Confidence is not something that you can decide to have. We’ve all heard this from people:
“Just be confident”
But it doesn’t work like that. In order to “be confident”, you need to build it. It’s a muscle — one that is developed from living at your edge.
While realizing this, I came up with a principle that I now have written down on an index card and carry around from time to time.
“Confidence is built when you eliminate the gap between what you need to do and what you actually do to improve. ”
If you do exactly what you need to do to improve, then your confidence builds. If you don’t do what you know you need to do, your confidence will lessen.
Now, this confidence principle can be deconstructed by doing the following two things:
1) Creating small, incremental steps that are challenging, yet possible to overcome
2) Doing those steps
If you don’t do these steps and just try to imitate someone like that, you’ll go forward with a feeling of self-confusion and lack of identity. You can’t possibly take on so much stuff at once without going crazy and feeling like a total failure for not doing everything you “need” to do.
But if you take small steps and continually challenge yourself in a specific area and then build upon it, your confidence (and your skill) will improve one step at a time.
It’s like going to the gym. You aren’t going to be able to lift 50 lbs max on Monday and then magically be able to lift 100 lbs max on Friday. But if you increase your weights every workout by only 5 lbs, then in a short 3 1/2 weeks you’ll get there (if you workout 3x a week).
So, when improving in various areas of life, take it slow. Figure out the smallest step that you need to take today to challenge yourself and improve. Then, when you complete that challenge, your confidence will increase and will motivate you for your next challenge.
Then create a new one and continue until you meet your goal.
I call this creating ‘Minimum Purposeful Actions’, and it’s helped my confidence tremendously because I don’t feel overwhelmed with what I need to do.
If you want to build your confidence, I suggest you give this a shot and break down your goals into small challenging and purposeful chunks.
I wrote a more thorough article here for those who want more detail: http://www.innergladiator.com/confidence-mpa/
@ijesuschrist, All too true haha
@feren6, You could always go the Tim Leary/Robert Anton WIlson/Aliester Crowley way and change your reality tunnel =)
http://www.rawilsonfans.com/downloads/prometheus.pdf (excellent book by the way. Also titled “The Owners Manual to Your Mind” or something like that
I don’t think it’s that complicated. To be confident you need to be sure of yourself. End of story. When I’m confident it’s when I know nothing can come in my way.
You can’t doubt or second guess yourself. Be one with your thoughts and feelings.
Hope this makes sense..
I completely agree with this. I’ve always been confident. But I wanted to be SUPER confident. When reading about things like the “Alpha Male” or articles like “How to be confident”, I always got down on myself for not doing the things you “need” to do, like you said. My confidence actually dropped.
But everyday that I go out and do as much of what I love as I can and push my limits, the better I feel the next day. My confidence has been great this past month.
Confidence is momentum and the ability to understand that you’ll be ok with dealing with anything that’s thrown at you.
@feren6, I like your approach but there are numerous other factors that come into play.
Confidence depends on how you have been raised as a child, what kind of parenting style your parents used and how your learned to see the world (the big scary world? Or the place you need to live to survive). How you learned to cope with external factors, uncertain and unpredictable situations, the environment you have been raised in, your peer contact, the society you lived in and the norms and values applied, the results you made when undertaking something and how others viewed this, what it meant for your how others viewed it etc. etc.
I could go on and on, but point is that is dependent on so many factors. Yes you can build it by applying certain techniques, by following certain rules, by taking risks and steps to be confronted with your fears etc.
Confidence can come from the inside and from the outside, but when it comes from the outside it will never be genuine (as in whether it will depend on external factors or not). When you truly love yourself and accept yourself however you are, it is the only way to achieve real confidence. In that way, no matter the external factors, you will always remain confident.
Even the most confident people generally just pretend to be confident until they are. fake it till you make it. the trick to confidence? pretend that you already are. youre complicating things with all those quotes and tips, and its quite simple.
@ijesuschrist, For real ;)
@ballsackturtles23, I like those affirmations, and I’ve heard some of the Thinker vs Prover stuff but haven’t read that book — thanks for sharing.
“I don’t think it’s that complicated. To be confident you need to be sure of yourself. End of story. When I’m confident it’s when I know nothing can come in my way.
You can’t doubt or second guess yourself. Be one with your thoughts and feelings.”
That’s exactly what I’m saying you can’t do. You can’t just “stop second guessing yourself” unless you’re already a very confident person who just seemed to lose their footing.
For people who aren’t strong and confident individuals, they’d need to become strong and confident individuals. Just like you can’t say “I want to be a bodybuilder”, you can’t say “I want to be confident”.
The way this is done is to overcome challenges and earn it. Only then will true confidence really occur.
“But everyday that I go out and do as much of what I love as I can and push my limits, the better I feel the next day. My confidence has been great this past month.”
That’s what it’s about, and that’s what’s up my man. It’s about “living on your edge”. That being said, since you’re into the ‘Alpha Man’ stuff, I wholeheartedly recommend reading ‘Way of the Superior Man’ if you haven’t read it already.
“Confidence can come from the inside and from the outside, but when it comes from the outside it will never be genuine”
I agree with you 100%. There are, of course, many factors that come into play here. But the only ones that people should be concerned with are the ones that they can actually change. Everyone was raised differently, and it can’t be used as an excuse to any conscious adult.
“When you truly love yourself and accept yourself however you are, it is the only way to achieve real confidence. In that way, no matter the external factors, you will always remain confident.”
Totally — loving and accepting yourself is crucial. But I’m also saying that you have to challenge yourself consistently or else you’ll lose that confidence. Loving and accepting are pre-requisites for confidence, but not the means.
“Even the most confident people generally just pretend to be confident until they are. fake it till you make it. the trick to confidence? pretend that you already are. youre complicating things with all those quotes and tips, and its quite simple.”
But there are also a crap load of people who “fake it till they make it” and fail. For instance, people with social anxiety can’t just fake it because that anxiety is an uncontrollable response. In order to become confident socially, they have to slowly progress past their anxiety in manageable doses so they don’t freak the fuck out.
@feren6, people use the phrase anxiety as a euphemism for fear nowadays. Yea, we’re scared. now lets man up and face our fears. I was “anxious” once too, and sometimes i still am. but once i recognize it for what it is, im able to get past it.
It shouldn’t be an excuse for people to not take action — it should indicate that they need to move forward and grow from the experiencing of facing their fears head on.
That being said, it would be detrimental to most people who’ve never spoken in public to give a speech to 5,000 people. They’d be so nervous that it’d affect their performance and they’d have no confidence in themselves in that regard. But, if they start small and give a speech to 10, then 50, then 100, then 500 and work their way up, that’s where the confidence part is built.
@dominika, I agree. Jumping in is much more effective, BUT you have to jump in the right way. I don’t agree with ‘fake it til you make it” because if you’re faking it, you’re gonna feel really insecure about it if you’re a heavy thinker like me. I tend to over-analyze what I do and that’s the source of my insecurities.
@feren6, “Confidence is not something that you can decide to have.”
-Actually, it is. I understand that you want to help, but you’re actually misleading people and possibly limiting them a lot.
“But it doesn’t work like that. In order to “be confident”, you need to build it. It’s a muscle — one that is developed from living at your edge.”
-Not really. And yknow what, “confidence” gained from results isn’t real confidence, it’s just exterior validation.
True confidence is when odds, status, outcome and such don’t matter.
“If you do exactly what you need to do to improve, then your confidence builds. If you don’t do what you know you need to do, your confidence will lessen.”
-Nah, this stuff that you build can easily be torn down, like a “house” made out of bread. The whole thing is just an illusion, you’re still just as cowardly but now you’re in a new comfort zone. Still run by fear.
Self-esteem and confidence are different things.
“If you don’t do these steps and just try to imitate someone like that, you’ll go forward with a feeling of self-confusion and lack of identity. You can’t possibly take on so much stuff at once without going crazy and feeling like a total failure for not doing everything you “need” to do.”
-The will to imitate is a surefire indicator of a huge lack of confidence and self-respect.
If you wanna flex your confidence muscle and get better at it, pushing through that “self confusion and lack of identity.” Continually pushing through your fears and limits is the path of the brave and the confident. The path of the happy and succesful. The path of freedom.
There is nothing that says you have to feel shitty when you fuck up. That’s a choice. An incredibly stupid choice.
Nothing real can ever be threatened, failure only means that you did something wrong and should do it the right way instead or move on.
Low self-esteem and shitty beliefs are results of stupid thinking. Start over, do it right from the foundation.
“You aren’t going to be able to lift 50 lbs max on Monday and then magically be able to lift 100 lbs max on Friday.”
-If 50 is your max, then you’re either very tired or starving. Even if you haven’t worked out in ages you can easily lift 100 if you put your mind to it.
The thing people do wrong, when lifting, and when interacting/flirting, and when doing business, and in pretty much all situations… is that they barely even try.
People’s biggest fear these days is effort and responsibility. You overrate your previous half-hearted attempts, and underrate your massive potential.
“So, when improving in various areas of life, take it slow. Figure out the smallest step that you need to take today to challenge yourself and improve. Then, when you complete that challenge, your confidence will increase and will motivate you for your next challenge.”
Making slow progress when you could easily be making fast progress is not a smart method. Working smart, not hard, is the real key to great success. Work smart AND hard, and you’ll really take off.
A challenge is a challenge because it’s challenging. A small step isn’t challenging. When you start out it can be a good idea to take small steps, but after a few steps the smart thing to do is to take exponentially bigger and bigger steps.
The feeling of momentum you get after success is INSPIRATION, NOT CONFIDENCE.
But, inspiration is an awesome thing. Action without inspiration is just stupid and draining.
I understand that you want to help, but you’re actually misleading people and possibly limiting them a lot.
I know this stuff because I’ve been through it, and I teach and coach this kind of stuff daily, with great results.
Don’t complicate things, it’s not as hard as you think.
MENTALITY IS EVERYTHING
Peace and love
I agree with you.
“Actually, it is. I understand that you want to help, but you’re actually misleading people and possibly limiting them a lot.”
It’s a choice to work hard towards your goals, but the resulting confidence is something that is earned. What I’m saying is that the feeling of confidence isn’t what people think it is: believing in yourself and thinking that everything will work out.
I’m talking about the confidence where you KNOW everything will work out. When I mean know, I mean you know your own abilities and you value them based off previous experiences that will prove you right.
Tiger Woods is confident in his golf abilities the same way most people are about their name. No one can tell him that he’s bad at golf, just like no one can tell you your name isn’t Elion (if that’s your real name)
People with low confidence don’t know the value in themselves. So how do they recognize that value? They work at it and celebrate the small wins every day. If you don’t put in the work, I argue that you won’t be confident.
Monks that sit around and meditate all day, under my definition, wouldn’t be confident. Mark Cuban — confident.
This isn’t external at ALL — it’s building your internal value system.
And what I’m saying is that I’m calling this core confidence. The feeling is different than “just believing in yourself”.
The mentality is HUGE and you’re correct — that part is “simple”. But knowing, and not guessing, that you’re going to succeed in various aspects depends on your ability to do it in the past. And how do you start yourself up? Start small and work your way up.
This was a primer, and people do need to take huge risks and not use fear as an excuse. But I’m not saying do small things, I’m saying do challenges that still push you, but not over the edge. For some people that could result in small things, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Agreed. There are many ways to build confidence depending on the individual — but my saying still holds true:
“confidence is built when the gap is eliminated between what you know you need to do and what you actually do”
However you do that is up to you – my method simply helps me out when I can’t just “jump in”.
For stuff with huge anxiety, like public speaking, fear of heights, or social anxiety, taking small steps works. But for stuff like ‘cold showers’ or ‘eating right’, there is tremendous value in jumping all in. Just depends where you’re at and how you work.
@feren6, “It’s a choice to work hard towards your goals, but the resulting confidence is something that is earned. What I’m saying is that the feeling of confidence isn’t what people think it is: believing in yourself and thinking that everything will work out.”
-That’s not confidence, it’s self-esteem and comfort.
“Tiger Woods is confident in his golf abilities the same way most people are about their name. No one can tell him that he’s bad at golf, just like no one can tell you your name isn’t Elion (if that’s your real name)”
-People can tell me whatever they want, it just doesn’t make a difference.
“People with low confidence don’t know the value in themselves. So how do they recognize that value? They work at it and celebrate the small wins every day. If you don’t put in the work, I argue that you won’t be confident.”
-They recognize a different value, one that’s not very good, and so they feel shitty because they’re hurting themselves. That’s low self-esteem, it’s not the same thing.
If you just do small stuff, you’re not really putting in the work. If you celebrate the small wins like they were some big deal, you’re basically telling yourself that this is something that you didn’t expect because you usually aren’t good enough for it.
The whole thing becomes a reinforcing mind loop that defines you as a person who does small stuff and consider yourself lucky to just get by, that this is all you’ll amount to.
That self-image, your blueprint, will determine your outcome. It will be more and more limiting the longer you go.
“Monks that sit around and meditate all day, under my definition, wouldn’t be confident. Mark Cuban — confident.”
-I see you’ve never met one of those monks. They’re actually extremely confident, nothing phazes them.
Mark Cuban is just an inflated douche.
“This isn’t external at ALL — it’s building your internal value system. ”
-No, because you’re basing the whole thing on using external, situational factors to validate your beliefs. That’s just a safety net.
It’s not a value system either. If you’re gonna jump on the buzz word bandwagon, at least use the right buzzword in the right place.
“And what I’m saying is that I’m calling this core confidence. The feeling is different than “just believing in yourself”.”
All you’re doing is adding another layer of belief to your ego, there’s nothing core about it.
This is another example of you using an aging buzzword without knowing what it means.
CORE confidence is a deep, UNCONDITIONAL, unreactive sense of power and self-reliance.
Core confidence is not giving a shit about whether you’re a hobo or a billionaire, it won’t change you.
“And how do you start yourself up? Start small and work your way up.”
This is such a tragic illusion that’s broken so many people. I started small, and I’ve gotten far, and it’s long since I did small stuff. But if I had known back then what I know now, I would have gotten so much further. But I was dumb and used this stupid start small method.
Hell, all these methods and techniques and tools are a WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY. Seriously.
If they really did make such a difference, pretty much everyone who got a self-help book would succeed, but almost nobody does.
Because these methods and tricks make such a tiny, and highly situational, change. And you would learn plenty of such tricks on your own if you just took action right away.
That’s really all there’s to it. Reality is very simple, success is all about cause and effect. It’s universal law, what works… works.
When you look around for techniques and theories to make things easier, you’re putting most of your effort into that, and only a small bit of effort into ACTUALLY GETTING SHIT DONE.
You’re also building a habit of this behaviour.
AND, you’re giving the power away to theories and methods, when action and wit is what it’s all about.
Action is the foundation of the whole damn thing. If you just take blind action, give it your all, and stick with it, you’ll get much farther than if you know all the methods but never get anything done.
All this self-help shit is just a distraction.
And it’s a self-fueling feedback loop.
A person reads a bunch of self-help shit by self-proclaimed “experts” who really don’t know shit. They become convinced, and live by the stuff they learned, and they move a little bit forward but not much. Then this reader writes a book of his own, teaching the same stuff. And on it goes.
It’s like this classic allegory I heard from a history teacher.
There’s this woman who is cooking a ham. Before she puts the ham in the pan, she cuts both ends off and puts them back in the fridge, she only cooks the middle part.
Her husband asks her why she cut the ends off.
“Well, that’s how my mother taught me.”
Her mother was coming over that evening, so after dinner they asked her why she always cut the ends off the ham.
“Well, my mother always did that.”
So they decided to call the old lady and ask why the ends should be cut off.
“Because my pan was too small.”
If you don’t understand how that applies to what you taught here, give it another shot.
I appreciate your effort, it’s great that you’re trying to help these people. But you don’t know what you’re doing. We all like to think we’re experts of stuff just because we read something somewhere, but that’s not how it works.
I’ve been through this whole process, first hand on my own, and with several students. I know pretty well how things work by now.
Action, action, action. That’s what it’s all about.
These methods and shit are actually one of the main reasons most people fail. Bad info poisons your mind, which is what determines how far you get.
Keep It Simple, Stupid.
People don’t put in enough effort. And they don’t want things badly enough, they’re half-hearted. And worst of all, they’re focused on the lack of what they want and the fear of failure, instead of focusing on what you want and the action you take to get there.
People constantly overestimate their previous efforts, and continually underestimate their potential.
Always finding somethig to blame, instead of admitting that “I’m full of shit, let’s do it right this time.”
When people say they’re exhausted they’re just getting uncomfortable, they’re not even halfway to actual exhaustion. And when you reach actual exhaustion, you can still push it a bit further. I consider doing that consistently a small step, a small action.
Like the drill sergeant told me back in the day:
“When your mom thinks you’ve had enough, you’re at 40% effort.
When you think you’ve had enough, you’re at 50-60% effort.
What we expect and demand of you is 80%. Sometimes a little more.
If you ever go above 90% you’re in the danger zone, 100% and you literally keel over and die on the spot.
Most of you have never even reached 50%”
If you put half as much presence into actually getting things done as you put into thinking about getting things done, you would be soaring by now.
