Confidence is fleeting. One minute you feel unstoppable, then your girl/boyfriend breaks up with you and you’re reaching for a tub of rocky road ice cream and a warm spoon.
It seems like some people just have an unlimited supply of confidence like they won it off some scratch-off lottery. But it’s not luck.
There are three essential elements of true confidence that if you build and master, you’ll never question yourself again.
You’re not your khakis
Jobs, clothes, looks, status, cars. All these things can be taken away. Then what?
There was a speaker in one of my classes. His name was Safwan Shah, president of PayActiv. His speech in it of itself was pretty boring, but I couldn’t stop listening. He had this air of confidence about him, a certain charisma. Then he dropped a gem and my eyes widened.
“Drop me anywhere, the Sahara Desert, in the jungle, anywhere. I will not be scared. I am confident that I will succeed anywhere.”
In a couple sentences, he managed to capture the entire essence of entrepreneurship.
He had been apart of three wildly successful businesses, yet I can tell that was not where he drew his confidence from. He wasn’t proud of what he accomplished, he was proud of how.
Then it hit me.
Unshakable confidence only comes when you place your values on things that cannot be taken away from you.
Fame. Status. Money. Looks. It doesn’t mean anything with regards to confidence.
Models are insecure about their looks.
Billionaires look at their wealth and think why don’t I have more.
Actors see other actors receive critical acclaim and get jealous.
Confidence comes internally.
I always thought it was ridiculous how old man Michael Jordan and old man Kobe Bryant could still dominate all the fresh talent, year after year after their athleticism has clearly faded.
Their source of pride wasn’t their athleticism, it was in their knowledge of the game and method of preparation, their desire and grit, their will to succeed.
Every Man’s Got to Have a Code
What do you stand for? look down upon?
What do you live for? look for in your friends?
What do you aspire to be? What do you want to get out of life?
More importantly, why?
There is no right answer, but whatever it is, it’s yours. It’s you.
Guard it and don’t compromise for anything.
I’ve always wondered about leaders such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, who challenged adversity and spit in it’s face.
Do they challenge adversity because they are confident or do they draw confidence from challenging adversity?
In the former, it implies they felt they were going to succeed; in the latter, it implies they did what they did in spite of whether or not they succeed.
And given what they were up against, I’m inclined to believe the latter.
Their “why” was what compelled them to action. In other words, their confidence was derived from their strong beliefs and values.
Their “why” was what allowed them to say “yes” in a sea of “no.”
They knew who they were, what they wanted, what they expected from others, and wouldn’t accept anything less.
Don’t Doubt Yourself and More Importantly, Don’t Believe in Yourself
You’ve had self-doubt before. You believed you couldn’t do something and voila, self-fulfilling prophecy.
But you’ve also been overconfident before. You’ve thought to yourself “Psh, this is easy,” and you fall flat on your face.
Even phrases like “I can do it,” are easily fallible.
“I can do it,” in it of itself is just you trying to trick yourself into believing you can do it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But there is a better method.
Just do it.
Forget the nagging self-doubt and the pathetic attempts to motivate yourself.
Take some deep breaths and focus on the solution, not the problem.
Have a huge deadline coming up?
Change “I have a huge deadline coming up” to “Ok, I need to do xyz to complete abc by 123.”
Didn’t get that promotion?
Change “What did I do wrong?” to “Ok, blahblah did xyz better than me, so I need to improve on xyz. I do abc really well already so I’ll make sure my boss notices.”
And so on.
Leave the past behind. Energy spent worrying about what you could’ve done is better spent actually doing things that’ll remedy the problem.
Focus on solutions, not problems. You have to get out of the fire first, then you can analyze what went wrong after the smoke clears.
Key Takeaway to Solid Confidence
Fame. Status. Money. Looks. They’re all houses built on sand. With a snap of a finger, these things can all disappear.
Solid confidence comes from inside and it’s built on rock. 100 people could be telling you “no,” but as long as you say “yes” and it’s grounded with real reasons, nobody and nothing can make you feel like you’re not valuable.
You define these real reasons by:
- basing your value off intangibles, your past accomplishments, things that will never leave you
- knowing who you are, what you stand for, what you will accept from others, and never compromising your core beliefs
- getting out of your head, taking action, and focusing on solutions instead of problems
Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Meet new people. Travel to different places. Having a wide variety of experiences is the only way to see what you truly like and dislike.
Practice. Confidence is about knowing your limits and how to push them. Find your limits by exposing yourself to different situations and pushing past our comfort zone. You’d be surprise as to what you could actually accomplish.
Take time to write down the things that really matter to you. Really think about it and why you chose those items. Then prioritize them so you know where you stand.