We’ve all heard by now how important is for a person to have self confidence in order to be successful. Usually we attribute that success in a business, or sports sort of environment, but it is also essential for other areas of our life, such as personal relationships. Why is that, and how do we become more confident people? Keep reading and find out.
Psychology Today defines confidence as: “How strongly you believe in your capabilities to learn new skills, perform at a certain level, attain a goal, or achieve your own definition of success. Confidence is the most important psychological contributor to success because you may have all of the ability in the world to accomplish a goal, but if you don’t believe you have that ability, you won’t use that ability to its fullest extent in pursuit of success.”
How well those words ring true to those of us that feel held back, that know we have abilities yet lack the wherewithal to go out and use them. Those of us that have dealt with, or are still dealing with self-doubt will avoid what is difficult, especially those if it may involve something personal. We have small goals and a lot of the time cannot even achieve those. Most of the time those who deal with self-doubt, when given some sort of difficult thing to do, will begin to think about their own deficiencies, what trouble they might face and of course the negative outcomes available rather than on how they might face the situation and have a positive outcome.
When the inevitable failure happens, those who are plagued by self-doubt are usually slow to recover something called “self-efficacy.” Self-efficacy is the belief in yourself that you have the ability to accomplish whatever task or goal that you may have set for yourself. “I can make my relationships work” or “I can do this job,” are example of self-efficacy. When people with self-doubt fail, their efficacy takes a hit and it they can fall into a cycle of stress and depression because they think they lack abilities, and they discard any faith they may have had in themselves.
You can see then how people a low confidence level would and will struggle with trying to be successful at whatever goal or endeavor that they are trying to achieve. Now let’s take a look at characteristics of people that have a high degree of self-confidence.
Confident people will not shy away from the difficult tasks, some will even seek out the difficult ones as a challenge to themselves, all the while knowing they will accomplish the task. They are committed to finishing what they have started.
Confident people will also approach threatening situations differently than people who do not possess a high degree of self-confidence. They are self-assured that they can exercise control in these situations and such a view will produce a greater number of personal accomplishments and reduce stress, while lowering the risk of depression. They are living genuine and authentic lives which is a strong repellent to depression.
Having a high degree of confidence influences your levels of performance. When you are confident you will exhibit positive emotions, feel relaxed, have more focus, and be more motivated than if you were filled with self-doubt. Without confidence you will most likely experience negative emotions, feel stressed, distracted, and unmotivated. Sound familiar?
While we talked about how people with self-doubt issues have a tough time recovering from failure, the confident person will work harder and longer to turn failure around. Confident people know that they can learn the skills or knowledge that caused the failure. Their self-efficacy rebounds quickly and they are able to recover and move in a much shorter time than people plagued with self-doubt.
Great leaders all seem to have the common characteristic of self-confidence. They know that in order to rise above and be successful, they have to take risks, and taking risk involves have a high degree confidence. Confidence gives leaders the ability to inspire others and take their ideas, goals, business, or relationships to a higher level than they would be able to achieve without it.
Don’t despair if you are lacking self-confidence, it’s not a matter of having it or not. Think of confidence as a skill just like any other skill, like developing a language skill, or a sports skill, or some technical skill. Confidence can be developed. It won’t happen overnight, it takes perseverance, and practice of good techniques to develop healthy self-confidence, but once you do it means that you’ve developed the mental thinking patterns that will kick in without having to consciously think about it, it will just happen. Just like a sports skill that you practice over and over, and when it’s show time, you don’t even think about what you need to do, you just perform.
The last thing I leave you with is one thing that you can do right now to start developing the skill of confidence, and that is to stop comparing yourself to other people. Comparing ourselves to others will strip the confidence right out of us and leave us feeling depressed because we aren’t like person “so and so” in some particular area.
There will always be people smarter, there will always be people richer, there will always be people more competent. The issue is self-improvement, and that will come if you apply yourself and persevere.
Although this post is about the “why” we need to have self-confidence in order to be successful rather than how to develop it, here is a link to a tool I developed called “5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Self-Confidence.” There is no quick fix to developing it, long lasting change takes time and hard work, but there are some things that you can do right now to get started. Download the PDF and get started right now in giving your self-confidence a boost.