The best approach to building self-confidence is captured in one word: achievement. Building self-confidence comes down to stringing together a series of achievements. It is not 3 steps. I put that in the title as clickbait. No, if you want to build self-confidence you need to plan achievements so that you have that string of them designed to build your self-confidence.
Some people have self-confidence irrespective of their achievements. There are plenty of cocky folks who contribute little. In Texan jargon, “Big Hat, No Cattle”.
A=B differs from “If A, Then B”. The difference between math and logic. Achievements beget self-confidence, not the other way around. I am not asserting that you have to have achievements to have self-confidence. Cocky fools, we have a few.
The greatest display of self-confidence I can think of is the concept of American Exceptionalism. That term is built on a sense of confidence. With our capitalism and freedom, we own our future. If you do not own your future you are not free. Our founding fathers viewed liberty as the freedom to shape one’s life. American Exceptionalism is a fantastic example of self-confidence and it’s been built on achievements. Most scholars trace the term to a Russian, Joseph Stalin. He was astounded by the displays of personal responsibility by our citizens during the Great Depression.
Hard work leads to achievement. And if hard work is the father of achievement, then planning is its brother. Some people need to start with the basics. Maybe the achievements are as simple as cleaning up your storefront or losing the cigarette habit. People who kick cigs are proud of it. It is an achievement. It makes them feel better about themselves.
Are you several notches more refined in your goal-setting? Should you decide to become more informed on the financial implications at work? How much revenue or funding does your department get? Contribute more to the 401k? Find out how much each employee costs in benefits?
Do you know your company pays thousands and thousands of dollars on your healthcare and that your employer pays as much into social security as you do? Seeking knowledge, asking questions, being an attentive and maybe even a bit voracious reader. That is how you get a (small c) catholic education.
A sense of confidence will grow as you become more informed. Asking questions from an informed position becomes easy, and expresses self-confidence. Learning is a great life lesson. The better part of wisdom is the recognition that there is much you do not know. And once you acknowledge you don’t know that much, it can spur a willingness and hopefully a hunger to learn.
Every once in a while, as I write I throw a cherry bomb into the topic and I’ll do that now. To illustrate how I get confident when I am informed, albeit with much still to learn.
Do you remember learning about photosynthesis in science class? About how plants have this process which relies on carbon dioxide and emits oxygen. Photosynthesis is sort of the reverse of our respiration where we keep a bit of the oxygen and emit carbon dioxide. Does that mean green plants need carbon dioxide?
Do you remember how carbon dioxide is measured, or at least how it is expressed? In parts per million. That is right. Parts per million. So in fact, there is not really a whole lot of carbon dioxide in this air you breathe.
If your bedroom was the atmosphere, the amount of space taken up by carbon dioxide would be less than one wall’s layer of paint. Most is nitrogen, then a good amount of oxygen, a bit of argon, and then inert gases measured in parts per million.
What does your local tree think about a bit more carbon dioxide?
Answer: Trees don’t think. C’mon. But if they did, they might like it. A lot.
Yes, I am making fun global warming.
My point, scenically delivered, is that effective self-confidence requires a distinction between conditioned beliefs and experienced learning. Again, that catholic education which rejects parochial mentalities.
Achievements impress others. People notice colleagues and friends who are adept at achieving goals. Achievements are impressive and they animate how others approach you. How they treat you. This builds self-confidence. Self-confidence is expressed many ways and can run the gamut from strutting gaits and Type A behaviors to modest, yet direct approaches.
If you are of a mind to build your self-confidence, plan out some achievements. If it is broken, fix it. Whether it is your sink faucet or your uninformed standing on a work program. Start stringing together a series of achievements in your personal and professional life. Do what good dads do, perform as an employee-of-the-month does. Greet clients that way; answer the phone that way. Tweak your professionalism; polish the storefront a bit; listen actively. There are plenty of potential achievements out there to chase. Chase and succeed on a series of them and you will enhance your self-confidence.