eric kim melbourne benjamin thompson

How to Believe in Yourself

eric kim melbourne benjamin thompson
Portrait by Benjamin Thompson // Leica MP + Henri Neck Strap + SF 24D flash + Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH lens

Self-doubt and not believing in yourself… is what holds you back. How can you overcome self-doubt, and begin to believe in yourself?

Some personal ideas.

There is no “objectivity” in life.


The problem of modern society: we try to “objectivity” everything. We add numbers and “quantity” everything. For example, we value our self-worth through social media likes and followers. We value ourselves through “objective” measures like how much money we have.

This is all wrong. There is no “objectivity” in the world in terms of success.

The first day to conquer self-doubt, STOP QUANTIFYING YOURSELF WITH NUMBERS.

Things which I did, which gave me more confidence in myself:

  1. Delete my Instagram: No more worrying about what others think of my pictures. Now, I only judge my own photos for myself, by myself.
  2. Disable statistics on my blog: I don’t have statistics on my blog. I don’t know how many page views I get, or my visitor numbers. This gives me MORE CONFIDENCE to just fuck around, and experiment. Why? I’m not chasing page views. If I wanted to maximize my page views, I would only do camera reviews.
  3. Don’t ask others for their opinion before making something:If I have self-confidence in myself, and my own personal progress… why should I ask others for their opinion on my ideas? My new technique:I come up with an idea, I execute it, then I ask for feedback on my prototype or created product.
  4. I rarely look at my bank account, I try to hide it whenever possible. This prevents myself from outsourcing my self-esteem or self-confidence to how much money I have. Funny enough, the less I care about how much money I make, and the less I check my Paypal and bank account, the more money I make.

No blaming anybody else.

I want you to piss away money on gear

Also, you gotta just change how you think.

Rather than blaming your equipment for your photography skills, ONLY BLAME YOURSELF. If you couldn’t blame your (shitty) camera, isn’t that liberating? For me, I am PROUD that I make good photos with a $600 RICOH GR II Camera… it shows my own personal skills. It helps build my confidence, to know I don’t need fancy gear to make good art.

Don’t be politically correct, and don’t censor yourself


I’m a liberal and left leaning. Yet, I hate PC (political correct culture).

I’m gonna say what I think. And it’s just my opinion. People have the power to ignore, block, or unfollow me.

So why should I let some “political correctness police” become a tyrant to me?

I was first intimidated early on, to NOT curse online. Why? It’s bad for the children. But, I want to write how I talk in real life (I curse in real life). To me, that feels more authentic. And yes, I do curse in front of my mom too.

So friend, FUCK political correctness if you want to have more confidence in yourself. Analyze the world from your own two eyes.

Of course, listen to what others say… but it is YOUR CHOICE how YOU want to think and live your life.

Whenever people tell you stuff, just see it as a suggestion. It’s your power whether to act upon their suggestion, ignore it, or perhaps interpret it a different way.

Don’t watch the news

The news will make you afraid, weak, and scared.

Fuck the news. It’s all programmed to confuse and scare you.

It’s all doom and gloom.

The left liberals and the right conservatives are both flawed. The conspiracy theorists are a bit annoying too (although a lot of them are actually more sane than the “intellectual yet idiots” (as Nassim Taleb calls them).

The news tries to scare you about political and economic instability, to get you to buy crypto currency. And of course, there’s ALWAYS a hidden vested interest, or incentive somewhere.

I’ve recently started to read the news again, and I feel sick. It feels like a bad stomach ache and nausea. It’s all pessimistic bullshit.

I’m an optimist. I don’t need no negative energy to fuck up my vibe. I want to preach positive messages of hope, strength, and the will to overcome.

For example, even though the world may seem like a fucked up place, we have the MOST TOLERANT and the MOST OPPORTUNITIES out of every era. We have free access to the internet, great camera phones, free unlimited storage, and the sum of all of human knowledge accessible to us. And yet we still complain… about what?

No free games, no free entertainment, no free information

KRUGER x KIM” width=”800″ height=”800″ class=”size-medium wp-image-62997″ /> I BUY THEREFORE I AM. KRUGER x KIM

Okay, I am anti advertising (even though of course, I’m advertising and selling myself out all the time).

