Successful People who Suffered from Self-Doubt

We live in the world of immensely successful people and those who are working their way up to success one step at a time. For those who have to start from the bottom, hope is not lost. Even the most successful leaders, artists and writers have had a momentary lapse in their abilities.

If you’ve ever had a moment of self-doubt where your thoughts and insecurities begin to take hold, altering your ability to succeed at your goals, just know that you’re not alone.

In all actuality, these famous names have come a far way past their insecurities to being recognized by millions of people. And to think that they were once deterred about their lack of ability.


You know about this famous artist who graced the Sistine Chapel with his brilliant depictions. We often think that a person who is capable of creating such a breath-taking masterpiece was born with confidence running through his veins, but it isn’t so. Michelangelo was a skilled artisan crafting his pieces from marble. He was a renown sculpture, not a painter. At first, he refused to take on the task. However, Pope Julius II convinced the artist to paint the chapel, and there it stands, years later as one of the most prestigious pieces of artwork on earth.

George Washington

Our very first president of the United States was not an unwavering and grand leader. In fact, before he was inaugurated, Washington stated in a letter to the Supreme Court Chief of Justice John Rutledge, that he greatly apprehends the power that his countrymen wished to grant him. He was afraid that the same amount of praise and encouragement being dealt towards him could also come with the same amount of repercussion if he were to fail. This uncertainty was brushed aside with due time, and he is remembered today as being a highly revered founding father of a great country.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Another famous artist graces the list, Da Vinci granted the world the famous “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper”. It was said that Da Vinci lacked much confidence in his work and would often have periods of procrastination and self-esteem issues. He was very tough on himself and recorded in his diary, “Tell me if I ever did a thing”. For a person with so that amount of self-doubt, he sure went on to be one of the most recognized names in the world.

John E. Steinbeck, Jr.

Steinbeck brought us books such as The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. His literature genius won him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Steinbeck recorded in a journal entry that he is “not a writer” and he has “been fooling others and himself”. He also stated, while working on The Grapes of Wrath, “I am assailed by my own ignorance and inability…Sometimes, I seem to do a little piece of work, but when it is done it slides into mediocrity.” For a person who describes himself as not being a writer, Steinbeck’s work is still being recognized as an intriguing portrayal of human nature and