How to Stop Second Guessing Yourself
By Chris Savage // Reliable Strategies
Why Do We Second Guess Ourselves?
Do you ever second-guess yourself? Of course, you have, we all have. It's a normal part of being human.
But why do we do it?
Most of the time, it's fear of failure and low opinion of our abilities that generate self-doubt.
Can You Trust Your Own Decisions?
We second guess ourselves daily.
Our brains can't always make sense of the world around us and we want to be safe, so we seek pleasure and avoid the risk of pain.
The problem is that avoiding the risk of pain (rejection, failure, embarrassment) is what keeps us stuck in our comfort zones.
We need to be able to make decisions and exploit opportunities without constantly second-guessing ourselves.
Why Do We Doubt Ourselves So Much?
No matter how successful we are, we'll all have moments of self-doubt.
It's a natural human emotion, but it can be an obstacle when it comes to self-growth and reaching your goals.
We all have insecurities about our abilities.
But why do we question ourselves so much?
Why is it that some people don't allow self-doubt to hold them back, and take action anyway, while others can't get past their insecurities?
It's not always a simple answer, because there are many layers to the human psyche.
The first step is to put yourself in the right state to make important decisions, and then to actually make those decisions most clearly and decisively.
4 Ways to Get Yourself In State
1. Your Thoughts
How you think determines everything.
That’s right, EVERYTHING!
If you’re thinking “What if I fail I can’t do this”, or “I’m excited, this is gonna be great let’s do it” your outcome will be vastly different.
Who you are is a reflection of how you think.
For most of the problems you have, the solution can be found by changing how you think.
2. Your Physiology
Check your physiology right now.
Are you slumped, shoulders forward, head and eyes down, weak?
Or does your physiology have a strong presence?
Do you hold yourself with confidence and integrity?
Your mind and body are interconnected.
When your posture is weak, so is your mind.
Likewise, when you have strong physiology, your mind is also strong.
You make better decisions and you won't need to second-guess yourself.
3. Your Choice of Words
The words you use can be the difference between failure and success.
When you use words like confident, powerful, capable, successful, self-belief, and action, your life improves almost instantly.
Your thoughts, words, decisions, and actions are what determine your destiny.
Check your vocabulary and start replacing negative words and perspectives with more positive ones.
4. External Stimuli
External stimulus is music, books, nice views, podcasts, and anything that centers you and declutters your mind.
Think about how you feel when you play your favourite music, look at a beautiful view, or do anything that gives you pleasure.
That’s how you want to spend your life, making decisions confidently and clearly with the self-belief that whatever comes along you'll handle it.
How to Make Better Decisions
1. Don't Rely on Your Emotions
Facing difficult decisions brings a variety of emotions to the surface.
Fear, excitement, trepidation, or a mix of all of these and even more.
But what happens when your emotions get in the way of your ability to make the right decision?
You make poor, impulsive decisions that you'll live to regret.
You don't want that, so be careful to not let your decisions carry you down a path you don't want to go down.
2. Use Logic
Any important decision requires logical, rational thought.
Thinking things through carefully before you act will give you better outcomes in any situation.
Short-term thinking is dangerous because success over the long term often begins with short-term struggle and sacrifice.
If you only do what's convenient in the short term you never build a solid foundation for your future success.
Better decisions lead to more beneficial actions, which in turn lead to a better life.
Stop second-guessing yourself by using logic when you make decisions.
3. Weigh Up the Pros and Cons
The decision to change careers, move interstate or leave your partner can be one of the most difficult decisions you'll ever make.
It's not just about weighing up the pros and cons, but also how much weight those pros and cons will affect the rest of your life.
Think about the best-case scenario, and then the worst.
If everything crashes and fails, will you survive?
If the answer is yes, then go for it. If you answered no, you need to re-evaluate your risk and redesign your strategy.
4. Listen to Your Intuition
It's important to think about your expected outcome, and what really matters most in the judgment you're trying to make.
We have a built-in guidance system called intuition.
Your intuition is your internal compass.
I can't think of a time when my intuition did me wrong, can you?
Most of the time our unconscious intuition is more reliable than our conscious reasoning.
Sometimes there are no clear answers in life.
You have to listen to your inner self and go with what feels right.
Pay attention to your intuition.
5. Focus on Process Not Outcome
The reason you're not achieving what you want could be that you're too focused on the outcome.
The term "process" means the work you need to be doing, day in and day out, that will get you to your outcome.
Process over outcome is a simple concept that not everyone understands or takes seriously.
Instead of saying "I want to be a millionaire", focus on the process instead: earning income, saving and investing, no consumer debt, and using a long-term strategy.
If you follow the right processes consistently and correctly your outcomes will take care of themselves.
A Few Things to Remember
- Most of the time the source of our second-guessing ourselves comes from self-doubt and fear of failure
- You can’t always trust your initial emotional response, sometimes you have to override your fear and do it anyway
- Self-doubt is a natural human emotion, but it can be an obstacle when it comes to self-growth and achieving our goals
- Never make important decisions where you’re in a negative state
- You can make better decisions, and stop second-guessing yourself by implementing a few simple strategies
Now Take Action!
- Choose 3 important decisions you’ve been putting off, or you haven’t made because of your fear of failure
- Write down what it's costing you by not deciding
- Write down the worst-case scenario and how you’ll deal with it if it comes (which it rarely does)
- Write down the best-case scenario that could happen if you make the decision and everything works out for you.
Best Quotes to Stop Second-Guessing Yourself
“All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it” - David Bowie
“Life is very short, and if you worry what people think of you, if you second-guess yourself, you're in trouble” - Karren Brady
“I think a lot of times you start to second-guess yourself, especially as a young player, but you've got to have confidence that everything will be alright” - Mookie Betts
“Risk is the sort of word that is easy to discuss upfront but tough to handle when it comes time to pay the piper. There will always be some who wimp out and second-guess when the pain hits, but that is a childish reaction” - Nathan Myhrvold“I never second-guess myself” - Michael Cimino