Confidence is something that I personally struggled with for a long time. It was much easier for me to doubt myself than it was to accept that I might be right, so I held myself back from opportunities to share my own knowledge or move forward in my development. Now I am at the highest level of confidence I’ve been in my life and feeling much better for it; it’s still below where I would like it to be, but there are different types of confidence in different areas, and some of them I have total confidence in, I just need to bring the others up to the same level (and throw in some more humility, just to be safe!).
Some people don’t seem to have trouble with confidence at all. We’ve all met those people and they can often seem arrogant, but we’re also envious of their ability to seem like they know what to do in any given situation.
We’re in a society where advertising and marketing want us to believe that there are naturally confident people and naturally non-confident people who can become confident through using their products or attending their seminars. This is mostly untrue.
The open secret of confidence is that to gain confidence you have to actually choose to gain confidence.
A very quick and easy choice you can make to gain confidence is to practice self-affirmation, where you tell yourself that you are confident, interesting and talented, you’re good at what you choose to do and what you aren’t good at doesn’t matter right now, because you’re getting there.
The way that we think and speak about ourselves helps shape how we feel and who we become, by choosing to speak in a positive way, whether or not we believe it, we can gain confidence. It’s easy to make fun of such a method, but it works over time and I used self-affirmation in my mid-twenties to improve my confidence and perspective on life. I chose to become confident, I didn’t pay for someone to give it to me.
Another quick note to dispel the myth of natural confidence. In adults, everything that appears natural from the outside is from years of learning and practice, and some of the best learning we receive happens to us subconsciously. People who seem naturally confident and don’t have any knowledge of being taught confidence, were actually taught in their very early lives, through positive parenting and support, good role models and also choosing at some point the path of confidence. Sometimes they don’t have this exact experience, but they always have the final part where they choose confidence, there is no confident person who has not made that choice, consciously or subconsciously.