Have you ever questioned your own thoughts? Your judgements about yourself? What you conclude when you look at yourself in the mirror? You know, you catch yourself saying “I’m so low in confidence right now” then straight away go “whhaat, that’s BS, I’m just going through a rough patch”.
My work as a coach and personal trainer tells me the answer for a lot of people is no.
We don’t do this because of a cognitive bias called ‘Availability bias’ – if i’m saying it, it must be correct, right? Even if the brain fart is crazier than the idea of Liam Neeson doing ‘Taken 4’ (don’t do it!).
My definition of confidence takes into consideration, not just how our brain works but also our relationship to time. It is;
“How you frame your past experiences and the expectation that you can handle what life throws at you”
This goes wayyyyy beyond feeling confident and builds the foundations of what it means to be confident
When we assess our levels of confidence it is on the basis of here and now BUT we base it on information we get from the past and the future.
So when we look at WHY we’re not confident it comes from what we’ve concluded about our past and how we are assessing the future.
Here are 3 reasons I typically see when people lack confidence;
1 They Don’t Know What Confidence Is
Imagine you’re at a bar and you look over to a group of people and one in particular is being loud and using big gestures with his hands, taking up a lot of space. The others in the group appear to enjoy his witty stories.
You look over at this and can’t help but make comparisons with this performance and you. You recognise that this isn’t the kind of response you tend to get. You conclude that this person has confidence and YOU certainly don’t.
Waaaait! Hold on there with your conclusions!
That person may be confident, he may also crave attention and have a deep fear of being alone. That isn’t a display of confidence, its a display of need.
When I see people who say they lack confidence, it is less about knowing what confidence is and more about comparing themselves to someone else who they perceive to have more confidence than them.
As you can see from my definition, it is not about outward appearance, it is all to do about what is going on in your head.
2 They Don’t Take Risks
I noticed something interesting when I previously worked in an office, otherwise known as the corporate rat race. The ones who had the most experiences tended to be the ones who came across as the most confident. The ones who had the least experiences tended to be the ones who came across as the least confident.
Travelling is the big thing after finishing university (college in US). Speaking to those who went travelling they’d talk about their tales of bungee jumping, sleeping on the beach with nothing but the clothes on their back, spontaneous trips for 100’s miles.
What they were doing was being out of their comfort zone more often and as a result, by default ‘expanding their comfort zone’.
When Tim Ferriss interviewed Kevin Kelly, Kelly talked about the importance of spending time living as a minimalist. To live on as little as possible both in terms of possessions and financials. What benefit does this risk have on your levels of confidence?
Look at the second part of my definition of confidence; how confident do you think you’ll be handling anything that life throws at you when you know that you can live on very little if needs be? What would that mean in terms of what you go for knowing that, whatever the outcome, you’ll be able to handle it?
3 The Way They Self Talk
I feel fat & vile & not very happy with myself
I hate myself and my body
I am ashamed of myself
These 3 statements are actual words of those that filled out a fat loss survey. This was in relation to health but it is no different to confidence and career.
No way could I do that
Im just not good enough to get that role so whats the point
They wouldn’t find me interesting
One of the things that amuses hypnotists most is when people say they don’t believe that hypnotic suggestions work, not recognising that we give suggestions to ourselves everyday AND act upon them.
Look at those 3 statements above again and see it as a suggestion. If you say these or anything similar this is a suggestion you are saying to yourself.
I Am Not Lazy
Personal finance author Ramit Sethi did a Reddit AMA the other day where he said “Don’t ever call yourself lazy because it will become your identity”. He is saying the same thing as Im saying. When you say statements it acts as reinforcements on your identity;
[Conscious thought] Im going for this because I can handle whatever the outcome may be
[Unconscious] Ok cool
[Conscious thought] Im not going to go for this, what if I didn’t get it, I’d be devastated
[Unconscious] Ok cool
Confidence is a result. It is a result of what is going on in your head based on how you’ve framed your past and how you see your future. If you don’t believe you are confident, there is a framework going on in your head that is helping to maintain that view. I have provided 3 indications, there are many others.
What is most important to start with is recognising the importance for confidence and then making a start on changing your perception of yourself. You’re at the right place to start and my programme confidence reloaded will guide you through to being confident.