Are You Still Broadcasting Doubt?

June 8th, 2012 by Steve Pavlina

As you read through this passive income series, suppose you start seriously thinking about creating your own passive income streams. You talk about some ideas with your friends and family, and you get a negative reaction. Perhaps they suggest that passive income is beyond your reach and that you should just settle for a job like any “normal” person would.

It’s possible these people are trying to keep you from having a failure experience, but quite often there’s also some fear in the mix. What if you actually succeed? If the people around you don’t have strong self-esteem, your potential success can seem threatening to them. They may expect you to fail the first time, but if you stick with it and keep going, it may worry them that the odds of success will begin to shift in your favor.

People will often try to get you to change when they sense doubt in you. When they sense certainty, they usually won’t bother. So if you’re getting these kinds of reactions, the most common culprit is that you’re broadcasting self-doubt so loudly that other people can’t help but respond to it.

Being uncertain isn’t a problem, but be aware that it opens the door to being influenced. This can expose you to new ideas and suggestions, but it’s hard to take action when you’re in this phase because others’ influences are usually not congruent with your own desires. If you stay in this uncertain phase too long, you may end up more confused and paralyzed.

When you wish to move forward with action, or if you’re done spinning your wheels with doubt, then commit yourself to forward action in a particular direction. This will reduce distracting influences. If you wallow in uncertainty and keep seeking others’ counsel, you’ll never get anything done.

Sometimes you can find certainty through exploration, but most of the time you have to create it by choice. You never know how different decisions will turn out in advance. Just pick something and go forward anyway, like a child deciding which ride to go on first at Disneyland. You don’t know if it will be the best choice, but you act like it will be the best anyway.

I often enjoy showing people around the Las Vegas Strip when they come to town. Sometimes I tell them that I’m going to show them the most amazing sight in all of Las Vegas, one they’ll never be able to forget. I say this with over-the-top enthusiasm. I take them to the Bellagio Hotel, and as we turn a certain corner, I point it out to them and gasp, “Isn’t this the most incredibly thing you’ve ever seen?” Then I show them a fountain of liquid chocolate. It’s a cool thing to see if you’ve never seen it before, but it doesn’t really live up to the hype I projected. Nevertheless, that silly enthusiasm can make the experience more fun for everyone, and it makes the experience more memorable.

You don’t have to be so over-the-top in your enthusiasm for what you’re doing, but if you’re going to move forward in creating passive income, then create the certainty that you’re on the right path, especially when you share your thoughts with others. It makes the experience more fun, and it encourages others to play back at you with their own silly enthusiasm instead of trying to get you to change their mind. It also helps to diminish potential fear or jealousy from others.

Whenever I create a new stream of passive income, I never know how it will turn out. Sometimes the results meet my expectations. Sometimes the results are better than I expected. Sometimes the results are dismal. When I’m taking action, I focus on moving forward without worrying so much about the result. I don’t allow myself to be riddled with doubt and hesitation along the way since that would only lead to paralysis; it would also invite derailing influences into my life.

When other people are doubtful and hesitant, are you usually able to pick up on that? Can you tell when others are committed and when they’re not?

People can sense the same in you, whether you realize it or not.

I’ve noticed that when I’m unsure about something I’m writing about, it opens the doors to a flood of feedback from people who want to influence me one way or the other. It also invites a lot of criticism. However, when I create more certainty in my writing, I hardly receive any feedback like that. People don’t try to influence immovable objects to change.

When I first began writing about polyamory and open relationships a few years ago, I received tons of feedback about it, ranging from deeply critical to hugely supportive. I was still getting comfortable with the idea, so I still had a lot of uncertainty about it, and I’m sure that came through in my writing. It was good to invite this kind of feedback initially since it helped me think carefully about it before proceeding. But when I decided that this was the right path for me, I stopped creating and projecting doubt and uncertainty, and consequently, people stopped trying to influence my choices in this area.

If you feel that other people are trying to get you to change, and if this is becoming annoying, take a conscious look at the doubt you’re projecting. People are responding to what you’re broadcasting.

