Without a Doubt, Question Your Decisions

Will Smith is a success by any Hollywood standard. He is a Grammy Award-winning rapper. He starred in a hit television sitcom. He was nominated for two Best-Actor Academy Awards. He’s had eight consecutive films that grossed more than $100 million. He’s also a film and television producer. And you may not know that he was accepted at, but did not attend MIT—yes, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

One of the secrets to his success might surprise you.  It’s self-doubt.

Smith can’t run away from his fears.  Whenever he feels fear, he faces it head-on.  He tells a story about being in Jamaica as a young man, where he watched people jump off a high cliff into the water below.  He was fascinated, but also terrified because he didn’t know how to swim.  He wasn’t going to let that stop him, however; so he walked to the edge of the cliff.  Several minutes later, he jumped and obviously lived to tell the tale.

Much of his behavior is in response to a fear that he couldn’t live up to the high esteem in which he was held by his mother and grandmother.  He concentrated his efforts on trying to meet their expectations.  Smith still has some self-doubts, especially in terms of fulfilling the perceptions of those he loves.

Of his fear, Smith said in an interview, “I’ve learned to use it; to flip that negative energy around and make it a challenge.  I keep going because I doubt myself.  It drives me to do better.  I’ve learned that the mastery of self-doubt is the key to success.”

Those less-than-desirable outcomes serve as a vivid reminder that we cannot get too arrogant.  A measure of self-doubt is a healthy part of management strategy.  In fact, it’s a necessary ingredient.  As French author Jules Renard said, “There are moments when everything goes well; don’t be frightened, it won’t last.”  How true!

The trick, then, is to be able to adjust to the peaks and valleys, and still keep your business or career on track.  When should you let your doubts rule your actions?

Always!  Yes, always.  It’s good to question things you have always taken for granted, and things that have never been tried.  Never confuse confidence with arrogance.  Confidence allows you to proceed with some reason to believe that you will succeed.  Arrogance prevents you from really examining your decisions, and is almost always a recipe for disaster.

Eleanor Roosevelt had an interesting observation: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.’  You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

How else will you know whether you can succeed if you always take the easy and proven route?  How will you find what needs to be changed if you do not question the way things are done?

Perhaps the experience of Tony Verna, the television producer/director who invented instant replay for sporting events, will shed some light on the importance of being able to doubt yourself.

Instant replay was used for the first time in a 1963 Army-Navy football game. “The idea came to me out of frustration,” Verna said. “Before replays, football telecasts were filled with dead spots…. It really destroyed the momentum of the telecasts. Replays gave you something to show during the pauses. It seemed to make the game go faster.”

Today, instant replay is a permanent fixture of sports telecasts. And now, it’s used to review questionable officials’ calls, which can cause long delays, contradicting the original purpose of instant replay’s creation.

Verna said, “It’s ironic. The reason I started instant replays was to keep the momentum going. Now the replays are slowing the whole thing down.”

The other irony is that now, Verna doubts that his invention improved the broadcasts in the way he envisioned. But they are also removing doubt from the game’s officiating! Go figure.

Reasonable doubt helps you work the bugs out.

Adapted by an article by Harvey Mackay


About wmarsau

Most of the people who visit this blog already know me so it is kind of pointless to try to describe my life in this short little blurb. What is the purpose of this blog is the question. Over the course of this last year I have been exposed to some amazing people and have made personal development an important focus of my life. Being successful, not by the world's standards, but by God's has become my main focus. Mainly, I want to work to develop myself as a person who is kinder, reaches out to help those in need, and truly makes a difference in this world. To this end I am constantly reading and am exposed to so many differnet things along the way. These have been amazing and it is helping me grow so much. Then I started to think, "Why am I being so selfish?" You need to share with others these amazing things you are learning and being exposed to. That is where this blog comes into play. As I am reading and experiencing things that are truly amazing and life changing, I will be posting them on this blog. Obviously, I will not be able to post everything in it's entirity, but I will be summarizing them and letting you know the source of the article or book they come from so you can check them out later if you wish. I want this blog to be a place where you can go to often and be inspired and leave here with a smile on your face. I will be covering all kinds of different topics dealing with success and personal development. Topics like taking action, relationships, living to your potential, reinventing yourself, finances, leadership, presenting, goal setting, time management, etc. I will also be occasionally including topics on cooking, music, and gardening because they are special interests of mine. As a little disclaimer, I have given my life to the Lord and he is #1 in my life. I am his servant and everything I do in life is for his glory. With that being said, religion influences all areas of my life. There will be references to God in this blog because I can't seperate God from this or any other area of my life. I want you to know that if you do not believe in God, that is fine. That is your choice. This blog is open to anyone who wants to better their life. I will not be trying to influence or pressure anyone into having a relationship with the Lord from this site. Please don't feel uncomfortable. You can just read the portions of the blog that you wish to. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me. We will learn together to be the kind of people we were designed to be. Anyone can make a difference in this world, but it starts%
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