Unleash The Confidence Within You!
I started working out as a necessity. For the better part of six months, I was in chronic pain. I saw a multitude of specialists, all of which had zero clue what was wrong with me on why I was experiencing this lower back, knee, and foot pain. What was common amongst the three of the bunch of doctors was this: You have to start an exercise program. Little would I know the positive effect it would have on my confidence.
Internally, I rallied against this idea for weeks. I thought it was preposterous, asking someone who was in pain to go exercise so that he can experience even more pain. The third doctor to suggest starting an exercise program was a chiropractor friend I had first met socially before going to see him as a patient. After he adjusted me, the pain went down by almost half. Just like that, he built up an incredible amount of credence with me. And this was from a guy who thought chiropractic care was just a bunch of fluff!
So, I resolved shortly thereafter to start a workout program. Sure enough, the first week at the gym were pure hell. I would start sweating profusely after only a few minutes on the elliptical while the person next to me was going at it for 30 minutes, hardly breaking a sweat. In fact, I remembered at one point the pain was worse than the chronic back pain I had been experiencing. One phrase echoed through my mind from my chiropractor friend: Sometimes things get worse before they get better.
And sure enough, after two weeks of consistently going 3 times a week, I actually started to feel better! Some 3 years later, I still go to the gym on a regular basis, as it is necessary to help with pain management.
And that’s what I want to talk about today, the things I learned from my years at the gym.
- You learn what really deciding means.
You have to decide, really decide that you want something badly before you can make it happen. My decision to start working out was rooted in selfishness. I was tired of being in pain and wanted to feel better. When I really decided, I knew. I felt it in my guts. When you make a decision and really feel it to your core, then you know it will happen.
- You build a better self-image and a more defined internal compass.
Confidence is basically being sure of yourself. It also means caring little, if any, what the other person thinks. After all, the prospect of losing one’s health is humbling.
I started weight lifting with nothing. I was out of shape and in pain. My goal was simple: I was slowly building up my core, as I had been instructed by trainers. So, when I approached a fixed weight machine, there would not be a single weight on the machine. I was concerned with getting my form correctly first. Of course, I did think about how funny it would look to someone who saw me, lifting weights with no weights. But I didn’t care.
If someone wanted to be mean and laugh at me, then I felt sorry for them for being so cruel. I also knew what I was working towards: a healthy, stronger me. That also meant starting from the bottom and working my way up. I learned to go at my own pace and live my own life. I started to develop my own internal compass, realizing that what other people thought only mattered to them and them alone.
I do admit that when you first start out, it is rather intimidating to lift with more muscular gym-goers. You learn over time that it does not matter where they are. It only matters where you are. You also learn that most of them are just softies at heart. I remember how intimidating it was to ask someone in much better shape than I was if they were done with the machine. So, working out teaches you to deal with people who are seemingly more confident, in the process helping you to gain that confidence in dealing with different types of people.
Remember that soon you will become that muscular, super-fit, confident person that someone else just starting out might find a little too intimidating to talk to. Be friendly and remember where you came from, just like those before you.
- You learn gratitude.
Good health is a gift. The prospect of losing one’s health is daunting. Everyone who’s ever been here will realize this and do what’s necessary to protect this gift.
Every day that I am without pain or very little of it, I am thankful. Every time I go to the gym and feel the soreness afterwards, I am thankful for a wonderful workout and productive time well spent. With gratitude for good health comes action to protect this health. This meant going 3 times a week, 52 weeks a year.
Just as important when I first started working out was practicing gratitude as if I was already in excellent shape and feeling good.
Did you get that? Practicing gratitude for the things you do not have but want is just as important as practicing for the things you already have. Gratitude reframes your mind and puts you in a different reference point: you come from the place where you want that something. This changes your perception of the situation. It helps you to start seeing how to work towards getting it.
- You learn discipline and visualization.
Really deciding, then following through for at least for a month teaches you a lot about discipline. In general it takes about a month of consistent action in order to turn a new routine into a habit. I applied the same principle when I started keeping a gratitude list. Every day, I’d sit down for 5 minutes and write down 3 to 5 things for which I am grateful. I do this 3 times a day. I have found it better to have 3 sittings throughout the day rather than one long session, as it allows me to break away from what I am doing. Multiple sessions also help reframe my mind should something negative happened to me later in the day.
Being grateful also reminds me to visualize what I really want out of life. Just simply taking 5 minutes to write down those things for which I am grateful also gets me thinking about the future and where I want to be.
The combination of practicing gratitude and visualization makes you more self-assured and motivates you to take daily action towards building the life that you want.
- Move slowly, deliberately, and appear more powerful.
There’s a practical reason why muscular people move slower: Lifting correctly often means going more slowly, as the person consciously contracts and relaxes those muscles that he is exercising. Moving more slowly also decreases the likelihood of injury, especially with more weight. One turn the wrong way could mean a painful injury lasting for weeks.
Now, think of a person who moves quickly. He likely appears more impulsive and less sure of himself. The general perception is that he doesn’t have his life together, so he has to move fast in order to get things done. Or, think of someone that tries to go too fast and ends up redoing it several times as a result of mistakes.
Contrast that to someone who moves more slowly. You likely perceive this person as having more confidence and a better internal compass. He is consciously and deliberately making each motion, because each motion is performed out of rhyme and reason rather than impulse and impetuous. He also likely gets it right the first time.
Of course, there is something very rewarding about being able to lift heavy things in the course of everyday life without breaking a sweat and doing it with ease. Being in shape also helps your body become more resistant to disease and to recover faster.
Working out has many benefits towards building your confidence. First, it teaches you the importance of making a decision and what really deciding is. It helps you to build a more positive self-image and an internal compass. You learn gratitude, discipline, and visualization. Finally, you learn to move more slowly, which makes you appear more confident and self-assured.
Change your thoughts, and you will change your life! By becoming aware of and changing the paradigms, mindsets, and inset beliefs that have been dictating your life, you will be able to take yourself to new heights. You will be able to start chasing after what you really want, instead of what you don’t want. As a side-effect of your personal growth, your confidence and successes increase. I hope you enjoyed this article, and I invite you to claim your blueprint on increasing confidence and success. Wishing you greater success and confidence! Benson Wong