Guest blogger, Rich Richmond, Marketing Associate
What Is Self-Doubt?
Early in her book Wire Your Brain For Confidence The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt Louisa Jewell shares a personal story of self-doubt that started her on her journey to becoming an expert in “positive psychology”. The story relates an experience from college where her cheerleading team found a level of success in competition, and despite that success, Jewell was still convinced she should have failed. The overwhelming feeling of self-doubt she felt in spite of the team’s success led her to study how the brain functions in terms of self-doubt and more importantly confidence. This personal story establishes Jewell’s approach and her credibility in an approachable way. It is a good start to a book that is presented as a journey of sorts.
Jewell discovered that rapid change and uncertainty were large factors in the self-doubt so many of us feel. Historically change was a rare occurrence. In general, people lived in the same place and did the same things. But as we evolved change accelerated and began having a great impact on the world. “Fast forward four hundred years and you will find that change is the only constant in our lives. Today’s world is fast-paced, complex, and even changing.” Jewell writes. She recognizes as many scientists concur, that our brains cannot deal with these changes quickly enough. This leads to questioning, uncertainty and ultimately self-doubt.
What Is Self Efficacy?
Jewell’s book is not just about overcoming self-doubt to find confidence. On a deeper level is about self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, how one uses their own personal judgment to act upon certain situations, cannot only inspire confidence, it can lead to real change in overcoming self-doubt. Jewell describes self-efficacy as “the courage to act, that defining moment when you want to say yes but you are stopping yourself.” Her book is designed to give you the tools to say yes.
Wire Your Brain For Confidence The Science of Conquering self-doubt is set up as a guide to understanding your brain and finding ways to use that understanding to build confidence. She does so by presenting the research, the brain science, behind her assertions in a scientific yet relatable way. She then turns that research into exercises sprinkled throughout the book that builds on each new understanding. The key is to use these tools to better yourself. Her presentation of the science, relatable stories, and tools for success are an effective presentation.
Jewell effectively visits and discusses the topic of failure. What is interesting is not only that she admits that failure is a part of the journey, but that she separates it from self-doubt instead turning it into a tool for confidence. “It is not our failure that matters, it is our recovery,” Jewell writes. “What is truly important is what you say to yourself after.” She spends two chapters late in her book focusing on what to do when you face failure and how to embrace it. The two exercises in these chapters were among my favorites and most useful Separating Facts From Stories and Know Your Resilience Strengths help you focus those failures and really learn from them.
“You don’t want to just survive, you want to thrive. I call this feeling-being successful but also healthy and happy- flourishing.” I like that Jewell ties everything together on the elevated concept of flourishing. She doesn’t just want you to be successful. Or confident. Or simply happy. She wants you to truly flourish. This idea is powerful and important to all aspects of our lives. This book gives you the science to understand where your lack of confidence stems from, the tools to restore that confidence and the self-efficacy to want to flourish.
Woman Inherits the Earth
Jewell opens her book with a powerful statement on “Why women need to rule the world”. It reminds me of one of the best scenes in Jurassic Park where Laura Dern’s character ruminates on men destroying the world, being eaten by dinosaurs, and women inheriting the earth. There is no doubt that this book in many ways is aimed at equipping women with tools they can use to overcome self-doubt and flourish. At a time when women’s issues are at the forefront of public discourse, her introduction to the book is relevant, important, and effective. Her tools are universal, and really at this point that is how things should be.
I can see using these tools not only personally, but to help build confidence in my daughter. I see her struggle with self-confidence every day. Specifically, Jewell’s tips on recovering from failure (a bad grade on a test, a rough day on the soccer pitch) and using that as an opportunity to build resilience have real value and application in my life as a dad.
Wire Your Brain For Confidence The Science of Conquering self-doubt is not surprisingly presented very confidently. The science is not too clinical and even when it starts to be Jewell ties it together in a relatable exercise or story. She ties her holistic approach in with other more familiar success strategies; positive self-image, growth mindset, surrounding yourself with positive people, etc., that make her approach relevant and contemporary.
See Louisa Jewell LIVE as Raising Positive Children: Global Author Series presented by Mayerson Academy, Beech Acres Parenting Center, and Children Inc. continues February 15th. Get your tickets here.