The World Needs Real Solutions
There are countless self-help resources out there, yet more and more people seem to lack confidence. Without going down the rabbit hole of social media tanking happiness and confidence (which has real validity), it seems as though there are more ‘solutions’ being offered to an increasing number of people who lack confidence.
Where Does Confidence Come From?
Confidence is a product: the end result. The key to self-confidence is focusing on the process: the day-by-day, moment-by-moment decisions that get you there. Process over Product.
The vast majority of people buying self-help books on improving self-confidence want to be handed a quick fix. It’s just the landscape of our current culture, much like most people think a doctor’s appointment was a waste of time unless they are given a prescription. We want instant gratification. We want our problem fixed, right now! Remember, the best fixes take the most time.
The first step in becoming confident is moving your focus from trying to get confident (product focus) to improving a specific quality that allows for confidence to emerge (process focused).
Trust me, if there was an easy, fast answer everyone who would be confident. …or rich, or well-liked, or have a six pack, insert whatever product-focused goal you like.
Work long enough and hard enough on a specific thing without losing focus and you won’t be questioning whether you are good at it or not. It just becomes apart of your fabric and your being: it’s who you are.
Correlation vs. Causation
Most great athletes are confident. Therefore…
“to become a great athlete, I must become confident.”
Not so fast. Let’s remember that just because we see a correlation between two qualities, it doesn’t mean one caused the other.
It’s true, that most great athletes have confidence in their abilities most of the time. They know what they are capable of and what it requires to be successful. However, even the best athletes fight doubts about the unknown and how the results of moments will play out. They focus on what is under their control, and they do their best to let go of everything that falls outside that locus of control.
Let’s think about this a little closer and humanize the elites. They simply know what they can do. That’s it. Everyone is confident in what they have already completed over and over again.
Confidence Through Related Experience
If someone is confident in their abilities to complete a task that they have not done before, it is usually because they have a reservoir of experiences that lend themselves useful in a similar situation.
For example, say you have never given a speech at a wedding before. You are much less likely to be confident if you have never spoken in front of a group of people, have a job that isn’t communications-based, etc. Conversely, if you a college professor who holds class in a big lecture hall, and you do stand-up comedy on the weekends, you are very likely to be confident because your life experience lends itself useful.
It is important to realize that in this situation, confidence also comes with comfort. If you wish to be confident in a situation, you must have a degree of comfort. Comfort does not mean it is easy or in any way less challenging, it simply shows experience.
The principle here is that confidence and experience go hand-in-hand.
Confidence & Ability
Another way to think about one’s experience is their ability. If you are able to do something, it is inevitably a part of your experience.
Want to be more confident in an area?
Increase your ability to do that thing.
How do you increase your abilities?
Working your way until you have a bank of experiences surrounding that topic is the only way to become confident.
So when I get asked a question like, “Is it possible to will my way to self-confidence?” The answer is: only if your will is working to pursue mastery.
Again, if the focus is on the product, you will fail.
Ironically, you must let go of your obsession of whether or not you can be confident, if you ever wish to become confident.
Move your focus from the self-confidence downward spiral to the pursuit of learning and mastering the skills that will allow for comfort in that area, eventually blossoming into confidence.
Should I Focus on Developing Self-confidence? Is it Even a Worthy Cause?
No. It’s not. Don’t focus on developing confidence. Confidence is overrated. Confidence is a by-product.
You only need enough confidence and curiosity to take the next tiny step in your journey. Each time step slowly moves you in the direction of your destination, even though you are only focusing on one little step at a time. It just like famous Chinese proverb, “A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.”
The pursuit of mastery is the most important thing for congruency, which ultimately leads to confidence. This is a fancy way of saying, enjoy your toil.
Find a way to make the work fun. If you don’t, you won’t continue to do it long enough to get where you want to go. Ultimately, people just want to go on a journey with friends.
Make it happen, one step at a time, and you are well on your way to the side effect of confidence as well. Although, when you get there, you probably won’t care so much about that side effect you once fantasized about.
Related: Focus Now. Flow Later.
The Anxious Athlete Solution (eBook)
Competing is supposed to be exciting.
You see the joy it brings to other athletes.
Yet, you never enjoy it.
If you’re honest, you fear it.
The Anxious Athlete Solution is practical & most importantly, actionable.
Take the step to making your next competition anxiety-free today.