You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. ~Michael Jordan
Did you ever wonder how exceptionally successful people got to where they are? Several months ago, I attended a lecture by an exceptionally famous scientist. A true innovator, a clear leader in his field. By the time the talk was over, I was in complete awe, my eyes wide, my breathing heavy.
I felt so moved and inspired by him that I simply had to talk with him. I walked up to the podium, and we had a very pleasant chat for several minutes. When it was clear that our short exchange was coming to an end, I took a deep breath.
There was one more thing that I had to ask. “What would you recommend others do to succeed?” He paused for a few seconds, seriously considering my question. Then he said, kindly but firmly: “Confidence. What you need is an extraordinary dose of confidence.”
Beyond the illusion of confidence
We are told to look confident. To project confidence. Advice is abundant: Dress the part, look them in the eyes, practice that firm handshake. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good advice. It creates an image of confidence, and can improve the impression you make on others. It might even trickle in and make you feel a little better.
But appearances can only go so far. Let’s get down to the bottom of it, and understand why so often we lack confidence in the first place. I want to tell you how to be confident from the inside out.
What is real Self-Confidence
Think of something that you’d like achieve. It can be absolutely anything. A good relationship, a master’s degree, your dream job. Just pick something that truly matters to you deep down. Now ask yourself, do you think you can do it?
How you answer such questions is a measure of your self-confidence.
“Confidence” is the feeling or belief that you can rely on someone or something. Thus, “self-confidence” is the belief that you can rely on yourself – be it to learn something, to find a suitable partner, or succeed at your dream job. Self-confidence is all about what you think about yourself.
why We All Start OuT Confident
Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway. ~Mary Kay Ash
Have you ever had a chance to interact with a small child? Children have virtually no self-doubt. For them, want equates to can. If they want something, they go for it. There is nothing in-between. Many of us never completely lose the ability to believe in ourselves. Even as adults, when a strong desire arises within us, the very existence of this desire suggests that we can at least imagine getting what we want.
If we truly believed that it was hopeless, then there wouldn’t be enough substance to fuel a passionate dream. But there is this twinkle of hope. The problem is that it is difficult for this twinkle to grow into a fire, because it is constantly tempered by allowing in the views and opinions of others.
Why Low Self-Confidence is So Common
Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you. ~Zig Ziglar
By the time we become teenagers, many of us develop problems with self-confidence. This is also precisely the point when social relationships come to the forefront.
We are social creatures. We have deep, meaningful ties with other people, and a profound need to belong. So, naturally, we care what others think of us. This becomes a serious problem when we trust others’ view of us more than our own.
Unfortunately, this is all too common. When we are little, we believe what our parents think of us (and at that point, who can blame us). Throughout school, we tend to believe what our teachers think of us, particularly when it comes to our aptitudes and abilities.
While parents and teachers are especially influential, significant others and friends also play a large role in how we see ourselves. Finally, even strangers can radically influence our self-image. Unfortunately, a rude comment from just about anyone can shake up our self-confidence.
The problem is that no matter how many supportive people we encounter, at one point or another, there is someone who isn’t. We have no control over that. We run into different people throughout our lives, and even the most supportive people can have bad day or simply hold a different perspective.
This brings us to the secret of self-confidence.
why you should Value Your View of Yourself Above all
Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. ~Les Brown
Throughout life, people’s views of us aren’t always going to agree with our own. Sometimes, they are going to sharply disagree.
If you want to develop and sustain self-confidence, you need to value your opinion of yourself well above what anyone else thinks of you. Think about it for a second. You are you. No one else has a chance, ever, to know you as well as you do. You have observed yourself for your entire life, every millisecond of every day. No one else can possibly compete.
For example, an actor gives a show. Someone watching him for the first time will judge his acting ability based solely on this one performance. But the actor, who, obviously, was there for all of his own shows, knows how well he does on average, and so he is at a much better position to judge his own acting skill. But even if someone dislikes all of his performances, this means absolutely nothing. Even the very best and most famous artists are disliked by someone.
As another example, say you would like to pursue a brand new career. For many different reasons, your family or friends might not be supportive. They might worry about you. What if you don’t make it?
But their perspective is necessarily limited. They are not you. They don’t know how much this means to you, and they don’t know how much time and effort you are willing to devote to it. Nor can they really appreciate, as outsiders, how much satisfaction and pleasure you derive from whatever it is that you want to do. Similarly, they also cannot fully appreciate how much you might dislike your current career.
In short, you have to take their advice, regardless how well-meaning, with a grain of salt. You are the only one who has all the information, so you are the only one qualified to make the final call.
what is the role of Constructive Criticism
Trusting your view of yourself above that of others is the only rational choice. However, it might be wise to consider that others say. Often enough, others have valuable advice.
But consider, is very different from accept. Being able to take criticism can greatly contribute to personal growth. But, after considering another’s opinion, you need to decide what it true for you.
You are the final judge. You are the only one qualified to make the final call when it comes your own abilities and potential.
Don’t let anyone steal your dream. It’s your dream, not theirs. ~Dan Zadra
Being able to separate how others view you from how you view yourself is the huge step towards success. Other people are busy with their own lives. They have their own perspectives and their own values. Leave them to their opinions.
There is absolutely no need to change anyone or tell them what to think. All you need is to know who you are. So go on now. Go for what you really want, and don’t let anyone else tell you that you can’t. Because you can. Because the very fact that you truly, passionately want it, means that deep down you believe that you can. And that’s all that matters.