Monday, August 11, 2008

Zen | 5 | Doubt

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.


It is practical for someone to doubt. It is easy to see why something can not be done, instead of inventing a solution or doing the work necessary to get it done.

Before we discuss how a Zentrepreneur dismisses doubt, we need to understand the root of doubt and how it can destroy innovation.

If you think about basic fundamentals of entrepreneurship it becomes clear how doubt surfaces in almost ever thought and conversation. By definition Entrepreneurship is risky. There is more that is unknown, than known. And the natural response to the "unknown" is doubt. What makes a Zentrepreneur different is how they embrace the unknown, and how they interpret risk.

Instead of looking at a problem as confirmation of your doubt, you embrace the problem as an opportunity to learn. I realize this sounds like an over simplification - but in reality this is how doubt controls your expectations on success. In truly is a frame of mind that can change the most challenging tasks you face, into the defining moments of your success.

Start practicing this "frame of mind" in your every day life. If you feel challenged, then start with problems that are small. Instead of allowing doubt become a habit, create a new habit of looking at each problem as a moment to learn. As we discussed in the last chapter, the importance of having the capacity for experience. In order to adopt this frame of mind, you need to have capacity for experience.

As we also discussed in past chapters, we refer to living in the NOW as an important aspect of being a Zentrepreneur. When you begin to create a habit of doubt, you begin to live outside of the NOW, and hypothesize what could happen in the future. Doubt is fueled by projected events and not a pragmatic thought based on the here and now.

It is difficult to envision a daily routine as an entrepreneur not riddled with doubt. It is one of the most challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur to overcome. However, if you are successful in adopting the core principals of being a Zentrpreneur and consistantly live in the NOW, focus on the daily routine and have capacity for experience - than the challenge of doubt becomes non-existent. Not because it won't exist (certainly other people will continue to have their doubts) - but because it has no relevance to what you are focused on. You have reduced your challenges and barriers to what you can control today. You take away the strength of doubt, by not focusing on future challenges, and you just have faith that your path will find its way to success.

So how do we dismiss doubt?

Re-affirm the principals of Zentrepreneurship

1. Be in the NOW - Doubt lives and prospers in the future and past. Past experiences give others ideas of doubt, and the future (unknown) events are what make doubt difficult to dismiss. As you build your path step by step, the risk diminishes and the doubt becomes non-existent.

2. Focus on your Routine - Doubt is fueled by the unknown. By focusing on your daily routine, and those tasks you can control - you are consciously avoiding anything that is unknown. Even as your routine expands and changes, you are adjusting based on experience and not focusing on hypothetical events.

3. Dismiss by accepting Impermanence - If you truly accept that all things are in flux, then you can clearly conclude that by having doubt you are accepting there is permanence. Everything is possible, because everything is in flux. Doubt can be easily dismissed, once you accept that anything can happen.

4. Have capacity for Experience - And most importantly, by expanding your capacity for experience you will learn. The problems you face are opportunities to learn. Instead of creating a habit of doubt, create a habit for learning.


A Zentrepreneur dismisses doubt. Instead of focusing on what could happen, or all the potential variations of the future, a Zentrepreneur focuses on the NOW, and keeps their mind on their daily routine.

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