Confidence + Doubt = 1

Alternate title: Don’t Believe in Yourself

I’ve been trying to put together a post on confidence for several weeks now, but it never seemed complete. I think it was because I never identified its opposite: doubt.

So what is confidence? It’s belief about the certainty of something, based on truth. For instance, if you had never missed a free throw in your life, there would be no reason to believe that the next one you shoot wouldn’t go in. But after you miss one, you may start to doubt.

Confidence + Doubt = 1

Therefore, the higher your confidence in something, the lower your doubt. But the more often you perceive a negative outcome, the more you doubt, and the lower your confidence.

How can you be confident in something when you aren’t very good at it? Knowing exactly where you stand. If your confidence is based on truth, then your expectations of future outcomes would be correct. If I can only make 8 out of 10 free throws in practice, why would I expect more than that of myself in the game? There is no reason to doubt.

But if I slump in a game or in practice, I may start to lose confidence. Or doubt. And as my confidence weens, my doubt grows. 

So how do you overcome doubt and start to believe in yourself again? Practice. It’s the only way. There’s no reason to believe that you’re any better than you are right now. And practice is the only way to get better and to improve the chance of future positive outcomes. Therefore, as you see your stats improve in practice, you can start to expect more out of yourself in real games.

How does this impact my beliefs? If you have an honest view of where you stand and true self-confidence, you know that there is always going to be someone better than you, in any scenario. That should give you enough reason to doubt yourself in almost any situation. So how do you build confidence? Believe in something truer than yourself.

Start with the Bible. What’s true is always true. It doesn’t matter how many times you miss in a row, it’s still true. There’s no slump, no doubting. It doesn’t change, because it is the Truth. And you see, if all outcomes are true, confidence stays at 1. There is no room for doubt. So don’t believe in yourself. Believe in something bigger.