Imagine for a moment an awkward, chubby guy with big dreams. A guy with dreams of his own to experience everything the world has to offer and then some. The love of people and the money to experience a freedom unlike any other. What would you say to him? Or what if he asked you “how to believe in yourself”?
Because that guy was me well over a decade ago. And whenever people took me seriously (most of the time they laughed at me when I talked about my dreams) they only had one single piece of advice…
Just be confident!
Has there been a time when somebody told you that? As if it was some groundbreaking revelation that would tear the very heavens apart from the sheer wisdom!
It seems to be the go-to advice for everything these days… Talking to people and being charismatic, making friends, getting sales, beating depression or even scoring a date with a woman. Just be confident! Sure, confidence is great and all, but how do we seize it when our hearts race a mile a minute, our palms sweat like we’re in a fear-induced, smelly horror movie and the only thought spinning in our minds is “what do I do what do I do what do I do”?
How do we believe in ourselves like a confidently crazy cult leader screeching about the end of the world? Here’s how I did it:
- 1 Competence
- 2 Perfection is for Procrastinators
- 3 First Confidence Hack: Look Your Best
- 4 Second Confidence Hack: Surround Yourself With Good People
- 5 Moving On With How to Believe in Yourself…
- 6 How to Believe in Yourself Re-Cap
CompetenceCompetence breeds confidence like rabbits breed out babies Tweet This
Because if you’re good at something, do you worry about it? Probably not, unless there’s a massive change (being thrust into the pros out of the amateur league as an example). Otherwise, you know your skill level can handle it because you’ve done it no telling how many times! And if you need more competence, check out this post on how to learn like a child prodigy.
The Short Version of Learning Like a Child Prodigy
Meaning pay attention while you practice. Visualize conquering obstacles and taking time to think through succeeding when things go south. And it means going slowly through the motions to create new neural pathways your brain needs to confidently, simply and automatically adapt itself for whatever you’re trying to learn! Because remember, you’re rewiring your brain when you learn a new skill! It takes time and patience.
Perfection is for Procrastinators
Never try to aim for perfection. Perfection is beyond human capability. Perfection doesn’t exist. Trying to attain perfection is impossible and you’re more likely to kill Superman with a plain ping-pong ball (maybe you can trick him into swallowing it?).
And when you try to be perfect, you put an ENORMOUS amount of pressure on yourself to do the impossible and it’s silly.
Think about it this way:
If someone told you to start flying right now, what would you say to them? I don’t mean flying a plane, or helicopter or whatever else. I mean actually moving your body through the air and defying gravity, like some superhero. Obviously, no human is capable of magical flight. Yet in this imaginary situation, someone is asking you to do it. What do you do?
Do you attempt to fly like Super Mario with his bright red cape over a chair in the field like I did when I was a kid? Spoiler alert; I eat a lot of dirt and made everyone else’s day that day…
Or, do you ask the other person if they’re stupid?
It’s a silly example, but learning how to fly like a superhero might be easier than hitting perfection. More importantly, would you put pressure on yourself to fly?
Then why would you put pressure on yourself to be perfect?
Nobody can do it and other than the ignorant out there, nobody expects you to be perfect. So why would you expect yourself to be perfect if you don’t expect yourself to be able to fly?
Whenever we put pressure on ourselves to do the impossible, we stress ourselves out because we can’t do it.
Can You Relate?
Maybe you can relate to this:
You set yourself a goal or have an assignment that’s due. There’s a lot riding on it. Maybe it’s worth half your grade, or possibly it’s the first big business pitch and your boss is counting on you to raise your game and knock it out of the park. Either way, if you do well, you’re set. But if you fail…. well, it’s bad. Once you realize that these other thoughts starting flooding your mind:
“If I don’t do well, then the boss is going to be pissed. I might get fired!”
“What will your boss/teacher/friends/co-workers/whoever think if I let them down? It’s all on me, I have to be perfect.”
