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What is Confidence? And how to Build Confidence....
How Confident do you Seem to Others?
Your level of self-confidence can show in many ways: your behavior, your body language, how you speak, what you say, and so on. Look at the following comparisons of common confident behavior with behavior associated with low self-confidence. Which thoughts or actions do you recognize in yourself and people around you?
As you can see from these examples, low self-confidence can be self-destructive, and it often manifests itself as negativity. Self-confident people are generally more positive – they believe in themselves and their abilities, and they also believe in living life to the full.
What is Self-Confidence?
Two main things contribute to self-confidence: self-efficacy and self-esteem. We gain a sense of self-efficacy when we see ourselves (and others similar to ourselves) mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those skill areas.
This is the confidence that, if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we'll succeed; and it's this type of confidence that leads people to accept difficult challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks. This overlaps with the idea of self-esteem, which is a more general sense that we can cope with what's going on in our lives, and that we have a right to be happy. Partly, this comes from a feeling that the people around us approve of us, which we may or may not be able to control. However, it also comes from the sense that we are behaving virtuously, that we're competent at what we do, and that we can compete successfully when we put our minds to it. Some people believe that self-confidence can be built with affirmations and positive thinking. At Mind Tools, we believe that there's some truth in this, but that it's just as important to build self-confidence by setting and achieving goals – thereby building competence. Without this underlying competence, you don't have self-confidence: you have shallow over-confidence, with all of the issues, upset and failure that this brings.
So how do you build this sense of balanced self-confidence, founded on a firm appreciation of reality? The bad news is that there’s no quick fix, or five-minute solution. The good news is that building self-confidence is readily achievable, just as long as you have the focus and determination to carry things through. And what’s even better is that the things you’ll do to build self-confidence will also build success – after all, your confidence will come from real, solid achievement. No-one can take this away from you! So here are our three steps to self-confidence, for which we’ll use the metaphor of a journey: preparing for your journey; setting out; and accelerating towards success.
Step 1: Preparing for Your Journey
The first step involves getting yourself ready for your journey to self-confidence. You need to take stock of where you are, think about where you want to go, get yourself in the right mindset for your journey, and commit yourself to starting it and staying with it. In preparing for your journey, do these five things:
Look at What You've Already Achieved
Think about your life so far, and list the ten best things you've achieved in an "Achievement Log." Perhaps you came top in an important test or exam, played a key role in an important team, produced the best sales figures in a period, did something that made a key difference in someone else’s life, or delivered a project that meant a lot for your business. Put these into a smartly formatted document, which you can look at often. And then spend a few minutes each week enjoying the success you’ve already had!
Think About Your Strengths
Next, use a technique like SWOT Analysis to take a look at whom and where you are. Looking at your Achievement Log, and reflecting on your recent life, think about what your friends would consider to be your strengths and weaknesses. From these, think about the opportunities and threats you face. Make sure that you enjoy a few minutes reflecting on your strengths!
Think about what’s Important to You, and Where you Want to Go
Next, think about the things that are really important to you, and what you want to achieve with your life. Setting and achieving goals is a key part of this, and real self-confidence comes from this. Goal setting is the process you use to set yourself targets, and measure your successful hitting of those targets. See our article on goal setting to find out how to use this important technique, or use our Life Plan Workbook to think through your own goals in detail (see the "Tip" below). Inform your goal setting with your SWOT Analysis. Set goals that exploit your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, realize your opportunities, and control the threats you face. And having set the major goals in your life, identify the first step in each. Make sure it’s a very small step, perhaps taking no more than an hour to complete!
Start Managing Your Mind
At this stage, you need to start managing your mind. Learn to pick up and defeats the negative self-talk which can destroy your confidence. See our article on rational positive thinking to find out how to do this. Further useful reading includes our article on imagery – this teaches you how to use and create strong mental images of what you'll feel and experience as you achieve your major goals – there’s something about doing this that makes even major goals seem achievable!
And Then Commit Yourself to Success!
The final part of preparing for the journey is to make a clear and unequivocal promise to yourself that you are absolutely committed to your journey, and that you will do all in your power to achieve it. If as you’re doing it, you find doubts starting to surface write them down and challenge them calmly and rationally. If they dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great. However if they are based on genuine risks, make sure you set additional goals to manage these appropriately. For help with evaluating and managing the risks you face, read our Risk Analysis and Management article.
Either way, make that promise!
Source of the article: Internet
Abdul Rehman Ansari
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