Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt.
– from “Measure for Measure,” by William Shakespeare
“Our doubts are traitors.” I love the phrasing of this. Our doubts, those thoughts that make us hesitate and fearful, betray us. “And make us lose the good we oft might win / By fearing to attempt.” Our doubts keep us from doing the challenging things, the uncertain things, the unknown things. Our doubts can take away our opportunities. Our doubts can keep us from doing better.
This doesn’t say not to question. Of course you should question. But if you choose to not do something based on doubt, well, imagine the good you oft might win.
During a recent trip to Ashland to present to the Oregon Tourism Commission, I had the opportunity to see some of the plays from the winter season of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; one of the plays was “Measure for Measure,” by William Shakespeare. I won’t go into details about the play (you can go and see it for yourself if you’re in Ashland sometime soon), but the quote above really stood out for me.