Confidence: “The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.”
I am of the opinion that many of us, in fact most of us, have been taught from a young age to be humble, to downplay our achievements and to be realistic. Yet, in spite of this, we celebrate the inspiring individuals who have an unwavering self-confidence, driving them to make possible the impossible. We look up to those such as Muhammad Ali, who famously proclaimed he was the greatest before he even knew he was. So why are we watering down our own positive self-talk?
I believe that it’s time to seriously talk about the underestimated importance of attitude.
It’s time to become your own biggest fan.
- You’re all talk
It’s easy to talk a good game, but do you actually back up your words with action? I’ve often heard people tell me what they’re “going to do” and how they’re “going to change”. More often than not, this so-called change is either very temporary or entirely non-existent. I get it – verbalising it is step one. Just don’t forget to follow through with your words of confidence. Integrity matters, so aspire to be a person who does what they say they will.
- The audacity of arrogance
A lot of us, me included, at times are afraid of coming across as arrogant. Seeming as though you’re full of yourself, big-headed or cocky is an unattractive character trait that can deter people from wanting to associate themselves with you.
There is a fine line between portraying self-confidence and screaming arrogance. Arrogance is prominent when you exaggerate your talent or go out of your way to let everyone know how great you are. Remember that there’s a time and place for everything – you can be humble and self-confident at the very same time.
- You’re here for a good time, not a long time
It’s easy to believe in your abilities and potential when everything’s going right for you – trust me. The question is, when you hit an inevitable slump, how positive does the voice in your head remain?
January was a very intense month for many of us, particularly those of us at university working towards deadlines. In some of these high pressure moments, a lot of us (including myself) were found thinking that we don’t have what it takes and/or saying “I can’t”. We’re all guilty of it – we’ve all been there before. You have felt that feeling of hopelessness, inadequacy and inevitable impossibility. As someone who’s long dealt with feelings of anxiety and depression, I’ve found that the process of training my mind to believe in myself has been a key determinant in being able to lift myself back up from my low points.
The power of self-belief is that it can pull you from your low points and this is why it’s so important to learn as a skill. It isn’t so that you feel good about yourself when you’re doing well, it’s so that you feel optimistic that you can overcome the challenges you face to win in the long-term.
How to Improve Self-Confidence
The way in which you speak of yourself can portray the way you think. Negative self-talkers are negative thinkers; the people who say that they “can’t” inevitably don’t. As Confucius famously said:
“He who says he can and he who says he cannot are both usually right.”
This isn’t a mystical solution to achievement – this is science. If you believe you can achieve a particular outcome, you’re more likely to put in the required energy and effort into working towards it. As a result, you are more likely to therefore achieve the outcome. If you pessimistically believe something cannot be done, you’re less likely to work towards it with the required drive and so the probability of achievement falls.
A famous example of this dates back to 1954. Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. Up until this point, the belief was that humans were physically incapable of breaking the four minute barrier. Within two years of his achievement, 37 people also ran the mile in under four minutes. So what changed? People realised that it was possible – there was a shift in attitude.
So therefore it’s important to tell yourself that you’re capable – tell yourself that you “can” and say it to yourself with conviction. At first it may not be believable but the more you remind yourself that you can and will, the more you might just begin to believe it.
Everyone has gone through a hard time at some point. In spite of whatever you’ve been through, it’s important to remind yourself that you’ve still made it this far. And if you’re of the false belief that you haven’t even made it far at all, remember that it could always be worse – trust me.
It’s necessary to look at your hardship with gratitude. Instead of thinking “I want to do it but I can’t because of this”, change it to “I want to do it even in spite of this”. That way, one day, you can ultimately say “I achieved it and I dealt with this”.
Look back on all that you’ve achieved so far – count your wins. You deserve to feel proud of everything that you’ve managed to overcome, for everything that you’ve achieved and for the person that you’re becoming. Gratitude alongside the reflection of your achievements can help you to be more confident in yourself.
As previously eluded to, taking action is vital. When you act upon your words, you begin to build momentum. It enables you to create results and when you can prove it to yourself you can begin to feel more optimistic about your efforts.
It might not always go your way in the short-term, but over the long-term your actions will add up to greater things. Hold yourself accountable and as well as being your biggest fan, also be your own constructive critic. Looking at constructive methods of self-improvement can be healthy and is important to keeping you on a focused path towards your desired outcome.
It’s often said that execution is what separates the great from the average. So put in the work, deploy patience and remain focused. But most importantly, put in the work.
A Final Note
To be entirely honest with you, I feel as though the importance of self-belief and its impact on you is often undervalued.
The faith you have in your own ability, character and worth is so crucial to your success and to your happiness. The way in which you perceive yourself is able to direct a large part of your behaviour. It influences your thinking, your actions and your reactions to both times of great opportunity and moments of even greater adversity.
Believe you are, believe you can and believe you will.
Everything will work out in the end.