By: Ken Austin
Self-confidence, very simply, is having positive, realistic expectations of yourself. Positive AND realistic. You can't have one without the other without changing your mindset.
Self-confident: I've got my piloting license, and with practice I can fly my own plane.
Self-doubting: Even though I have my piloting license, I don't think I'll ever be able to fly on my own.
Self-deluded: Now that I've mastered this video game, I'll be the best pirate flier in the sky.
Most people are particularly confident in one area, while not so much in another. That's hard to imagine in these days of actors who sing and write and resurrect UNICEF. You might feel like you have nothing going for yourself, but remember, with money and contacts, most anything is possible.
You're good at many things, but could always use improvement in areas too.
Are You Self-Confident?
Quick! Before you do anything else, list 10 things you do well.
Once your list is done, read through it with a smile on your face. Say everything out loud. Celebrate them. Embrace the truth. Right now you're experiencing the very first step:
Self-confident people know they do wonderful things.
Maybe this part was easy for you because you already know you're great in so many ways. Good for you!
Now that you've sung your praises, make another list. This time write down at least five ways in which you could improve.
Note, I didn't say, "Five things you hate about yourself," or "Five things you should have done a long time ago." Nope. Just five simple ways you could work harder, be more responsible (or let your hair down), etc.
Self-confident people love themselves enough to want to improve their actions, and their lives.
An action can be many things. It can be eating healthier meals, or dating more respectful people. It can be taking a second job, or planning a vacation. Everyone has opportunities to take actions that improve their lives. What are yours?
Remember now that self-confident people are positive ("I can change for the better") and realistic ("I can eat healthier"). Sometimes the things we hope to change consume months or years of time. The key to making them manageable is to break your goals down into smaller, fairly easy steps.
We build self-confidence whenever we meet a goal.
So make your milestones bite-size. Instead of revising your meal plan in one day, make a goal of eating a salad for one meal a week. Instead of ditching the boyfriend who makes your house a mess, start by asking him to put his shoes by the door when he comes in.
What's the Big Deal About Self-Confidence Anyway?
From a very young age we're taught that friends make us feel better. The more friends you have, and the more popular you are, the more you enjoy your life. According to some studies, you even live longer when you have more friends.
You get older and meet someone you want to share your life with forever. Relationships, just like friendships, we're taught, help us feel good. Being married to someone is seen as an expected .
Unfortunately, neither of these things are completely true. Pair up with the wrong friend, or the wrong boyfriend or girlfriend, and your quality of life can take a serious nosedive.
Self-confidence helps you decide who makes you feel good and who doesn't. When you can see your life for what it really is, and evaluate both good and bad, you have the chance to avoid the people who bring you down.
In that way, it is significantly important to your life, and any future family, or to the family you have now. It's never too late to build up your self-confidence. It's never too late to change your actions, improve your life, and enjoy yourself.
People who are confident in themselves also feel up to the challenge. They try to make positive changes. They succeed and go on to enjoy life even more than before.
You can do that too. It all begins with a baby step.