Why do we doubt ourselves and tend to give up easily?

Barsha Kar
5 min readSep 5, 2021


Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.

~Bill Cosby

Self-doubt is not limited to you and me. It’s an underlying emotion of all the human beings in this world.


But a small mass of people finds the strategy to overcome it, which ultimately leads them towards success.

However, the question here is why we choose to give up quickly rather than just experimenting on things?

Well, the single-word answer to this query is FEAR. And in order to understand it completely, I need to elaborate on the kind of fear that causes us to doubt ourselves.

So, let’s clarify this!

What causes us to self-doubt?

Doubting our potential is a common human trait that prevents us from the best and sometimes the worst scenario.

However, it’s not something that happens so anonymously.

It’s our lizard brain (limbic system) that freaks out when we tend to do something more challenging than our routine tasks.

Whenever we start some daunting task, our brain calculates the possible outcomes and the ability to overcome the negative ones.

When our lizard brain finds more resistance to overcome the hurdles, it starts creating a shield of self-doubt around us.

As a result, we begin to doubt our potential to accomplish that work, and the thought of failure causes us to move towards our comfort zone.

If we don’t do something risky that can lead to failure, then we comfort ourselves with the regular tasks that have nothing to do with our goal.

According to a study, our brain works this way to protect our self-esteem from the damage of failure.

However, it handicaps us from doing our best and exposing ourselves to the best experience of life.

For example, I feel writing is a bit more challenging than that any other routine task.

So, I used to create a shield of self-doubt by thinking, “I’m not a good writer and my writing style is not good enough” to comfort or convince myself to procrastinate.

This procrastination is so hard to overcome that I almost gave up on writing.

However, writing is a bit challenging for everyone, and the only way to be a good writer is to do it every day without the thought of perfection.

Two Root Causes of Self-doubt: Comparison and Vagueness

When we get to know about a way of reaching our future goal, we start our research.

After researching deeply, we get to know the pros and cons of doing the job. And if we’re too motivated to change ourselves, we start working.

But after moving a few steps, we start comparing our work with the people who are overachievers. And that comparison usually paralyzes our potential.

And the beginning of self-doubt that “I’m not good enough” happens.

But the fact here is that the overachievers are once the beginners, and they already faced their self-doubt and fear of failure.

Another root cause of giving up after a few miles is a lack of clarity or vagueness.

When you’re clear that you can do a task without any problems, the chances of accomplishing it improves.

For instance, you want to publish a book, but you don’t know how to do that. Then the chances of getting published are diminished.

On the other hand, when you know step by step how to write and publish a book, then you’ve less doubt, and the probability increases.

Self-doubt is also termed as a lack of confidence.

Having low self-esteem or confidence is another word for self-doubt. People use them interchangeably.

However, no one is born with supernatural powers or bundles of confidence to achieve anything they want. This is something they develop through trial and error.

And low self-confidence is a result of our past actions where we needed to show courage but feel shy and stop ourselves from taking the risk.

For example, you need to perform a dance at your college function, but at the end moment, you feel super nervous and convince one of your friends to perform in your place.

And you thank that friend to save you from this awkward situation; however, you became a coward in your own image.

The same scenario happens again and again when someone asks you to perform something on stage. And your fear of being criticized let your motivation down.

As a result, it starts affecting you at your workplace too.

Another cause of self-doubt is perfectionism.

Imagine you are working at your company and next week you need to give an important presentation.

Your boss has high expectations of you, and that deal is completely dependent on your presentation.

It gives you too much pressure that you started self-doubt if you can impress others. And started procrastinating. And eventually, you gave the presentation at a last-minute preparation.

But deep down, you knew that you could give the presentation in a more professional way.

However, perfectionism kills your productivity and your chances to perform the best.

Here you tend to focus on perfection rather than learning and doing your best. And finally, you get self-doubt and disappointment.

Stack of similar experiences also causes you to self-reject and self-paralyze at any work in your life. And a time comes when you start giving up on challenges through excuses.

Self-doubt can be tackled if you stack confidence rather than failures.

The worst enemy to creativity is Self-doubt.

~Sylvia Plath

If you understand what causes you to self-doubt, it’s easier to overcome it. It’s a mindset that never wants us to feel the taste of failure. However, failure is a part of success.

Showing courage kills your underlying fear of failure and prevents you from self-rejection. This also helps you to build confidence in the long run.

So, rather than focusing on perfection, you should focus on experiencing and improving at what you want to do.

Because self-doubt destroys a great opportunity to learn.



Barsha Kar

Blog Content Writer 📝 Newsletter Copywriter ✍️ Want consistency with your blog or newsletter? DM 📩 hello@barshakar.com