Some people have it, and some people don't.
Those who have it can lose it, and those who have none can gain it all.
It's what separates the winners from the losers.
Confidence. (that was good...maybe I should start writing riddles?)
I have found, and it's no real secret, that possibly the most singular qualilty one can have to greatly increase the level of his/her success in anything, is a high degree of self confidence.
Having self confidence literally makes you better at everything you do. What is this self confidence I speak of? It is having no fear, and no vision of failure. A confident person has no fear of failure because he knows failing is simply an opportunity to learn, and thus further increase his level of confidence. Despite this lack of fear, a confident person only visualizes a successful outcome.
When Barry Bonds broke the home run record, he'd step to the plate envisioning nothing less than hitting a home run. I'd be willing to bet, the possibiliy of a strikeout rarely crept into his mind.
When Pavarotti was singing opera in his old age, do you think he was concerned as to whether he could hit the high E in front of a stadium full of people?
I happen to play a lot of sports, and sing some mean karaoke. (Ok, so I'm not exactly breaking home run records and hitting high E's, but I'd say I do alright :). When I'm playing tennis or racketball, the thought of losing never crosses my mind. Even if I'm playing bad and losing to someone I should normally beat, I know for certain that I will win, and in the end, having that mentality is usually enough to pull me through.
The above examples though, are examples of having confidence in a specific thing. I somehow doubt good ol' Pavarotti would have been confident in winning (or even finishing for that matter) a marathon.
That being said, I think it IS very possible for someone to be an all around confident person. A person who carries himself high, looks people in the eye, is always sincere, gives a firm handshake, and is generally unconcerned about what other people think about himself.
Watch the movie "Pumping Iron," and you will realize why Arnold Schwartzenegger is so successful at everything. I don't think a guy can be more self-confident (and sure, downright arrogant) than him. In the movie he states that he has "no fear of fainting in the gym" due to exhaustion. He doesn't care what people think about him. Self belief is the reason he's reached the pinnacle bodybuilding, acting, and politics.
Look at Tom Cruise as another example. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but he's the epitome of a really confident guy. I can't imagine him walking into any situation without a high degree of self assurance. He never gets flustered and he's your classic "alpha male." He could probably care less about what people thought of him jumping up and down on Oprah.
Confidence is applicable to practically everything you do in life.
On the other side of the coin, he who lacks confidence and self-esteem, is already ready to lose. He contemplates every scenario of failure, fears rejection by others, and interprets this rejection as a rejection of himself rather than a rejection of his approach.
He's the person that says, "I'll try my best."
We see these people all the time. When we walk passed them in the hall, they look down to avoid eye contact. They stand around with their hands in their pockets. The only outcome they can see with any risk, is the possibility of failure.
Most of us probably have friends where if they see a cute girl, they freeze up and are terrified of approaching her. "What do I say? What if she doesn't like me? What do I do?!" He might walk up and try and say something to her, quietly, voice quivering. She gets creeped out and leaves. Painful rejection.
It's NOT a rejection of him (since she doesn't even know him), it's a rejection of his approach. Learn from your mistakes and try again.
The confident guy will walk up to her without hesitation and say, "Hi!" or whatever. His mindset is, "let's have a great interaction since I'm a cool person and there's a possibility you are as well. You need to bring just as much, or more, to the table as I do."
She's not on a pedastal, and not a prize. She's just a cute girl who might be as fun as he is.
In one episode of this show "The Pickup Artist" I saw recently, a bunch of really unconfident guys are memorizing these canned conversation starter lines to use on girls. The problem is, when they actually went to use them, their delivery sucked! There was no substance, no confidence behind what they were saying!
It's not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.
So we've pretty much established that having a high degree of self confidence is directly proportional to life success. But how do we build some general self confidence?
Well it takes some building, but the only way to build confidence, is to succeed! Seems like a catch-22 since each one relies on the other, but it's really not.
The first thing you need to do is step out of your shell for something small.
This could be something like walking upright with your back straight and your head held high. Look around. Observe the people around you. Try to make eye contact with everyone you pass. When they look back at you, smile! You'll find that everyone smiles back! Now start saying "hi" to some of these people, along with the smile.
And speaking of smiles, use them a lot! Smile when you walk into a room. This is YOUR room and the people in the room are YOUR people...YOUR friends. People want to be YOUR friend. For every ten smiles, "hello's" etc. you get back, MAYBE one person might not, but that person's reaction then becomes inconsequential.
When you smile at someone, you can EXPECT a smile back, and if they don't, brush it off and move on.
If you start doing these things, you'll notice people will start doing them back to you, without you having to initiate anything!
It's little exercises like this that really build confidence from the ground up. After a month of smiling and engaging everyone, you'll have no fear of doing so on a regular basis. There will be no contemplation of "what if they don't say hi, or smile back?" because that possibility doesn't even exist anymore!
Athletes do the same thing. When they're struggling with confidence, they go back to the basics and play against lower competition to get a few wins under their belt. Slowly, confidence builds and they get a feeling that they're unbeatable! Then, they go back to the higher level of competition with this renewed confidence.
I'd like to think I'm a confident person, but it has certainly grown over the years (some might say to ridiculous levels of self-love that the world has yet to see! :)
The little social exercises I mentioned above are things I started practicing without really knowing the positive effect it was going to have on me. Saying hi to everyone, getting over the perceived akwardness of talking to a stranger in an elevator, approaching a beautiful woman that has probably been oggled at 20 times that day...these are things I previously would never have done without building up my own confidence!
When I see someone I want to talk to, I don't think "what am I going to say? What if it's akward? What if I mess up what I'm saying?" I just go and chime in. There's no reason that he or she shouldn't want to talk to me...afterall, it is ME and I'm interesting! :)
When you live with confidence, it seems like the whole world opens up for you. Things just start going right, people respect you and want to know you, and you feel great!
I think the key to keeping this confidence is to think positive and create a positive environment. When you make the people around you feel great, they do the same to you. It's one big cycle of greatness that will keep YOU at your most confident.
And it's at that point, where you feel invinsible and unshakable, that you realize the great power of self confidence.
UPDATE: If you found this post useful, definitely check out my new ebook package The Social Charmer. I write at length about improving self-confidence and the information I share has been invaluable to me! At the very least, join the FREE email list!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Some people have it, and some people don't.