Just like me.
Peace and love
//Elion (my real name)
“And they don’t want things badly enough, they’re half-hearted.”
I see this thing about people not wanting what they think they want as a symptom of poor emotional health as opposed to laziness. Technically they do want it, but facing the challenges of their goal makes them hit into that pain of their engrained self-concept and tragically limiting beliefs and they back away. I think in most cases where shit really isn’t getting done, it’s because the person would have a mental collapse if they really faced it all at once, like taking quality action would force them to. I think in those cases small steps is the best approach, unless they are brave and mature enough to really confront their deeper issues. I think this psychological/spiritual confrontation is a really important part of life/career coaching and consulting.Personally I feel like I have to correct a lifetime of damaging programming before I can do my shit I need to do.
The alternative would be turning off my feelings and going full speed ahead in robot mode.
I learn a lot from your posts, but I always get this impression that your tactic for results is numbing feelings and if you can’t suck it up your a pussy. If I’m mistaken, what is your approach to this issue of extreme lack of identity and broken initiative? So much of that is a result of a person’s childhood and needs to be reversed forcefully, but not brashly. It is definitely a separate but closely related issue to the OP.
@manimal, I don’t disagree with how you think it works, but if you weren’t so full of it, you might be able to see that you guys are saying the same thing. I definitely appreciate what you’ve added, but I fail to see any real contradiction. perhaps it’s just your way, coming in to say you’ve got it all wrong, but I’ve got the one and only answer here for you. soundin’ like a fundamentalist christian.
i still love ya tho.
You’re misinterpreting my point. It’s cool if you have different definitions, but this is mine:
Self-esteem comes emotionally, like “I feel worthy of love” and “I’m living my values” and “I like myself”.
Confidence is that feeling that you know you’ll be able to achieve your goals because you’re putting in the work and consistently improving yourself.
I am telling people to take action, don’t you see!?!?! Don’t get sidetracked by what I call it, it’s simply a mnemonic to help me (and others) remember how it works. Whether that works for you or not, that’s fine, but that’d be a stretch to say that I’m full of shit… Because we’re saying the same thing.
“Action is the foundation of the whole damn thing. If you just take blind action, give it your all, and stick with it, you’ll get much farther than if you know all the methods but never get anything done.”
Agreed. Imperfect Action is always greater than Perfect Inaction.
But, there’s a lot of people out there who have a lot of trouble just “giving it their all”. If you have social anxiety, for instance,there’s no way in hell you’re going to be fine after going to a huge party and just “Give it your all and suck it up”.
Progressive desensitization is important, in a lot of cases, for building confidence. You’re not going to be confident is talking to someone if you don’t work through it — no matter what you trick your mind to believe. You have to live and experience improvement, or you’ll never get there.
do you agree that confidence is the contrast between where you are and where you want to be? which is why confidence cannot be faked if you ‘are not’, because your actions do not align to this reality?
making confidence ‘knowing that you can’ because your actions have made this to be true?
By taking the small steps i realize that me is an ever-changing environment, flowing through infinity. Life is potential, i am potentiality.
@manimal, I agree that big jumps are awesome. And are way better most the time.
But with something like social confidence, if you’ve never had it before, you can’t just “get it”. Jumping in will help in a big leap at first, but to continually improve your social skills you need to make small habitual changes, because trying to simply do everything at once will not work. There’s no one step fix to everything like “just being confident”. I know self-help is an endless loop and that’s been something I struggled with, I try not to read it too much anymore because most of it is quite frankly a waste of time because it’s things you’ve already heard. But you should make changes because you WANT to, not because it’s gonna make you more confident when others accept you better. Doing it for yourself is confidence, doing it to be better received by others is validation.
I don’t like validation, and I tend to stay away from ever really wanting it, but a little never hurts. As long as it’s used in encouragement, and not in a way that could make or break your confidence.
Confidence is an overused term. I prefer to just think about it as going for what I want. I became obsessed with “confidence” for a while, like displaying the right body language, talking slowly, etc, and I realized the only reason I was doing it was because I wanted validation. I realized I was better than that and I don’t NEED approval from anybody. So I stopped caring about that stuff. I’m just me. I won’t numb my feelings like sadness, anger, etc. But I will move on to continue for what I want. If a girl I really liked broke up with me, damn I ‘d probably be upset, does that mean I’m not confident? No. Because I’m not gonna mope about it all day, I’ll move on and keep going after my dreams.