It seems that we sometimes create obstacles for ourselves, making some things far more difficult than they really are. For some reason we just decide that it’s impossible, and whenever we have to deal with the matter in question we suffer. In reality those obstacles might be tiny, though.
One of my exams last term consisted of analyzing a law proposal concerning the security of vital societal functions against a certain type of threats. The task seemed never-ending: first I had to read about 250 pages written in juridical (Swedish) jargon, then try to apply supersoft decision theory to analyze and evaluate the proposition.
The topic was interesting, but it also scared me. The initial thoughts that came to my mind were “I don’t know anything about law, how will I be able to evaluate anything?” and “OMG, I’ve never written anything academic in Swedish, this is going to be a disaster”. During the process I really started doubting my own intelligence, thinking that it might be a far better idea to start looking for a job at the local supermarket.
But guess what? I passed, and I even got a good mark. For me it really was an achievement, because I managed to prove to myself that my brain isn’t as underdeveloped as I sometimes think it is, and that I also have what it takes to analyze and estimate laws and other types of decisions. There is room for improvement (there always is) but I’m not a totally lost case.