Confidence is the feeling that one can rely on someone or something — firm trust. That means self-confidence is firm trust in ourselves. “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life,” a quote from Marcus Garvey.
Self confidence is a skill just like playing basketball. Basketball players practice — not just once, but every day. If we want more self confidence in a certain area, practice, practice, practice. Repetition becomes the vehicle for arriving at our destination. Malcolm Gladwell says that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to become world-class in any field. Where ever you lack confidence, start practicing over and over. It’s common for us to bail when we hit a little adversity. When we make our first attempt at public speaking and it flops, we quit. But the 10,000 hour rule encourages us to stay at it. Thomas Edison’s teachers labeled him as too stupid to learn. Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb but he just kept at it. Self confidence comes as we practice it.
Confidence is also a reflection of what is going on in our mind. Thoughts influence actions. Tearing ourselves down will never result in building anything up. Self-confidence cannot come from self-deprecation. If we want more confidence, we need to start with more affirmation. Step one: put distance between us and the people who feed us negative information about ourselves. Step two: find people who are positive about themselves and learn from them. Step three: deliberately affirm ourselves every day. A good place to start is believing in our ability to improve. As we make these changes the pathways in our brain begin to alter — the ruts that negativity had burrowed begin to fill in and our positive mindset starts building new roads to different places. Remember Muhammad Ali saying, “I am the greatest!” He knew affirming himself would lead to confidence. And he definitely had that.
Lack of confidence comes from comparison, negative input, giving up too easily, and not seeing people as human but super human. When we stop comparing and start seeing people as real, reduce our own negative input and practice skills repeatedly, the result is confidence.