“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen” – Frank Lloyd Wright
If you want others to believe in you, then you must first believe in it yourself. Success is built on confidence. If you believe in yourself then you have confidence in yourself and your abilities. The building blocks of self-confidence are:
“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself” – Robert Collier
Dealing with self-doubt
Everyone experiences moments of doubt in their lives. Those nagging little voices inside your head that say, “What if I can’t do this?” or “What if I fail?”
Self-doubt stems from a lack of self-belief so taking steps to build your confidence will allow you to replace any negative thoughts with far more productive, positive ones.
The power of your own thoughts should never be underestimated. Thinking positive thoughts will lead to positive actions being taken so thinking negative thoughts will lead to negative actions being taken, or quite possibly no action being taken at all.
Success is only possible if you believe it’s possible. Learn to silence negative voices in your head by using positive self-talk: “What if I can’t do this?” becomes, “I can do this.”
If you are unable to believe it’s possible and unable to tell yourself you can do it, then chances are you never will do it.
“Self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or you’re a worthless person”
- Author Unknown
The negative voice you hear in your head and the positive voice you create through self-talk are forms of feedback. Feedback can be divided into two main categories:
Primary feedback comes from within. This is feedback received through internal sources or you could say, from the inside out. It describes how something makes you feel so, to use an example from sport, a golfer receives primary feedback from the experience of swinging the club to hit the ball. A golfer may instinctively know whether the shot is a good one or not just through the ‘feel’ of the swing – the primary feedback.
Secondary feedback is received in the form of add-ons from the primary feedback already received. This is feedback received from external sources, so you could say from the outside in. For example, the golfer who feels through primary feedback that he has hit a good shot may then hear applause from spectators or feel a congratulatory pat on the back from a fellow player as sources of secondary feedback.
Verbal feedback falls under the secondary feedback heading but the power of words, whether spoken through the voice in your head, your own self-talk, or an external source can inspire and motivate you or crush your confidence and completely de-motivate you.
Here’s a little story, often used in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), that highlights just how powerful the spoken word can be:
The Story Of Two Frogs
‘A group of frogs were travelling through the woods when two of them accidentally fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was, they told the fallen frogs they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and started trying to jump out of the pit. The other frogs continued to tell them to stop, they were as good as dead. Eventually, one of the frogs gave in to the comments and simply fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump with all his might even though the others continued to tell him to just give in and die. The more they yelled, the higher he jumped until he finally managed to jump out of the pit.
“Did you not hear us?” asked the group of frogs.
The now free frog explained that he was deaf and he thought they’d been shouting words of encouragement to aid his escape from the pit!’
The moral of this story is that words, metaphorically, carry the power of life and death. In reality, this translates into the power to both motivate and de-motivate, depending on how they are interpreted. Feedback is essential in terms of continuing progress, as without it, changes or improvements will never be made. Positive feedback in the form of words of encouragement from external sources can be really motivating and provide a real boost in your confidence. The same benefits can be achieved if you learn to provide your own words of encouragement through positive self-talk.
Confidence building tips
1. Remember what you’re good at
2. Remember that everyone lacks confidence from time to time, not just you
3. Remember that failure is not permanent – neither is success – everything can be changed
4. Messing up is just one small moment in the bigger picture – your life!
5. Realize you don’t have to be perfect to be confident
6. Realize there’s no such thing as ‘perfect timing’ either so seize all opportunities that come your way – things don’t have to be perfect to be right
7. Be yourself: you are the only you, and you are the best you
8. Use good posture; walk tall
9. Compliment others – what goes around, comes around
10. Dress sharp: ‘clothes don’t make the man’ but how you dress can affect how you feel
In the Olympic Games, eight athletes will position themselves on the start-line of the 100 metre sprint final. All of them will be in peak physical condition; all of them will have prepared meticulously over many years for this one event; and all of them will believe themselves to be capable of winning the gold medal. But, there will be only one winner.
When all of the athletes have proven physical ability, what is it that separates the winner from the others? Winning athletes will often attribute their success to having a ‘mental’ edge over the other athletes. When the pressure is on and when it really matters, they have the ability to remain confident; to remain focused; and to maintain their self-belief.