Monday, August 8, 2011

Self Doubt

From an article about the standardized testing scandal in Atlanta:
"Julie Rogers-Martin had started to doubt her teaching skills.  After 30 years in education, working mostly with underprivileged inner-city students, Rogers-Martin felt she had developed a level of competence and professionalism that can only be gained from hard work and experience.
Her superiors at East Lake Elementary School in the Atlanta Public Schools system where she taught for six years seemed to agree. Administrators held her up as a model, praising her classroom management skills and use of technology and showcasing her class to parents and administrators, she says.  But between 2007 and 2009 a strange thing started happening: Some of her colleagues' students began to outperform her students on the state's standardized test."
Yes, sometimes you look at the world around you and you cannot help but doubt your own knowledge, ability, and achievements; sometimes you cannot help but question your own ability to grasp the world around you.

Have you ever had a great idea?  An idea that others just do not seem to see or understand regardless of how much you try to explain it to them?

Doubt, is healthy, it is the quality of being able to review, rethink, and revamp.  Doubt, is the ability to grasp new information, new ideas, and adapt.  But self doubt is something totally different.  To be able to spot your own flaws requires confidence!  Staring at your own weaknesses and flaws in the face doesn't come from a place of self doubt, it comes from a place of strength.  You have to be a strong person in order to own up to your flaws and to shoulder the responsibility of making your idea better. 

Confidence is a lonely place; it is a quiet characteristic.  Arrogance and ego are public qualities, that demand acceptance and public acknowledgement.  Confidence is a world of hard work and long hours.  

We love to talk about "passion" and "enthusiasm" but without self doubt they are nothing more than hubris and should not be confused with confidence:  Confidence is factual, arrogance and ego are emotional.  Hitting home runs is exciting but base hits win games.

If you catch yourself in a moment of doubt then you need to question whether this is the healthy confidence derived doubt or whether it is self doubt.  Passion, enthusiasm, arrogance and ego, all wilt under self examination; in fact they fear examination.  Confidence grows stronger with doubt.

Success is a long hard road and confidence comes from the realization of exactly what success takes and a confident person reserves their energy for that which matters.  Everyone cheers for the home run king, everyone congratulates the player that crosses home plate to win the game while the batter that hit the base hit that drove in the run walks quietly off the field.

Sometimes we confuse self examination with self doubt and we shouldn't.  Sometimes the world is focused on the wrong things, such as better test scores rather than teaching competency.  Or, fads rather than ideas that have stood the test of time.

Confidence sometimes leads to the realization that the world is nuts!

1 comment:

Geoffrey said...

An insightful post, as usual. Hope all is well with you.