What incredibly wonderful insight. This guy knows what’s up
My friends (mostly girls) often tell me that to my ears, and I really hate hearing those two negative words (or three, considering the “am” joined with “I”), because they often convey insecurity and low self-image.
“I can’t do this.”
A lot of times colleagues of mine, or co-workers on a group project, even when they must do their little share or contribution to a group project, often tell those four unenthusiastic words, words that often pops up when they are unsure or when they think that they are doomed to fail.
“I don’t want to fail in front of people.”
At that moment I fight the temptation to shout at them, or tell them, or sing to them, “Look, a lot of people get humiliated every single day. And they don’t much care about it; they learn about it. Now get your butt on the stage NOW!!!”
“Every aspect of our lives—whether work, play, relationships, or personal challenges—are often determined by our self-image,” as said by Alan Loy McGinnis, author of the book Confidence: How To Succeed At Being Yourself. According to him, confidence is largely determined by our self-image, or the way we perceive ourselves, about our standards, our own self-expectations, and such, which in turn, mainly dictates our everyday life, and how we live.
“Who needs confidence, anyway?” One of my friends asked in our innumerable conversations. All of us, I said. What if you were suddenly called to speak in front of public and by that moment you already fainted? What if you are expected to close a business deal and you just can’t raise your hand to accept it? What if you want to ask your boss for a raise but you can’t even start to think about stepping into his office? What if you want to demand your vendor to refund your purchase and you can’t even do it? What about it then?
Most of these questions can only be answered by having confidence with ourselves. There’s a room of these guys who exude a lot of confidence: George Clooney, Steve Jobs, Sylvester Stallone, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Warren Buffet, Hellen Keller, Mother Teresa—the list is endless. What if Jobs feel doubtful over his inventions? We would never enjoy Apple today. What if Martin Luther King Jr. decided to stop his fight against racial discrimination? White supremacy would still be ruling the US today. What if Mother Teresa did not feel self-assured over taking care of India’s poorest? Then her organization would not have blossomed.
Throughout history, countless stories of people, men and women, in their own version, said to a challenge, “To hell with it,” each day and became hugely successful, these are stories of how confidence changes one life from a negative to a positive note, and those people affected never felt the same way again.
What if you still don’t want to be confident? Well, you are at risk of being erased in the dustbin of history, just an ordinary Joe, nothing more than a name to be added to the 7 billion people in this world. To some of us, that is all right, but most of humanity has this deepest desire to become famous, rich, and make their mark to the world by whatever they do, whatever they want it. And by how? By being confident, by stopping to worry about what other people think or say or what will tomorrow bring. Take these points into account:
Know thyself. You know yourself, you know what ticks you off, and you know what are your capacities, talents, and abilities. But why spend some time trying to figure out who you are? Because it would save you a lot of trouble doing the wrong thing. A guy naturally talented in computer programming would be out-of-place in music composition writing. A girl having the ability to sing would be having trouble with math. (Unless they are both multi-talented.) Once you know yourself, you then…
“Focus on your potential instead of your limitations,” McGinnis writes in his book. A lot of people often do the opposite: they focus on their limitations than their potential. It’s a no-win strategy: you end up failing and your self-image—and the confidence with it—goes down the drain.
Develop, exploit, and harness that talent. Remember that talents are God-given gifts—out in this vast universe there is one job that you and you alone must do, and if you do not find it you will never be completely happy. If you feel confident by speaking out in public, then stick to it. If you feel confident connecting with people and understanding them stick to it. A lot of people never wavered beyond their strength—and succeeded.
Break away from other people’s expectations. If you try to please everybody, your self-confidence and your self-image would plummet to an emotional black hole, believe me. Because other people’s expectations are often negative. We are born different and we must stay that way, that’s why it’s illogical that we have to conform to other people’s standards except our own.
But what about trying to get feedback from people? “Asking for feedback about puts you—not the provider—in control,” says Debra Benton, author of CEO Material. “If you open up the door for criticism, you’re not in the hot seat.” This means you’re serious about improving your work. “It is such a center of gravity—an assurance of who we are and how we wish to live—that we must pursue if we are to develop genuine confidence,” McGinnis adds. “Dare to be a little eccentric.”
Be bold. If you are unconfident, chances are you are missing life’s greatest opportunities, just passing you by. You may be an unemployed, but does unemployment and the fear of not being accepted by uncountable companies dredge your spirit? Then start a business. Or become self-employed. The thing here is: you don’t know what you are missing. Get out there and step up to the challenges! Talk to new people every day, immerse in a different culture, eat new food, scuba dive, take photography classes, paint, contribute—there are lots of things you can do. Just do them.
Aim to be the best. Pop quiz: Who was the first man who went to the moon? Your answer would be Neil Armstrong. Who was the second man on the moon? Chances are you don’t know. That’s because we only remember the 1st, the champion, the winner, the leader, the first. If they became successful in their fields, why not you? Blossom where you are planted.
Expect failure but hope for success. Not the other way around. Most start-ups failed from the start. A lot of confident people I know often fail at doing the right thing—sometimes technical, sometimes because the thing needed to be done is too hard. But they keep their perseverance on. Their determination is still fired up. Their motivation is flowing. Their strength, never-ending.
There are such people, those who are in the higher levels of success and often engaging, witty, and intelligent or hard-working. They are all confident, believing that the future belongs to those who prepare for it today.
Confidence in daily life doesn’t mean you have to talk to 10 strangers a day and become the President later. It means that every opportunity, every chance you have, take it; every challenge, every problem, solve it. Once you understand why confidence is a vital element to each of our character and personality, then you understand life, and that, will be your road-map to success.