Doubt is an illusion keeping us from our dreams.
I was about 16 when I went with a friend to a pop-up local rock show in my area. We showed up, and I witnessed a young teenage band playing original music. They were awesome! "So much emotion, so much intensity," I thought. After their show I walked up to them and met them all, and a whole new path for me appeared.
You see, I always enjoyed music, but I was a listener, not a musician. Sure, I had a guitar at home, but in my mind, I wasn't a musician...that just wasn't who I was. As years went by, I started attending more local shows and meeting more bands, creating some great friendships. But still, even though I loved music and attending these shows, I had this tremendous doubt which prevented me from ever seeing myself as a musician.
It was this doubt (which was based on a belief I created for myself when I was growing up) that held me back from actually trying to make music. As I would play the guitar, I would notice the many friends around me who were WAY better than me. As I thought about drumming, I'd see plenty of people around me who were REALLY good drummers. For years I kept my fascination with music as a hobby, never thinking I would actually be a musician and a performer one day.
The First Big Change
That all changed in my early 20s when I was asked by some new friends to fill in for bass guitar at their upcoming show. My previous experience with my guitar (and the huge amount of interest I had in going to shows) allowed me to work up the courage to say "OK", and with that, my story began to open up.
The show went awesome! After practicing for some time beforehand, I did pretty well. After this show the rest of the guys ambushed me and asked me to join the band as a legit member. Feeling the rush and afterglow from just performing, I immediately said "YES!"
Playing in the band opened up so much opportunity for me. I started getting my feet wet and learning about the music business, I started seeing myself as a musician, and my confidence went through the roof. But in the next year our band disbanded due to differences in work ethic. So there I was, feeling like my dream was behind me.
The Next Opportunity
It was that summer that I made some new friends and started freestyle rapping, and I instantly felt a feeling I never felt before. I felt free, able to 100% completely express myself, and after about a year of casually freestyling, I realized I needed to make this my life. I began writing and producing my songs, and felt ready to take on the world and release my self expression.
This is when the doubt came back into my life and tried to hold me back. No longer did I have a band to support my ideas, this time it was just me. I released my first song, "Stars" on November 11th, 2014 with the most excitement I have ever felt in my life.
But as time went on and I saw that it was hard as one guy to reach a new audience, the doubtful and fearful thoughts started pouring in.
"Do you really think you can do this?"
"Maybe this isn't for you."
"You've never going to make it."
"No one likes your music."
"You're not _____ enough."
Those thoughts would slow me down as I grabbed onto them and gave them the time of day. Over the next two year period, I wrestled with these thoughts, which sometimes would turn into depressive moods lasting days.
The doubt I had was crippling my ability to take action. I would look at my life experience and sum it up to equal why I wasn't good enough, or to explain why I couldn't do it. I was feeling pressured by the need to survive and make money, yet I had these huge dreams of being a full-time musician. The internal conflict I was feeling because of my doubt was creating a really negative impact on my life.
I guess this is the part where you might be expecting me to say "and then this magical thing happened!" Well no, not actually, haha :) Over time, I just continued moving forward, making music, fighting with my opposing beliefs, and as time went on, I started telling myself new thoughts and reminding myself that doubt wasn't helping me.
I had to realize those thoughts were not true to me, that they were only based on beliefs I made when I was young when I had hardly any information about the potential I and all others have in this life. As my beliefs and attitude started changing, I started seeing myself receive more show opportunities, I was making more connections, and more people were listening to my music. All because my thoughts weren't holding me back from taking the appropriate actions.
Fast forward to where I am now, and I've had over 15,000 people listen to my music on Spotify in the last month. I now fully understand that doubt is NOT REAL. It is an illusion that serves the purpose of keeping us from taking action. It is constructed of limited information and will always always always hold us back from doing what we truly want to do.
I'm not a fulltime musician yet, but I know I will be. My doubtful thoughts are clearly false, and I am reinvigorated knowing that I can now fill the space of those old negative thoughts with new ones which help me manifest my goals.
If you feel any doubt, just keep going down your path. Tell yourself doubt is an illusion, but your dreams are reality. You have the power to take the actions necessary to receive anything you want in this life, and don't let anyone, especially yourself, hold you back.