When I started writing during the college days, things were easy. There was nobody to check my work. Nobody was expecting anything from my write-ups. There were no critics. I could easily write in my diary and personal Word files, without showing them to anyone.
When I published my first article
After a year, I started a personal blog on WordPress and published my first article on it. I wrote down my feelings, things about people I loved, and my thoughts.
I started sharing the links to my work on social media and gained a number of readers. Things started to change. Now there were a few people who were reading my work and could judge me. Some people appreciated my work, while others didn’t pay heed.
I soon started to choose the topics wisely and started comparing myself with other people like me. I was constantly checking the traffic on my blog. Since it was a free blog, I wasn’t getting much traffic. Not many people were reading my work.
However, I continued writing on my blog and didn’t allow things to stop me from writing. I started engaging with other writers and read their work.
Judgement and self-doubt
Once, someone from my connections wrote a long post that wasn’t interesting enough.
He had used his creativity and put his efforts into it, but not many people were reacting to it. I commented on it that I wanted to read his work, but it was damn so long without any headings or sub-headings.
Maybe he took it personally. So, when I published my next work, he had sent me a personal message pointing out numerous mistakes.
I took it positively and started working on it. I told myself that judgment and self-doubt will always be there. All I had to do is to keep going and write better. (Maybe that’s what he also thought when I commented on his work)
This was true. I think everybody deals with self-doubt, whether he is an artist, entrepreneur, parents, or an athlete. But nobody needs to pay the cost of self-doubt to reach their destination.
The Rose Seed
Around a year ago, while browsing through random musings on Instagram, I came across a quote by Timothy Gallwey. It was an excerpt from his book “The Inner Game of Tennis”, that changed the way I used to think about self-doubt and my work.
Here is the quote:
“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as ‘rootless and stemless’. We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”
Are ambition and satisfaction opposites of each other?
We often think of ambition and satisfaction as two different things that are not compatible with each other. But the truth is that these things are not opposites.
On one hand, life coaches advise us to be mindful, focus on today, and be satisfied with what we have, without worrying about the results.
On the other hand, they tell us that to be successful, one needs to outwork others and the satisfaction is unwelcome.
However, the rose seed is both satisfied and ambitious.
As Timothy Gallwey said, we are always satisfied with the current state of the rose seed. It seems perfect in all the states. Yet, it has the ambition to keep growing, reach the next level, and move forward. But it is never imperfect. It is just as it should be. It never feels that it’s not good enough.
Do you have to doubt yourself to get better?
Is it necessary to doubt yourself to become successful? Do you need to allow others to judge your work for success? Do you need to be unhappy with yourself and your work to get a boost to move forward?
I don’t think so.
What can make you better and successful is—consistent practice, falling in love with your work, analyzing your work, and getting rid of boredom.
I know these things are easier said than done.
When I find myself or other people passing judgment on my work, I tell myself that I’m not underdeveloped but under development.
Below are a couple of examples:
- For entrepreneurs, the development process might include growth in revenue per year.
- First year: Make $10,000
- Second year: Make $100,000
- Third year: Make $1,000,000
- For weight-lifters, the development process might include increasing the weight they can lift with time.
- First month: 100 pounds
- Second month: 200 pounds
- Third month: 300 pounds
Remember that all the results achieved with constant practice will depend on time, circumstances, experience, training, and more factors. Everybody has a unique spectrum of development. Some might lift 500 pounds in 3 months, while others might stay at 300. There is no point in comparison and judging yourself. You are doing good.
Don’t define your work and yourself as good, average or bad. If you feel that your work isn’t good enough, just remind yourself that you can’t make the time go faster, neither can you change the results. All you can do is constant practice and control the process of development.