THE SELF-CONFIDENCE PARADOX
How to Have More Confidence In Your Decisions
Are you confident in yourself regardless of the task you are facing?
Most of us are not. But you can absolutely develop genuine self-confidence–that unshakable, steely kind of confidence that ripples out and gives others confidence in you as well.
To be clear, we are not talking about self-esteem, which is more about how you feel about yourself or your worthiness. Genuine self confidence can contribute to high self esteem, but they are different.
Confidence comes from feeling positively about your abilities to perform a certain task. Confidence comes from knowing you are capable. The amount of confidence you have in your abilities will vary from task to task.
You could have healthy self-esteem and be confident in your ability to connect with people one-on-one but have low confidence in your ability to speak in front of large audiences.
The self-confidence paradox is that you believe in yourself until you are challenged and then you begin to doubt yourself.
Being challenged can come from simply being out of your comfort zone, but often comes from being questioned about your actions.
So how do you develop GENUINE self-confidence? The kind of confidence that is deep in your core–that can’t be broken, not matter how intense the challenge you face, even if you make an occasional mistake.
To quote Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art, “Do the work!”
Let’s say you are tasked with making a certain decision at your place of employment. You feel confident in your role at the company but this decision is outside of your comfort zone. You do your best to be objective and then go with the decision that “feels” right. Weeks later, the consequences of your decision turn out to be unfavorable and the boss calls you into his office. He wants to know why you made the decision you made.
How do you feel? Probably not too good about having to explain yourself and a choice that was more of a gut-level decision than anything. Maybe you even start to worry about your job security. Suddenly, your confidence is shaken.
Now, let’s rewind and say that instead of going with your gut, you use a well-thought out, analytical process that leads you to the same decision. Weeks later, the results are of course the same, but instead of freaking out when the boss calls you into his office, you feel calm and unrattled. Why? Because you feel completely confident about justifying your decision. You can clearly explain why you made the choice you made, walking the boss through the steps you took to come to your conclusion. Instead of worrying about your job security, you might even see this private meeting as an opportunity to show the boss some skills he didn’t know you had.
This is what decision mastery feels like. Even when the result is not what you wanted, you know that you did everything possible to make the best choice. This confidence in decision making will ripple out into related areas of your life, allowing those around you to recognize your capabilities.
The surest way to confidence in something is mastery of it.
Practice. Train. Repeat. Do the activity over and over...and over. Maybe at first you stink. Maybe you even FAIL at the attempt, but every time you get back up and try again, you build a little more confidence, tackling fears and proving to yourself that you are capable of overcoming setbacks.
And you get better. You hone your skills until you master them.
Have you ever taken a lesson in anything? From sports to music to acting or dance, practice is the only remedy to feeling confident under pressure. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft.
Put in the hard work. Practice daily. Be patient with yourself. And you will build genuine self-confidence in your abilities.