Confidence – Can We Really Develop It?
Is confidence something we either have or we don’t?? Is it something we are blessed with at birth, or destined to live without?? We’d all love to be the person who just pushes open the door and strides into any room knowing we belong there right???
Well, it may be true that some people naturally give off the air of total self-belief. But the problem with this is that often it can be a front, masking an insecurity about certain situations, or even about themselves as a person. A loud mouth and quick temper do NOT constitute confidence.
So, what about true confidence. A real self-belief in yourself and your abilities. I genuinely believe this is something we all have the ability to develop with the right approach. You may have been timid as a child, or maybe you remain quiet at work when you really want to speak out, or perhaps you avoid nights out and social situations for the fear of a confrontation– but don’t accept that this is ‘just you’. If you want the change, if you want a louder voice and confidence that you can handle yourself in the unknown, then it’s yours for the taking.
You’re probably still reading but deep down you have that little thought in the back of your mind which has already ruled you out of this. The little voice that’s already told you that you won’t be able to…this is just how you are.
So, first things first….Tell the voice to shut it. Do not give it another second of your time. Unless you’re missing something that every other human on the planet has, then you can start to build up confidence.
I know this, because I was the shyest child and teenager ever. I felt that I just lacked the self-belief’ that other kids had. But as I started to grow up, I was forced into a few situations that I never would have chosen to be in, but there I was, in the thick of it anyway. And it was after reflecting and dwelling on these situations that I had a realisation. The secret that changed how I would approach things from that day on….
I realised that…NOBODY was comfortable in those situations. Everybody felt fear and nerves. But the truly confident people had become used to this feeling. I’ve heard it since described as: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. And that’s all it is. If you expect to live in your comfort zone, then everything scares you, because the world is full of surprises and things you haven’t experienced yet. But when you learn to recognise the nerves and the fear, and your body becomes used to dealing with them like it would any other emotion, then you can desensitise to a certain extent and become proficient in functioning around them.
Martial arts are a perfect example of this. BJJ is a great sport but also an amazing method of self-defence. You learn practical techniques and practise them over and over. At first, the techniques are taught and practised in a very slow and controlled way. Then, when the student starts to become confident, the pressure is added, and your training partner will build up the resistance. This is done over and over until your partner is fully resisting, and yet you are still able to make the technique work. The body starts to perform before the brain has too much time to think.
Now apply this to a real situation. Say perhaps you are on a night out and you’re confronted by an aggressive individual who puts their hands on you. Your body will react to this BEFORE your emotions and fears have time to cloud your judgement.
This does not mean you will be invincible. Nor does it mean you will hurt people before assessing. But having a skill like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does mean you have not only hugely increased your chances or protecting yourself and others with you. But more importantly, you have CONFIDENCE that should this ever occur, you can deal effectively with it. This removes anxiety, worry, and avoidance of situation which you have every right to be in.
You have now built confidence by getting used to being uncomfortable. This realisation was a game-changer for me. It has given me the drive to experience new things in life, the passion to push myself outside of my comfort zone in all aspects of life, and opened up new doors to me that the old me wouldn’t of even noticed!!!