By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)
Everybody wants to be a confident person. There are probably not many people in the world who would wish that they had a lower self worth! But while confidence is something that everybody covets, it is not something everybody possesses.
Most people have this idea that confidence is something that you are born with and people who are confident have been magically been blessed with a high sense of self worth as compared to someone else.
Here is where I challenge the notion. Even though it is possible that some people have been born with a higher self confidence, most people who become confident become so by doing things repeatedly to the point that they no longer scare them.
We also have another misconception, that a confident person is confident in all spheres of life, while someone who lacks it, lacks it in all spheres as well. Common sense will tell us that this is not true! Confidence is very area specific or skill specific. It is totally possible that someone who maybe the most confident person in one area of life maybe totally timid and unsure in another.
Many people maybe great in one on one interaction and master networkers but maybe very scared to the same people in a group. Some people maybe great at sports but might be extremely unsure of themselves when it comes to singing or dancing because they are unsure of their skill.
If I am confident at something, it is because I was either naturally born with confidence and talent in that area of life, which made it easier for me to develop my skill or because I gradually grew my confidence by growing my skill.
Now, there are some of us who do not care what others think of us at all, while that is a positive trait, sometimes getting negative feedback is important to improving your skill. If you are confident that you are a great sportsperson even though your results on the field show otherwise, that is not confidence, that’s over confidence and that leads to disaster.
Now that we know that confidence is mostly area specific, how can we become more confident in all the areas that we care about? It is by doing those things over and over again even if they scare us.
The number one way to build real solid confidence that is grounded in reality rapidly is this.
Fear + Act of Courage = Confidence
Now you need not necessarily overcome your fears in all areas of life, especially if you don’t care about them. For example if you have a phobia of snakes, you don’t necessarily have to throw yourself in a box full of snakes (unless you care about overcoming that fear!)
But if there are certain things you really want to do in life, for example getting better at social interactions or any particular skill or overcoming any particular phobia that has been bothering you to the point that it interferes with your daily life and goals, you need to put the formula into action.
This works in two ways. First, when you do something over and over again, it leads to something that is called desensitization in psychology. Desensitization basically means that if you do something uncomfortable again and again, gradually your brain becomes accustomed to it and it no longer makes you fearful. Thus you gain confidence.
Secondly when you apply this strategy to a particular skill, for example driving, the more you do something, the more competent you become at that skill. The more competent you become, the less unsure you are of your abilities, again leading to great confidence in that area.
Now you maybe thinking, all of this sounds good in theory, but it is very hard to do practically, especially when it comes to things that scare you greatly.
Here are two ways you can gradually build up your confidence if you want to do something that greatly scares you at this moment. The first is:
Do related activities
If you want to become confident at speaking, the greatest and quickest way to be putting yourself in fronts of thousands of people. The problem is that if you have never or hardly ever done it before, you will be sweating profusely and extremely nervous when doing it the first time. The very thought of speaking to such huge crowds may even make you back out at the last moment.
So how can you get good at public speaking without facing that huge fear all of a sudden. It is through activities related to speaking. You can do things like practicing in front of a mirror over and over again (a time tested method). You can record yourself and speak to the camera over and over again and get comfortable with dialogue delivery. You can do video conference or conduct webinars where you are speaking to a large group of people online without being physically present. You can even do a webinar without the video on if you want to get comfortable with the voice first!
In this case, even though you are not doing the exact activity, you are still doing things similar that teach your brain to become accustomed to speaking confidently in a presentation style and to a large group of people. It also helps you build up your skill in these related areas, which makes delivering an actual speech when you finally decide to, a lot more easier!
The second thing you can do is
Tackle what you fear in increments
In psychology this process is called gradual desensitization.
What is gradual desensitization? It means taking a gentle approach to eroding your fear over time instead of taking an aggressive head on approach to beat it in a shorter time. Different things work for different people but some people are not able to tolerate an aggressive approach. So something else needs to be tried.
How this works is simple. You identify something that you are afraid of, let’s say you are afraid of public speaking but someday you wish to speak in front of thousands of people. How do you tackle it. Can you do it over night if it is a morbid fear? Probably but it is going to shake you tremendously. So the gradual desensitization approach is this. You first get people you trust and those that don’t make fun of you, like your family to listen to you talk and be your first audience. You practice the entire speech in front of them a couple of times, then you invite a few other people you trust and speak in front of them. Then you start speaking in front of larger and larger groups like 10 people, 20 people, 30 people and so on and you become more and more comfortable and build your way up to huge groups. Then one fine day you decide to speak to a massive event of over a thousand people, and you realize that apart from a mild nervousness, it does not bother you at all, because your brain has gotten used to it!You just conquered a previously massive fear through a series of achievable steps
While the example used was public speaking, you can apply these methods to any phobia you wish to overcome or any skill in life you want to get more confident at.
The important takeaways from this article are
1) Confidence is skill specific, so don’t envy if somebody else is really good at something else. They probably envy you for the skills you have
2) Understand that Fear + Act of Courage = Confidence
3) You don’t have to tackle everything you fear, just things that you care about, are your personal goals or are interfering with your daily life
4) If doing what you fear all of a sudden paralyses you, then build up that confidence through activities related to what you fear and tackling what you fear in increments.
Hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you did, do apply what has been written here and please share with others who may need this!
About the Author
The author of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 700,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
Email Anubhav Srivastava for coaching, consulting or motivational speaking queries at email@example.com. Facebook Profile: http://facebook.com/anubhav981
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