YOU have been told n number of times to Be Confident. And you couldn’t really place a finger on what do they mean? Here you’re preparing for your toughest test (exam, interview/ meeting/ presentation), having butterflies in your stomach, and this piece of advice. Hello? Blistering Blue Barnacles. Besides, each of us has come across a person, who radiates confidence, breezes in majestically and just for a second, thought, how does he/she behave so confidently? YOU’ve an idea how they look like. How they navigate through challenges? Things start falling in place for such people. YOU wish to emulate them and wonder, how do I get there?
Confidence is knowing what YOU’re good at, the value YOU bring to the table, and acting/ behaving that conveys to the others, ‘Here is a person, who is sure of himself/ herself’. Their presence instills others too of assuredness/ confidence. If there is a team work involved, the team is re-assured that the job will be well done. Confidence has a direct correlation to promotions at workplace. Even at personal level, they seem to be more happier enjoying conjugal bliss. A pilot study at The University of Melbourne found correlation between confidence levels as early as primary school and success in the workplace as adults. A study by The University of Texas showed that students who received some expression of confidence in their ability, even while receiving criticism, performed better later on than those who were simply told to aim for higher standards.
Confidence is NOT something that can be learnt like a set of rules or reading a book. Confidence is a state of Mind. YOU need to practice Positive Thinking, Knowledge and talking to people to help YOU improve your confidence levels. Confidence comes from feeling of well being, acceptance of your body and mind (self-esteem) and belief in YOUr own ability, skills and knowledge. Confidence is NOT a static measure, and can change. Some days we may feel more confident than others. Low confidence can be result of various factors including, fear of unknown (being deployed in a new area during my uniform days), criticism, being unhappy with personal appearance (self esteem), feeling under prepared (exam fever!!), poor time management (YOU reached late for the most important meeting), lack of knowledge and previous failures.
If YOU’re seeking to change this state, my one word advice would be knowledge. Rest of things will fall in place. Move out of prescribed books (which are important and required to improve subject knowledge/ marks). But seek as much knowledge as YOU can. BE a knowledge seeker. Watch TEDs. Read Books. Undergo internships. Do certification courses. Interact with people. Meet subject matter experts. Attend seminars. Do anything/ everything YOU can to seek knowledge. Knowledge is the mantra to confidence. If you dig deep, YOU’ll realise, that knowledge will assist you to crack the exam, face that interview, make that all important presentation, prepare YOU for any meeting. Prepare and YOU prepare for success. As for luck, forget it. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
The major contributors to YOUr confidence is Self Efficacy and Self Esteem. Self Efficacy is when we see ourselves mastering skills and goals that matter in those skills areas. YOU participate in a marathon run. The first time, YOUr brain tells YOU, are YOU mad? 21 kilometers? I’ve never done it. I may collapse. I’ll be a laughing stock. People will shame me. And all such self-doubts crop up. Just take the first step. RUN .. run .. and run some more. Complete the 21 kilometers (and forget the timing). And now see how Self-Efficacy take over. YOU’re in the starting line for another marathon and NOW YOUr brain sends a message – Dude, YOU just ran a marathon, remember? 21 kilometers is a cake walk. And then YOU do it again and again. This is the confidence that, we master in any particular area. Remember, YOU’ll succeed. Persist and YOUr self efficacy will take over.
Self Esteem reflects a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his/ her own worth. It’s a judgement of oneself; an attitude towards self. It encompasses beliefs about oneself, (what is YOUr self-talk; YOU can never do it OR remember dude, YOUr XII class percentage – 94%. YOU are good!!), and YOUr emotional state like pride, shame, triumph, and despair.
So the question is, HOW do I build my Confidence?
a. Stay away from negativity and enthuse positivity. Avoid naysayers and surround yourself with +ve people.
b. Change YOUr Self-Talk and YOUr body language and image. A +ve body language and YOUr image will exhibit confidence. SMILE, eye-contact and posture (how you carry yourself) all go into making this change.
c. Don’t Give up and never accept failure (or below par output). Work on this and persist. Remember, the more you practice – the better YOU get.
d. Be Prepared! Remember the motto of The Scouts? Be prepared! For whatever you’re undertaking – meeting, dating, interview, presentation. Be Prepared.
e. Create YOUr life long Anti-Depressant Drug. Jot down all YOUr accomplishments. All. Laminate it and hang it on YOUr wall. Read it often. Watch four year old Jessica’s Self Affirmation. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ifIQNwXBE).
Remember, only YOU’ve the right to look down upon YOUrself. If YOU don’t feel confident about YOUrself, fat chance that others will. So master this art and walk out to face the world with C . O . N . F . I . D . E . N . C . E ……..