‘Dealt with massive stage fright.’
‘Got absolute jitters just at the prospect of standing in front of large crowds of people, addressing them during debates, speeches, or giving dance performances, etc.’
Most of us have been there at some point earlier in our lives. But, are such feelings/thoughts exclusive to the school-going kids? Are adults bereft of such fears?
The answer is ‘no’. Life keeps getting tougher and more complicated as you grow up and move into unchartered waters. You start doubting yourself more by the day, and spiral deeper into the idea of insecurity and despair. It gets all the more daunting to look at your confident counterparts and not being able to do anything about your lack of confidence.
Everyone feels insecure at times but, is it a good idea to exist in your insecurities and be overpowered by them at all times? No, right?
Growing up, we are taught to put up a brave front even if we do not feel confident from within. That’s not what the idea should be. If you want to experience everlasting confidence that comes from within, make sure you stick to the following:
WAYS OF ENHANCING SELF-CONFIDENCE:
1.) Step outside your comfort zone even if it is uncomfortable: Yes, thrown into the unknown can be scary. But then, the more you get through situations like that, the more resilient and confident you become. And so, even if the rug is pulled out from under your feet, you will be fine because you will learn to trust yourself after getting a hang of dealing with uncertain or uncomfortable situations. So, don’t let the self-limiting beliefs squash your desire to do something out of the box.
Get out there and expose yourself to different and challenging situations. For instance, if you are afraid to learn to swim, go for it instead of holding yourself back from learning it. Similarly, if you are not a people person, overcome your shyness and make a deliberate decision to converse with new people (though you might not like that, initially). Remember, stepping out of your comfort zone is a sign of a Growth Mindset. So, the choice is yours. Either you can push the boundaries and discover something new about yourself or you can be a frog in a well and remain underconfident for the rest of your life.
2.) Overcome your negativity bias: Just take a moment and think about how many times in a day you let the negative thoughts overpower you, so much so, that you don’t see anything remotely positive about yourself.
I know, most of us are hardwired to pay attention to all that we’ve done wrong. For example- if you score 21 out of 25 on a math test, you might cringe at the thought of scoring 4 marks lesser than what you had desired instead of embracing or celebrating yourself for scoring 21 (which is a great score). Such negative thoughts chisel away at your confidence.
It’s hard to control your thoughts because they mostly operate on autopilot. But, what you can do is that every time you come up with a negative thought, you should come up with five positive thoughts to counter the negative ones. In reference to the example I’ve stated, if you feel that you’ve scored lesser marks than expected, think about the times you scored more marks than expected or accomplished something great, either within or outside of the realm of academics. Because the effect of negative thoughts is so strong, you have to constantly keep reminding yourself of your worth.
3.) Let go of what the others expect: I’ve seen people trying to hold on to the standards that someone else has apparently set for them. Truth be told, what others expect from you doesn’t hold any significance simply because the other person hasn’t walked in your shoes. You are the best decider of your worth because you know yourself better than everyone else. So, instead of letting the other people expect from you, you have to be the decider of your expectations from yourself. It’ll be liberating to free yourself from other people’s expectations and, that’ll multiply your confidence manifold because you will no longer be fixated on the self-deprecating inner monologue that comes with not being able to live up to the expectations of the others.
Trying to prove yourself to others will never aid your confidence because you are likely to feel powerless and assume a victim mentality in the process of proving yourself to someone else. But, that’s not likely to happen if it’s just you involved in the process. So, set your own realistic goals and work towards them, instead of letting someone else decide what those goals should be. Don’t be a people-pleaser because you can’t go around pleasing everyone and seeking validation. They get screwed first.
4.) Don’t be around toxic people: Toxic people are your worst enemies. You should definitely be around someone who encourages you and makes you feel good about yourself. You probably don’t realize how being surrounded by toxic people can severely affect the way you feel about yourself. Choose your company wisely and your self-confidence will pick up a notch.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
We are all capable of doing great things in life but the problem kicks at the moment you start questioning your abilities or potential. Diffident or less confident people are usually taken for granted. In today’s extremely competitive world, the one thing that could make you stand out and have an edge over the others (especially in situations of job interviews) is confidence. If you’re a confident person, it shows up in your personality, your way of talking and interacting with people. It’s an art that can, however, be perfected only with time.
I would like to introduce the concept of Mental Models here. They help you develop a mental framework that helps you make rational decisions. These models are applicable to all fields of life.