By Tim Ursiny
When you do
circuit training at the gym you move from station to station to
systematically work out several different muscle groups. This gives
you a well-rounded work out and hopefully a well-chiseled physique.
Imagine if you just worked out your biceps and never worked out any
other part of your body. Your arms may look great, but your legs,
shoulders, etc. might look ridiculous in comparison. It is healthier
and more effective to work out various muscles in various ways. The
same principles apply when it comes to building confidence.
There are at
least five different paths to developing unbreakable confidence.
Most people have a preferred path and at least one or two neglected
paths. In this article we will address each of the five paths and
give one specific tactic for building confidence using that
Path #1: Mental
Techniques (thinking your way to confidence):
Cognitive theories of
psychology address the destructive and irrational things we can say
to ourselves that hurt our performance and happiness. Our
perceptions (or self-talk) impacts confidence, overall emotions and
how we behave. Negative thoughts can create insecurity while
powerful rational thoughts focused on action can create wonderful
results in our life. Some common beliefs that can hold you back from
being your best are:
There is nothing
I can do.
I need other’s
love to feel worthwhile.
I am sure that
bad things are going to happen.
I can’t deal
These are not
statements of fact, but are rather automatic or chosen beliefs that
we form out of our own perceptions. These beliefs keep us off
centered and performing at less than our potential. Examples of more
helpful thoughts include:
also bring opportunities and it serves me better to look for
This is a chance
to really help others during a difficult time.
I am going to
prepare for whatever the future holds.
I can learn from
every mistake I make.
and tenacity I can tackle challenges in my life.
With practice you
can eliminate insecure thoughts and replace them with confidence.
Psychological interventions like Rational Emotive Therapy help you
master your thoughts in a structured manner. Here is a sample
process for impacting your self-talk:
Write down the
facts about the situation. Do not record your interpretation of
the facts, but just the truthful data.
Write down what
you “felt” form the event (sad, angry, frustrated, hurt, etc.)
responsibility for your emotions, record what you are saying to
yourself to make you feel what you felt in Step 2. In this step
you fully buy into the belief that only YOU can upset you. No
one and nothing else has that power (unless you allow it).
Fourthly, if the
perception in the previous step does not serve you then create a
more truthful, realistic or helpful perception that would build
your confidence and move you to positive action.
You will likely need
to repeat your new thought over and over until you believe it and
move to action.
Path #2: Emotional
Techniques (feeling your way to confidence):
techniques focus on words and beliefs, emotional approaches center
on confidence building tactics that are not dependant on words.
These techniques can appear “different”, but are highly effective
for many people. One example of an emotional strategy is to use
music to change your confidence and mood. Instead of listening to
the blues when you are sad, instead listen to music that inspires
you, gets you up dancing and gets you focused. Music hits a primal
part of us that words can’t always reach. Individuals who use this
technique build CDs or IPod playlists of songs that pump them up.
Most people pick music to reflect their mood. Top performers use
music to control and channel their emotions. So make a list of
confidence-inducing music. You can choose classical or you can
choose Prince; it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it
hits that part of your brain and part of your heart that may be
hidden from thoughts and words.
Path #3: Action
Techniques (behaving your way to confidence):
destroy confidence. Procrastinating difficult or fearful activities
infuses subconscious messages of inadequacy and failure. When we
face fears we build confidence. Of course there are many ways to
face fears. It is just like getting into a cold swimming pool; you
are either a dipper or a diver. Divers just do it. They jump in the
cold water and swim until they are use to it. This method is more
immediately painful, but you get use to the water quickly. Dippers
have a different technique. They start with a toe, get up to the
knees, move in further (wait a little) and then eventually get all
of the way in the water. They experience the cost of taking longer
to get accustomed to the water, but their experience is less
painful. Neither technique is right or wrong. The important thing is
to get into the pool. So if you are avoiding something that you know
you need to face, either be a dipper or a diver. You can dip by
building a list of gradual actions that will help you slowly and
methodically deal with the situation or you can just dive in and
keep facing it until you change the situation. Avoiders create
helplessness in their lives; dippers and divers build confidence.
Path #4: Relational
Techniques (relating your way to confidence):
The people we
associate with and listen to have a significant impact on our
confidence. When we are surrounded by people with negative attitudes
and energy our confidence can be subtly impacted and eroded over
time. In contrast, when we surround ourselves with positive friends
and family, we can bring out our very best. To decide who you want
in your life ask yourself the following questions:
Who drains me and
how can I limit my time with him or her?
Who inspires me
and builds my confidence?
Who is a great
best problem-solver and never seems brought down by the world?
Who pulls out the
very best in me?
Who do I know who
could hold me accountable to my toughest actions and goals?
Energy is contagious
and surrounding yourself with negative people WILL impact you! It is
worthy to help struggling people, but do it as a mission and only
help them to the level that they are willing to also help
themselves. That said, also make sure you surround yourself with
people who help and positively impact you.
Path #5: Spiritual
Techniques (living your way to confidence):
Spiritual paths to
confidence can include religious approaches such as prayer or
secular approaches such as staying focused on your mission. When you
are off of your mission your confidence will suffer. In contrast,
when you are centered on your purpose on this planet nothing can
destroy your confidence. What is your noble calling? Why are you on
this planet? How consistent are your actions to this belief? We are
in an era where many baby boomers are moving into the second half of
their lives. In the first half many focus on success. In the second
half of life it is about purpose, mission and significance. At the
deepest only you have the ability to betray your mission. Take time
every week to reflect on the consistency between what you believe
and what you do. Make sure they are in alignment and that you are
living the life that you want to lead!
address mental, emotional, behavioral, relational and spiritual
approaches to confidence you will have a well rounded
self-perception and your actions will show it. Just like that person
with a well toned body, you will walk around proud of yourself and
can be in the best emotional shape of your entire life!
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