I’ve never been a confident person and sometimes I wonder about that. Every creative thing that I have done has taken inner courage and energy to break through my natural state, which is to dismiss and deny that there is anything of value here. I often find myself viewing people who are confident as being more talented and worth listening to. So that must mean, if someone is not confident, that they are not talented and not worth listening to….right? I know that’s not true.
Creative work, in whatever form, comes from a deep, heartfelt place. And with anything that comes from such a deep place, it’s natural to want to hide and protect it. After all, it’s precious, and we don’t exactly “know” what it is. That’s the nature of creativity. We not only don’t know what it is, we also don’t know if it has any value in the external world, until well after we’ve given it form. Somehow, we just have to keep listening to that quiet inner voice, and trust the process.
In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield has this to say about self-doubt:
“Self-doubt can be an ally…because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing…and desire to do. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are.
The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
I love those last two lines.