Whatever you are trying to achieve in life, having a high level of confidence will surely make your journey easier. Confidence is a crucial character trait that you must adopt into your own personality if you want to succeed in life.
When we feel confident, we are likely to pursue new opportunities, which will lead to even more opportunities in the future. Whenever we fail at something, it is our confidence that gets us back up to try again! This skill to be able to cope with setbacks will set you apart from the rest of the world. If you can be a confident person, you will be a successful person!
Often times it is hard to come across content that will go in-depth on ways that we can use to increase our self-esteem. I hope to be able to give a little bit more detailed explanation of some ways that I have found to be incredibly useful in gaining more confidence. Let’s get right into it!
1. Give Yourself A Break For Making Mistakes
We are all humans, and are therefore prone to make mistakes. We all make them, and making a mistake often times are just a learning experience for us, but it has been pushed on us since childhood that mistakes are bad. Children all the time get some kind of punishment for making mistakes. It has been drilled into us so much that we now go hard on ourselves for making mistakes, and this just isn’t right.
Often times we are our own harshest critic. When we see another person mess up, we are quick to come to their aid and tell them “it doesn’t matter” or “don’t worry about it”. But if we were to mess up in the same way, we wouldn’t be anywhere near so lenient on ourselves.
This self-depreciating behaviour has a more negative effect than the criticism of others! Studies have found a clear link between this kind of negative self-talk and lack of confidence levels.
So what are some ways that we can use to stop being so hard on ourselves and become more lenient when making mistakes?
Don’t compare yourself to others
When we make mistakes, we tend to think of people who were in the same situation as us, but did not mess up. Often times things like “I wish I was more like her/him” is what we think. You have to understand that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses in life. On top of that, we are all in different stages of our life, so there is no reason to compare yourself with another person.
You are you, there is no way around it. Simply accept who you are and move on. Do not waste your time and energy comparing yourself to others, because what do you hope to achieve doing that anyways? It is better to spend that time and energy getting better at whatever you just messed up!
Understand the importance of failure
Failure plays a crucial role in the life of anyone that wants to become successful in life. It is the ladder we all have to climb to reach our lifetime goals. Many of us are scared to fail, but it is a necessary step to succeed! Society often unfairly judges us for failing. No one wants to be called a failure!
Did you know that Walt Disney was fired from his job because he ‘lacked creativity’? Society would deem him a failure, yet he turned out to become the most successful animator of our times! If you find yourself failing a lot in life, then you are on the right track. Sooner or later you will succeed in whatever you are working towards, I can promise you that!
Surround yourself by people who want the best for you
Being too hard on ourselves can oftentimes be very visible, especially in the moment when we have realized we made a mistake. If you surround yourself with a positive crowd of people, they will surely notice this, and try their best to care for you.
If they truly want what’s best for you, they will be supportive. Now I don’t mean that they will tell you niceties such as “it will be alright”, or “I do the same thing all the time”. I mean that they will sit down with you and try to analyze the situation. If you have been slacking on your work and that’s why you failed an exam, your most supportive friends should call you out on that! If your mess up was for a reason outside of your control, they should try and help you get back on top.
Remember that actions speak louder than words!
2. Stop Dreaming And Get To Work
What exactly does confidence stem from? Most of our confidence comes from being comfortable with whatever it is we are doing. Your first time in the gym will be a scary one. But if you have been going for the past 4 months, you won’t think much of it. Are you scared talking to new people? If you go up to random people at parties every week, do you think you will still be scared in 4 months time? Most likely you will not.
Confidence comes from the fact that we know we are capable of doing what is expected of us. So many people will just dream about the day they ask out their crush, or that they will take up the courage to join the sports team. Stop dreaming and get to work. Go and ask out your crush, go and join that sports team.
In 4 months time you will feel very confident in your ability to play that sport. You gain an immense confidence booster, because you have proven to yourself that you are capable of doing challenging things.
3. Face Your Fears
We all have fears and we are all scared of something. A personal example I can give would be giving a presentation or speech in front of a large audience. So having a natural fear of presenting in front of big crowds, I lacked a lot of confidence during presentations in school.
This fear however, was holding me back, and I wanted to change it. So I took a course on presentation skills, and I was able to conquer my fear of giving a presentation. My more recent experiences of giving presentations and talks have been very positive. I have proven to my self that I am capable of doing something that I feared.
This has given me an incredible confidence boost, since I know I have the strength within me to conquer any fear that might arise in my life. So exposing yourself to your fear is a great way to face your fears, but there are many others. Lets talk about a few more ways you can face your fears!
Look at the future
As I mentioned above, we are all afraid of something in life. This can be asking out your crush, going to join a sports team or even having a difficult conversation with a loved one. One great tactic is to look at the future using 2 scenarios. Where would you be in a years time if you did what you are scared to do, and where would you be if you gave into your fears.
More often than not, the future where you did do what you feared will be nicer! This way of reasoning can be a great way to gain some confidence for those difficult life moments!
There is no need for perfection
When I gave the example of my fear of presenting in front of a large crowd, a lot of that had to do with my need to give a perfect presentation. When you set such high expectation for yourself, in combination of being scared of something, you are setting yourself up for disaster.
One of the first things I learned is that as long as you are confident in your presentation, just go and deliver it. Do not worry how you come across, just focus on the content. Once I was able to feel confident with the content I was presenting, then and only then could I begin to work on myself as a presenter.
Just try and get better with time, there is no need to give a perfect first performance!
Give it time
If there is one thing that is very challenging to accomplish, it is overcoming your fears. No difficult achievement is made in a short amount of time. You have to give yourself time and work on yourself. If you are putting in focused effort, you will overcome those fears.
My presentation skills classes took over 6 months. It took me half a year to truly overcome that fear. Give it time, don’t give up, and you will get there. I can promise you that!
4. Set Small Goals
Setting goals is a major confidence booster. It is undeniable that finishing goals makes you feel great. Just think back to that time when you finished your last workout, you felt great! When we tasks ourselves to doing something, completing it gives us an endorphin rush. So how can we maximise the things we accomplish each day? Because there are only so many hours in a day.
Well one of the best ways to do so is to break your small goals down even further. I’ll show you what I mean with a small example.
Instead of setting a goal to go to the gym today, we can set successive goals. You can structure it like this:
- 1. Put on my gym clothes
- 2. Pack all the stuff I need
- 3. Get to the gym
- 4. Now start your workout
Even small goals such as going for a workout can seem quite daunting, especially if we feel uncomfortable there or are just tired after a long day. Breaking them down will not only make it easier to complete them, and therefore have a workout, they will also give us a confidence boost throughout the day!
Gaining confidence can be easier said than done. Some methods simply work better than others depending on what type of person you are. If you are a very rational person, point 2 might be of much use to you. If you are more emotional, then make sure you understand and take care of the first point!
All in all if you put in some time and effort at trying to get better, you will make it. I wish you all the best on your journey to become more confident, and I hope this article was able to play some part in your success story!