Guest post by: Darius Maurya
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Are you aware whether you are confident or not? Have you ever doubted your values? Have you ever doubted your abilities? Do you understand what self-confidence is? Do you know how to easily and practically build up your self-confidence?
If you are intrigued enough by these questions, then read on. Here is something that will help you construct an enormous amount of confidence in yourself.
To start this off, first understand what self-confidence is. If you google it, the meaning of self-confidence literally is, “the state of feeling certain about the truth of something”. It is the feeling of absolute conviction stated in something or someone (could be you). So now you might ask, “How do I attain that feeling of absolute truth and certainty?” I am glad you asked.
Half the process…..
You must comprehend an important concept, which I first heard from Chris Howard, back when I was learning NLP. It says that ‘every behavior is analyzed (and changed) in a particular context’. So now, what you might realize is that gaining self-confidence is subjective to certain contexts.
Now this implies a couple of things.
First, that your behaviors may not project complete self-confidence in every context or that you may not be completely confident in every aspect of your life.
Second, to begin mounting self-confidence, choose a behavior in a particular context. It’s very important that you do so. Drop everything else and focus on developing your self-confidence in just one context (for a behavior). Understand that and you are already half-way through.
Takeaway: Half the process is understanding that self-confidence is subjective to certain contexts.
So the next big thing, the remaining part of the process is answering and applying the answer to the question, “How do I get confident in doing something in a particular context?” Here’s how….
Creating a pool of reference experiences…..
REFERENCE EXPERIENCES! Stack enough of them, and you can and will have an insurmountable level of conviction and self-confidence. Let me explain this.
Your simple life experiences are your memories of what you have experienced in the past, relating to particular behavior(s) in a particular context. Isn’t that correct? So what are reference experiences? Your reference experiences are those key moments where you have performed (or be) something that has complemented your faith in your reality.
They are your material evidence that serve the purpose of reinforcing your beliefs. Without them you won’t have enough mental proof to backup anything your mind tries to believe in! They help you learn, improve upon and internalize your values and beliefs.
So are you starting to understand how reference experience and self-confidence relate? The process is quite simple. You collect more and more of reference experiences. When it comes to building self-confidence, nothing is simpler, easier and more permanent. The amount of reference experiences you have to relate to is directly proportional to the amount of self-confidence you will feel in any given context.
Let’s take a simple example of public speaking, which according to professor Preston Ni, on Psychology Today, is still the number one fear in America (although the implications of this concept are numerous). So if you would have given, let’s say, 20 awesome speeches in the last six months, you would have their recollection, which would serve you for the rest of your life as reference experiences. Later, anytime in the future, if you were required to give a speech performance again, you will have that Self-Confidence in your abilities, and you will know that you can do it. So now are you getting the picture here? (Read the quote in the beginning again!)
Takeaway: The rest half of the process is stacking one reference experience after another.
The best way to go about it is to actually go beyond (your comfort area) and do more of what you want to be confident in. Time and time again, you will hit those peaks in your performances, which will later serve you as reference experiences for both, your conscious awareness and your unconscious conviction in your abilities.
Time is your ally….
One small yet important thing you need to keep in mind that you don’t rush the process. Gaining reference experience is a lengthy process, but it is worth it. Malcolm Gladwell, in his awesome book Outliers, after adequate research stated that it takes 10,000 hours (yes that’s correct) of performing your art to be at the highest level of mastery. But that’s the extreme end of it. You can begin to see the effect early on! This effect of reference experiences is strong, and it is permanent too.
So let it come to you at its pace. Perform your best whenever possible. Eventually, with time, you will have stacked so many of these reference experiences that your conviction in your abilities will be second to none. Now go do it!
Kshitij “Darius” Maurya is a transformation and leadership coach, with over 5 years of experience in helping people overcome performance plateaus and negative emotional states. Catch him on http://transformationkingdom.com, where he shares his proven and practical knowledge.
Photo by Only Sequel