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On Doubt

My wife an I watched this movie, Doubt. Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman. The sharpest end of acting you can have on celluloid. Awesome.

But at the in the last few lines in the movie...Meryl who plays the hardest ass nun you've ever seen in action...breaks down into a blubbery mess because of her 'doubt'.

For me it syncopated a lot of spools of thought I have about myself in lots of the little compartments I keep parts of my life in. It tugged on questions of Faith and those I thrash violently in my mind, but in a much less benign way, tugged on questions of ability in cycling I harbor as I try to smash through barriers and achieve 'next levels'.

Ultimately I think I see the answer albeit opaquely and I can say the answer is not necessarily 'the' solution. It won't help me understand Faith any better nor will it transport me to the next level in my sport. It's about using that doubt as fuel to burn on the problem if you care deeply enough about it. It's about the decision point you personally need to face when doubt can make you run from a problem rather than throw yourself more thoroughly at it.

I'm getting older...but I don't feel whatsoever that any time is running out. In fact, each year builds upon the next....even with the struggles that get (intentionally) injected to make life worth living. And yet each year this doubt...keeps me coming back. Keeps me alive and questioning. Keeps me present to the problem space ensuring I'll never run or give up.

Then again, some may call this pattern 'insanity'. But I can't live any other way.

Reader Comments (5)

to me, doubt is just fear of the unknown possibilities. if we knew how each challenge turned out (be it work or sport) all excitement and fun is lost. that shouldn't paralyze, but energise. if one doesn't push their comfort zones they are never alive. Dave Wiens had a great blog post recently about winning and losing and pushing yourself - but crap, looks like he exceeded his bandwidth and it's not available...

jen put her order in for a crossbow btw - HUP HUP!

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjasper9


There is no room for doubt, getting to the next level is irrelavant. Look at what we do, and at what level. I've always considered myself a solid recreational racer that just loves to ride bikes. My body has taken a battering the past twelve months and I'm struggling just to stay healthy enough to ride period right now. The "next level" has become the next ride for me, and I'm thankful for everytime I get on the bike whether to ride solo, with my good riding buddies or to get flogged in a race. I'm going to be 52 in a month, there is no next level for me, there is just another ride, always. That said, I see your points. Just be happy you can ride, and ride at the level that has all of your bros ringing the living crap out of cowbells when you come by.....I've always said I ride for those who can not, who wish they could, for the people who wish they could climb out of sickness or doom and jump on a bike for a few hours, think of what their next level must be eh? I say we all ride for those who want to but can' me 1000 riders and I'll show you 1000 different reasons why we ride, let's ride because we can.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElgee

Elgee, I really liked your comments. I too have been struggling with injury, and wasting a lot of energy getting pissed about not being able to ride, and then when I do, being "too slow" for anyone to want to ride with me. But you are absolutely right that getting on the bike, on any level, is a blessing. An experience never to be taken for granted.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarty

L to the G: Actually, you got the theme of my post. All of what you say is true and you've read my rants for a long long time....talking of the sheer luck and blessing we have to even throw a leg over the steed and pin a number on. This said, the core of this 'doubt' I speak of is (for me) omni-motivating in so many ways. It keeps me coming back in not necessarily a Quixotic way as it is the guy who continually get's smashed in the face but stands back up. Some who don't challenge themselves would look at that and simply say: "Look at the ass getting smashed in the face. Mo fo should just sit down." It's just their DNA to respond like that. Guys like me and you, we just get it on. It is what it is. But that doubt, for me, is the urgency. It is the juice.

August 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterGreg Keller


I'm going to be so in your face next time I see you race "doubt" will leave your vocabulary for good....don't think I'll ever forget you in my face in KC last year, it made my freekin day, and I was HURTIN! The purest of hells is just around the bend, and we will be alive.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElgee

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