Monday, June 22, 2015
Much of the self-help literature stresses the importance of confidence. When we make a decision, we should not look back. We should not question ourselves. We should not doubt ourselves. We should act as if we have no fear.
Yet, self-doubt can be a good thing since it prevents us from becoming overconfident. When people are overconfident, they make mistakes. They assume too much and become reckless. Doubt gives us the opportunity to step back and reassess the situation — to make sure we are making the right decisions.
Have you ever made a decision and then had second thoughts? This is normal. We often second-guess ourselves. Most of the time our initial decision was the best one and we should move forward. But occasionally, this moment of reassessment gives us the opportunity to change course and correct our mistake.
My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico. Since we were young with almost no money and I had only a part-time job, my parents paid for our trip. One day a young man offered us a free dinner if we would attend a sales pitch about time shares. We took him up on his offer. Now, I am a sucker for a good sales pitch and I bought hook, line and sinker. I signed the contract even though I did not have enough income to make the monthly payment.
Even before the ink was dry on the contract, doubt set in. I knew I had made a mistake. I could not afford the deal no matter how good it was. People can read me like a book and I am sure the salesman could read the doubt and even fear on my face. He made the mistake of telling me that if I was not satisfied, I could tear up the contract. I didn't hesitate. I tore up the contract and walked out of the room, not waiting for my wife.
My young bride was shocked and embarrassed by my behavior and she has not let me forget it in 42 years of marriage. Of course, now we laugh about my cold feet and doubt. Yet, I know I made the right decision. Sometimes, doubt protects us from ourselves and our impulses.
Yes, self-confidence is important to success, but self-doubt is a lighthouse that will keep you from running aground. Don't become shipwrecked on the rocks of time. Be willing to rethink your decisions and change course.