Many people have to deal with critical and unsupportive friends and relatives. If that’s been a problem for you, then stop giving others the impression that you’re uncertain and ready to waffle if they exert enough influence. You’ll only bait them into trying to change your mind.

Put your attention on moving forward with action. If that’s your focus, then when someone tries to influence you to stop or slow down, they won’t get very far. You may choose to respond with something like, “Oh… I’m sorry… did you mistake me for someone who’s uncertain about this? Please don’t try to slow me down. I’m not interested in debating whether or not this is a good idea; I’m past that phase. I’d prefer to have your support going forward, but if you don’t feel you can offer that, I understand. Just do the best you can to accept that this is important to me, even if you don’t agree with it yet. If I later change my mind about this, it will be my choice to do so. But for now I’m motivated to move forward on this. Wish me luck!”

If someone tries to come over the top by brushing this off, get up and leave immediately. Don’t waste your time arguing. Have enough self-respect to know that this kind of discussion is beneath you. You have every right to make your own choices. Some people can’t take a hint, and you have to be assertive with them to make that clear. Sometimes it takes several confrontations before people finally see that continuing to ride you is pointless. This is especially true with relatives. It may take a few blow-offs before they can change the way they relate to you.

There’s a flip side to this as well… one that many people overlook. When you project uncertainty about your decisions, you not only invite criticism and derailing influences on one side, but you also repel potentially supportive influences on the other side.

If you act like you’re unsure about creating passive income, then potential business partners will avoid you like the plague. Who wants to work with someone who’s unsure of themselves? Who wants to risk dealing with the business-virgin?

Yes, you will build confidence through experience. But you can also create confidence by committing yourself. Either you’re going to create streams of passive income, or you’re not. Which will it be? It’s not enough to declare that you’re going to do it. If you’re going to adopt a passive income lifestyle and not rely on jobs and the government to support you for the rest of your life, then start acting like it too. This includes not getting into arguments with people who either don’t understand it or won’t be supportive.

I remember what it was like to be just starting out on this path. My friends thought I was a bit of a slacker for not wanting a job. People would send me job applications or tell me of job openings. But when they figured out I was committed — and especially when I started making real money doing this — they all backed off. At the same time, I began attracting dozens of new entrepreneurial friends into my life, people who were much better matches for where I was at the time. With these new friends there were no pointless arguments about whether this independent path was a wise choice; that was just a given, so obvious as to be unworthy of discussion. Instead we focused on sharing ideas and supporting each others’ projects.

I really do think that fear and jealousy play a part in other people’s reactions. I mentioned open relationships in this article because the reactions to exploring open relationships mirror the reactions to earning passive income. Both paths involve breaking ranks with socially conditioned behaviors and embracing greater levels of abundance.

If you’re still arguing and debating with people about whether or not the passive income path is a good idea, you haven’t tipped yet. Those who get it know that such arguments are beneath them. When you finally see that these derailing influences are popping up in your life as a result of your own doubts and fears, I think it will help you see that in order to succeed — and especially to gain the social support you desire — you must eventually dump this limited thinking and leave it behind.

You may be wondering why I’m spending so much time on the mindset of passive income, trying to help you grasp it from different perspectives with article after article. That’s because the mindset is at least 80% of the value here. Once you really understand the passive income mindset, it’s all downhill from there. The action steps are easy to figure out for anyone who’s committed. You can learn by trial and error, buy courses and programs and books to help you, or research ideas on the Internet. There’s no need to even wait for me to finish the series.

Some people are already building new web businesses as a result of this series, and I suspect they’ll be generating income before the series is over. They’re taking action because they get it. Further delay is pointless. They can continue to follow this series and use it to supplement what they’re learning from direct experience.

If you haven’t taken any real action yet to create your first passive income stream, what’s your excuse? Remember that “I Don’t Know How” Is Not a Valid Excuse. Other excuses for inaction are just as feeble. If you have time to read this, you have time to work on your first stream. Instead of wasting your energy on doubt and hesitation, you can make real progress by diverting that energy into forward action.


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