How To Crush Self-Doubt With The Earth-Shattering Force Of Your Iron Will

Do you ever have those days where you’re just not sure how everything is going to work out? How you’re going to find a job that doesn’t suck, or make enough money to buy your ramen and iPads for the week?

Well, here’s some comforting news: I have those days too. We all experience self-doubt; it hits us when we’ve been complacent for a while and haven’t really done anything noteworthy.

However, knowing that you’re not the only one feeling self-doubt is no excuse for wallowing in it. In order to move forward, you have to crush it. How do you do this? You build confidence. 

Confidence is the Self-Doubt Killer.

Thor (image courtesy of Flickr user JD Hancock)

When you’re experiencing self-doubt, you should realize that it’s a symptom of low self-confidence. Even if you’re normally a confident person, your self-confidence can take a dip at times. I know. It happens to me more often than I’d like.

I quit all of my part-time jobs at the end of last semester, and since January I’ve been relying solely on income from this blog and freelance web design to support myself. During January, I didn’t make much money at all… and started to doubt myself. I started doubting my ability to work for myself and stay afloat without the concrete, guaranteed source of income that a job provides.

Luckily, February was a very different month. I made over $700 from this blog, and I also brought in another grand from a web design project.

I realized that I just need to keep working and improving. Objectively, I knew I had built the systems that could work for me; I just had to wait for the right opportunities.

However, I believe self-doubt can be conquered without the help of good things that happen in our lives. We can build confidence on our own time through a number of methods. Let’s look at some of them.

Start an Accomplishment Journal.

Accomplishment Journal

One of the best ways to gain confidence and crush self-doubt is to look back at all the awesome stuff you’ve done in the past. Looking at your achievements (real ones, not Xbox achievements) reminds you of how far you’ve come and gives you the resolve to keep moving forward.

I started my own accomplishment journal in the form of an Evernote notebook back in February. In it, I list things like:

  • All the homework assignments I complete
  • Progress on self-study projects
  • Any achievements on the blog, like writing a post or securing a sponsorship
  • Personal to-do’s – even little stuff counts since it’s a pain in the ass
  • Health-related victories, like going entire days without soda (which I’ve now quit completely)

Now, I’m able to look back on this journal to see a detailed listing of the things I’ve done. It’s really motivating, so I recommend you start one of your own! It can be done in Evernote, in a paper notebook, or even on a blog if you want to be publicly accountable. Once you have a good amount of days recorded, you can start going back and reviewing your accomplishments and kill that self-doubt.

However, sometimes looking at your past achievements just isn’t enough. Sometimes, you need to do something now to get yourself out of that awful funk. With that in mind, why don’t you…

Do Something that Scares the Shit Out of You Every Day.

Comfort Zone

Nothing builds confidence and destroys self-doubt like facing something you fear head on. Fear is simply a barrier that you create for yourself, and breaking through that barrier can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have.

So do it! Find something small – something that can be done in a day – and do it.

Not sure where to start? Try these on for size:

Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive by any means! That’s why I want to hear from you: What have you done (or have you committed to do) that scares you?

Leave your answers in the comments!


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Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

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  1. I high-fived ten strangers today and now have a solid base for deep self-worth and abiding confidence.

    I recommend the high-five method; it’s much easier and faster than working to become a virtuous individual.

  2. Great post. We just need to understand that we all make mistakes and make poor decisions at various times in our lives. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done in your life. Every human being has moments of doubts and feelings of insecurity. Just knowing that everyone else is scared some of the time and doesn’t know what to do, can make you feel better about your own fears.

    • Right on! Honestly, the consequences of most failures really aren’t that bad – often the lessons you learn from the failure far outweigh any negative effects. Just jump in and do stuff!

  3. Yo brother, found your site from ThinkTraffic’s MDBP, loving the design and concept, and I somehow found my way to this article from Reddit!

    Just wanted to let you know that you should keep up the great work, and welcome to my Google Reader haha!

    • Dude! No joke, I was actually just checking out your site recently as well. Congrats on that top spot – looks like you really hit gold with that Glitch Mob video! I’ll definitely be checking out your blog for more music rec’s 🙂

  4. I so much love this and all ‘treps should read this as well. If you still have fear and doubt in you, then you won’t go any where near your dreams.


  5. LOVE THIS!!! Everytime I do Something new for others my self confidence BOOMS…in that, I stay more POSITIVE than ever :)) a great write Thomas!!…and happy I was able to help 😉

    • Thanks so much for the comment, Deborah (and thanks so much for helping out)! I agree; doing things for others can help your self-confidence even more than doing things for yourself.

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