The Opportunity Cost of Self-Doubt (And How to Silence Your Inner Critic)
What is the Opportunity Cost of Self-Doubt?
Do you ever feel like some people believe in you more than you believe in yourself? You allow your inner critic or what the author of The War of Art, Steven Pressfield, calls ‘resistance’ to stop you from doing what you are good at?
The opportunity cost of self-doubt is certainly difficult, if not impossible to quantify, but it comes with a very high cost. It can prevent you from pursuing your dreams in life. And that is tragic.
If you are doubting yourself, I want you to know that you are not alone. I have my own battles with self-doubt from time to time. Some days, I cannot overcome this crippling fear, but other days, I silence my inner critic and crush my goals. To do this, I have to drown out the voice of doubt.
The Voice of Doubt
“Stick to your day job. Don’t try to flip the script. The traditional path is the only way to make it in this world.”
The voice of doubt is like the Tethered in the movie US. The only difference is that the voice of doubt is not trying to come from underground to physically harm you. Instead It kills your dreams by screaming lies into your ear like:
- You will never be good enough
- People will think you are crazy if you write that
- Only the ‘chosen ones’ should pursue their dreams
When you believe the lies of the debilitating voice of doubt, it paralyzes you. Instead of doing that thing you love to do, you choose to procrastinate instead.
For example, if you are a creative writer like me, the voice will tell you that your writing is trash, and that no one will ever read. It tells you to delete that article you have in drafts, because some people might not like it.
“Stick to your day job. Don’t try to flip the script. The traditional path is the only way to make it in this world. Give up your creative pursuits, because they are a colossal waste of time,” I often hear the voice of doubt tell me.
To be honest, sometimes I think this voice is right. Maybe I am wasting my time doing what I love to do, since I am not crushing my income goals.
But then I hear a voice that sounds eerily similar to that of Wendy Rhode’s, the performance coach in Billions. Please tell me you have seen this show (it is amazing). Her voice is the voice of confidence!
*NSFW due to some foul language. Watch the clip above to see Wendy Rhodes in action! Even after taking home 7.2 million, an investment analyst doubts himself. The voice of doubt is no respecter of persons. It haunts all of US.*
The Voice of Confidence
The voice of confidence tells me to ignore the voice of doubt. She reminds me of my past writing accomplishments. Plus, she challenges the lies of my inner critic, one by one. Let me share her arguments. I’ll let you, the peerless reader, decide if they are valid.
You are Good Enough
You are good enough. Just because you don’t have the alphabet soup behind your name like Michael Kitces, that doesn’t mean you cannot write quality content. And just become your income is not as high as you would like, that doesn’t mean you are worth less than anyone else as a human being.
You should stop tying your self-worth to your net worth. This money game is imaginary. Play the game, because you have to survive, but don’t get suckered into thinking those who make less are worth less.
Stop Caring so Much What People Think
Why do you care so much what people think? The author Stephen King writes some pretty twisted stuff that some critics love to hate. But guess what? He writes what he wants anyway.
Do not let the opinions of other folks hold you back. Instead, follow Steve from Think Save Retire’s advice and stop caring so much about what others think, even if it’s the voice of doubt (your inner critic).
The ‘Chosen’ Ones Choose Themselves
You should stop waiting on someone to give you permission to pursue your dreams. The ‘chosen’ ones don’t ask for permission. They choose to follow their dreams, while those who live in fear, choose to go along with whatever society tells them to do.
While there is nothing wrong with that, the traditional path is not for everyone. Everyone is peerless in their own right and must choose their own adventure. Continue to choose yourself by doing what you love to do!
Now that I have challenged your inner critic, allow me to share with you how to silence your inner critic every single day.
Silence Your Inner Critic Daily
You silence your inner critic by taking daily actions that will lead you towards achieving your goals. That’s it. There is nothing more to it.
Instead of doubting yourself, which is a colossal waste of time, do this. As a result, you will become more successful!
This sums up every book you will ever read on productivity. Nine times out of ten, you already know this. Instead of spending your hard earned money on books on how to be successful, follow this simple advice, and then write your own success story.
Now, go publish that blog post that someone in the world wants to read!
Disclaimer: The above post is meant for entertainment purposes only. If you are feeling really low, please seek professional help immediately. A real life Wendy Rhodes may be able to get you back on track :-). Your mental health is paramount.
Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.
If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?
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