How to be Confident
Self Help Practical Guide for Confidence from a real therapist
What is Confidence? How is it defined?
To be Confident is, in a nutshell the feeling of knowing and/or believing with a high sense of certainty that you can do it. The ‘it’ can be riding a horse, approaching a member of the opposite sex, speaking in public, or any activity that you have done before, done something similar too, or never even considered doing before. But it all pretty much boils down to you having the feeling that you can do it, whatever the ‘it’ turns out to be.
So confidence is a feeling, it is something that is created (or not created) inside of yourself. You do not have to be competent in something in order to feel confidence, while it obviously helps if you are, we can all recall one of the usual suspects on a Jerry Springer type show who is pretty sure they are God’s gift to the opposite sex, when you and I both know this is nothing close to the case. By definition all confidence is Self Confidence
How to be Confident
There are a few basic ways you can create the feeling of confidence and be confident, they are
1) Have previous real life experience of the task or activity to be undertaken, (or similar experience)
2) Create the experience in your mind to the point where your subconscious is convinced it ‘has’ already done the task before.
3) Move a feeling of Confidence you already have across task or skill domains.
Steps in gaining a feeling of Confidence
1) Have the Previous Real Life Experience
Key 1 to Confidence
This is self explanatory, the more you do a certain task the more confident you get in doing it. You can use this aspect to gain confidence by using a delayed effect approach. When starting a new skill, task or activity that you have some self doubts about, you tell yourself “I have learnt new things before and I will this as well”.
You know that in time you will manage this task, activity or skill, and never give it a second thought, just like you did walking, running, driving a car or a dance move. The key here is to put off worrying about your lack of confidence for a little while. It is really not so much a lack of confidence, rather a lack of experience. So keep it real, reframe your concern of confidence for the reality which is a lack of experience., and fake it until you make it.
2) Create the Experience – in your Mind
Key 2 to Self Confidence
You may have heard before the saying “The subconscious mind does not know the difference between something real and something vividly imagined”. This little gem is used in motivational books and talks and almost anywhere someone wants to convince you .. you can do it. The trouble is, it is bullshit. The expression was hijacked from research on guided imagery studies in sports psychology, where athletes who imagined throwing basketball hoops (or any physical activity) recorded muscle twitches as if they were physically doing the task. It is a large stretch to go from muscle twitch to muscle contraction, and a huge leap of naivety to go from this to subconscious interactions.
So can you use this effect for confidence? At its simplest form using affirmations can be effective. Affirmations are statements made of what you want to be as if you already are. For example if you wish to be more confident giving verbal presentations you tell your subconscious mind with words, “I am calm and comfortable talking in front of others and really love to share my knowledge”. Better yet is to imagine the event in a controlled visualization, hearing seeing and feeling as realistically as you can yourself doing whatever it is you want to be doing and feeling great (or at least unexcited) about doing it.
If for example you need to feel a little different about visiting a dentist it is unrealistic to imagine yourself having a party and feeling wonderful, but is beneficial to have the feeling of ‘ho-hum’ towards the event. By imagining yourself how you want to be as if you already are, you will get results. They may not be as fast as experiencing the real thing, but imagining sky-diving 30 times is much easier than doing it for real. Combining the guided imagery in a trance like state of hypnosis will drastically increase the effectiveness until at no time as all the task or experience will seem normal to you, successfully done on numerous occasions and your will have confidence about it.
3) Moving a domain specific confidence across domains
Key 3 to Self Confidence
Perhaps the most effect way of getting confidence instantly. This process is a Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP) therapy technique of taking an emotional state or feeling (in this case confidence) that already exists in one domain (e.g. riding a bike), increasing the intensity of the feeling and then sliding that increase feeling of confidence from the skill or activity you already excel in over and in place of the emotional reaction you have towards a specific domain you wish to change. So in a nutshell you take the confidence you have in something you do very well and copy and paste this feeling into the folder where you need it.
This method is a little complicated to explain how to do in this article, but it involves changing the submodalities of your experience Imagine if you will the emotional impact of watching Avatar in 3-D, surround sound and in a theater, where you are immersed in the experience, almost able to reach out and touch it; compared to watching it on your cell phone, with a small screen and phone speakers. With the bigger, louder, brighter submodalities associated with your visual and auditory experience the impact of the 3D movie will be much greater. NLP uses similar methods inside your imagination to increase and decrease the intensity of an emotional experience, and then make a copy of that emotion and move it across the domains of your experience into the situation you are looking for more confidence.