Sometimes, you just can’t bring yourself to do it.
- You want to start writing, but don’t think you’re good enough
- You want to talk to that girl or guy, but feel you won’t know what to say
- You want more success, but believe achievement is only for others, not you
Part of the problem? You probably need more confidence.
- If you were confident in your ability to write, you’d probably start
- If you were confident in your social skills, you’d talk to him or her now
- If you were confident in your ability to accomplish goals, you’d begin that new project
And really, building confidence in any area of life is simple.
Now notice…I said simple, NOT easy.
I think where many people mess up building confidence is they get that backwards. I know I did. I once believed building confidence was complicated and mysterious, but that once I learned the “secret” process to get it, self-assurance would come quickly and easily.
That’s not how it works. And there is no secret process for instant confidence, at least not in my experience. Not for the kind of confidence that lasts, anyway.
But I’ve found there is a simple formula for building confidence over time. It’s this:
Confidence = Courage + (Proper Knowledge + Proper Thinking)
Let’s look into each of these in more detail.
Confidence = Knowing You Can Do Something
That’s it; that’s all.
And “knowing” you can do something is NOT about visualizing it or willing it to be so. It’s simply about practicing something until you’ve proven to yourself you can do it.
- Once you’ve written several blog posts or stories, received feedback, adjusted and improved, THEN you’ll trust your writing ability
- Once you’ve talked to more strangers and experienced most people as receptive, THEN you’ll feel confident in your social skills
- Once you’ve begun to reach for your goals and make progress, THEN you’ll believe in your ability to succeed
If you take one thing from these examples, I hope it’s this:
Building confidence takes time.
That’s why you can’t just chant in the moment, “I’m confident, I’m confident” hoping a warm feeling of strength, ability and charm will somehow possess your body like at a cocktail party in Beetlejuice.
You can’t conjure confidence; you have to earn it.
+ Courage to Take Action
To earn confidence you must take action, no matter your current level of ability in the area you lack confidence.
But taking action in an area where you lack confidence is a Catch 22. You fear doing the thing because you need confidence, yet you have to do it to gain confidence.
That’s where courage comes in.
- Courage helps you write that first story and submit it, knowing it might be rejected
- Courage helps you approach that cute girl, knowing she may be put off by your nervousness
- Courage helps you tick off steps to your goal, knowing you’ll makes mistakes along the way
It takes guts to face your weaknesses in anything, because you’re likely to fail and make mistakes.
But by having bravery to slug through, you’ll gain real-life experience and feedback that will allow you to improve. And improvement leads to confidence.
Bonus Tip: Just remember, having courage is easier when you start small and take baby steps.
+ Proper Knowledge to Save Time
Taking action is essential to building confidence, but having an idea what you’re doing helps too.
Think about it:
- If you have horrible grammar, it’ll take longer to get your writing accepted
- If you don’t know basic conversation skills, you’ll fumble for words a lot more
- If you’re clueless about setting goals, you’re more likely to set yourself up to fail
That’s why having a road-map and proven methods can help you avoid a lot of failure and crippling self-doubt. Both of which can quickly sap your confidence and make you want to give up.
So be sure to seek the advice of someone who’s been where you’re headed. It’ll save you valuable time by pointing you in a direction more likely to end in success.
+ Proper Thinking to Stay Positive
Sometimes, even when you begin to see success in the area you lack confidence, your mind plays tricks on you.
- You write a popular blog post but think, “Ah, I just got lucky.”
- You hit it off with someone new but say to yourself, “That was just a fluke.”
- You complete a small task that’s part of a bigger goal but moan, “I’ll never get there.”
So you filter out the good and only see the negative. You discount your progress because a limiting belief inside you says, “you’ll always fail in the end.”
Or maybe you don’t see success as quickly as you’d like, and your inner critic starts chanting, “Everyone else can do it; why can’t I? Something must be wrong with me.”
As human beings, we ALL tend to filter and think in black or white terms like this and it’s almost always damaging to our confidence. It can cause you to give up before you’ve given yourself a chance to gain any momentum.
So try to be aware of the negative and irrational thoughts that tear you down from the inside out. By acknowledging your achievements, no matter how small, and by thinking more rationally, you keep yourself positive and motivated.
Building Confidence is Not Magic, It’s Simple Addition
So remember, it IS possible to feel more confident in any area of your life. But please don’t think of it as a magic or mysterious process.
Think of it as math.
You gain confidence in any area by:
- ADDING informative experience through being courageous
- ADDING time-saving leverage by gaining more knowledge
- ADDING positive perspective by thinking rationally
But one way to build an overall confidence in your life is to become more comfortable around people in general. In fact, Dean J is a once-shy guy who now teaches people simple tips on how to improve conversation skills and self-confidence. Click here to watch his free videos on how to be more confident and have more to say in conversations. You can also find Dean on Google+.