Self-doubt: Weakness or Strength?

We often like to associate people with self-doubt with weakness. Self-doubt and self-confidence have been seen as opposites and you will always see self-confident people regarded as the successful ones. I am someone who often has self-doubt who questions my abilities when doing things. So we really need to answer this question about self-doubt. Is self-doubt a weakness?

Self-doubt can be a weakness. But it can also be a strength. This is because self-doubt is a tool we use to keep our boundaries. Whether self-doubt can be considered to be a strength or weakness depends if you use it as a tool to make you better, or to make you worse.

While most people say that self-doubt is a bad thing, I think there is a good side to it. We will discuss its good side in this article together with when it can be bad for us. This is because we have to see both sides of the coin. You need to know when it can become a good thing, and when can it be bad. This article will talk about that.

Is self-doubt a weakness?

Self-doubt is a weakness if you responded to it the wrong way. But if we know how to properly respond to self-doubt, it can be our source of strength. All of us will feel self-doubt whether we accept it or not. But it is our reaction to doubts which will make the difference.

I am someone who often doubt myself especially when I write articles.

I think I don’t have anything to share. I don’t think I don’t have enough information to give to people. Do people really care on what I write?

These questions keep popping out in my head whenever I wake up in the morning and plan to make a post.

But it is also my source of strength.

Self-doubt is our weakness if I accepted that idea that got in my head. It will be bad if instead of writing an article, I started to just do some other things which I think is better.

Here is the problem if you always follow your doubts.

It is near impossible to move with life.

It is near impossible to move on with life if you always follow your doubts.

“Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”


Doubts will always stay with us. Especially when we take on difficult tasks that we question our abilities. But that does not mean that we really can’t do it.

For example, when I was starting to write this article, I also have doubts. I just told myself that I will just do my best and write what I can. Here I am telling this to you without even planning to share what I feel while writing this article.

Perhaps self-doubt or criticism is important as it makes us aware that something needs more input or skill than what we have now. If you think of it that way and handled the situation, we can find ways to deal with it.

The worse thing you can do when doubting or criticizing yourself is to always run away. When you feel too much self-doubt, it just means that the problem ahead is really big and you need more preparation.

The point here is that self-criticism is a weakness if you responded to it the wrong way. Self-criticism is a sign that there will be a big challenge once you do things. Thus, you need to prepare. If you always run away whenever you question your abilities, then it will be a sign of weakness.

That is why self-criticism or self-doubt is important. It is our hidden intuition that tells if you need something more to do things, and it can be a good thing because we can prepare for what’s to come.

One way to understand self-doubt is to know its root and causes. I have made an article which discussed that topic. I think it is a good read once you’re done with this article: What is the root cause of self-doubt?

Can self-doubt be good?

Self-doubt can be a good thing if we use this feeling to our advantage. When we are in doubt, we often question our ability to do things. Doubts make us accountable and work harder to prove ourselves. Self-doubt can also be a source of humility which is important for our growth as an individual.

As we discussed above, doubts can be a good thing for us. It is dependent on how we respond to doubts. That is where the word responsibility came from.

Responsibility is how we respond to things around us, including doubts. So my question to you is are you ready to be responsible?

If you need more motivation on why responsibility is important, I recommend you read the book called Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. I also made a book summary for you to check out: Extreme Ownership Summary

You can also check the book here: Extreme Ownership Book

Now that you know about the relationship of responsibility and self-doubt, let us begin to answer what are the reasons why self-doubt is good.

1. Self-doubt helps us assess the situation

Self-doubt can be good because it helps us assess the situation. Once we feel self-doubt, it means that the challenge we will take will be big.

This means that we need to prepare ourselves. We need to learn techniques, get more information, get enough strength to face it.

The good thing is once we’ve tackled it, it is also a big source of motivation.

There is a reason why we have self-doubt. It kept us safe from harm ages ago. It is what helped our hunter-gatherer ancestors know if what is in front of them is dangerous or not.

I have discussed our ancestors and how self-doubt helped them in detail in another article. If you are interested in a more in-depth discussion regarding this topic, here is the link: Is self-doubt a character trait?

But now, it is time for us to use it as a means to properly assess the situation ahead of us.

2. Self-doubt can be a big source of Motivation

I am always someone who doubts my abilities. But now, whenever I feel self-doubt, I only know one thing. I need to prepare.

Self-doubt became a motivation to do my best in every thing that I do. It is self-doubt that helped me learn more about this topic before writing to you.

It is self-doubt that taught me to make this article as best as I can. That is why you can see in this article an infographic and quotes.

I know it is my responsibility to give you the best you can find in this topic.

Whenever I doubt myself, I know that I just need to do my best.

I hope you do too.

“I sometimes fell short of being the best, but I never fell short of giving it my best.”

William McRaven

3. Self-doubt is a Sign of Awareness

Our ancestors use the power of doubt to protect themselves from harm. Because of doubt, they won’t use their brute force to attack an elephant or a tiger.

Right now, it is a sign our our awareness. It is an innate intuition that if used well, will be very beneficial to us.

It is a sign that something needs to be taken care of. It is a sign that we should not take things too lightly but seriously.

It is this self-doubt that keeps us away from harm. From doing things that we could fail without any preparation.

Use it to your advantage.

4. Self-doubt helps us understand our boundaries

There are situations where we need to know our boundaries. In a conversation, we might suddenly feel that we don’t want to talk about this so we start doubting about bringing up that subject.

Well that is also self-doubt. It keeps up on check. It keeps our boundaries.

It also tells whether what you will do is not beneficial to us.

It maybe that self-doubt is a sign that you should just not do it.

For example, I have lots of projects in my mind but I only want to tackle one.

Doing all the projects all at the same time will make me not achieve anything. Anything big in this world is made by someone who gave 90-100% of his energy into one thing.

It doesn’t mean that I will not take on the other projects, I just need to focus on one. It means I might take the projects in the future.

But for now, my gut feeling says that I should focus on one thing.

5. Self-doubt can keep you on Track

If there is a virtue self-doubt has taught me, it is humility.

It is humility that taught me that my achievements in life is because of my doubts.

It is my humility that taught me that I reached something not because of talents but I prepared myself.

It keeps you on track on what is right. It keeps you from thinking too highly on yourself.

Remember that once you get really arrogant, it is over. You will lose the motivation to work more on yourself. You will lose the will to hear what others will say to you. You will not learn new things.

Humility keeps us on track to self-improvement. To continuously make us better.

Self-improvement or personal development is a life-long process.

In summary, self-doubt can both be a sign of weakness or strength. It depends on how we respond to self-doubt whether it will be good or bad to us. Self-doubt is a good thing if you use it to gain humility, motivation, and to help us understand our boundaries.

Read More about Self-Improvement or Personal Development here:


Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned with people and makes videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on

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