“Everything in life is writable…if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
– Sylvia Plath, Writer
Self-doubt. It twists our stomachs, it claims our sleep; it is the sworn arch-enemy of the Self-Help movement. It has a helpful purpose, just like any emotion. However, just like any emotion, it is more a sign post than a destination.
We’ve all had moments or people in our lives who’ve inflated our self-doubt and made us want to give up. But what would our lives be like if some of the greatest visionaries of our time had thrown in the towel?
What if “what goes up must…oh, I don’t know?” Sir Isaac Newton first tried to run the family farm and failed miserably. Realizing her son was not meant to till the land, Newton’s mother allowed him to finish his basic education and enroll in Cambridge University. We know Newton went on to become one of the greatest scientists of all time, revolutionizing physics and mathematics, but once he was down on himself for being a lousy farmer who failed his family.
Would life be as bright if he thought himself a dim bulb? Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Rather than swallow that he went on to hold more than 1,000 patents including the lamp, the record player and the movie camera.
Would we still drive if he lost his drive? As an entreprenure in his early years Henry Ford totaled his reputation with a couple of failed automobile businesses. But Ford proved he had learned from his mistakes when Ford Motor Company forever changed the automotive industry and culture with his assembly line mode of production.
Could we imagine without his imagination? Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Walt probably really began to doubt his vision when more of his businesses failed. Then Snow White brought magic, and the certainty of a dream come true to his life and all of our childhoods. (Feloni and Lutz, 2014)
The Flash Challenge: Vision vs. Doubt
Before we delve into the value of self-doubt, let’s try and picture a world where it wins. Let’s have fun with it. The writing process is a veritable fertilizer field of self-doubt, but also great soil for growing vision and perseverance.
Let’s play a game:
- Write 500 to 1,000 words describing what a world would be like without one, or many of the innovations above. This can be a straight personal account, a journalistic piece or any manner of fiction. Open your mind, or your heart and let it come forth.
- Put it online then post the link below in the comments. If you have no means to do this, email it to me and I’ll print it below (But your formatting may not be the same.)
- We vote! On 8/7/15 the posting window closes and readers vote in an anonymous survey. The winner will be revealed on 8/14/15 at the bottom of Vision vs. Doubt: Part II.
The winner will be awarded one of the coveted $5 Amazon.com eGift Cards!
But wait, there’s more! You’re going to be famous! Well, internet famous. Anyone who submits a piece will be given an opportunity to be interviewed by me (via email) for Vision vs. Doubt: Part II and have their responses published on 8/14/15 as an authority within the article, which is already in progress.
Be a part of the fun! But if you read this and said “Nah,” wonder for a moment, was it your vision talking, or your doubt?
Feloni, R. and Lutz, A. (2014) 23 Incredibly Successful People Who Failed At First. Business Insider. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-failed-at-first-2014-3?op=1