- Belief – We have no faith. Period. We invest more in our problems than we do in possibilities. We spend more time thinking about the bad stuff before the good stuff which ultimately leads to stress. In addition, our unbelief tends to lead us to wait until we get what we want before having joy. Why do you have to wait until you get the job to appreciate the job? Why wait until you are acknowledged for a skill to nurture or appreciate the skill? We wait when we should rejoice on the way. Rejoice during the journey, not just afterward.
- Fear – Fear is the biggest reason for doubting because there is no fear in faith. Our fears vary. Could be the fear of rejection from others or a fear of failure. In any event, it is not something that we so easily notice or that we even care to admit to but it’s there. At the root of not doing our best is the fear of something. I remember when I was a little girl and I got into this fight. I hurt this person so badly that I didn’t want to fight anymore. I literally restrained myself from it. I didn’t take up for myself sometimes. I let people pick on me, and push me around.
My secret wasn’t that I was afraid to fight. My secret was that I was afraid of my own strength. I didn’t want to hurt anyone and I was afraid that I’d do just that. Sometimes our fears are not because we know that we will fail (although that too), but that we will succeed and what that will mean for our future, for with great authority comes greater responsibility. What will it mean for us to be who we were ordained to be? For many of us, the answer’s a frightening one. But look at it this way: You cannot turn a light on and off simultaneously. You have to either have the light turned on or turned off because light and dark cannot coexist. Likewise, fear and faith cannot coexist. You will either be fearless or you’ll always be afraid. Afraid of what others will say. Afraid of what others will think, and afraid of how your light will make others feel. That’s a terrible way to live.
- Disagreements – Also known as criticisms, one major cause of doubts comes from disagreements among others. Who remembers the Ach Conformity Experiment? A series of studies performed in the 1950s that demonstrated the power of conformity in groups. These are also known as the “Asch Paradigm”. In one such experiment, there were five men who were to perform a very basic task: Match the line on the left with the line on the right. It was something your three-year-old can do. Four of the men were agents, people in on the program. They matched the line on the left with the incorrect line on the right. The subject knew they were all wrong but because they were the majority he chose the same wrong answer.
Even though he knew everyone’s answer was wrong, because they were all on accord and he wasn’t he doubted himself and chose the wrong answer. Remember, let no one make a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit. But as it happens, as soon as the majority shake their heads and say to themselves, “How foolish of us”, that’s it. One minute you’re confident and hopeful and as soon as the slightest wind of a disagreement comes along we are done. Boom. Over. Joy depleted. Spirits crushed. Dreams deferred. However, remember this if you remember nothing else: Beware when all men speak well of you. Every great person who has ever stood for something was mocked, laughed at, teased, and assumed to be foolish by his or her contemporaries.
- No Support – Usually from feeling isolated, almost just as bad as disagreements among others is no support at all. This can leave a big gaping hole of doubt in our minds. The feeling is so great that it can lead to sadness and depression. This causes a doubt that can be very dangerous as we can miss our purpose putting off what we were built to do because a lack of support gave the perception that it was not for us at all. The truth is that it just wasn’t the right time. Why wasn’t it the right time? Well, that depends but it could be that you were not in a place to do it. Could be that you were not mature enough to carry it through. There is always a reason for why things happen in our lives and if we stop trying to change what we have no control over we won’t be as stressed. As Einstein once said, “I am thankful to all those who said NO. Because of them, I did it myself.”
- Mistakes – A big cause of doubt is failing. Mistakes leave huge stains on our spirit and sometimes cause us to give up altogether. It also ceases us from trying again or thinking we had it in the first place. The truth is that sometimes you have to be torn down to be built back up. Remember that it is not being knocked down that makes the difference but staying down. I believe the man who has fallen seven times and stood up eight is a greater man in the end than he who has never fallen.