If you’re like many creatives and performers, you’ll suffer with self doubt. It can really get in the way.
So I’m going to share something with you that is so profound that it resulted in a Nobel Prize. It will also turn your approach to self doubt on its head.
It’s an important thing to share with you, because doubt is a real menace.
Either it stops us from aiming too high in the first place. Or it keeps us in second gear when we need to be giving a full tilt confident performance. Or it plain stops us from being in the moment and enjoying our music sometimes too.
Worse still, it convinces us to let opportunities pass by that could have been life changing.
Many people experience it. I chat to real high achievers, and I’m surprised to find that they too carry self doubt with them too.
In fact, the more successful they are, often the more exposed they feel. They now feel a fraud on a massive scale and so they’re worried sick that soon this “fraud” will be found out. Eeek!
You know, even the great John Lennon said that at times he felt like a complete fraud. Yes, John Lennon. The Beatle! Even HE felt it.
So I reassured myself that this is pretty normal, especially for performers. Hey, It’s just part of the human condition. Sure it gets in the way sometimes, but it gets in everybody’s way. So no biggie.
Except, now I know different…..
I discovered the real truth when I was giving a conference talk. There was a range of speakers, and so naturally I checked out some of the other talks.
One of them had the rather uninspiring title of The Dunning Kruger Effect (named after the academics David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University).
What I learned that night didn’t stop me doubting myself – but is has changed my outlook on doubt forever, and my doubt is now a resource rather than a restraint.
Now instead of being shut down by doubt – my doubt reassures me and propels me forward.
You see, I learned that doubt is not commonplace at all.
What Dunning and Kruger discovered from their research is two things.First, they showed that those who did poorly thought they’d done well.
Second, they showed that those who’d done well thought they’d only done average.Why? Because those who find something easy assume that everyone else does too.
We think that just because it’s easy for us, then it’s easy for everyone.
So people who are highly skilled fail to fully recognise their own talents and so they doubt themselves.
They think that others must be equally good – and of course they’re not.
This research won Dunning and Kruger a Nobel Prize in Psychology, and it brought me to an amazing conclusion : your doubts are simply a sign of your brilliance.
I’ll say that again: Your doubts are simply a sign of your brilliance!
So every time you deny yourself because you have doubts, remember the Dunning Kruger effect.
Remember that if you weren’t very good, you wouldn’t actually be having these doubts at all.
The fact that you have doubt is a psychologically proven indicator that you are highly skilled.
It’s you being at the very height of your powers that is causing you to doubt yourself in the first place.
So next time the doubt bug bites, see it for what it is. A sign that you are BRILLIANT!
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