HOW I OVERCAME SELF DOUBT – Ayobamigbe Igbalajobi

6 Sep

Have you ever looked at yourself and felt like you couldn’t do something? Saying to yourself, ‘’No… this isn’t just for me’’ It’s like planting maize; All it takes for maize to grow is fertile soil and seed; now properly groomed, it keeps growing until it matures… that is, ‘A seed growing into an edible maize’. This is the same way doubt grows in the hearts of men, especially in the innocent vulnerable-fertile minds of children. A seed of doubt growing into a man full of doubts I decided to share my story because I have found a lot of my peers and even older folks struggle with one thing or the other.

Things that they have cerebral capacity to do but have found themselves unable to. This is a psychological block called Doubt. It could be self-planted, planted by older authority figures, religious leaders, society or our parents. It was 2007, and I was awaiting admission into the university when I decided to enroll for piano lessons in Akure, Ondo State. Being a music lover from a young age, I had always dreamt of playing the piano in large concert halls, leading an orchestra or playing in front of the Queen and other world leaders.


Unfortunately, my piano lessons came to an end after 3 weeks as my piano teacher had gotten a job with the State Government and relocated to Ore in Ondo State. Ayo, you can do this! I told myself, so I continued to learn but then I realized Pianoforte “Smallwood” isn’t that small especially since I was left-handed and it was a bit difficult to play the keys with my right hand. Then it crept in unannounced, “Doubt”… Thoughts of failure began to germinate in my mind as I allowed it to grow and spread its roots, then I began to rationalize my inability to continue playing the piano to my being left-handed, ‘’I probably won’t be able to learn any musical instrument. Maybe I am just not good enough’’… ‘’Dreams are for children’’

Fast forward to 2011, I heard a motivational speech on a friend’s laptop during one of our numerous free periods (When lecturers don’t show up for classes). After which I decided to try the guitar. I bought a box guitar, I thought to myself that if the piano is not meant to be, the guitar would. Long story short, I abandoned that within a month due to reasons best known to me. Doubt found a way in…


I came to Lagos in 2013 and my life changed forever. I attended a church where instrumentalists were paid monthly. My uncle was the choir master and he had to rally around for money, much to my chagrin to keep them from leaving. They usually threaten to leave if they aren’t paid on time. I got upset and felt useless at the same time. I could have played for him for free! But ‘Uncle Doubt’ wouldn’t let me shine. I made my mind up, I can do this, in fact, and I will do this.

As soon as I finished school, I bought a used piano with the savings gathered, took the piano to Bauchi during NYSC and decided it was either make or break now. Luckily for me, the first church I stepped into in Bauchi had no pianist, so I started, one key at a time, and then it became chords, learning with no tutor but YouTube and songs on my phone. It has been 3 years since I made that decision and I am happy to say that it was one of the best decisions I ever made as it has opened doors for me in places I never expected. So, if there is anything you have been battling with, tried to learn, extra pounds you have tried to drop or burn off, projects you’ve been trying to carry out, savings plan you’ve been eyeing, go for it!

Most of the time we are unable to because doubt takes control. Remove it from the equation and you will suddenly find that the reason you have been scared to drive is mostly in your mind. Banish Doubt! Send Fear Packing! No room for excuses! Try again even if you failed at your 1st, 2nd, 3rd… attempts like me and you just might break through on your next try. Williams Shakespeare said in his book Measure by Measure “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt” So go all out, keep trying until you win, don’t let doubt rob you of the joy of winning. Remember your faith can move mountains while your doubt creates them. I still haven’t played for The Queen just yet, but I am improving daily and I have also taught a few the little I know about the piano.

PS: I doubt if I try to learn the Saxophone with its convoluted and confused looking shape, I’ll be able to play it. So, let’s set a target that in the next 6 months, we would overcome at least one thing we doubted we could do. For me, I’m overcoming self-doubt and learning ‘The Sax’. What about you?



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