Self-confidence

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.

Self confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling scared out of your wits. Your perception of yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. Perception is reality the more self-confidence you have, the more likely it is you’ll succeed.

Self-confidence is an attitude which allows individuals to have positive yet realistic views of themselves and their situations. Self-confident people trust their own abilities, have a general sense of control in their lives, and believe that, within reason, they will be able to do what they wish, plan, and expect. Having self-confidence does not mean that individuals will be able to do everything. Self-confident people have expectations that are realistic. Even when some of their expectations are not met, they continue to be positive and to accept themselves.

People who are not self-confident depend excessively on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. They tend to avoid taking risks because they fear failure. They generally do not expect to be successful. They often put themselves down and tend to discountenance or ignore compliments paid to them. By contrast, self-confident people are willing to risk the disapproval of others because they generally trust their own abilities. They tend to accept themselves; they don’t feel they have to conform in order to be accepted.

Self-confidence is not necessarily a general characteristic which pervades all aspects of a person’s life. Typically, individuals will have some areas of their lives where they feel quite confident. E.g., academics, athletics, while at the same time they do not feel at all confident in other areas, e.g., personal appearance, social relationships etc.

Although many of the factors affecting self-confidence are beyond your control, there are a number of things you can consciously do to build self confidence. But those things don’t come to limelight overnight; it requires a consistent and assiduous deployment of belief in ourselves.

Confidence is the courage you mutter in yourself that you can do anything defying whatever factor that may militate against you and at times you may have to defy logic. Sitting down to analyze some things in life seems a waste of time. And most of the things human beings sit down to analyze are the things of life we don’t want to attend to. Even if we want to do them, we consciously or inadvertently shift our gaze to the factors that may impair it. When our focus is rooted behind the negativities of life, our confidence begins to wane. Self-confidence’s internally-generated, not externally influenced. And self-confidence is not an equivalence of pride. Self-confidence is quiet, gentle and unassuming. Another difference between confidence and pride is that confidence lets one quietly go ahead and take care of tasks at hand, whereas pride demands that others notice the ability. The line that distinguishes pride and confidence is often indistinguishable.

From the outside, looking in, it is like trying to find a fishing line in mid-air. You know it is there, but unless you find yourself tangled up in it, it is a line that is not visible to the naked eye. A line that, if you don’t stand in the right spot, you will find yourself hooked by.

To see the fishing line, you need a piece of contrasting material. Hold up a black t-shirt to the line, and it instantly stands out. Take the t-shirt away, and the line seems to go with it.

It is incredibly easy to slide from confidence into pride; it is to slide from a healthy view of self to an unhealthy perspective of your gifts and abilities. In fact, if you are not careful, you won’t even realize you’ve made the transition. It takes intentionally holding up a contrasting material for you to see this invisible line.

Know this: if the line disappears, you’re in trouble. If you can’t tell when you’re moving into pride, your leadership will be damaged. You will make poor decisions. You’ll destroy relationships. And you’ll leave a pathway of destruction that will take years to rebuild.

Looking at pride and confidence contrasting each other can be the mirror we use to tell this important distinction.

5 TRUTHS ABOUT PRIDE

– The proud person never says he’s wrong, doesn’t accept input, but goes at everything alone.

– He makes decisions in a vacuum.

– Bristles when taking advice/correction.

-Doesn’t take others into account.

– Craves public and/or private recognition for the works he has done.

6 TRUTHS ABOUT CONFIDENCE

The confident person

– Measures his choices and actions with wisdom.

– Weighs input from others, and moves towards the truth.

– Doesn’t proceed through selfish ambitions.

– Realizes he can’t do it alone.

– Knows who he is, and who he isn’t. He’s confident where God has gifted him.

– Works to build others up.

By using these 10 strategies you can get the mental edge you need to reach your potential.

BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE

1. Dress Sharp

Although clothes don’t make the man, they certainly affect the way he feels about himself. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don’t look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. Use this to your advantage by taking care of your personal appearance. In most cases, significant improvements can be made by bathing and shaving frequently, wearing clean clothes, and being cognizant of the latest styles.

This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot on clothes. One great rule to follow is “spend twice as much, buy half as much”. Rather than buying a bunch of cheap clothes, buy half as many select, high quality items. In the long run this decreases spending because expensive clothes wear out less easily and stay in style longer than cheap clothes. Buying less also helps reduce the clutter in your closet.

2. Walk Faster

One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about herself is to examine her walk. Is it slow? Tired? Painful? Or is it energetic and purposeful? People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren’t in a hurry, you can increase your self-confidence by putting some pep in your step. Walking 25% faster will make you look and feel more important.

3. Good Posture

Similarly, the way a person carries herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self-confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they’re doing and they don’t consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you will automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You will make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered.

4. Personal Commercial

One of the best ways to build confidence is listening to a motivational speech. Unfortunately, opportunities to listen to a great speaker are few and far between. You can fill this need by creating a personal commercial. Write a 30-60 second speech that highlights your strengths and goals. Then recite it in front of the mirror aloud (or inside your head if you prefer) whenever you need a confidence boost.

5. Gratitude

When you focus too much on what you want, the mind creates reasons why you can’t have it. This leads you to dwell on your weaknesses. The best way to avoid this is consciously focusing on gratitude. Set aside time each day to mentally list everything you have to be grateful for. Recall your past successes, unique skills, loving relationships, and positive momentum. You will be amazed how much you have going for you and motivated to take that next step towards success.

6. Compliment other people

When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to compliment those around you. In the process, you will become well liked and build self-confidence. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.

7. Sit in the front row

In schools, offices, and public assemblies around the world, people constantly strive to sit at the back of the room. Most people prefer the back because they’re afraid of being noticed. This reflects a lack of self-confidence. By deciding to sit in the front row, you can get over this irrational fear and build your self-confidence. You will also be more visible to the important people talking from the front of the room.

Here’s why you need to strive for the front row whether in a lecture room or in a conference room in contrast to sitting at the back:

1. You’re less distracted.

2. Less likely to fall asleep in front of the moderator

3. You might be more likely to engage or ask questions

4. You’re in front so you don’t have to squint to see something.

Sitting in the back, this is what happens:

1. You see a bunch of people on their laptops (I see people playing games, some on Facebook, some chatting, etc). It gets distracting.

2. You’re more likely to talk to your friends and joke around.

3. You can’t always see the board.

4. Your mind “easily” drifts to other things.

8. Speak up

During group discussions many people never speak up because they are afraid that people will judge them for saying something stupid. This fear is not really justified. Generally, people are much more accepting than we imagine. In fact most people are dealing with the exact same fears. By making an effort to speak up at least once in every group discussion, you will become a better public speaker, more confident in your own thoughts, and recognized as a leader by your peers.

9. Work out

Along the same lines as personal appearance, physical fitness has a huge effect on self-confidence. If you are out of shape, you will feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. By working out, you improve your physical appearance, energize yourself, and accomplish something positive. Having the discipline to work out not only makes you feel better, it creates positive momentum that you can build on the rest of the day.

10. Focus on contribution

Too often we get caught up in our own desires. We focus too much on ourselves and not enough on the needs of other people. If you stop thinking about yourself and concentrate on the contribution you are making to the rest of the world, you won’t worry as much about your own flaws. This will increase self-confidence and allows you to contribute with maximum efficiency. The more you contribute to the world, the more you will be rewarded with personal success and recognition.

Author: Olajide Oluwafemi