The latest success research often brings up this word “confidence”. According to the dictionary, confidence is defined as “belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance”. Thinking of the people I know, I wonder how many truly believe in their own powers and abilities. Do we even recognize our abilities?How does confidence develop in us?
Think of the times when you were a toddler and you were learning to walk. You fell a lot but it didn't stop you from doing it again. With each step, you built more confidence and trust for yourself because you saw your muscles getting stronger and your walking skills improving. Eventually you succeeded: you stood up and walked on your own!At that point, you became fully confident that you could walk. Similarly, to succeed in anything in life taking small steps builds our skills and confidence. Confidence doesn't come at the beginning of doing something for the first time; it comes from having done it.There is a simple explanation to this. Our brain treats everything new as an“unknown”because our neurons have not yet made the connection between our skills and the new task and we don’t have an established brain process to know for sure that we can do it. So the brain has to create the neural connections and the processes to handle the new task. And just like a house gets built brick by brick, the same way our brain processes get built neuron by neuron. Every small step we take, we are building up the set of brain processes that will help us accomplish our goal. With each step, the brain stores more information about the new task and the task becomes more “known”. Slowly, we build up our skills and start seeing positive results. As the brain records our improved skills and results, confidence grows.
So taking small action steps and developing our skills is critical for building our confidence for success. This has an important implication: having our parents, friends, or others do things for us can actually hold us back from success and damage our confidence in ourselves.If we are not doing it ourselves, we are not creating the neural connections in our brain that can help us handle similar tasks and situations. And if we face it again in the future, we have no confidence in ourselves to manage the task. So, who is in charge of building and sustaining your confidence? Where does your confidence come from? How can you build it? Write it down for yourself so you can see it. It is very important for our brain to have the visual reminder or poof of what is developed in us. Exercise Tip: whenever you feel confident, write down your thoughts on “what makes me confident and where my confidence comes from?”Also write down “how am I going to build and sustain confidence in my life?"
As mentioned earlier, confidence comes from doing and mastering the tasks. Doing something over and over makes it easier and we become confident about ourselves. Let me give you another example. You are learning to ice skate. You know that it is a skill you don’t have but you think you can learn it. You are somewhat confident because you have learnt other things in your life and your brain has the neural connections associated with learning a similar skill. But the true confidence will come at the time when you are able to skate without wobbling and thinking about it. The new pattern in your brain is learned and you are confident in skating. Now, how do we develop this type of solid confidence in ourselves in every aspect of our lives? Not only in learning new skills but also in every kind of situation like handling conflict, building relationships, doing our taxes, investing in stocks, planning trips, raising kids, or anything else you like to do in your daily life.
Most of us have doubts in our abilities and skills, in our value and our power. Doubt breaks confidence and sends the wrong signals to the people around us making it harder to succeed. So how can you stop doubting yourself and start believing in yourself? The key is getting into the “learning mode”! It is true, you can learn anything and it’s never too late to learn. Start reading and doing, taking the small steps to build up the neural connections in your brain.After all, aren’t we here on earth to experience and learn about everything? We cannot fake confidence. We can pretend to be confident, we can walk and talk in a confident manner, but if our brain does not have our small steps and accomplishmentsstored as a proof, deep down we will not be confident in ourselves. So start learning and doing rather than evading, improve your skills and watch your confidence grow!
When we are doing instead of just thinking and doubting, we move into a progressive mode that leads to results. It is the positive results of our actions that boost our confidence. We achieved a certain goal, we accomplished a certain task, we did our best, and we can keep learning and improving. So doing is very important. And be sure that there will be mistakes and failures on your way. Be happy for them because they build more neural connections and brain patterns that can help you be more successful in the future. As long as you don't give up, you contribute to your confidence. What happens when you give up? I'm sure all of us have been there. It is not a good feeling. With giving up, we may also get blame from the outside world and blame is a destroyer of confidence. So what makes us give up? Give up our dreams, hopes, and goals? Is it the feeling that we don't deserve something or that we are not good enough to get it or smart enough to figure it out? Now let’s go back into our childhood again. If we gave up on walking because we kept falling, we would never walk. We all have the natural built-in desire to learn, to do more, to achieve more, and to be great human beings. It is our fears and doubts that hold us back. It is the lack of brain patterns, the lack of a track record, that cause the doubts. Think about how natural it was to fall when you were a baby. No one blamed or made us ashamed back then. And it should be just as natural with all our trials and errors. Have fun with the fall. Laugh at yourself, stand up, and do it again, just like when you were little. Even the most successful and accomplished figures in history have failed. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work”. Everything can be learned if we keep trying, failing, and trying again. Accept the reality as it is and take charge of building up your brain by starting with small steps. Always give your best to yourself and never stop believing in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you are half way there.
To boost your confidence, focus on everything that is positive in you and think of all the things you are confident about. They don’t have to be big things. Think, write down, an work on yourself. Don't expect and wait that someone else will do it for you. Someone can guide you and help you understand what confidence is but the most important work needs to be done by you. You are the one who creates your own reality. Every day, do something positive that will boost your confidence. Every day, think of something positive about yourself. Who you are today is the result of many influences from your parents, siblings, friends, teachers, movies, books, and everything you have seen and heard since childhood. Did your parents ever get mad at you for doing something wrong? Did you ever get punished? Were you ever told you were not good enough? All this leaves scars and puts holes in our self-confidence. The good news is that you can accept yourself as you are and take full control of how you want to be. You are the creator of your own life now. Yesterday is gone and the power of your own being is NOW. Embrace yourself and focus on growing more skills and positive thoughts in you. With time, the doubts and fears will fade away. With actual accomplishments and a more capable brain, you will develop steel strong confidence and nothing will break it down. Love yourself and your endless potential, enjoy every moment of your lifeand look at every experience as an amazing learning opportunity that builds a stronger, confident you.
By: Jana Sedlakova, Founder of YouSuccessfulYou
For personal coaching, please contact me at email@example.com