In the old superhero cartoons there would always be a scene where the superhero needed to boost their energy in order to fight the bad guy. Popeye would have spinach, power rangers would have enhancement modes and Prince Adam to He-man by drawing in the power of castle Grayskull.
With confidence, there are also ‘boosters’ that are designed to make you feel more confident. Posture changes, affirmations and visualisations are just some of the boosters used to make you go from zero to hero in seconds.
However there comes a point when these very tools become an issue. To give you an idea why, I’d like you to imagine the most confident person you know and I’d like you to imagine asking them the question “how are you so confident”?
Now, what do you think the answer is going to be?
“Oh, it is because I have a very open posture and every day i say my affirmations and visualise myself being confident every single day”
“ur, I don’t know, I just am I guess”
From asking confident people this very question and asking other people who are highly skilled in various domains I can tell you the likelihood is their answer would be closer to the latter.
You see, confident people don’t wake up each day and ask themselves “am I confident”. They also don’t ask themselves “what should I do today to be more confident”. They certainly don’t think, in a social event, “Am I coming across as confident”?
They just are! Confidence is a result. A result of how they perceive the world, a result of how they’ve framed their past experience and what that means about their identity, a result of what they are thinking about in the moment.
They are not trying to be confident, they ARE BEING confident.
So confidence boosters are only short term band aids because they are training tools that can become habits you exhibit naturally in your daily life.
Think about playing an instrument. When I learnt the violin in school, we had to learn scales in order to get used to the notes, the pitch and to find our way around the instrument. This was valuable, but when we stood in front of our parents at performance night, WE WEREN’T PLAYING SCALES!
Scales were the practice, the music was the performance.
The confidence boosters are the practice, you being confident is the performance.
This is vitally important to know because, one of the fundamental problems that contributes to people experiencing low confidence is ‘being in their head’ too much in the contexts where they want to be confident.
People who are confident in social situations, they are not in their heads, their focus is external, in the moment. So the confidence boosters help you practice how to be confident and at some point you have to discard them and allow confidence to come out naturally.
In summary, confidence boosters certainly have their place. However there comes a point, like scales with an instrument, where the music has to take over!