I had a conversation with a new client this week that took my thinking in this direction. Let's consider the POWER OF DOUBT. He broached the topic with me by saying that after reading 1984 by Orwell (which has heavy implications about constructing one's personal world view) he felt that the ominous "Room 101" was less about fear and more about creating doubt. It's purpose as a room of torture was actually masking the subversive REAL reason for it's existence : to make a person doubt his reality and ultimately to doubt himself.


We came to and agreement that if a person loses his footing and begins to doubt, it is easier to control him than by fear or force. If he doubts what he "knows" he doubts his "Truth". He is lost in a sea of shifting "facts" which can be manipulated by those in power. What is true and what is not get confused and then he can't even put up a good fight. If he is dead wrong but has something to believe in as true, he may fight to the bitter end. But when he doubts himself and his "truth" he is a pushover. The quintessential quote from 1984 that illustrates this is when Winston repeats to himself over and over " 2+2= ...2+2=...2+2=...?" and can not finish the problem because he is unsure about the "truth" of it anymore.


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The State has him by the power of self-doubt. Doubt can be devastating to us. It can stop us from even getting started. And it can stop us at ANY STEP along the way. Because it is so overwhelmingly powerful we need to respect it and deal with it. If we ignore it or fail to recognize it when it infects us, we run the risk of falling prey to it and never seeing it happen. We need to scour our lives and especially our own thoughts for traces of doubt masquerading around as innocent musings.


We need to LISTEN to our self-talk going on in our heads and become aware of any tiny speck of doubt. Doubt will destroy our hopes and kill our motivation. It is no sin to have fear as a competitor. But doubt is another story altogether. Doubt is worse than fear. If you spend time trying to conquer fear but overlook the real infidel, doubt, then you are in trouble. It can eat you alive and you won't know what hit you.


If we pretend we have no doubts, we will fail to address them. The very first step is to look this devil straight in the eyes. This requires a good bit of courage. Dealing with your own self-doubt may be one of the hardest things that you ever ask of yourself. But if you don't, you may regret it a thousand-fold. Nothing can kill a dream like doubt. So then, you have to begin to erase doubt. To accomplish this you must ask what you know to be certain. When Descartes did this he found very little certainty in his life. But I don't think we need to go that far.


I'm talking here about a certainty we can live with. It is a probability dilemma. We need to find a "probably true" that satisfies our conscience. In regard to lifting, we need to know what we believe to be "probably true" about our own abilities. Here we run into a stone wall that I have pleaded with people to break through. When I tell them they need to erase doubt by looking clearly at their capabilities, they jump into the "I'm a realist" camp. They think I'm asking them to be "real" about their abilities. And inevitably they undercut their true abilities by miles and miles.


They bench 450 and I tell them to erase doubt by finding what is certain about their ability and they give me a 475 or 500. That kills me! SO HERE WE GO...YOU HAVE TO COME WITH ME TO THE LAND WHERE MILK AND HONEY FLOW, TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU ERASE THE DOUBT THAT THERE IS ANY WEIGHT TOO HEAVY. You must erase the doubt in your limitations. You must have NONE. This is the doubt you must get rid of.


The belief that you can only go a "realistic" distance is the bullshit that keeps you where you are. Your doubt that you can become a champion is a shackle of your own making. I know this because I had them, too. I know this because I had to wrestle with doubt. And I know that I'm right about all this because I erased my doubt and did what was unthinkable for me. I can see that this is beginning to sound like some bullshit "you can have your dreams if you only BELIEVE you can" nonsense. But there is a critical difference. I'm not saying you will ever get your dreams by erasing doubt...but I'm sure you will never get them if you don't.


I am entirely uninterested in talking about your "realistic" goals. People who keep making "unrealistic" achievements don't either. Where we have ended up is where you must accept the premise that doubt in your own abilities may be the poison in the well. I'm urging you to lose all doubt in your potential. Perhaps you want to waste my time arguing that it is unrealistic to believe that you can bench 1,000 pounds one day. How would you know? You might. Somebody HAS! The truth is that you must not put limits on what you don't know about. Why doubt it?! We are not going to have a debate about some theoretical top level of achievement you can attain...if you are benching 450 now all we need to discuss is the fact that you are no where near your top end and your mind should be on 455!


Stop doubting anything about your potential. Leave it open ended and work like crazy to FIND OUT. My big point is that I think you have to doubt NOTHING ABOUT YOUR POTENTIAL. You are only shooting yourself in the foot. It is not unrealistic to simply say " I don't know where my potential ends so I'm not putting any limit on it." Erase doubt by opening possibilities.


You may say " But J.M., not just anybody can be a champion." To which I say " You can't prove that by me!" "WHY NOT?!" This differs from the mass belief scenarios too because I demand ALL the work to become a champion. Erasing doubt and believing in yourself is not enough. You must do all the work. You can't just "believe" and go have a sandwich! But if you don't believe...you don't have a chance. Dealing with self-doubt is not easy or fun. But every bit that you dismiss creates a greater and greater chance to excel.


A good place to begin to erase doubt in yourself is to start WORKING YOUR ASS OFF! Get to it!