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  • Writer's pictureJH

The ratamacue of self-doubt

October 17, 2017

I’ve almost pulled the plug on this thing at least three times now – and it hasn’t even really started yet!

I talk about putting yourself out there, but it isn’t always easy to do. The forces of Resistance (thank you Steven Pressfield) are powerful, intense, and, in my case, quick to react. Sometimes we really are our own worst enemy. The voices that clang around in my head are merciless.

“Dude, are you insane? Who do you think you are writing this stuff? You don’t know a ratamacue from your rectus abdominis! This is all so silly.”

But then, why shouldn’t I write this stuff? I’m no drum or life expert, but I sure have something to offer when it comes to talking about self-doubt. Maybe my experience can be helpful to someone else. You know, most of what you see online is the finished product, whether it’s a website or a video or a song or whatever. You see the end, or at least an idealized version of the process, and it’s hard not to think everything comes easily for everyone else. You don’t often get to see the struggle or the missteps that people deal with.

You don’t see the sticks thrown in frustration.

The slumped shoulders.

The torn up blueprints.

The thankless auditions.

The budget that doesn’t work.

The debt.

The pages tossed in the trash.

The times people fall down and want to stay down.

You certainly don’t hear the voices, but if they’re in your head, you can bet they’re in everyone else’s too. Nobody’s all that special in the end. I argue with myself every day about whether I have what it takes to be any good at anything. I’m so much more aware of my weaknesses than my strengths. Probably you are too. I don’t know where those voices come from or why they’re so prevalent. It’s sad, really. The worst part is that they’re in your head. They come from you.

That’s also the best part.

If they come from you, you have some power over them. I’m still figuring out how to use that power, but it must be possible to do it. I mean, look at all the amazing things people are doing out there. Sometimes you just have to hear the voices and keep going. The dog barks, the caravan moves on.

Mr. Pressfield has three books on the topic of Resistance: The War of Art, Turning Pro, and Do The Work. I was looking at Do The Work last night and read a passage about how critical moments in the creative process can be derailed by anxiety:

“When we experience panic, it means we’re about to cross a threshold. We’re poised on the doorstep of a higher plane … Panic is good. It’s a sign that we’re growing.”

Maybe. In my case, taking this on despite repeatedly punching myself in the stomach from the inside out is definitely part of a growth process. The fact that I’m fighting my self-doubt means, well, that I’m fighting my self-doubt.

So, instead of turtling in the corner while self-doubt pummels me, here’s a blog post about how self-doubt pummels me.

Float like a butterfly ….

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