I have a lot of weaknesses that I need to work on but self-confidence is one of my greatest strengths. It wasn’t always the case that I was a confident person on the exterior but I have always maintained an undying belief in myself even if in my interactions I was shy and timid. In all my years on this planet I have had the opportunity to meet some really great people and I’ve noticed that some of the smartest and most interesting had zero self-confidence. Confidence is something you’re born with rather it is something that can be honed and strengthened over time and have a profound impact on how you live your life. For me it was a challenge to break out of my shyness and transform that inner belief into outward confidence but I have successfully done it. Hell, five or six years ago I was all but petrified to talk to a girl and nowadays the past few girls I have dated remarked that one of the main reasons they fell for me was due to my confidence. So if it is something that can be developed in a person what are some steps you can take to make yourself into the confident person you want to be? It’s not always an easy journey but developing self-confidence is a must if you ever want to be successful.
1. Figure Out What You Can and Can’t Do
Strengths and weaknesses, we all have them but do most of us really take advantage of them? Confidence in yourself stems from how well you can react in a given situation and if you are particularly strong in one area then you should use that as a place to start building your self-confidence. Suppose you had to give a speech in front a classroom full of people. What topic could you speak in a detailed and interesting manner and have the least amount of doubt or anxiety within while speaking? As I have mentioned before, I am terrible at math so if someone asked me to get in front of a room and speak on mathematics in detail I wouldn’t be able to pull it off and the whole situation would go badly. However, if I were allowed to choose a topic I knew very well even if I didn’t have any prep time I could still confidently work my way through it.
The point of all that was to show that your strengths can be a source of confidence just by focusing on what you do well. On the opposite end of the spectrum you should clearly define your weaknesses and decide how you’re going to begin to turn them into strengths. It is important to recognize that some weaknesses are actually limits that you cannot personally go beyond. I could study for years and never be a brilliant mathematician and that’s okay I don’t feel down on myself because of it. I have tried many different things in my life to discover what I was good at and what I would fail miserably at. You shouldn’t limit your dreams but you do need to realize that you cannot do everything at a high enough level to be great at it.
2. You Know Your Strengths, Get Ready to Reach Your Potential
Remember the speech example? What would my confidence level have been if I would have had a week or two to prepare and practice? Pretty damned high. Being the best you can be at something isn’t just a matter of having natural talents but cultivating them as well. Putting the work into making yourself even better will naturally give you a shot of confidence that you never had before. You will feel accomplished and well prepared to react to any changes that present themselves in your life. Working towards being the best that you can be gives you a type of focus that very few people in this world have and when you start seeing all of the positive changes and others take notice of them it is a recipe for a strong self-confidence.
3. Learn From Your Failures, Don’t Let Them Ruin You
Getting knocked on your ass by life is a total confidence killer IF you let it be. Trial and error is always a step on the path to accomplishing your goals and you will undoubtedly have more failures than you will ever have triumphs. That’s okay. That is how it is supposed to be. Life is a learning experience and if you want to live a good life you have to get beaten down sometimes and figure out how to keep on going. Failure makes your victories all the more sweet because of all the time, energy, and thought you put into your goal. Confidence can be had through education, learning what does and doesn’t work and channeling that into your future ventures. Have you failed with the opposite sex before? I have and it didn’t feel too good. Was that a reason to just give up and live an unhappy life all alone? Hell no. I took my lumps, licked my wounds, and gave the dating world another shot and you know what I’ve been succeeding in ways I couldn’t imagine a few years ago. Failure is not the end of the world; it is the start of something new.
4. Surround Yourself with More Positive People
One huge hindrance in many people’s lives is the social identity that they have developed for themselves and it being hard to get away from. Your friends and family have certain perceptions of who you are and they aren’t always the most accurate picture. If you want to make a dramatic change in your life these same people can often react negatively to your new found ambitions. The environment that surrounds you can have a positive or negative effect on how you live your life and if you’re not careful it can cause you to stagnate for years at a time. Think about it like this, say you wanted to go on a diet and you and all of you’re friends get together on a regular basis and eat foods that aren’t in your diet. Would these friends be supportive or would they judge you and act negatively towards your change? Sometimes the best of friends can be more of a weight holding you down than a positive influence that raises you up. Misery loves company and two people can trick themselves into thinking they are happy with their current life if everyone they surround themselves with is also going nowhere. Confidence comes from within but it can also be bolstered by those around you that shower you with love and encouragement. Take stock of who is and who isn’t a positive person and strongly consider distancing yourself who only want to keep you down with them.
5. Learn to take Criticism in Stride
Looking at number four you see that sometimes friends have negative reactions to what you want to do and the changes you make to get there. Other times their criticisms are valid and you should learn to accept these constructive criticisms. The difference is fairly easy to spot, constructive criticism doesn’t present itself in the form of personal attacks and provides insight that you might not have recognized yourself. If you want to increase your self-confidence you cannot take constructive criticism to heart because it will only serve to help you grow as a person. Whoever is criticizing you isn’t trying to bring you down or belittle your work but rather give advice on how you can get better. On the other hand you have to be able to take negative personal attacks in stride and easily forget them. There will always be some small number of people that will lob hollow critiques of you and your life that are designed to simply cause damaged to your self-esteem. Don’t fall into the trap of embarrassment or fear of trying because of these people, they are just bitter and if you take them seriously you’ll go nowhere.
The main thing when trying to build up your self-confidence is to really get in touch with who you truly are and where you want to be in the future. You cannot always escape negativity and in all honesty you shouldn’t try to because failure and pain are sometimes the only paths to success. Figure out what it is you are good at and then use that as a place to build off of not only your self-confidence but your life in general. It takes time and it takes effort but being self-confident is attainable for anyone who is willing to put in the work.