the best way to get to their level.
That being said, you must use this tip responsibly. Most of the time people compare themselves to others in a negative way. They let their self-doubting thoughts cloud their vision. That is not what I’m suggesting you do. You should be comparing yourself to others ONLY when you're motivated enough to learn from it, not when your mindset is filled with self-doubt and a lack of inspiration.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill
I believe that no matter your situation or back story, you can achieve virtually any goal. All it takes is strategy, confidence, efficiency, and perseverance. Learning from every error you make is the best way to get better at what you do. After all, the mistakes you make are the only things holding you back. Abolishing them and learning the correct way to operate is the quickest route to success.
Eventually, I learned to think this way too. When I was a teenager I started to realize that my old mindset was toxic and that this one would help me improve much faster. I was never happier with myself than when I started thinking this way.
All I’m saying is that you should do it. Pick up that hobby you’ve always wanted to try out. If it’s fun, get good at it. Find something you really enjoy and put your heart into it. I promise if you dedicate yourself and learn from your mistakes, you will improve. Through time and passion, you can truly get whatever you want.