This post is not intended to be a guide on how you can build self-confidence. Instead, it offers a self-assessment of how I did. It is a catalog of my personal processes and the manner in which I approach this complex topic. I believe that I can only share my methods and experiences, but I cannot give you advice on building self-confidence. This is because we might differ in terms of age, sex, geographic location, or religion.
Moreover, I don’t want to take on the narrative used by Mark Manson’s work. He is the life coach behind the highly popular self-help book called “The subtle art of not giving a f*ck”. In his book, he uses an excellent quote. It reads:
“They call themselves life coaches and charge money to help others. They do this even though they’re only twenty-five years old, and haven’t accomplished anything substantial in their lives.”Mark Manson
Even though I’m over 25, I still agree with Mark’s point of view. I don’t believe anyone is fully equipped to take over and coach another individual’s life. Offering guidance and support, on the other hand, can be priceless for some people.
I believe that we have to build ourselves based on our experience and current status in different areas of life. This, however, does not mean that we are not supposed to learn lessons from those who’ve already passed some experiments in life.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is an attitude and a state of mind. It is the belief in one’s ability and skillset. It requires you to trust yourself and believe that you have a great degree of control over your own life and outcomes.
What is a confident person?
A self-confident person is well-versed in their own strengths and shortcomings. They are not delusional about their personality, but rather, they can see themselves with extraordinary clarity. A self-confident person knows exactly who they are, and who they’re not. They don’t have to pretend for the sake of others and are comfortable in their own skin.
Another trademark characteristic of a self-confident person is the ability to set realistic goals and expectations. They don’t aim to under-achieve or overachieve but instead are able to set targets that are within their grasp. This is done after factoring in their entire skillset.
Additionally, a self-confident person is also able to take criticism well because they recognize that they aren’t perfect. There’s a great deal of a difference between a person who’s quietly confident in their abilities and a person who overestimates themselves and believes they are perfect.
Need for self-confidence
It’s extremely easy to spot a person who’s comfortable and confident in their own skin. They have a distinct air about them and they can bring people into their lives instead of alienating them.
In any social dynamic, there is always the need for a self-confident individual. This person has nothing to prove to others and is, therefore, capable of contributing in a meaningful way to the greater good.
When you are a self-confident individual, others will seek out your advice and your company. This is because such people are also good listeners and are capable of adding value in other people’s lives.
Most of the time in life, we make major decisions based on societal norms and external pressures. A low-confidence individual looks externally for the answers, while a self-confident person looks inwards.
When you’re not sure about your own feelings or decision-making abilities, you tend to seek the counsel of others. When you’re confident of making a decision and taking on its relevant outcomes, you don’t find the need to look elsewhere for answers.
A self-confident person is always open to advice, mind you. It’s just that this individual only considers the merit of the advice instead of letting others influence their decisions.
Do I need to change myself or the environment I live in?
A lot of the time, our personalities are a victim of our circumstances. We are meant to be someone, but we end up becoming someone else altogether because of the people we’re surrounded by and the environment we’re raised in. These external factors played a huge role in my own personal story.
I found that I was surrounded by unnecessary information or activities I didn’t necessarily need. I chased false goals created by some greedy people who set unachievable outcomes. I was an inexhaustible source of cash flow for them, like plants that are ready to reap at any time.
Unfortunately, several external factors influenced my confidence. At first, I believed that those factors were part of my life and my daily routine. My beliefs were so deeply entrenched in these factors that I even began to build some habits around them.
Finally, I decided to step out of the treadmill. I didn’t want to be somebody in the eyes of other people. Instead, I decided to shift focus and prioritize on what I wanted to be, and what my loved ones wanted for me. I believe that some minor changes in my behavior ended up having a profound effect and influence on my confidence and self-belief.
Habits I set to build self-confidence
I changed some of my habits to gain time. This was not the process of dismantling my life, but I was simply restructuring it. I decided to trash all the habits and routines that weren’t good for me and instead focused my attention on those facets that would yield positive results.
The idea was to organize my life in such a way so as to move towards becoming somebody I can be proud of. This is somebody who is confident enough in every aspect of his life. Therefore, I began to set standards and benchmarks for myself. Guidelines that I could live by for the next set of years. All these points helped me in some ways to be more confident and made my life more comfortable:
In my social life, I decided to make the following changes:
1. Avoid reading or watching the news:
Don’t worry about things that do not matter or don’t have a direct impact on your life. Live without uncertainty or fear of things you cannot change.
2. Reasons to avoid watching television:
This medium boosts nerves unnecessarily and has no real value in your life. When you watch television late at night, you cannot sleep properly. Reading books instead is a much better idea. It calms down nerves and offers great sleep quality.
3. Reason to stay away from social media:
There are false values offered by influencers that are unhealthy for our psyche. These are things we cannot reach or are less important in reality. Instead of seeking out the approval of these influences, we must accept ourselves and build our own personality, outfit, or body.
