About 2 weeks ago, Greg had asked me if he could write an article on “confidence”, how to get it, what it’s not, and more.
Initially, I was a tad squeamish about the idea, mainly because I was concerned he may write about how traditional mainstream media describes how to get confidence…
… which I personally view as an exercise in mental masturbation. Fun to do, yet never gets you anywhere and many times has you feeling worse about yourself than when you started.
However, once I gave it a read, I told him to run it – because he knocked it out of the park!
Afterwards, I decided I wanted to do a quick follow up with a few mistakes I see people make when chasing “confidence”. I narrowed it down to 3 of the most important ones I could think of. They are:
1. Confidence is NOT a precursor to success, it is the RESULT of it.
I’ve made this argument a few times. “Confidence” isn’t what people are attracted to… it is what that confidence IMPLIES.
Having confidence is like having battle scars. A person knows you’re a successful warrior if you have a lot of battle scars, yet are still alive.
Confidence works in the same way. When someone interacts with a person with grounded confidence, you inherently assume (“Halo Effect”) the other person has SUCCESSFULLY navigated trials and tribulations. You get a good feeling the other person has what I consider the big 5 parts that make up “confidence: self ESTEEM, self RESPECT, self WORTH, self BELIEF and most importantly, self TRUST.
You don’t magically gain these qualities… you EARN THEM. You WORK for them. You OWN them.
So a big part of confidence is successfully navigating a PROCESS – and understanding what value that has. As an example, having a great body generally instills confidence in the other person, yet it’s not the RESULT that gives confidence – it’s the WORK that went into it COUPLED with the result.
Case in point, many of the guys I know that have used steroids are generally NOT confident people, because they KNOW that they basically “cheated” their way into the body. They have the RESULT, but they know if they take away the steroids, they take away the results. This is where you can see the “impostor syndrome” rear it’s head again due to the fact that they didn’t really CONQUER the issue at all.
(it’s like winning to lottery versus earning the money, one you were given a fish and are afraid to lose it because you KNOW there’s no way for you to get it back, the other you know you can start over and EARN it back if need be)
However, what if you HAVE put in the work and seen success, yet as a whole aren’t “confident”?
Here’s something to consider:
Smart and talented people tend to DEVALUE their abilities, because they ASSUME everyone else is at the same level. Contrary to this, those that are typically inept or unqualified tend to OVERVALUE their abilities. In other words, those that should be confident in their abilities generally are not, while those that SHOULD NOT be confident in their abilities generally ARE.
(since it’s election year, one could make a sound argument that many politicians fall into the OVERVALUE category… as an example)
This is known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect.… (and understanding this has helped me personally, a LOT)
Naturally, this affects your sense of self worth.
Therefore, it helps to take an inventory of your talents and successes – so you can understand you really ARE a bad ass.
(Side note: another thing about getting a great body CORRECTLY is that the success is very OBVIOUS, especially when you compare to others. You know you’ve created something within yourself of VALUE – because people tell you so, and people also treat you differently)
Now, what I’m talking about isn’t mental tricks or CONVINCING yourself you’re awesome (which seems weird… if you have to say you are, you AREN’T in my opinion). It’s about UNDERSTANDING your value – not making up FAKE value for yourself…which leads into…
2. Quit chasing the SYMBOLS of confidence and status when it’s easier just to go for the REAL THING.
It’s no secret: men’s self confidence is positively correlated with their perceived status level in society. And much of that is tied to his work and/or life’s mission.
However, many people chase the SYMBOLS of confidence and status instead of just focusing on getting results and increasing your status level as a whole.
Things such as:
– Using steroids to “get the body”
– reverse engineering confident or “alpha” behaviors (things such as taking up more space as an example, taking up space is a by product of confidence, it doesn’t CAUSE you to be confident, long term)
– putting up big weights in the gym, for the sole purpose of telling others (competitive powerlifting is different, many are VERY confident people because they are acting in perfect alignment with their goals)
Basically, instead of DOING to achieve confidence, many are looking for the secret “trick” that will make others THINK they are confident. Plus, most of these SYMBOLS actually bring the wrong people into your life as a whole, and sadly you KNOW they are there basically because of the SYMBOLS, so what REALLY does that do to your self esteem?
As an example, I used to have a lot of really nice stuff… and I knowingly bought it for the reason above.
You know, the whole “fake it til you make it”.
The problem was, I was so busy FAKING IT and because of the energy and focus demands of keeping up that charade…
… I wasn’t MAKING IT.
That’s the danger of SYMBOLS. Pretty soon, the goal isn’t to be happy and confident, it’s to maintain and grow the layers of bullshit you’ve created for yourself.
(I’ve since sold almost everything “symbolic” I owned. I’m actually happier now, believe it or not)
Now, there’s nothing wrong with fake it ’til you make it. The problem is many people forget the “til you make it” part.
Remember that, because this often can lead into…
3. Confusing “confidence” with “arrogance”
When you are confident, all of your actions come from a place of STRENGTH.
When you are arrogant, your actions come from a place of weakness.
An arrogant viewpoint is “never care what others think”.
A confident viewpoint is “what other’s think is FEEDBACK, and it’s up to me to acknowledge and act on that feedback or not”
Here’s the deal, you DEPEND on others for your survival. PERIOD.
Therefore, what they think about you does matter. Now, people don’t have to necessarily LIKE you or your viewpoints, yet if they RESPECT you as a person, things just work out.
(As an example, plenty of people disagree with some of our viewpoints and/or personalities. For example, some dislike me, but like Barban and Pilon. Some dislike Barban, yet like Pilon and I. However, because people RESPECT what we are trying to do, our products and services still get sold.)
And so I think the whole “never care what people think” is really a “don’t worry if people agree with you”… in context.
In essence, just like with many other “self help” issues, in the attempt to gain confidence, many people resort to arrogance. It’s like people go from one extreme to the other. Instead of “building” confidence, they resort to PROJECTING confidence through arrogance.
Does arrogance work?
Absolutely. It’s better than the alternative of feeling beat down. And at least it’s taking action and trying to impose your will on the world. Unfortunately, it’s also a bandaid (or training wheels) solution. Many times, it’s the continuing attempt to PROVE something to yourself and others.
It’s also overshooting the bow.
Confidence is quiet and humble. Arrogance, loud and obnoxious.
Arrogance is great for short term flings, be it business or pleasure. (people always find out the truth!)
Confidence is LONG TERM.
So give these some thought if you feel like you need to work on your confidence levels. Trust me when I say there is NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.
Remember that “confidence” is a STATE of being based on a history of navigating tough waters, getting results, and from also understanding the VALUE of those results.
Confidence is a state based on DOING… which is a fun coincidence, since we’re judged based on what we DO and how we ACT more so than anything else.
Confident people create VALUE for themselves and others… that, my friend, is the true secret of it all. Store that in your noggin or tape it to the fridge, it will serve you well… I promise.
p.s. This may sound weird, but I reread my own articles from time to time. It’s odd how simply reminding yourself of certain things helps to keep you aiming in the right direction…