How to Build Confidence In Three Simple StepsPosted: April 24, 2012
Confidence. All men want it, all women are attracted to it. Like it or not, your confidence is the single biggest factor when it comes to being a charismatic man and opening up the doors to almost anything you want in life. With a healthy dose of it your potential will seem boundless. Conversely, without some degree of confidence you are doomed to a life of mediocrity and boredom.
When it comes to confidence most people struggle to provide a tangible definition, much less know how to acquire it. When asked, most of us tend to describe confidence by its attributes rather than defining it, similar to the way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once defined pornography…we simply know it when we see it. That being the case, allow me to propose for our purposes here the following definition:
Con ⋅ fi ⋅ dence (n.) – a belief of self-assurance in your ability to succeed.
Now that we have a definition easy enough for us all to digest, how exactly does one go about building confidence? That is another issue altogether and a question I hear a lot. Fortunately the answer is also relatively simple: to gain confidence you must take action in the face of fear. In other words, you must demonstrate courage.
We all know if you want to build up your physical muscles you have to practice resistance training, which stimulates their growth. Your confidence is a psychological muscle that works in the same exact way. If you want to be truly confident you need to practice pushing against those things you have resistance toward…the things that scare you. Once you overcome those obstacles and emerge on other side of the experience you will have gained confidence based on that accomplishment.
Now I must be clear here that not all confidence is equal, nor is it often a transferable skill. Just because you are confident enough to race down that double black diamond mountain on skis at 50 mph does not mean that you are confident speaking in front of a large group, or vice versa. If you are to cultivate confidence in a specific area of your life, courage alone will not suffice. You will also need to a focus on two additional essentials: desire and action. Let’s explore these three steps in detail:
1. Desire – This piece may seem obvious, but it is a crucial starting point. Without the desire to take action you and your confidence will be stagnant and directionless. Author/blogger Steve Pavlina states succinctly “desire is the fuel for action”, therefore before we can move to step two, our desire must be aligned with the results we want. Determine what it is you want from deep within your heart, those things that constantly pang and tug at your soul. Be certain they do not waver and you are unapologetic for them. Only then will your desire remain strong and true throughout the course of your actions.
2. Action – Action is the elemental piece needed to build your confidence. It is what drives us forward toward the outcome we want. If you have desire without action, it is the equivalent of sitting in the car while the gears are in park. You may have the car, but you aren’t going anywhere. Your desire is strong enough to get you started, but it is action that enables you to overcome stagnation and creates the inertia will keep you moving forward. Even a small step forward is moving in the right direction, but if you really want your confidence to swell, take steps that you push beyond your comfort boundaries. The further you operate outside your boundaries, the greater your confidence expands along with your comfort zone where it resides. But for that to happen, you will also need…
3. Courage – Action alone cannot build confidence, but rather action taken in the face of fear. That is exactly what courage is, the “ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.” Fear is the resistance that we face when pushing our confidence to grow. Just like physical training, if we do not have resistance in our actions, there will be no progress or development. We will only be going through the same old motions with nothing to show for them. (In other words, we remain in our comfort zone.) For every ounce of courage we muster in our actions, we gain an equal amount of confidence as the result. It is basically a one-to-one ratio, so you get out of it exactly what you put into it. When the time comes, just where will this courage come from exactly? From the source deep inside your heart…your desire. Courage will always be present when your desire for an outcome is stronger that your fear of what it takes to accomplish it. Have faith in it.
From here the formula is simple:
Desire + Action + Courage = Confidence
While this formula is very straightforward, it isn’t necessarily easy. If it was, the world would be a very different place. As with anything in life that yields great rewards, you must push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Only then will your confidence grow and you will be further down the path of your personal evolution. To get there you only need to follow two guidelines:
A) Don’t wait for the right moment or plan to start, for your resistance will always tell you the time or plan is never quite right. That is perfectionism and it will kill any potential action you may take, and eventually your desire.
B) Once you do take action, don’t stop! As Dory says in one of my favorite films, Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Most of the time that’s all it takes and your courage will be right there with you when you need it most.
There you have it…confidence in three simple steps. It is the ability to embrace and push oneself through this process that separates an average man from an extraordinary one. That is not to say that you cannot do it. Our history is full of average men who have done just that. Men who’ve had much greater odds against them and yet emerged as extraordinary men, exuding that magical trait we call confidence out of every pore. There is no reason you cannot do the same. The path is laid out in front of you. All you need is the desire and courage to take it.
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