A shocking amount of self-doubt plagues top achievers, according to a new book about women and leadership titled “The Confidence Code.” In it, author Claire Shipman reports that “women who have reached admirable heights have not erased the nagging feeling that they might be unmasked as incompetent pretenders.”
Shipman is not talking about mid-level managers. She quotes the highest ranking woman in the tech industry, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, as saying: “There are still days I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.”
Although this book is about women, the self-doubt it chronicles also applies to men. Why? Because our country is not going anywhere – and this may be the reason why.
Our country, it seems, is in the grips of an unhappiness epidemic. A Harvard University survey found 4 in 5 students suffering from depression. Nearly half experienced depression so severe, they couldn’t function.
Fifty years ago, the medium age for the onset of depression was 29.5 years old. Today, it’s half that: 14.5 years old.
A survey of workers released in 2010 found that only 45 percent of workers report being happy in their jobs. It’s the lowest number recorded in 22 years.
No wonder a woman as accomplished as Sheryl Sandberg wakes up feeling like a fraud. The negative tapes that run around in our heads – the ones that tell us we’re not good enough – have taken over and depressed us.
This may be why politicians can’t solve our country’s problems. The negative tapes that run around in the heads of politicians are all too plainly visible in their campaign ads.
Self-doubt is behind this avalanche of negativity. It chips away at our ability to formulate new ideas and acquire the confidence to execute them. There’s nothing left to talk about except the content of those negative tapes.
There is something we can do. Let me warn you in advance – it will seem too simple to work.
Here it is: We can rewire our brains to automatically see positives in ourselves and everyone else by noting 3 good things a day for 21 days.
Conclusive research in neuroscience demonstrates the ability of this simple technique to combat negative tapes. The gains are incredible: every aspect of life improves, including health.
Too simple to work? America’s most successful ideas are often the simplest ones. Think Twitter.
When our country’s politicians can’t come up with workable ideas to solve our problems, we must accept that they’re mired in muck – and that it’s up to us to infuse a dose of positivity into the mix.
Let’s do it by combatting the root cause of negativity: our habit our doubting ourselves.
Shift away from self-doubt by noting 3 good things a day. We may start a “3 Good Things” movement. Our country’s leaders would pick up on it; America would become a beacon of positivity; our world would change. That’s 3 good things.