I talk to a lot of people who have issues with self-confidence. I have issues with self-confidence in some areas of my life – in fact I think that most of us do at some point.
The common misconception about confidence is that we either have it or we don’t. Like it’s some sort of material object that we can own and once we have it we have it for life. I can tell you now that it doesn’t work like that. Self-confidence is something that is constantly shifting, it’s dynamic, and because of this we can always manage how we feel about it.
Now let’s say we have a room of 100 people, all sitting down listening to me talk. You are one of those 100 people, sitting on your chair in that room. If I asked you all if you are a confident person, my guess is that most would either say or think that they are not a confident person. However if I asked you all if you are sitting on a chair or standing up, my guess is that all of you would be pretty confident in your answers.
So what am I getting at here? My point is that confidence isn’t a blanket state that covers everything we do. Most of us will be confident in some areas of our lives and less so in other areas. Once you start thinking about self-confidence in this way you can start to understand how to improve your confidence in your lower-state areas.
If for example you always feel nervous and less confident in public spaces, spend more time in public spaces until you gain more experience in those situations. Make mistakes and notice how little other people bother about what you are doing. The more you do this the more you will build up an experience bank of the things that can happen in these situations. You might trip up or knock something off a shelf and feel silly but you deal with it and see that nobody really bothered, or even noticed, what you did. The more you do this the more comfortable you will feel in public spaces.
So self-confidence is a bit like an experience bank of knowledge. How you have dealt with similar situations in the past will help you understand how you would deal with them again in the future.
Also, doing something that really stretches your comfort zone can help in other areas of your life. I used to be really afraid of heights – terrified. So I started rock climbing. Most people I talk to tell me that I’m crazy, if I’m afraid of heights then why do I climb? My answer is simple, because I don’t want this fear to limit my life. Stretching myself in this way has also given me more self-confidence in other situations.
Stretch yourself and do it often. Build up your experiences in different areas of your life and you will see your self-confidence grow.
So, how do you improve your confidence in 30 seconds? Remember that even when you think to yourself “I’m just not a confident person”, you are feeling pretty confident that you are right so that must mean that you actually have the ability to be confident. You are confident that you are not a confident person.