Keeping Self-Confidence High Is Never Easy. But It’s Not Impossible.

A month or so ago I wrote a piece on conquering fear.
Lately I have been thinking about the other side of the coin, which is self-confidence.

Self-Confidence Vs Egotism

A lot of people think that people who are self-confident are egocentric. And I guess some of them are. Ego is a funny thing. We all have one and, for some of us, it really is an inhibitor of one kind or another. That would be your unhealthy ego. It’s the beast that picks fights with people who disagree with it, whether it’s about politics or sports or whatever. It’s the beast that tells you that you are wildly creative when that’s not true. It the beast that convinces you that your way of doing things is always the best and nobody else really has much of a clue.

The kind of confidence that you draw from this is pretty shallow and it certainly won’t win you a lot of friends or influence. And it probably won’t last long.

For others of us, and I like to think this is the majority, our ego is the spark plug in our head that keeps on firing no matter what, and gives us the kind of self-confidence we need to keep on doing good stuff. To keep on looking at the challenges we face as positive things. And to keep our brains coming up with ways to conquer those challenges.

I Am One Of The Most Self-Confident People I Know.

It’s not egocentric to admit that to yourself. But a lot of people, throughout their lives, have been told otherwise, mainly by people, who for whatever reason, lack confidence in themselves and are subconsciously trying to level the playing field around them.

In my life, I have been very lucky to have run into only a few of those people. Fortunately I was able to recognize their game and avoid getting caught up in it. These people had agendas and the kinds of egos that make them insist on always being the smartest person in the room. Sometimes they are, but that doesn’t make you the dumbest person in the room, which sadly, is often how people end up feeling.

969330_10151544547703004_1912087365_nEverybody Starts Out 100% Self-Confident.
The Real Trick Is Staying Close To That

I look at my grandson (pictured above) who is nearly 4. His level of self-confidence is 100%. He’s up for anything. He never gives up on anything he tries, and he has this incredible sense of exactly who he is. His parents and grandparents do a lot to ‘bolster’ his confidence, but I’m not sure that, at this age, he really understands what that means yet. His self-confidence just is. It’s a pure thing. And it beams out of him like he is a tiny diamond.

As he grows older the challenges of life are going to be more difficult, and his self-confidence will develop little cracks. The trick is not to let those little cracks turn into huge fissures. But, life is life and I’m sure that he will experience a few of those. Hopefully they seal themselves as he grows and he retains the better part of his self-confidence.

I don’t think my grandson is any different from the rest of us.

So if your starting point is 100% self-confidence, that becomes the standard you work to maintain. Life and growing and conflict and a thousand external forces will work on eroding that. But if you always keep it in the back of your mind that you were there once and you can close to that again, you have a much better chance at being happy than those who simply let life defeat them.

Keeping Self-Confidence Strong. Some Suggestions.

The nature of self-confidence is really something only you can control. But that is not to say that you actually do all the work yourself. Positive reinforcement from external sources like coaches, trainers, family, friends and associates all helps, and the closer you are to and the more you respect the people giving you that reinforcement, the easier it will be for you to absorb it and put it to work.

But the most potent type of positive reinforcement is self-generated. This can come in many shapes and sizes.

• Looking back on your accomplishments, and appreciating how far you have come,
• Thinking about how you were able to learn from your mistakes,
• Remembering that the positive advice you give out so freely to others also applies to yourself,
• Even just stopping to take a breath every now and then and think about what’s going on and how to deal with it confidently.

A lot of us don’t think about this stuff when our self-confidence is low. But maybe we should. Because maybe, just maybe, it would help.

Some Confidence Boosting Tricks I Use

Because I am a writer, some of my most effective confidence boosters have to do with my craft.

1. I have written about 400 lyrics over the years, a small number of which have been recorded by various people. I keep them all in a big file and whenever I’m feeling a little low, I open that file, pick a lyric and sing it to myself. I sing it really loud and passionately. For some reason, probably just knowing that this was something I did and it’s not so bad, this act of abandon and missed vocal notes often jacks my confidence back up to normal.

2. I have also been writing articles and blog posts since about 1998. This is a process that keeps me writing something every day. It’s a lot of additional work when I am busy, but it is also something, I have discovered, that bolsters my self-confidence when I am not. So I’m actually writing this post for myself as much as I am for anybody who reads it.

3. I take my body to extremes and use the fact that my body is totally occupied to free up my mind to simply think. Taking a long sauna. Taking a long hard bike ride. Or doing a simple exercise like crunches. I’m always amazed at how clearheaded I become in these situations and and how much easier it is to see solutions and ways forward.

The Learning

A lot of people’s lack of self-confidence is self-generated. They have let external forces or the strain of living get to them somehow. These people need to find something within themselves that will bolster their self-confidence. Often this can be as simple as just doing something they really like to do. Something they can complete and feel satisfaction from having done it.

They also have to teach themselves or have it taught to them, that other people’s opinions are just that and that their own opinions are the things that matter most.

I know this sounds like a lot of armchair psychology, and it probably is. But sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective.

I’m not trying to solve everybody self-confidence issues here. I’m just giving you my opinion on the matter telling you a bit about what works for me. What works for you will undoubtedly be different, but the point is that there is always work to do to maintain your self-confidence.

And the doing of this work is the difference between people who have high levels of it and those who don’t.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jim Murray (that’s me) is a professional communication strategist, copywriter & blogger.
I write about all kinds of stuff, mainly having to do with communications
and the world we live in, because believe it or not, they are hopelessly intertwined.

If you’d like to talk about optimizing the quality of your communication on LinkedIn,or anywhere online, feel free to contact me at any time. I’m currently helping
several businesses do just that.

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