Perhaps a better idea:

Be more skeptical.

I’m 100% skeptical of 99.99% of information on the internet, especially if it is sponsored by advertising. Why? Anybody trying to give you something for “free” always something in return. Yes, that includes me… don’t trust any bloggers, ESPECIALLY ERIC KIM.

Everyone has a hidden agenda.

If you play Clash of Clans, Dota, League of Legends, or any of those games … you’re being advertised to. You’re getting trapped in a system to buy more “in game purchases.” Your key strokes, and actions are being recorded. And that data is being sold to… you guessed it… advertising companies.


I love Google but I also hate the direction they’re going. Even on Google Chrome now… a new tab on mobile will show “suggested stories” that I cannot disable. I uninstalled Google Chrome from my devices as a result. What’s wrong with these “suggested pieces of content?” It fucks up my flow and focus, and distracts me… to keep visiting more blogs (with Google AdSense advertisements) to hopefully have more people click on ads.

Anyways sorry I’m getting distracted… the problem with free games, free entertainment, and free information is this:

You become so addicted to the free… whatever… that you just become a passive cow.

If you want to believe in yourself, you CANNOT be constantly bombarded by stimuli.

For example, how can you believe in yourself to make more art, to make more pictures, or start your own business, if you’re made distracted and passive by smartphone games? Or just watching Netflix or HBO shows? Or just responding to emails, or checking your social media streams?

The best way to be happier is to CREATE MORE. And the less external stimuli which assaults your creative senses, the more inspiration and motivation you will have to take control of your own life, and BUILD!

Spend more time alone.

red-dark-skies-over-tokyo-silhouette-suit-2012-leica m9-21mm-eric kim street photograpy - black and white - Monochrome-4 copy

Okay I’m guilty of this…always wanting to be around other people.

The problem of spending too much time with other people is that you don’t have enough time to reflect, and think for yourself.

You enter an ideological echo chamber.

Of course you and all your close friends, family, etc have the same … or similar beliefs. Perhaps religious, social, or economic beliefs.

cross eric kim red

It is hard to be a “free thinker” or a “free spirit” to have faith in your own convictions and ideas, if you’re always listening to the ideas, thoughts, and opinions of others.

To have more faith in yourself, don’t always pack your schedule meeting friends, going on social outings, or going to the bar. Spend more time alone… eat dinner by yourself at a restaurant and write, meditate, and think. Go to the gym alone, and do deadlifts, squats, and use that time to think. During your commute, don’t alsays listen to music or podcasts. Rather, use that time to think, reflect, and come up with your own ideas.

Don’t be afraid of upsetting other people

eric kim americans bikini red

The biggest thing that held me back… wanting everybody to like me.

But fuck that, I’m gonna “do me” now. If someone disagrees with me, or hates me… so be it.

How can you believe in yourself, make a stsnds, share your art and opinions, if you are too afraid and paralyzed by wanting to please everybody? If you try to please everybody, you please nobody. Certainly not yourself.

Don’t talk, BUILD!

laszlo maholy nagy
Laszlo Maholy-Nagy x KIM

It is easy to talk. It is hard to build.

As an artist, you are a builder and creator.

Rather than talking about your ideas, BUILD THEM INTO REALITY.

Have a spirit of play and experimentation.

For example, I’ve been curious what it would be like to shoot pictures on an iPad. So I experimented, and just tried it out. And I had fun. I then “built” and created a blog post with my experiences and published it.

Cover for upcoming CREATIVE EVERYDAY book by HAPTICPRESS
Cover for upcoming CREATIVE EVERYDAY book by HAPTICPRESS

I wanted to learn more about art in general, so I didn’t just talk with other artists… I started to trace artists I liked, like Picasso, Avedon, and Dali.

The homework assignment is this: If you have an idea, don’t talk about it. JUST DO IT.

Or in photography, less theory… more shooting. JUST SHOOT IT.


My sister Annette Kim. Google Nexus 6P, HDR + Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

To believe in yourself, also join a positive, empowering community. Join ERIC KIM FORUM for other optimists.

Also to conquer your fears and meet new peers, join ERIC KIM EXPERIENCE.


You’re stronger than you think.



eric kim portrait by cindy

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