Combat Self Doubt

Tips to combat self doubt (Excerpts from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard commencementcando speech 2017)

1. RECOGNIZE THAT CONFIDENCE TAKES TIME.

True confidence is built on layers of success. But to succeed, you will inevitably experience failure along the way. Be patient. When you run into a problem, never view it as the end of the world. It’s just another bump in the path to long-term success.

In the wise words of Bill Gates, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

At my current company, we hit problems all the time. Some of them are tiny, but some have been big enough to take down our business. At one point, we spent way too much of our budget marketing a new product line. This did some serious financial damage to the business. Instead of losing confidence in our abilities, we readjusted our strategy. And we recovered.

If anything, this challenge made my team more confident. We know that if we encounter problems, we can adjust our plans and still be successful.

2. PRIORITIZE YOUR PHYSICAL WELL-BEING.

It sounds simple, right? Everyone knows you’re “supposed” to eat right and get exercise. Research from as far back as 1985 suggests physical activity and exercise improve self-image and cognitive functioning, and they reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

Eating healthy is equally important. Another research study from 2015 found that eating more fruits and vegetables can enhance feelings of well-being, curiosity, and creativity.

But maintaining these habits can be hard when life gets busy. (And it always does.)

For me, I have to prioritize exercise; otherwise, it doesn’t happen. I’m active 3-4 times a week through going to the gym, doing yoga, or playing sports to get my blood pumping. Like the research shows, this helps me to be more even keel in my decision making. In a startup, irrational decision making can get you into serious trouble.

3. REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE (YOUR PURPOSE).

In his speech, Zuckerberg explained how he truly believed in his company’s purpose. That’s what guided him when he felt lost. Even when all members of his management team left, he still held on. And it paid off — big time. You need to remember — and believe in — your long-term vision.

In most startups, success comes in waves. You’ll see a series of successes, then a series of failures. Stay true to your long-term purpose and work until you achieve it. At my current venture, I’ve had the same vision for five-plus years. This has been monumental to our success.

Remember, as Zuckerburg said, “Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate since we haven’t had ours. It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started.”

Don’t let self-doubt prevent you from doing big things. ■

References:
Harvard commencement speech by Mark Zuckerberg (2017)
http://flip.it/-rszZ7

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Let us go there

Let us, you and I, friends, find what sustains our soul. Let us find what nurtures our heart, who nurtures our heart, where our heart is nurtured.

Let us go there
daily
And make a habit of it.

If we may paraphrase the great Rumi:

Out beyond the realms of this faith
and that faith
Of no-faith
There is a field of goodness and beauty

where hearts our nourished

With each breath
I’ll meet you there

Omid Safi, excerpts from Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole (onbeing.org, May 18, 2017)

It’s been a long day

Thankful Tuesday: Dream on…

Live & Learn

DSC_5311_sf. Nepal, 11/2013. Young boy is resting on a cow.

People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue.

~ Isak Dinesen, from Out of Africa


Notes:

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Friday Humor

A successful small business owner was asked in an interview “how do you make sure that your employees are punctual?”.

He goes “Well, it’s quite simple. I have 30 employees and 29 free parking spots. 1 is paid parking.”

Lightly child, lightly.

Live & Learn

When you become a personality through having thoughts like: feeling sorry for yourself, views and opinions, self-criticism and so forth, and then it stops — there is the silence. But still the silence is bright and clear, intelligent. I prefer this silence rather than this endless proliferating nattering that goes on in the mind. I used to have what I call an ‘inner tyrant’, a bad habit that I picked up of always criticizing myself. It’s a real tyrant — there is nobody in this world that has been more tyrannical, critical or nasty to me than I have. Even the most critical person, however much they have harmed and made me miserable, has never made me relentlessly miserable as much as I have myself, as a result of this inner tyrant. It’s a real wet blanket of a tyrant, no matter what I do it’s never good enough. Even…

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Still I rise

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise