Doubt (quotes)


Doubt is a feeling of uncertainty


Some doubt is natural


To experience at least some doubt is a reality of being human

  • It is reserved for man alone to find his very existence questionable, to experience the whole dubiousness of being. More than such faculties as power of speech, conceptual thinking, or walking erect, this factor of doubting the significance of his own existence is what sets man apart from animal. Victor Frankl
  • In my experience, most people have to face internal obstacles of self- doubt and fear as much as any external obstacles of circumstance and opportunity. Sir Ken Robinson
  • If you turned the fabric of our lives over, I imagined the design on the backside would be woven in the bleak greys of doubt and fear. Stephenie Meyer

There are different forms of doubt

  • Like belief, doubt takes a lot of different forms, from ancient Scepticism to modern scientific empiricism, from doubt in many gods to doubt in one God, to doubt that recreates and enlivens faith and doubt that is really disbelief. Jennifer Michael Hecht

The negative aspects of doubt


Many argue that doubt is one of our worst enemies

  • A man’s doubts and fears are his worst enemies. William Rigley, Jr.
  • A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failures certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it. Alexandre Duma
  • Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step. James Allen
  • Give me strength, not to be better than my enemies, but to defeat my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself. Give me strength for a straight back and clear eyes, so when life fades, as the setting sun, my spirit may come to you without shame. P.C. Cast
  • The monsters of the mind are far worse than those that actually exist. Fear, doubt, and hate have hamstrung more people than beasts ever have. Christopher Paolini
  • Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die. Douglas MacArthur

At times, doubt can cause us great pain and even despair

  • I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. Flannery O’connor
  • To doubt is worse than to have lost; and to despair is but to antedate those miseries that must fall on us. Philip Massinger
  • There was a castle called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair. John Bunyan
  • To doubt is never pleasant, often painful, sometimes agonizing. Logan E. Bleckley
  • Doubt is a ghastly apparition. Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • Doubts are more cruel than the worst of truths. Jean Baptiste Moliere
  • PainDespair

Doubt can make us feel like we’re on very shaky ground

  • The minute you begin to have doubts, the floor under your feet starts to shake. Kobo Abe
  • While the mind is in doubt it is driven this way and that by a slight impulse. Terence
  • Without faith in the world and in yourself, life feels shaky and scary. Rick Hanson

Doubt, especially uncertainty about the future is at the root of most worry

  • Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects the health. I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt. Charles W. Mayo
  • The inability to tolerate uncertainty plays a huge role in anxiety and worry. Chronic worriers can’t stand doubt or unpredictability. They need to know with 100 percent certainty what’s going to happen. Worrying is seen as a way to predict what the future has in store—a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is, it doesn’t work. Robert Segal
  • Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die. Douglas MacArthur
  • The future

Doubt can be a cause of insecurity and judgement

  • If I am judging this moment, I am not living it. If I am living it, I am not judging it. Judging is head centered, living is heart centered. Judging springs from doubt and insecurity. Living springs from love and contentment. And each moment I choose again, as my choice a moment ago is no longer relevant. Michael Jeffreys

The overcompensation for doubt can even lead to fanaticism

  • A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt. Aldous Huxley
  • Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt. Robertson Davies
  • You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt. Robert M. Pirsig
  • Fanatacism

Continual doubting of others does great damage to human relationships

  • There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills. Buddha
  • Principles for healthy relationships

Constant doubt makes us old before our time

  • Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. You are as old as your doubt, your fear, your despair.  The way to keep young is to keep your faith young.  Keep your self-confidence young.  Keep your hope young.  Luella F. Phean
  • You don’t get old from living a particular number of years: you get old because you have deserted your ideals.  Years wrinkle your skin, renouncing your ideals wrinkles your soul.  Worry, doubt, fear, and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.  Douglas MacArthur
  • You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. Douglas MacArthur

Doubt in today’s world


We live in an age that encourages doubt …

  • In the ages of ignorance, it was a crime to doubt; now it is the sign of intelligence. Andrew Jackson Davis
  • Doubt, it seems to me, is the central condition of a human being in the twentieth century. Salman Rushdie
  • Nearly all the powerful people of this age are unbelievers, the best of them in doubt and misery, the most in plodding hesitation, doing as well as they can, what practical work lies at hand. John Ruskin

… where the readiness to doubt is seen as a mark of civilised man

  • To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. H. L. Mencken

This is a step forward for mankind for in the past, we had a tendency to repress those who doubted what was accepted without question

  • The moment one comes into contact with others, doubt is bound, sooner or later, to penetrate the armor of unquestioning repetition. The first reaction of communities to such doubts is to try to exterminate it by repression, varying from hard glances and ostracism to the burning of the doubter. But these methods of the Bastille, the Inquisition, and the fires of Smithfield, cannot succeed while the cause of the doubt, the actual diversity of belief in the world remains. Morris R. Cohen

Traditionally, science has tended to encourage doubt while religion has often discouraged it

  • True science teaches, above all, to doubt and to be ignorant. Miguel de Unamuno
  • Can that which is the greatest virtue in philosophy, Doubt (called “the father of inventions” by Galileo), be in religion what the priests term it, the greatest of sins? Christian Nestell Bovee
  • Bad science and bad religion simply swap roles, the former proclaiming Truth, the latter worshiping Doubt. Jeffrey Satinover
  • Doubt is part of all religion. All the religious thinkers were doubters. Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • Science

The positive aspects of doubt


Doubt has its positive side for it can be a catalyst to great progress and discovery

  • Doubt is the herald of progress; the genius of reason; the pathway to truth; the advance guard in the contest with intellectual darkness. Henry M. Taber
  • Doubt, the essential preliminary of all improvement and discovery, must accompany the stages of man’s onward progress. The faculty of doubting and questioning, without which those of comparison and judgment would be useless, is itself a divine prerogative of the reason. Albert Pike
  • There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made. Richard Feynman
  • There is much honest doubt that should be encouraged. History, for instance, is literally patched together by doubt. There could be no progress without it. Galileo doubted that the Earth stood still. Copernicus doubted that the Earth was the center of the universe. Columbus doubted that it was flat. Newton doubted that nature was erratic, and Einstein doubted that the Earth was fixed. Larry Jones
  • ProgressDiscovery

Doubt helps guard us from falsehood and nonsense

  • Doubt is a sentinel on the watch-tower of the brain, charged with the duty of sounding an alarm, whenever its enemies– superstition, falsehood, ignorance and unreason–attempt to invade the citadel of truth. Henry M. Taber

Doubt leads to wisdom through the path of enquiry

  • Great doubts deep wisdom. Small doubts little wisdom. Chinese Proverb
  • Doubt is often but as the putting away of childish things, preparatory to the reception of the deeper things of manhood. Alexander Henry Craufurd
  • Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom. George Iles
  • Doubt is the beginning of wisdom. Doubt is the precursor of inquiry; inquiry leads to Evidence; Evidence is the foundation of Knowledge; and Knowledge is the parent of Liberty and Power. Concerning sceptics a philosophical writer once remarked, “That they are men who pick holes in the fabric of Knowledge wherever it is weak and faulty; and when these places are properly mended, the whole of the building becomes more firm and solid than it was before.” Andrew Jackson Davis
  • Doubt is the vestibule which all must pass before they can enter into the temple of wisdom; therefore, when we are in doubt and puzzle out the truth by our own exertions, we have gained a something that will stay by us, and which will serve us again. But, if to avoid the trouble of the search we avail ourselves of the superior information of a friend, such knowledge will not remain with us; we have not bought but borrowed it. Charles Caleb Colton
  • The first key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning … for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth. Peter Abelard
  • True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance. Akhenaton
  • WisdomQuestionsOpen-mindedness

Doubt leads to exploration and invention


Doubt can be an incentive to truth

  • By doubting we come at truth. Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • Doubt is the incentive to truth and inquiry leads the way. Hosea Ballou
  • Doubt, indulged and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to full establishment of the truth. Ambrose Bierce
  • Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is — it is her shadow. Philip James Bailey
  • Truth lies within the Holy of Holies, in the temple of knowledge, but doubt is the vestibule that leads unto it. Luther began by having his doubts, as to the assumed infallibility of the Pope, and he finished by making himself the corner stone of the reformation. Copernicus, and Newton, doubted the truth of the false systems of others, before they established a true one of their own; Columbus differed in opinion with all the old world, before he discovered a new one; and Galileo’s terrestrial body was confined in a dungeon, for having asserted the motion of those bodies that were celestial. In fact, we owe almost all our knowledge, not to those who have agreed, but to those who have differed; and those who have finished by making all others think with them, have usually been those who began by daring to think with themselves; as he that leads a crowd, must begin by separating himself some little distance from it. Charles Caleb Colton
  • Truth

Some argue the belief in truth only truly begins when you doubt all the truths you previously believed

  • Truth will have no gods before it. The belief in truth begins with the doubt of all truths in which one has previously believed. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. René Descartes
  • One’s belief in truth begins with doubt of all truths one has believed hitherto. Friedrich Nietzsche

Doubt can lead to great art

  • The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize. Robert Hughes
  • Art

Doubt can bring a kind of mental freedom

  • It has been said, ‘the truth will make men free.’ The truth alone has never made anyone free. It is only doubt which will bring mental emancipation. Anton Szandor LaVey
  • Freedom

Doubt is a profound spiritual motivator

  • Doubt is a profound and effective spiritual motivator. Without doubt, no truism is transcended, no new knowledge found, no expansion of the imagination possible. Doubt is unsettling to the ego, and those who are drawn to ideologies that promise the dispelling of doubt by proffering certainties will never grow. In seeking certainty they are courting the death of the soul, whose nature is forever churning possibility, forever seeking the larger, forever riding the melting edge of certainty’s glacier. James Hollis
  • Doubt is often only a sort of moulting in the spiritual world, the moulting of the soaring eagle wings of faith. Alexander Henry Craufurd
  • In Zen Buddhism, the greater your doubt, the greater will be your enlightenment. That is why doubt can be a good thing. If you are too sure, if you always have conviction, then you may be caught in your wrong perception for a long time. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • There’s a Zen adage: ‘Great doubt, great enlightenment. Little doubt, little enlightenment. No doubt, no enlightenment.’ Doubt reinvigorates the question that keeps the mystery alive. Brian Mountford
  • When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough. When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much. Fen-Yang
  • Spirituality

Doubt as a catalyst to knowledge


Many argue that doubt is the key to knowledge

  • Without doubt, no truism is transcended, no new knowledge found, no expansion of the imagination possible. James Hollis
  • Doubt is the key to knowledge. Iranian Proverb
  • Doubting charms me not less than knowledge. Dante
  • I love to doubt as well as know. Dante Alighieri
  • I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education. Wilson Mizner
  • Knowledge

Others argue that is it wonder and curiosity, not doubt, that best serve knowledge

  • Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance. William Wirt
  • Wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge. Abraham Joshua Herschel
  • Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step. James Allen
  • Curiosity

A paradox is that the more we know, the more doubt tends to grow

  • With knowledge grows doubt. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • We know accurately only when we know little, with knowledge doubt increases. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Doubt … is an illness that comes from knowledge and leads to madness. Gustave Flaubert
  • He that knows nothing doubts nothing. George Herbert
  • Doubt grows with knowledge. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Doubt is not below knowledge but above it. Alain Rene Lesage

Doubt and faith


Many argue that faith is the antidote to doubt

  • Without faith in the world and in yourself, life feels shaky and scary. Faith grounds you in what’s reliable and supportive; it’s the antidote to doubt and fear. It strengthens you and supports you in weathering hard times. It helps you stay on your chosen paths, with confidence they will lead to good places. Faith fuels the hope and optimism that encourage the actions that lead to the results that confirm your faith, in a lovely positive cycle. Faith lifts your eyes to the far horizons, toward what’s sacred, even Divine. Rick Hanson
  • Faith

They argue that faith better serves us than doubt

  • .. If we don’t have faith that we’re making the best decision we can, then we will be swallowed up in doubt. And doubt, at least as far as your brain is concerned, is a precarious state in which to live. Faith is equivalent with hope, optimism, and the belief that a positive future awaits us. Andrew Newberg
  • To leap across an abyss, one is better served by faith than doubt. William James
  • For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary. For those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient. Nancy Gibbs
  • Skepticism has never founded empires, established principals, or changed the world’s heart. The great doers in history have always been people of faith. Edwin Hubbell Chapin
  • Doubt sees what currently is and no more. Hope sees what can be but is not yet. Faith sees what will be as if it were now. Rex Rouis
  • Feed your faith and doubt will starve to death.

Others argue that doubt is not the opposite of faith but an important element of it

  • And faith without doubt is nothing but death. Miguel de Unamuno
  • Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother. Kahlil Gibran
  • Doubt is a question mark; faith is an exclamation point. The most compelling, believable, realistic stories have included them both. Criss Jami
  • Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith. Paul Tillich
  • Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving. Frederick Buechner
  • Doubt makes the mountain which faith can move. Proverb
  • Faith and doubt both are needed – not as antagonists but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve. Lillian Smith
  • Faith doesn’t mean you never doubt. It only means you never act upon your doubts. Orson Scott Card
  • Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe. Henry David Thoreau
  • Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but death. Miguel de Unamuno
  • May there always be a little faith in your doubt. Macrina Wiederkehr

Thoughtful, honest doubt can serve us better than blind faith

  • The doubt of an earnest, thoughtful, patient and laborious mind is worthy of respect. In such doubt may be found indeed more faith than in half the creeds. John Lancaster Spalding
  • There lives more faith in honest doubt, Believe me, than in half the creeds. Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning. Aleister Crowley
  • If faith never encounters doubt, if truth never struggles with error, if good never battles evil, how can faith know its own power? In my own pilgrimage, if I had to choose between a faith that has stared doubt in the eye and made it blink, or a naive faith that has never known the firing line of doubt, I will choose the former every time. Gary Parker

In fact, blind faith without any doubt can be a highly dangerous thing

  • Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. Kurt Vonnegut
  • Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right. Laurens Van der Post
  • The human spirit glows from that small inner light of doubt whether we are right, while those who believe with certainty that they possess the right are dark inside and darken the world outside with cruelty, pain, and injustice. Saul D. Alinsky
  • To ‘choose’ dogma and faith over doubt and experience is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool- Aid. Christopher Hitchens

Doubters are usually far wiser than those who believe blindly

  • Most men appear wiser in their doubts than in their belief. Norman Macdonald
  • The believer is happy; the doubter is wise. Hungarian Proverb
  • Wisdom

Doubt can be the beginning of faith

  • Doubt is often only a sort of moulting in the spiritual world, the moulting of the soaring eagle wings of faith. Alexander Henry Craufurd
  • Yes, I have doubted. I have wandered off the path. I have been lost. But I always returned. … My faith has wavered but has saved me. Helen Hayes
  • Skepticism is the beginning of Faith. Oscar Wilde
  • Skepticism, riddling the faith of yesterday, prepared the way for the faith of tomorrow. Romain Rolland

Doubt is of the soul and needs to be surrendered to and satisfied in order to be transcended

  • Doubt is not a thing “shot into the soul” from without like “a loaded shell shot into a fortress.” It springs up in the soul itself; and the more you attempt to “fling it away” without satisfying it, the deeper and more ineradicable it grows. A. Layman
  • Doubts arise because of an absence of surrender. Ramana Maharshi
  • The practice of Zen mind is beginner’s mind. The innocence of the first inquiry—what am I?—is needed throughout Zen practice. The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities. It is the kind of mind which can see things as they are, which step by step and in a flash can realize the original nature of everything. Shunryu Suzuki
  • AcceptanceSurrender

Embrace and transcend doubt


Face your doubts and question them

  • And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrased, perhaps also protesting. But don’t give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers–perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life. Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Become aware of your doubts and fears. Shine some light on them. Beat them with a thousand tiny cuts. Do it anyway, because they are wrong. Leo Babauta
  • Face your fears and doubts, and new worlds will open to you. Robert Kiyosaki

Have the courage to turn your doubt into enquiry and investigation

  • To doubt is never pleasant, often painful, sometimes agonizing. And in so far as this prompts to inquiry and urges us to decision, it is very useful; but when it induces us to decide without inquiry or evidence, or without the proper use of them, the result is like declaring victory before fighting the battle. If we were so constituted that we could not doubt, what security would there be for the truth? What could more cripple the mind than to deprive it either of the power of doubting or the power of believing? To face frankly and fairly the terrors of uncertainty requires courage. Indeed, to think at all, responsibly, rationally, and with absolute fidelity to truth, upon many subjects requires the highest degree of courage. It is easier, perhaps, to stand before a loaded cannon and see the match applied, than to adopt a conclusion utterly destructive to past convictions long cherished, and to the authority upon which they rested. Logan E. Bleckley
  • CourageReflection

Find a balance between doubting everything and believing everything

  • To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection. Henri Poincare
  • There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking. Alfred Korzybski

Take action in spite of doubt

  • We need to practice acting in spite of fear, in spite of doubt, in spite of worry, in spite of uncertainty, in spite of inconvenience, in spite of discomfort, and even to practice acting when we’re not in the mood to act. If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you’re willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.  Harv Eker
  • Action

Give up what appears to be doubtful for what is certain

  • Let go the things of which you are in doubt for the things in which there is no doubt. Mohammed
  • Give up what appears to be doubtful for what is certain. Truth brings peace of mind, and deception doubt. Muhammad Ali
  • The wise skeptic does not teach doubt but how to look for the permanent in the mutable and fleeting. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be willing to embrace doubt and uncertainty for therein lies energy and possibility

  • The problem with certainty is that it is static; it can do little but endlessly reassert itself. Uncertainty, by contrast, is full of unknowns, possibilities, and risks. Stephen Batchelor
  • The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers. Erich Fromm
  • Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity. R. I. Fitzhenry
  • I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but remain always uncertain … In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar. Richard P. Feynman
  • Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one. Voltaire
  • Let go of the need for certaintyEnergy managementPossibility

To believe with certainty, we must always begin by doubting

  • In contemplation, if a man begins with certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. Francis Bacon
  • Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity… Vaclav Havel
  • Skepticism is the beginning of Faith. Oscar Wilde
  • To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting. Leszczynski Stanislaus

Be ready to doubt anything you cannot verify and test

  • Believe nothing and be on your guard against everything. Proverb
  • Cautiousness in judgment is nowadays to be recommended to each and every one: if we gained only one incontestable truth every ten years from each of our philosophical writers the harvest we reaped would be sufficient. G. C. Lichtenberg
  • Doubt the conventional wisdom unless you can verify it with reason and experiment. Steve Albini

Encourage some doubt by hanging a question mark on all those things in your mind that are no longer doubtful

  • In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. Bertrand Russell
  • The fatal tendency of mankind to leave off thinking about a thing when it is no longer doubtful, is the cause of half their errors. John Stuart Mill
  • The first key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning … for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth. Peter Abelard
  • True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance. Akhenaton

However, don’t choose doubt as your life philosophy …

  • If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. Yann Martel

… for there is no happiness in such a philosophy

  • Neither in this world nor elsewhere is there any happiness in store for him who always doubts. Bhagavad Gita
  • The believer is happy; the doubter is wise. Hungarian Proverb
  • Happiness

The price of self-doubt


The worst kind of doubt is to doubt yourself

  • Doubt whom you will, but never yourself. Christian Nevell Bovee
  • Self-doubt is the little voice in your head saying, ” You Can Do It!” and the big voice saying ” I Wish You Would”…listen to the little voice. Sean O’Donnell
  • The fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself. Thomas Carlyle
  • We all have tremendous potential, and we all are blessed with gifts. Yet, the one thing that holds all of us back is some degree of self-doubt. It is not so much the lack of technical information that holds us back, but more the lack of self- confidence. Robert Kiyosaki
  • If you doubt yourself, then indeed you stand on shaky ground. Henrik Ibsen
  • Self-beliefSelf-confidence

Self-doubt is the enemy of creativity

  • And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath
  • Creativity

Self-doubt leads to failure

  • A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failures certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it. Alexandre Dumas
  • Doubt is one of the main paths on the highway to failure. Rick Pitino & Bill Reynolds
  • Failure

Self-doubt limits the way you see everything

  • Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever. Edmund Hoyle
  • Perception

Self-doubt sucks up your courage to act

  • I recognized that it was excessive fear and self-doubt that were the greatest detractors of personal genius. It broke my heart to see students know the answers, yet lack the courage to act on the answer. Often in the real world, it’s not the smart who get ahead, but the bold. Robert T. Kiyosaki
  • If, because of anxiety and self-doubt, you procrastinate and only think about working, you’ll feel more exhausted than if you’d created for hours. Eric Maisel
  • Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. William Shakespeare
  • Action

Self-doubt blinds you to possibilities and makes you stuck

  • Self-doubt is so insidious that it not only renders us stuck in our lives, but it also actually weakens our ability to dream about what living unleashed would look like. Danielle LaPorte
  • Possibility

Self-doubt strangles your ability to accomplish

  • If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through. Rosalynn Carter
  • The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it. J.M. Barrie
  • A mind focused on doubt and fear cannot focus on the journey to victory. Mike Jones
  • Achievement

Self-doubt feeds on itself to become stronger and stronger

  • Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else. Mignon McLaughlin
  • When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt. Honore de Balzac

To doubt yourself is to deny the divinity inside you

  • It is a denial of the divinity within us to doubt our potential and our possibilities. James E. Faust

Overcoming self-doubt


Confront your self-doubt

  • Your major battles with fear are not outside you; they lurk inside, in the caverns of the psyche, in the arena of psychological survival and dark imaginings, where fear shape- shifts into subtle guises such as self- doubt, insecurity, lack of confidence, shyness, inhibition, timidity—a reluctance to assert, express, or even be yourself. Whatever form fear takes, your willingness to face it squarely will determine your fate in the high country of human potential. Dan Millman

Overcoming self-doubt brings powerful rewards

  • Every man who accomplishes things sees first in his mind what he wishes to do. He puts away all doubt. It makes no difference how small or how large the thing you want to do may be; if you have an unlimited confidence in your ability to do it, you will do it. Charles Fillmore
  • You can attract that which you first mentally become and feel yourself to be in reality, without any doubting. Ernest Holmes
  • They who have conquered doubt and fear have conquered failure. James Allen
  • Having inner peace means committing to letting go of self-criticism and self-doubt. Sanaya Roman

Overcome doubt through decisive, committed action

  • Action will remove the doubt that theory cannot solve. Pehyl Hsieh
  • Doubt can only be removed by action. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone. Thomas Carlyle
  • Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Dale Carnegie
  • Once you have made a careful decision based on facts, go into action. Don’t stop to reconsider. Don’t begin to hesitate, worry, and retrace your steps. Don’t lose yourself in self- doubting which begets other doubts. Don’t keep looking back over your shoulder. Dale Carnegie
  • Action

Overcome doubt by focusing on what you desire, not what you fear

  • Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself. You may be surprised at how easily this happens. Your doubts are not as powerful as your desires, unless you make them so. Marcia Wieder
  • Revere your dreams. Deny your doubts.  Robin Sharma
  • DesireFear

Overcome doubt by focusing on your purpose and goals

  • Having conceived of his purpose, a man should mentally mark out a straight pathway to its achievement, looking neither to the right nor the left. Doubts and fears should be rigorously excluded; they are disintegrating elements which break up the straight line of effort, rendering it crooked, ineffectual, useless. James Allen
  • PurposeGoal settingDreams

Overcome doubt through creating a clear vision and believing in yourself

  • The secret of making something work in your lives is, first of all, the deep desire to make it work; then the faith and belief that it can work; then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness and see it working out step by step, without one doubt or disbelief. Eileen Caddy
  • VisionSelf-belief

Overcome doubt by taking just one step at a time, in the present

  • When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time. Orison Swett Marden
  • Harness the power of small steps

Overcome doubt by learning to listen to your intuition

  • By banishing doubt and trusting your intuitive feelings, you clear a space for the power of intention to flow through. Wayne Dyer
  • When in doubt, follow your intuition. It will guide you to where you need to be. Celestine Chua
  • Intuition

Overcome doubt by learning to listen deeply to your conscience

  • Conscience is the only clue that will eternally guide a man clear of all doubts and inconsistencies. Thomas Jefferson
  • Whenever conscience speaks with a divided, uncertain, and disputed voice, it is not the voice of God. Descend still deeper into yourself, until you hear nothing but a clear, undivided voice, a voice which does away with doubt and brings with it persuasion, light, and serenity. Henri F. Amiel
  • Conscience

Overcome doubt through adopting sound, empowering beliefs

  • Every man should believe in something. If not, he would doubt everything, even himself. Toba Beta
  • Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief that sustains thought and holds the world together. Soren Kierkegaard
  • Any belief worth having must survive doubt. Douglas Adams
  • It is easier to believe than to doubt. Gene Fowler
  • The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of scepticism. George Jean Nathan
  • Belief

Overcome doubt by questioning beliefs that weaken you

  • Whether we will listen or agree with our inner voice or not is clearly within our power. Ask yourself: Is this belief hurting or helping me? Is it getting me closer to what I want or further away? Is it empowering me to take action or freezing me with fear and self- doubt? J. Michael Zenn

Overcome doubt by dropping beliefs

  • The presence of a doubt indicates, by definition, the presence of a belief underneath it. Belief and doubt always come together.  Rupert Spira

Overcome doubt through making firm decisions

  • You must be careful never to allow doubt to paralyse you. always take the decisions you need to take, even if you’re not sure you’re doing the right thing. Paulo Coelho
  • Decision making

Overcome doubt through nurturing hope

  • No one knows for sure that that tomorrow won’t come, but most people assume that tomorrow will still exist as usual. This is Toba’s Paradox, which means, hope overcomes doubt. Toba Beta
  • Uncertainty is the refuge of hope. Henri Frederic Amiel
  • Doubt sees what currently is and no more. Hope sees what can be but is not yet. Faith sees what will be as if it were now. Rex Rouis
  • Hope

Overcome doubt through commitment and will power

  • The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt, but in spite of doubt. Rollo May
  • Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear. Dan Millman
  • CommitmentWill powerSelf-control

Overcome doubt through the support of a mentor or friend

  • We all have the tendency to believe self-doubt and self-criticism but listening to this voice never gets us closer to our goals. Instead, try on the point of view of a mentor or good friend who believes in you, wants the best for you, and will encourage you when you feel discouraged. Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
  • MentorshipFriendship

Overcome doubt through meditation, stillness and prayer

  • When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still; be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists – as it surely will. Then act with courage. Ponca Chief White Eagle
  • Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt. Francis of Assisi
  • Temptation is stronger in the minds of people who are in doubt. Prayer makes it weaker. Toba Beta
  • MeditationStillnessPrayer

Overcome self-doubt by focusing on your strengths

  • Erase self-doubt by working to build your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses. Rodolfo Costa
  • Focus on your strengths

Overcome doubt through believing in something

  • Every man should believe in something. If not, he would doubt everything, even himself. Toba Beta

Overcome doubt through being bold

  • Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory. Alan Alda
  • If we had the courage to confront the doubts we timidly conceive about ourselves, none of us would utter an ‘I’ without shame. Emile Cioran
  • CourageBoldnessRisk taking

Stay away from people who feed your self-doubt


Don’t less yourself doubt anything but your limits

  • If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits. Don Ward
  • Limitation

Don’t indulge your doubt …

  • Doubt comes to the door in darkness, pretending to be alone and in need of your compassionate ear. But if you let him in, he’ll bring his friends. Julia Cameron
  • Doubt, indulged and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to full establishment of the truth. Ambrose Bierce

… for, if indulged, doubt can become a self-fulfilling prophecy

  • Doubt indulged soon becomes doubt realized. Frances R. Havergal
  • Doubts…often beget the facts they fear. Thomas Jefferson

Never let your doubts stop you from living a full, worthwhile life

  • Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Fear will try to stop you. Doubts will try to stop you. You’ll shy away from doing great things, from going on new adventures, from creating something new and putting it out in the world, because of self- doubt and fear. Become aware of these doubts and fears. Shine some light on them. Beat them with a thousand tiny cuts. Do it anyway, because they are wrong. Leo Babauta
  • Kill the snake of doubt in your soul, crush the worms of fear in your heart and mountains will move out of your way. Kate Seredy
  • Embrace the gift of today

Don’t let doubts limit you or stop you from reaching your dreams

  • Never say that you can’t do something, or that something seems impossible, or that something can’t be done, no matter how discouraging or harrowing it may be; human beings are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by: our own minds. We are each the masters of our own reality; when we become self-aware to this: absolutely anything in the world is possible. Master yourself, and become king of the world around you. Let no odds, chastisement, exile, doubt, fear, or ANY mental virii prevent you from accomplishing your dreams. Never be a victim of life; be it’s conqueror. Mike Norton
  • The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Dreams

When in doubt, trust your own inner wisdom


When in doubt …


When in doubt, do …

  • When in doubt, do it. Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • When in doubt, do the courageous things. Jan Smuts
  • When in doubt, risk it. Holbrook Jackson
  • When in doubt, punt! John Heisman
  • When in doubt, tell the truth. Mark Twain
  • When in doubt, take a deep breath and keep moving. Laurell K. Hamilton
  • When in doubt: breathe, drink water, clear clutter.   Karen Kramer
  • When in doubt, follow your intuition. It will guide you to where you need to be. Celestine Chua
  • When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap. Cynthia Heimel
  • When in doubt, predict that the present trend will continue.
  • When in doubt who will win, be neutral. Swiss Proverb
  • Action

When in doubt, don’t …

  • When in doubt chicken out. Robin Jones Gunn
  • When in doubt, don’t. Benjamin Franklin
  • Wise men, when in doubt whether to speak or to keep quiet, give themselves the benefit of the doubt, and remain silent. Napoleon Hill
  • When in doubt, abstain. Zoroaster
  • Caution

When in doubt, ask …

  • If we are ever in doubt about what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done. John Lubbock
  • When in doubt, ask. When not in doubt, ask.
  • In all cases where doubt crops up, ask yourself, “If I had a gun to my head and had to do it, how would I do it?” It’s not as hard as you think. Timothy Ferriss

Light-hearted advice on what to when in doubt

  • When in doubt, ascribe all quotations to Bernard Shaw. Nigel Rees
  • When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. Raymond Chandler
  • When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder. James H. Boren
  • When in doubt, sing loud. Robert Merrill
  • When in doubt, suggest that a subcommittee be appointed. Harry Chapman
  • When in doubt or danger, run in circles, scream and shout. Dr. Laurence J. Peter
  • When in doubt wear red. Bill Blass

Final thoughts


Doubt those who say they’ve found the truth

  • Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. Andre Gide
  • Truth

Love and doubt aren’t on speaking terms

  • Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms. Kahlil Gibran
  • In love we often doubt what we most believe. François de La Rochefoucauld
  • Love

A low mood strengthens doubt

  • When unhappy, one doubts everything; when happy, one doubts nothing. Joseph Roux
  • Mood

Being doubtful is to be a sceptic

  • A sceptic is a person who, when he sees the handwriting on the wall, claims it is a forgery. Morris Bender
  • Do not let yourself be tainted with a barren scepticism. Louis Pasteur
  • Scepticism is the beginning of Faith. Oscar Wilde
  • Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect. George Santayana
  • Scepticism is unbelief in cause and effect. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Scepticism, is that anything more than we used to mean when we said, Well, what have we here? Robert Frost
  • Scepticism, riddling the faith of yesterday, prepared the way for the faith of tomorrow. Romain Rolland
  • Scepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind. John Dewey
  • Sceptics are never deceived. Proverb
  • The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of scepticisms. George Jean Nathan
  • The poison of scepticism becomes, like alcoholism, tuberculosis, and some other diseases, much more virulent in a hitherto virgin soil. Simone Weil
  • The sceptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found. Miguel de Unamuno
  • There is a kind of courtesy in scepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far. George Santayana

Many argue that we should not doubt God, even in darkness

  • And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. Bertrand Russell
  • Beauty is one of the rare things that do not lead to doubt of God. Jean Anouilh
  • If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on this path that you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again. A Course in Miracles
  • Never doubt God in the darkness what he has given us in the light. Francine Rivers
  • That has been my personal relationship with God–a connection with the powerful, loving, wise energy in all of us, in all creation. It is the life force itself.  We can all have contact with it each moment in our lives, but it takes commitment and practice.  We must be willing to move through all our deepest fears, doubts, and misunderstandings.  Shakti Gawain
  • We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. C. S. Lewis
  • GodFaithTrust in God

The problem with the world is that while fanatics and fools are sure of themselves, the wise are full of doubt

  • The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell
  • Whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so sure of themselves, and wiser people are full of doubts. George Bernard Shaw
  • How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise! Homer
  • Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise. William Shakespeare
  • Foolishness

Poor communication breeds doubt

  • The vacuum created by a failure to communicate will quickly be filled with rumor, misrepresentation, doubt and poison. Parkinson’s Law
  • Communication

Philosophy must always keep some doubt alive

  • Philosophy goes no further than probabilities, and in every assertion keeps a doubt in reserve. James A. Froude
  • Philosophy is doubt. Michel de Montaigne
  • Philosophy when superficially studied, excites doubt, when thoroughly explored, it dispels it. Francis Bacon
  • Philosophy

On a lighter note

  • When in charge ponder 2. When in trouble delegate 3. When in doubt mumble. Boren’s Laws for Bureaucrats
  • A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt. Woodrow Wilson
  • Anybody who has any doubt about the ingenuity or the resourcefulness of a plumber never got a bill from one. George Meany
  • Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln
  • Cosmologists are often in error but never in doubt. Lev Landau
  • Expert: A man who is seldom in doubt, but often in error.
  • Four be the things I’d been better without: Love, curiosity, freckles and doubt. Dorothy Parker
  • I have my doubts about disbelief.
  • I respect faith but doubt is what gets you an education. Wilson Mizner
  • If you are ever in doubt as to whether to kiss a pretty girl, always give her the benefit of the doubt. Thomas Carlyle
  • It has now been proved beyond reasonable doubt that smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.
  • It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it. Maurice Switzer
  • It is much more comfortable to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have one’s doubts. G.B. Burgin
  • No doubt exists that all women are crazy it’s only a question of degree. C. Fields
  • Opportunity is always knocking. The problem is that most people have the self-doubt station in their heads turned up way too loud to hear it. Brian Vaszily
  • Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There’s no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance your wife is bound to interfere. Groucho Marx
  • The best way to keep a man is in doubt. Franklin Jones
  • The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt. Bertrand Russell
  • There is no doubt that the first requirement for a composer is to be dead. Arthur Honegger
  • When in charge ponder. When in trouble delegate. When in doubt mumble.
  • When in doubt ascribe all quotations to Bernard Shaw. Nigel Rees
  • When in doubt faith it! Church sign
  • When in doubt gallop! French foreign legion proverb
  • When in doubt or danger, run in circles, scream and shout. Dr. Laurence J. Peter
  • When in doubt predict that the present trend will continue. Merkin’s Maxim