Confidence is one those things that can easily come and go without notice. You could be talking to a group of friends, feeling comfortable and in the moment. Your jokes are hitting the target, you easily come up with witty responses to playful insults.
You’re on fire.
Then a gorgeous woman, the kind that’s perfect, for you, walks up. Suddenly you freeze. That poise you had a moment ago has vanished faster than an ice cube on the sun. Your free flowing rap has suddenly turned into,
“uh, um,…so, uh…yea…uh….ok…”
She looks at you and smiles, and says,
“I’m sorry, what was that?” With a kind look in her eye, giving you those butterflies in your stomach.
What do you do then?
Or maybe you were sitting in a meeting at work, following along to a presentation. Stuff you’ve heard before. Maybe stuff you know better than the presenter. A few points he’s made make sense, but a couple you’re not so sure.
In fact, you’re almost certain that he’s about to make his next point based on a faulty assumption. You’d even place money on it. You start feeling good about yourself, knowing that you know more about what the presenter is saying.
Then he stops, and looks at you, maybe noticing the look on your face.
“Was there something you wanted to mention?”
“Huh? Well, no, well, I just, um, it’s that…”
One second we’re super confident, the next moment, we want to run away and hide. Is there any solution? Are are always going to be at risk of an unexpected drive by destruction of our self image?
Yes, and no.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple “trick” like thinking of the color blue and suddenly the world melts down before you. Like that old idea of “thinking of people in their underwear” when giving a speech.
Great in theory, but hard in practice. That’s about as helpful as the brilliant weight loss advice to simply eat less. No kidding. Really?
The thing about confidence is that it’s largely situational. You can feel super confident talking to your best buddies, but when you get pulled over by a scary looking cop who seems to be having a bad day, calling up a bucket of confidence is about as difficult as scaling Mt. Everest in ice skates.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t techniques you can use that will increase your confidence over time. There are, and you are going to learn them. Just keep in mind that these are techniques that take practice.
You can get better at the violin if you practice. Practice enough and people will even pay to hear you play. But if you don’t practice, you won’t get any better.
How To Be More Confident
The first step is to begin paying attention to those times when your confidence starts to wane. You’ll need some kind of an internal trigger. Something that reminds you it’s time to put up the shields.
This can be an internal feeling, but it’s better to start out with an external trigger. Like a gorgeous woman walking towards you, or your boss making eye contact with you, or a knock on the door when you’re not expecting somebody.
You’ll also need to recall as many confident memories regarding that trigger.
For example, if your trigger is a gorgeous girl coming your way, you should create several memories of success you’d had in the past with girls. Any thing that you consider a success will work. Come up with as many specific memories as you can.
Then, when you’re out and about, and you see that external trigger, you’ll remember to recall all those memories of confidence.
Now, this isn’t going to be automatic. You’re going to have to practice remembering that “thing” out there is your trigger, and you’re going to have to practice consciously going from your external trigger to your internal memories which create that feeling of confidence.
Just sitting there, right now, coming up a with a trigger and some internal memories isn’t going to cut it.
To fast forward your progress, make it a point to actively seek your trigger and recall those memories. Kind of like forcing yourself to play the violin. The more you consciously create those situations where you see your trigger and then recall those memories, the more automatic it will become.
And like any other skill, the more often you practice it, the sooner it will become second nature. Once you’ve set your “trigger –> internal memory –> feelings of confidence” system so it fires automatically, you can set up another one.
Do this a few times, and the whole process itself (choosing a trigger, some memories and some confidence) will start to be easier and easier.
Keep it up long enough, and there won’t be anything out there that can knock you off balance.
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