No Doubt (or why Gwen Stefani was onto something…)

There isn’t a single one of us who has overcome the human condition of self doubt. Whether you’re a supremely confident person, a content Zen monk, a successful writer … it doesn’t matter. You have doubts about yourself. The question is whether these doubts stop you from doing amazing things, from leading the life you want to lead.

– Leo Babauta

I started reading zenhabits about 3 1/2 years ago when I was working in one of those jobs you work in because you need to pay your rent. My job involved lots of screen time and we couldn’t really leave for lunch so I’d flick over zenhabits articles instead and drink a green tea and pretend I was in a park with fresh air and not in an industrial estate office perched next to a major highway exit. It was an escape.

I had a lot of doubts about what I was capable of. I didn’t have a huge interest in what I’d just graduated in. And if I did, there were no jobs to be had. I could see myself working in the industrial estate call centre indefinately, heating up my lunch everyday in that dingy microwave that smelt like tuna. I’d started to answer my mobile with the company phrase “WelcometoBlahBlahmynameisblahblahowcanIhelpyoutoday? uh, hi mum…” The pay was good and there was talk of a promotion. Growth. You can go places with us.

It was articles like this, about overcoming those doubts, that convinced me I could sit the GAMSAT. Just give it a go. Have a crack. Or as my brother always rambles “You don’t know what you don’t know” (although I’m not sure he knows exactly what it means because he’ll say it in response to anything…I think he thinks it makes him sound deep)

It was a chance to get off the treadmill of 14 hour+ shifts working for someone else. I’m sure one day I’ll dream of the days of 14 hr shifts. I know that for the best part of the next decade I’ll be someone else’s shit kicker. But it feels different. It still feels like I’m doing all the hard work for me.

The doubt is still there. The inability to answer the simple question “how did your exams go?” is there. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel ‘great’ about finishing something but with these last exams I’ve felt the, uh, least shit? I hope feeling the least shit counts for something.

My brother-in-laws girlfriend had been trying to get into med in the Netherlands for a few years (they have a lottery system). She finally won a place this year. There were celebrations. She had wanted to do it since she was a kid. So she left her economics course, moved herself over to the med school and started.

Then she quit. Because she fucking hated it and it squashed all her light and twinkle and happy times.

Now she’s back doing economics and my mother-in-law says she thinks she had done the right thing because she “is back in herself” (I live for these dutchlish conversations of ours…). The twinkle is back. She has no more doubts about if she’s missing out or not. While I might have background doubts about my performance, or my ability, I don’t have doubts about if I’m doing the right thing. I felt like I wasn’t myself for a few years before I sat the GAMSAT.Within a few weeks of starting med, I felt…back in myself.

Sooooo, go read zenhabits. Then try and tell me you don’t want to follow your dreams and shit.




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