Forging Your Self Confidence
By Brian Tracy
A young woman wrote to me recently, telling me that her whole life had taken a different turn since she heard me ask the question, “What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?” She wrote that, up to that time, this was a question she had never even dared to consider, but now, she thought of nothing else. She had realized, in a great, blinding flash of clarity, that the main thing separating her from her hopes and dreams was the belief in her ability to achieve them.
Most of us are like this for most of our lives. There are many things that we want to be, and have and do, but we hold back. We are unsure because we lack the confidence necessary to step out in faith in the direction of our dreams.
Abraham Maslow said that the story of the human race is the story of men and women “selling themselves short.” Alfred Adler, the great psychotherapist, said that men and women have a natural tendency toward feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. Because we lack confidence, we don’t think we have the ability to do the kind of things that others have done, and in many cases, we don’t even try.
Just think: What difference would it make in your life if you had an absolutely unshakable confidence in your ability to achieve anything you really put your mind to? What would you want and wish and hope for? What would you dare to dream if you believed in yourself with such deep conviction that you had no fears of failure whatsoever? Most people start off with little or no self-confidence, but as a result of their own efforts, they become bold and brave and outgoing. And we’ve discovered that if you do the same things that other self-confident men and women do, you, too, will experience the same feelings and get the same results.
The key is to be true to yourself, to be true to the very best that is in you, and to live your life consistent with your highest values and aspirations.
Take some time to think about who you are and what you believe in and what is important to you. Decide that you will never compromise your integrity by trying to be or say or feel something that is not true for you. Have the courage to accept yourself as you really are-not as you might be, or as someone else thinks you should be-and know that, taking everything into consideration, you are a pretty good person. After all, we all have our own talents, skills and abilities that make us extraordinary. No one, including yourself, has any idea of your capabilities or of what you might ultimately do or become. Perhaps the hardest thing to do in life is to accept how extraordinary you really can be, and then to incorporate this awareness into your attitude and personality.
In developing unshakable levels of self-confidence, your self-esteem and self-regard are important starting points, but they are not enough. People have tried positive thinking and wishing and hoping for years, with only mixed results. To develop the deep-down kind of self-confidence that leads to victory, you need positive knowing, not just positive thinking.
Lasting self-confidence really comes from a sense of control. When you feel very much in control of yourself and your life, you feel confident enough to do and say the things that are consistent with your highest values. Psychologists today agree that a feeling of being “out of control” is the primary reason for stress and negativity and for feelings of inferiority and low self-confidence. And the way for you to get a solid sense of control over every part of your life is to set clear goals or objectives, to establish a sense of direction based on purposeful behavior aimed at predetermined ends.
Being true to yourself means knowing exactly what you want and having a plan to achieve it. Lasting self-confidence comes when you absolutely know that you have the capacity to get from where you are to wherever you want to go. You are behind the wheel of your life. You are the architect of your destiny and the master of your fate. Instead of being preoccupied with the fear of failure and loss, as most people are, you focus on the opportunity and the possible gains of achievement. With a clearly defined track to run on, you become success-oriented, and you gradually build your confidence up to the stage where there is very little you will not take on.
Another essential way to build your self-confidence, through positive knowing rather than just positive thinking, is to become very good at what you do. The flip side of self-confidence is “self-efficacy,” or the ability to perform effectively in your chosen area.
You can raise your self-confidence instantly by the simple act of committing yourself to becoming excellent in your chosen field. You immediately separate yourself from the average individual who drifts from job to job and accepts mediocrity as the adequate standard. Some years ago, a young man named Tim came to one of my personal-development seminars. He was shy and introverted. His handshake was weak and he had tremendous difficulty making eye contact. He sat in the back of the seminar room with his head down, taking notes. He seemed to have few friends, and he didn’t socialize very much during the breaks. At the end of the seminar, he told me that he was in sales and hadn’t been doing very well up to that time. But he had resolved to change, to go to work on himself, to overcome his shyness and to become very good at selling for his company. He then said good-bye, and I wished him the best of luck as he went on his way.
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WISHING YOU HEALTH & HAPPINESS. MAJOR (R) KHALID NASR