As days, months, and years pass, doubts reveal themselves by saying, “you are not good enough.” It might feel like a reoccurring wave of stagnancy washes away confidence. Now and then, we are lost with no record of what we do or where we go. Everything begins to feel pointless.
When people say they are lost, or they don’t know what they are doing with their lives, where it is going, or when it’ll arrive, I feel profoundly connected to their words. Sometimes this feeling arises after receiving a hearty rejection, sometimes it comes when my expectations ebb into disappointment, sometimes—without a warning or trigger—it just happens.
It starts from the mundane things, then veers into a tunnel where all you see are dim lights; we are unsure of what is happening. Whenever this feeling springs up, it wants us to seek validation. So, we begin to evaluate ourselves; “what have I done?” you ask. “Where am I going?” you ask again.
When our trial to overcome fails, we ask other people to evaluate us: to tell us that there’s no need to worry; that we are growing; that there’s nothing wrong with us, maybe not in a specific way, but we ask for assurance. We forget that although people can offer you the momentary comfort you crave, your story is yours to tell. If you narrate it with a tinge—even the slightest bit—of doubt, the doubts become pervasive. It begins as a mite, then it grows and expands till it is large enough to cause considerable damage.
Anger, fear, anxiety, and gloominess accompany it;
Angry at myself for not being what I want to be.
Afraid of failure.
Anxious because my voice might never be heard.
Gloomy because everything is overwhelming.
It seems like an unbreakable enchantment.
When I thought of creating an online archive, it felt too much. Part of me felt overly underachieved to have a compilation of my works online, another part was eager, too eager to get it done. I sought for advice—you might call it assurance—and what I got gave me the green light.
When we set standards on our terms, underachievement becomes inexistent. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others that we forget our standards matter. We forget that the little achievements matter, the efforts matter more, and most importantly, that time is of the essence. It will take time—with flexibility and open-mindedness—to reach our zeniths.
A few days ago, I learnt something significant from an online course on workplace collaboration; the message: always have long and short-term goals. Short-term goals are motivators, the process, little achievements that propel you to the end while long-term goals are the final accomplishments, the vision, the end product of your tears, sweat, worries. And you know what? IT TAKES TIME.
The successes of Toni Morrison, the writer and Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC have given me enough reason—and solace—to eliminate the self-doubts that manage to find me. The first encounter with these two would make one think they made it immediately. However, Toni Morrison published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in her late thirties and Colonel Sanders opened his first KFC franchise 62 years after his birth. Again, time is of the essence. You should read this article on the flexibility of time.
I’ve had my fair share of rush work and caprices; the times I rushed an article for publication and returned to meet brazen errors, the times I made hasty decisions, the times I performed functions without breathing. I have learnt to take things slow, one step at a time, like how an essay is edited, one sentence at a time or how the clouds wait to gather enough vapour before letting the weight down. Success shouldn’t be rushed; optimal results require patience.
Wants are not instant. It is why we begin to doubt ourselves. When we break out of its enchantment, we realize that patience is vital. The doubts will no longer cling to us, patience will. At its full potential, it will let us travel in a set pace with minimal doubts, little regrets, and a vision to actualize.