Confidence is one of the most important skills you can learn!
Contrary to what you might think, confidence is not something that you either have or don’t have. You’re not born as either confident or not confident without any ability to change. Confidence is something that you can truly build if you desire to do so, but most people have a backward view of it.
Read the first sentence again:
The words are carefully chosen…
Because the truth is that you can learn to be more confident, you can build confidence steady by working on it. The other important thing to note is that confidence is a skill, it is not a character trait, it is not a characteristic. It’s a skill and like every other skill, it can be learned!
In this post, I’m going to cover
Forget the confidence “hacks”.
While they can work pretty well in certain situations (here’s a confidence hack I use myself), they don’t help in raising your confidence permanently. The permanent answer to “how do I increase my confidence?” is even more simple than any hacks, but it’s something that will take time and consistent effort.
The Misconception on Building Confidence
Here’s the main problem that I see people having on a daily basis.
They are aware of the fact that they don’t have a lot of confidence, which is a great first step. However, when they ask for help, it goes something like: “I don’t have much confidence, so how can I gain the confidence I need to go and do XYZ?”
And that’s the issue.
It’s what I call the Confidence Paradox (link to YouTube if the video below doesn’t load).
What’s wrong with this line of thinking?
The order is reversed!
To use an analogy:
Saying you need more confidence before you can do something is like saying you need to get in great shape before you’re going to the gym! Think about that for a second. How would you justify to your friends that you don’t go to the gym because you don’t have enough muscles?
You can’t! It’s just plain stupid.
With going to the gym it’s obvious. You need to go to the gym first and doing that is how to gain more muscle. So if you tried to use the reasoning in the paragraph above, people would call you crazy. It just not how working out and building muscles works.
However, with confidence it’s not as obvious.
When you present the same arguement when it comes to confidence, it makes sense to many people. It seems like a logical thing and so you believe it yourself as well. However, in reality you’re still doing exactly the same as not working out because you lack the muscles to do so.
That’s the Confidence Paradox!
You think you need to have more confidence in order for you to go out there and do X while in fact you need to do X in order to gain confidence! The process of doing things that you are afraid of is what builds up your confidence, just like exercise does for your muscles.
However, telling you to just do it won’t fully help you…
Why You’re Not Building Up Your Confidence
Your brain is not programmed for your success!
Your (reptillian) brain doesn’t want to help you thrive, it just wants you to survive. It wants to conserve your energy and not expand it if possible. It tries to steer you clear from anything that could potentially be dangerous and from things that you fear. All because in the early days of mankind, these situations could mean death!
It’s a survival mechanism.
So, how can you work with your brain to achieve more?
One of the reasons why you fear certain situations is because they are unknown to you. It’s not that you just fear putting yourself into a certain situation, it is also the fact that you may not know the first thing about those situations. This is something that actually puts a LOT of pressure on you!
Remember your brain’s goal.
It wants to protect you from danger, so whenever something is even potentially harmful, your brain thinks of the worst-case scenario. It much rather has you not do something that is actually safe (pretty much everything these days) than to not warn you about the few things that are dangerous. Your brain is overly cautious in that regard.
That’s the first key to remember when you’re trying to improve your confidence.
When your brain tells you not to do something, think about this and understand what it is doing. Fascination and curiosity will win against fear most of the time. When you can understand this in the moment, the fear loses a lot of its power and you can rationalize why you do need to take action right now!
Don’t let your brain stop you from becoming more confident!
The Archenemy of Confidence
There’s a second reason why you’re not feeling confident in certain situations.
Think about this for a second:
Think about any skill you have and have built and that you feel you are good at. It could be something you do for work, driving a car, biking, a sport you play, heck even video games. Think about those skills for a moment and the situations in which you use them.
Do you feel confident in them?
The reason that you feel confident in these situations is because you have been in them time and time again. You just know that you have the skills to do well in these situations. You’re not fearful because you know you’re going to perform well in these kinds of situations, which is a powerful feeling.
Incompetence is the enemy of confidence.
It’s hard to feel confident in a situation where you feel utterly incompetent at the same time! It’s nearly impossible for those two feelings to coexist at the same time. Especially when you compare yourself to others who do have the right skills for the situation. And if you think about it, you’ll most likely find this to be true in your own life as well.
The situations you fear are most likely those where you feel incompetent in.
But here, you also have the same issue. While you can learn about things through books, YouTube, podcasts and articles, nothing beats experience! So while you can build up some competence in the areas you struggle with, you’re ultimately going to have to take actions and do it if you want to be great at it.
And so it feels like you’re stuck in an endless loop…
How to Raise Your Confidence for Real
Right now, you understand the Paradox of Confidence that you’re in.
It’s an endless loop if you let it…
If you want to become more confident, you need to break this chain somehow. And logically, there is only 1 viable way in which you can do so. In order to boost your confidence, you need to actively do the things that frighten you. You need to do the things that you think you don’t have enough confidence for!
And that’s how you build confidence for real!
Let me be clear about some things:
- Yes, it will be tough at first.
- You will feel scared of doing it.
- You may even be terrified.
- But that fear will be way less after you do it a couple of times!
- And if you don’t go through it, you’ll always be the same unconfident person who’s playing small your entire life because you never took a shot!
That’s how simple it is. It’s what I had to do to overcome my own fears and become more confident.
It’ll be the same for you.
No matter what, you need to take action! I do not care in the slightest if you’re scared. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re terrified. If you do it and you spend an hour afterwards crying, fantastic! That means you’ve taken action and you’re growing as a person!
That’s what I care about!
Stop telling yourself that you need more confidence and go take action!
If you do want that small temporary boost before you go into a situation that terrifies you, use this instant confidence booster! Even though you’re afraid, realize what is going on inside of your head, so that you can rationalize what your mind tries to do and stop that thinking!
Free up your mind long enough to take action and you’re well on your way towards building lasting confidence!