How to Exude More Confidence in a Negative World
Confidence: The word conjures up images of self-assurance and belief in ones’ self. Self-confidence is inward security. It basically means that your source of security comes from within yourself, you’re confident in your integrity to your own value system. It is not congruent with doubt or fear.
I think that Franklin D. Roosevelt hit the nail on the head when he said, “Confidence thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them, it cannot live.”
Confidence is not to be found outside of one’s self, it is not an inherent part of your personality when you are born, but rather is something that can be learned, honed and integrated into your daily behavior. We build or lose self-confidence by choice. It is something that can be destroyed by a parent, teacher, sibling or colleague by a thoughtless offhand remark that is taken to heart and integrated into the psyche of the receiver. Often the event passes quickly and neither the giver nor the receiver is even aware of what has happened. This occurs whether it is used to build one up or break one down.
Luckily, if you have low self-esteem or a lack of confidence you can find the direction to build up these skills through a motivation to do so. Sound simple? Well it is. You see, since confidence comes from the inside out, you can begin by acting as if you are self-confident. Begin with something small, pretend that you are confident and just do whatever it is that you lack confidence in.
The first time I had to speak before an audience, I was terrified. So I did my research, prepared my speech, practiced and (yep, I was still scared stiff). But, because I knew the material I only had to overcome the fear of getting up in front of the audience. Well, after I was introduced, I had no other option but to go through with it. I stepped up to the podium and acted as if I was a great speaker and when I completed my speech, someone said “wow you’re such a confident speaker” and I realized that the audience couldn’t tell that I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. I decided to use the “act as if” strategy whenever I needed to feel confident and as time passed, I found my confidence grew.
Remind yourself of what Joe Palermo said, “If you’re knocked down, you can’t lose your guts. You need to act with supreme confidence or else you’ll lose again, and then losing becomes a habit.” It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, what’s important is that you are in control of how you respond and react to each situation you are faced with.
In my book, “Self-Creation: 10 Powerful Principles for Changing Your Life,” I recommend using the 4-step coping mechanism to build confidence. Whatever you are facing, begin by contemplating and analyzing the situation. Next, incubate it, step back and reflect, but don’t make a decision yet. Then actuate, consider ways to restructure the situation, hold it up to the light and look for the opportunity in it. Finally, integrate; incorporate the new behavior in your daily actions and you will build your confidence.
As Marie Curie said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this something, at whatever cost, must be attained.”
Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
So, believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.