“Self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or that you are a worthless person.”
For many people finding their passion is relatively easier than having the confidence to trust their judgment about their passion. Similarly, barring a miniscule population, the vast majority of people are always very frustrated with their life, be it their personal life, their professional life or their social life. The common thread that binds both sets of people is the root cause of their disenchantment and disillusionment, which in a nutshell can be said to be lack of self confidence. Lack of self belief is often a byproduct of numerous unpleasant influences which could include negative childhood scripting, a not so outstanding academic performance, social pressures coupled with unreasonable parental expectations, unfair and odious comparisons with more talented siblings or peers, a poor self image etc. That apart, the pressures of the competitive world, the stress of coping with comparisons compelled by a consumerist society and personal weakness in attitude, behavior and actions add to the woes of an individual. Yet, it is never too late to regain your self confidence and enjoy the riches it brings in one’s life.
Here are four ways to cope with the problem of lack of self confidence.
Know that you are UNIQUE: It is essential to realize that even if you have an identical twin, YOU will always remain unique and special for no one can ever duplicate you in any way. This realization that you are an unique individual, should strengthen your belief that as an unique individual you have every opportunity and responsibility to leave your mark in this world. The simple proof is the uniqueness of your signature. Sign on a piece of paper and enjoy the power of your uniqueness reflected in that signature.
Identify your strengths and build up on them: Our biggest problem stems from the fact that we are constantly trying to outdo others rather than focusing on leveraging our abilities and our strengths which are unique to us. Some of us are physically strong while others are gifted with intellectual brilliance, while some others have strength of character and others endowed with moral and physical courage. Perhaps some have the ability to be self disciplined, while others are dogmatic and persistent while there could be others who are calm collected and unfazed even during the most trying times. Ask yourself what are those unique strengths that you posses and find ways and means to leverage that in your work and life. Self confidence will automatically embrace those who focus on their potential.
Make a fresh start everyday Everyone has good days and bad days. No one can perennially live of the good days and it is equally true that the bad days never have an extended run. Obviously then the best way to treat life with confidence is to relish those good days when they come and to quickly get over the bad days. In effect, be aware that each day is an opportunity to have a fresh start and a positive approach nurtures positive results which in turn reinforces self confidence.
Nurture self confidence. There are no self confidence pills that can boost ones confidence in a jiffy. Instead look at nurturing self confidence as a process of going a few steps forward each day and on a bad day perhaps we may slip a step or two behind. The focus must be on the progress made. Viola, before we know it we are confidently marching towards our goals, realizing our ambitions and adding to our self esteem with each milestone we cross.
Remember:“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” E. E. Cummings
- Identify 3 of your greatest apprehensions / fears. Work out a plan to overcome this apprehension and actually confront it in the next 3 months. ( Here are some examples of fears/ apprehensions for you to get an idea of what you may have to confront. Fear of public speaking; fear of lizards/ snakes; attempting to bowl in a bowling alley; wearing flashy clothes; confronting an insolent subordinate/ desperately wanting a pet but fearful of your ability to manage it )
- Attempt to do the following
- Engage in arm wrestling with a friend/ colleague/ your sibling/ spouse/ children
- Take two pieces of A4 size paper and with one of them make a paper boat and with the other an aeroplane. (Did you feel foolish when you did not know how to proceed because you had forgotten those kiddish activities?)
- Borrow a bicycle and ride it for a kilometer or so at least. (Did the legs creak, were you able to balance easily, were you embarrassed that you tired very quickly and had to dismount, did you feel silly because others were watching?)
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