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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Don't Underestimate Yourself

I know people like this: people who underestimate themselves. It's really too bad, you know, because it's often only their perception instead of everyone else's reality. Still, people like this are all around us, aren't they?

I have family members, friends, and past colleagues who all struggle with problems of self-confidence. I have, too. It can be fairly debilitating at times, keeping people from trying, allowing them to quit an activity or group, or affecting how they present themselves to others. What's most frustrating about it is that so many people are really good at what they do, but just can't believe it about themselves.

When I was a young teenager, I used to read Sherlock Holmes books. One of the comments Holmes made, that still stays with me, is that it is just as bad to underestimate ourselves as it is to overestimate ourselves. That's really true, isn't it?

Like I said, there were times in my life when I questioned my abilities when I compared myself to others. I had to tell myself, "those other people aren't any better than you. They make mistakes. They fail. They're not any more perfect than you are." Telling myself these things really worked for me. Sometimes I had to tell myself more times than once, but it did work. The trick is to ensure you are doing your best while making statements to yourself like I did.

Another trick you can try is to think about one or two things you do really well, maybe better than most other people, and remind yourself of those things when you're feeling insecure.

Bottom Line: If you can step back for even a moment and look at yourself objectively and you can see you are:
  • Prepared
  • Practiced
  • Poised

then there's no reason whatsoever to be beating yourself up. You can always do better, but so can everyone else around you. As someone told me about a general one time, "he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like me."

What other tricks do you know of to help offset the "underestimation blues"?


  1. I just say to myself, "No time to start doubting yourself. I'll do tha when I have achieved success!"

    Seeds of Success: Knowing That You Can

  2. thanks Robert.!
    it is a nice and meaningful post..
    sometimes i feel its not our low capability that kills you...
    but its our negative mindset..
    we are capable of doing many wonders in the world..its only whether are we have the right mindset to pick up that challenge :)

  3. I agree...the negative mindset can be a killer.


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