Steps To Overcome Doubt

Doubts are a part and parcel of our life, and not necessarily a bad thing. Actually it is a reflection of intelligent thinking and indicates gaps in our awareness and understanding of the problem faced. However, when such doubts lead to indecisiveness, they can lead to faulty decision making. Hence it is important to ensure doubts don’t lead to costly blunders.
Steps to Overcome Doubt
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In the fast paced world of today, time is the scarcest resource, as is the ability of taking informed and calculated risks in the face of uncertainty. This is true for both personal and professional life and the greatest impediment to right choices in both, is that lingering doubt that can not only prevent you from taking timely decisions, but also make your life miserable by adding avoidable anxiety. Dealing with doubt and indecision, thus, becomes a major route to success....


DOUBT and INDECISION are two perennial by-products of intelligence; and yet, they are also the greatest impediments in its proper

application and use. It is largely because we are able to think about multiple objectives, factors and possibilities - a manifestation of intelligence - that we become indecisive, and begin to have ever accumulating doubts as to what is going to be the future outcome of our actions.

Doubts and Indecisiveness as the by-products of Intelligence

We experience doubt when we are faced with a question, the answer to which we are not sure about. For this to happen, there are two precipitating pre-requisites - you should be desperately searching an answer to a question, and you must not have an answer to it.

Ironically, when a person lacks the intelligence to ask himself a question, he is likely to be free of doubt. For example, if you want to invest in equity, because your friend also invested in it last year and made 30% returns, and if you are unable to ask yourself as to whether the last year's performance will be repeated this year too, then you will not have any doubt. You will invest confidently, irrespective of what happens later. However, if you are intelligent enough to think about the possibility of stock value going down, you will have a doubt. Then, unless you are able to find out for yourself an answer to the likely changes in the market next year, you will be full of doubt, and you may never invest at all, because of the resulting indecision. Somehow, if you are able to come to a conclusion, thanks to your own analysis or some expert's advice, then you may begin to feel confident again, and may finally be able to take a decision to invest.

Doubts leads to Faulty Decision Making by Default

In this way, doubts, which arose as a result of application of your intelligence, can prevent you from taking decisions and moving in any direction. This can often be as bad, if not more, than the possibility of a wrong decision being taken. Indecision in these cases leads, by default, to a decision of doing nothing even if that may not even be an option under consideration. This is what makes the need for getting rid of doubt and indecision from our system so important.

Doubts are a part and parcel of our everyday life. We face them in the market when buying some goods. We also face them in the most important decisions of life, like whether to get married with a particular person or not. However, probably, the worst examples of doubts are those where we have to make a value judgment. For example, if you find that

a friend has committed a crime, you will always be faced with a difficult choice as to whether you should keep the information with you and protect your friend, or whether you should report it to the authorities like a good citizen. In such matters, it may become very difficult to take a decision.

Getting Rid of Doubts

To begin with, it would be an honest confession to say that it is near impossible to get rid of all doubts in your life. However, that does not undermine the need to develop clear priorities and develop a habit of clear thinking, factors that are instrumental in keeping your doubts to the minimum.

One of our perennial shortcomings is the inability to decide our priorities. The first habit that can make your life much easier is to develop a habit of being clear in your priorities, and then be able to give up the lesser priorities in favor of those that are more important for us. The cornerstone of this remedy lies in the acceptance of the fact that we cannot get everything in life.

The second habit that can be very helpful is to develop the ability to differentiate between what you know and what you don't. Often doubts exist because of ignorance combined with the ignorance about our ignorance. Once you are aware that you do not know, further course of action becomes simple enough - find a way of knowing what you do not know.

Third habit that can help you overcome a tendency of indecision is the realization that in most spheres of life, it is usually not possible to become absolutely certain. Thus one needs to be able to live with a certain degree of uncertainty. What is important is the realization that there is a difference between uncertainty and doubt. Uncertainty need not necessarily lead to indecision. A person's ability to take a decision amidst uncertainty depends upon his ability to take risks. Thus one needs to be clear in his preferences between risky action and safe inaction, and decide accordingly.

The fourth principle that we all need to contain our doubts, is to clearly understand the values that we stand for, and the extent to which we are ready to go to preserve those values. These values are the ones that help us decide what is correct and what is not. A strong faith in these values is a shield against doubt and uncertainty in difficult times of life.

Lastly, there is a certain degree of self-confidence that is essential for any decision making. Unless you have the confidence in your ability to take a decision, you can never get rid of doubt. Self-confidence cannot be developed by theoretical discussions. It can only be attained once you actually take some decisions in difficult circumstances that prove to be correct by the test of time.

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