4. Reasons to stay away from negative people:
A negative person only has negative thoughts and negativity will never support our way to build self-confidence. These thoughts make our life bitter only. We should avoid gossip and take care of ourselves instead.
5. Reasons to associate with positive people:
Positive people positively lead us and help us change our attitude towards life. They are happy to be in a society where people help each other. You should seek out such a community and soon you will feel how your self-confidence is growing.
The outcome was that I became more patient and calmer. Suddenly a bunch of irritating things disappeared. My life has become peaceful and I realized that I have everything I need already. Meanwhile, I gained more time for those things that matter, like my family. I felt like David Henry Thoreau shaping his life at Walden pond, but I was not alone.
Building self-confidence At the workplace
As Tim Ferris suggests in his book “The 4-hour workweek”, I applied the following principles while working:
1. Read materials to build self-confidence:
I read all the materials related to my work. It helps me improve my knowledge in my profession. Therefore, as a leader, I am confident enough to lead my team. And if I’m asked or if somebody needs help, I assert enough to answer their questions or give them a hand.
2. Force emailing:
For me, it’s much easier to organize all things using emails. It is time-consuming, but I can prioritize tasks. I also delay answers that need consideration and decrease briefings to 5 minutes because I can prepare for the briefing by drafting an agenda.
3. Improve awareness:
I separated work from my personal life to be aware of what I’m doing.
4. Empower employees:
I placed responsibilities on my subordinates. I also trust in my subordinate’s decision-making ability.
5. Outsource works:
Organize workflow and try not to do everything alone. Breaking down tasks into manageable bits also helps.
The outcome was that I had far more time to be professional and less time to work on behalf of others. The employees felt more important, meanwhile, they gave my authority more credit. Therefore, today I’m much more confident than I was years ago. The best part is that this attitude rubbed off on the employees as well, and they’re far more confident as a group as well.
1. Focus on kids:
I spend more time with my kids and I focus on quality time. It helps me be more patient and allows me to focus on things that are important.
2. Family weekends:
Avoid working on weekends and spend time with family instead. Enjoy your free time so that you can thoroughly refresh yourself.
3. Pay more attention to your wife / husband:
Establish and maintain balance in marriage. Pay more attention to the human part of our loved ones. This is especially important if you have kids. Escape the sole idea of mothership/fathership only. Renew intimate relationships in marriage. Be a man or a woman regardless of years of marriage. Enjoy each other like it was when we were young and your self-confidence will grow accordingly.
The outcome was that I feel more important than ever. I’m a full part of my little society. I will never miss anything and will never have to make any excuses. As a father, I live my life fully. I have everything I can be proud of and that makes me even more confident.
1. Quit Smoking:
This was the best decision of my life, as I don’t have an addiction to anything. Nothing can chain me up and I also don’t have the tell-tale smokers smell and breath. I now feel more confident while talking to anyone.
2. Exercise constantly:
I feel healthier due to this habit. I also find time to consider things while exercising. Another amazing side effect is that I look and feel better.
3. Take rest:
I read books before bed and it helps me clear my mind and sleep better. Quality time with my family, as mentioned above, is a part of active resting.
1. Live simply:
As I learned not to chase unimportant things, life became easier. Suddenly I became rich. I had everything I needed. Do not seek more and more. Do not compare your living standard with other’s living standards.
2. Satisfied with achievements:
I learned to be patient and appreciate my past and all the things I did. I design slow improvements only as fast as my lifestyle can bear it without loss.
3. Do not chase false success:
Wealth is relative. I have everything. Am I wealthy? I think I am. Of course, I want more, but I want what I personally want, not the superficial things that others have.
During the last few years, I built habits based on the above-mentioned routines and changes. I can honestly tell you that my life has changed dramatically. I feel much better, have a less complex life, and I’m satisfied with all the things I achieved. All in all, I have become self-confident.
In my humble opinion, life is all about making small, incremental changes over long periods of time. You have to identify areas that you need to work on, and slowly build your way towards working on these changes. Nothing truly substantial happens overnight, or at least that’s what I’ve noticed.
All my changes were comfortably spread out over the course of a couple of years. I didn’t put any additional pressure on myself, nor was I harsh on myself when I was failing. I was patient and kind to my own being and trusted that I could make the changes happen eventually.
Bite-sized pieces of change always go down easier than mouthfuls. I truly believe in that!
Once I strung together enough changes, I began to think and feel differently. My perspective towards the world started to change, and the world’s perspective towards me was also beginning to vary.
A couple of years down the line, I am a new me. This me was always in there, but I just needed to give him the space to find his way out to the top.
If you like, I built my little world around and inside me, where I can live the life I dreamt of.
Do you have your own bad habits you want to leave behind? Which bad habits influence your confidence? Go ahead, and share with us in the comments.