Rahil Arora

Security | Fitness | Mindfulness

Fear vs Doubt

24 October 2021

In this short post, I’ll share why I think fear is generally good and self-doubt is not. This post is inspired by one of the chapters in the book Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatness by Tim Grover where Tim makes some very convincing arguments in favor of Fear and how it is very common in top athletes he’s trained.

"Fear is excitement without breath." - Robert Heller

Fear is of something unknown, while self-doubt often arises as a result of negative thoughts inside your head. I like the phrase “understanding your fear” better than “overcoming your fear”. I believe that one can understand the fear by understanding the “unknown” better. This process of understanding the “unknown” and efforts you put into it is what makes you better/stronger. Healing self-doubt on the other hand requires much more effort, constant feedback, and proper discipline.

Fear prevents you from performing, whereas self-doubt prevents you from getting better at a skill. Fear can be an asset if you are biased towards action. Fear often makes you alert when it’s time - all you need to do is breathe and act! Self-doubt on the other hand slows you down and paralyzes your thinking - so you are unable to take any action. To put simply in Tim’s words - Fear is pressure and doubt is panic.

"Fear tells you there’s a minute left on the clock and you need to win now. Doubt tells there’s a minute left on the clock and you are about to lose." - Tim Grover

I truly believe in the saying “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. Goggins talks a lot about the importance of hard work and discipline in his book. Hard work is how you can have an edge over someone who’s naturally talented. You just have to put in more hours and do it consistently. The consistency is what gets rid of any self-doubt. You might still fear other things - like getting injured, missing a deadline or disappointing others. But with the hours you’ve put in and the confidence you’ve built over time, the fear will just feel like excitement!