Then you try to start the project… only to sit there… For some reason, you can’t even start. You’re willing yourself to do it, but nothing comes to mind. You can’t even start. Or if you do start you end up deleting it after a few minutes because it’s not good enough. If you’re like me, you’ll probably throw in some choice words at the gods of creativity and hope something will comes… but nothing ever does…
Whenever you put stress on yourself you add mountains of obstacles in your mind. Not only do you have to do the project, but now you have to scale a mountain in your mind just to start!
Talk about impossible…
What You Should Do Instead to Believe in Yourself
First, slow it down. The first step to believe in yourself: take a deep breath and try to think of what will happen if you do fail. Then realize the real outcome’s probably not as bad. Not even close. In addition, think about what you will do if one of these bad things does happen.
We worry when we believe there’s nothing we can do. But in these do-or-die situations, you have more power than you realize. And when you start doing this small exercise, you’ll find the true path to confidence: understanding you’ll be okay no matter what happens.
Once you understand, on a gut level that you’ll be okay no matter what happens you can unload the Atlast-sized burden on your shoulders of needing to be perfect. Because you’re going to be alright. Your life won’t end. You won’t lose access to future job prospects, colleges knocking on your door to recruit you or even lose your job/home/wife whatever. And even if, through some unlucky divine intervention you do lose everything: you’ll still be okay because you can keep going.
Your life will not end, your chance at happiness will not suddenly vanish for eternity.
You’re going to live. So take a deep breath and slow it down to rapidly, easily and naturally believe in yourself…
After Slowing Down:
Next, we shift our mindset from “I have to be perfect” to “I will try my best”. Or, as some people say: aim for excellence, not perfection.
It may sound corny, but the answer truly and honestly is to get out there and give it your best shot. And you do the best you can (just like our parents told us). Doesn’t matter if it’s your first attempt or you’re trying to improve. Because doing your best and improving are within your control. Aiming for perfection, or even getting the outcome you want is not. Just like telekinetically lifting your body through the air. Yes, you can influence the outcome but you cannot control it.
Once you attain the ability to let go of controlling the outcome and moving towards trying your best, the pressure will lift off of you.
You should absolutely strive for improvement, and for your best. While thinking about the rewards getting better will give you because if you stick with it you will grab those rewards.
Keeping those outcomes in mind will help give you the motivation to keep going while letting go of controlling the outcome will help rid you of the stress. Which allows you to perform better because stress shuts down our brain like a hundred viruses from a sketchy porn site does to our computer.
But the ultimate confidence technique?
Realizing you’ll be okay.
But while you’re working on it, here are some confidence hacks:
First Confidence Hack: Look Your Best
That means working on your:
- Get fit
- You’ll be more attractive, people will respect you more and you’ll feel a ton better
- Put on your best clothes
- If you need to, learn how to beat depression
Second Confidence Hack: Surround Yourself With Good People
There’s a great article about believing in yourself by Ramit Sethi, but to quote one of his points:
A few years ago, I noticed a lot of B players who plateaued at a certain level (I’m not going to say which field). I got fascinated with this — some of them were truly amazing at what they did, so why did they get stuck? — and I started studying them. And I found one of the biggest factors in getting stuck was who they hung out with…
…This single lesson alone is responsible for my business growing massively over the last few years.https://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/how-i-learned-to-believe-in-myself/
If who Ramit surrounded himself became that critical, what could it do for someone like us?
Moving On With How to Believe in Yourself…
Each of those confidence hacks could be a book by itself!
And they’ll help you feel better in learning how to believe in yourself, which will lead to higher self-esteem and confidence which will make it easier to stand up for yourself when you need to. In addition, you’ll have people looking at you in a better light, which will help feed into other people treating you better making you feel more confident. Because as much as we should try to base our confidence on what we think of ourselves: what other people think of us matters.
If everyone around us thinks poorly of us it will affect us (and if so, dump the negative people around you and get better people). Likewise, if everyone around you thinks you’re awesome it will be a TON easier to think of yourself as awesome and to believe in yourself.
Because you are.
Keep Moving Forward