What do you think of when you hear the phrase self-confidence? Is it a desirable quality, or is it some kind of ego driven, inflated assessment of one’s own abilities?
Do you desire greater confidence, or do you harbor negative feelings toward those that seem overly confident, or both?
As with anything else, a balanced, healthy sense of confidence is what we should strive for. Here is a question worth considering, is it possible to have a realistic view of one’s own abilities, and still have unstoppable self-confidence?
Yes it is, and that’s where balance comes in. Confidence is an inner feeling of certainty about what we have to offer, and what we are capable of accomplishing. It is closely related to self-esteem, which is our personal estimation of our own value and worth as a person.
Without a reasonable degree of self-esteem, it is impossible to manifest extraordinary confidence. So, self-esteem levels are an important factor, and they need to be maintained within certain reasonable limits. Just as an unreasonable level of self-esteem creates an egomaniac, too much self-confidence can also prove to be unrealistic and counterproductive. If it’s unrealistic, then it is also potentially harmful on some level, physically, emotionally, or financially. How can being too confident be harmful?
Everything has its limits
While a strong sense of self-confidence will create new opportunities, it cannot change reality. For example, on a physical plane, having complete confidence that you can fly off the top of a 50-story building will not negate the force of gravity. Gravity is a force of nature, and it is not susceptible to your will. That my friend is just reality.
Here’s an example from the financial world. Dumping your life savings into a falling stock market because you have complete confidence that things are about to turn around, will not change the direction of the markets. You will either be very lucky, or very broke.
How about emotionally? Having blind faith (unrealistic confidence), as in these two examples will probably have a negative impact on your self-esteem. As a result, doubt will erode your level of confidence and you will experience an emotional set back.
Extremes aside, what benefits come from confidence?
Confidence makes life much easier and much more fun. It creates opportunities that would not exist otherwise. Having confidence gives us the energy to pursue our dreams, and the power to overcome obstacles. It gives us a sense of certainty in our ability to bring about a favorable outcome, even when others have doubt.
Many people are afraid to go for the life they truly desire. Lacking self-confidence they fear failure, worse yet, they actually anticipate it. Their lack of confidence stifles their willingness to reach out for their dreams.
On the other hand, being confident opens the doors to your dreams. When you carry yourself with confidence, people will naturally be attracted to that quality. When you have confidence in yourself, others tend to feel that way also. When you speak and act with conviction, it changes the way the world responds to you.
Developing and displaying self-confidence will change your life on almost every level. Confidence is like a powerful magnet that will attract into your life whatever opportunities, resources, or people are needed to facilitate your ability to create the life you desire.
Where does self-confidence come from?
Confidence grows, or shrinks, in response to your personal beliefs about who you are, and what you are capable of. These beliefs are influenced by your self-esteem, and reinforced by the results you have produced in previous experiences.
If your self-esteem is low, your level of commitment will also be low. Lack of confidence will cause you to hold back in expectation of failure. With only a half-hearted commitment and negative expectations, results will probably be disappointing. Being unable to produce your desired result will further erode your self-esteem. It’s a negative reinforcement loop.
On the other hand, if you already have a healthy level of self-esteem, you will likely have a correspondingly high level of self-confidence. When you take on a new challenge, you will anticipate a successful outcome and so your level of commitment will also be greater. These factors will combine to create another successful outcome, which will continue to fuel your level of confidence. This is a positive reinforcement loop.
How do we build more self-confidence?
We build our self-confidence by creating a positive reinforcement loop. This will allow us to bolster our self-esteem, increase our level of commitment, and produce our intended outcome. As a result, our self-confidence will grow. Each time the loop is completed successfully, we will become more and more confident in our own ability to succeed.
The key is to start small
Starting small allows us to control the outcome and generate some momentum. Here are five simple steps that will help you get started.
1) Choose an area in your life where you know you can take control. No matter who we are, there is always some area in our life where we feel a level of competence. Start by setting a reachable goal in that direction and then take action.
2) When you experience success, set another reachable goal in that same direction and follow through with more action.
3) Continue this pattern until you become comfortable with your ability to produce your intended outcome. Now you have created a positive reinforcement loop.
4) Next, choose a different area in your life where you have a degree of competence and repeat the process.
5) As your feelings of confidence grow, allow yourself to identify with your success. Learn to view yourself as a successful person and attach feelings of approval to your positive experiences.
You can also explain your challenge to a friend and ask them to provide you with some positive feedback every time you succeed in producing an intended result. Now you will have both an external, and an internal source of positive validation.
These steps can be followed to increase your level of self-confidence regardless of your current level. Just scale the first step according to where you are now, and build your self-confidence from there. The phrase start small is relative to where you currently are.
Start where you are and make progress
Often, it was circumstances beyond our control that had a decisive influence on our self-esteem and self-confidence. But that was then and this is now. Taking the time to build, or even rebuild, these important personal assets is definitely worth the effort.
So, in addressing our opening question, “What’s Wrong With Unstoppable Self-Confidence?” the obvious answer can only be –
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL!
Have you ever struggled with self-confidence issues? Do you think self-confidence can be built up over time?
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