This curated column is authored by Anthony Moore, Founder, StuffGradsLike
When I was growing up, I had virtually no self-confidence.
A chronic stutter had convinced me to keep my mouth shut; better not speak at all than speak and get laughed at.
Heavy pornography usage had eroded my ability to connect with people; I would frequently make huge conversational gaffs when I’d try to hold a conversation. “Look out, huge butt coming through!” I cackled stupidly as a girl I liked walked past me to her seat during a football game.
Do you ever just want to go back in time and…repeatedly smack your face with your shoe?
Most people don’t have high self-confidence. A life lived for others and no real effort to improve has left them wildly insecure, full of self-doubt and confusion.
The solution is confidence and self-belief. But these aren’t innate gifts, as most people might think. Motivational speaker David Schwartz once wrote:
“All confidence is acquired, developed. No one is born with confidence. Those people you know who radiate confidence, who have conquered worry, have acquired their confidence, every bit of it.”
If you want to activate extreme self-confidence and finally eliminate chronic worry and anxiety, you need to build it yourself.
Trade Your Mediocre Behaviors For Those of Successful People
“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.” -Darren Hardy
Most people constantly practice mediocre, substandard routines and behaviors.
There is a distinct difference between how successful and unsuccessful people operate. They think, speak, and carry themselves very differently.
Successful people with high self-confidence weren’t just born that way — they became that way. NYT Best-Selling author Grant Cardone once said, “Success is not something that happens to you, it’s something that happens because of you and the actions you take.”
Success and self-confidence must be grown, nurtured, and trained. Anyone from any background, regardless of upbringing/social class/ability can cultivate this skill.
It requires deliberate and intentional training, though. Like any skill, it’s grown over time. Those who put in the work, get the results.
To produce extraordinary results, you don’t need an unlimited budget; you just need a better tool kit.” -Tim Ferriss
If you want to have the type of confidence, focus, and charisma that enables you to achieve your ideal lifestyle, you need to model your behavior on others who’ve already succeeded.
Want 100% financial independence? Find a mentor who’s already done it.
Want to own your business? There are dozens of incredible people who teach how to do it online, for free.
Want a strong, healthy body? I think you see where I’m going with this.
Trade in your outdated and unhelpful actions with the actions a successful person would do.
There are people, right now, living the life you want. Read their stuff. Buy their courses. Follow their instructions.
If you want a different life, you need to do things differently.
“One of the greatest turning points in my life occurred when I stopped casually waiting for success and started to approach it as a duty, obligation, and responsibility.” -Grant Cardone
Act While You Feel Fear
“Act while you feel fear rather than waiting until you feel unafraid.” -David Richo, How to Be An Adult
The world’s top salespeople still dread picking up their phone sometimes.
The world’s most accomplished athletes still get nerves before big games. Bill Russell, one of the greatest players in NBA history (winner of 11 championships in 13 years) often vomited before big games due to nerves and anxiety.
When asked about how he felt when he released a movie, legendary film director Martin Scorcese made this remark:
“If you don’t get physically ill seeing your first rough cut, something is wrong.”
The world’s top performers act while they are afraid.
Don’t wait until the fear is gone. Act while you feel fear.
I remember being in love with this cute girl in middle school. I barely spoke a word to her in class. I was terrified of rejection, of stuttering over my words if I revealed my feelings.
On the last day of school, I was determined to tell her. I can still remember how profoundly terrified I was as I walked up to her group of friends (why are girls always surrounded by an army of friends!) and I nervously asked if I could speak with her alone.
I told her I liked her, and asked if she’d be my girlfriend.
She said yes. I think we awkwardly hugged, and that was it.
The ending isn’t important (we didn’t speak to each other all vacation, and then she broke up with me through her friends when school started, OK?).
But if I had waited until I didn’t feel afraid? I would have never talked to her. I would have regretted it for years.
Author Mark Manson once joked, “How do you get rid of ‘runner’s block?’ You go for a f*cking run.”
If you’re scared of something, the easiest way to gain confidence is, well…just do it.
There are some phenomenal writers and authors out there that we’ve never heard of — they’re too scared to publish. As writer Jon Westenberg once wrote: “You just have to outrun everyone who doesn’t have the guts to publish their work.”
Act while you feel fear. Even if you get unceremoniously dumped, you’ll feel better and better.
Seek Problems, Don’t Avoid Them
“One of the major differences between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people look for problems to resolve, whereas the latter make every attempt to avoid them.” -Grant Cardone
What happens when you avoid problems?
You develop a bad reputation for dumping your work onto somebody else. Your personal integrity is chipped away. Fear and anxiety begin brewing; “Will this come back to haunt me later?” you wonder. Your peace of mind is lost.
But what happens when you decide to seek problems?
You become someone with the sterling reputation of a “problem-solver.” You attract respect and admiration. “The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers,” Adam Grant wrote in his book, Give and Take. You become someone people trust. Help naturally flows to problem-solvers — even if you don’t succeed!
The reason most people struggle with self-confidence is because they’ve proven to themselves over and over that they “can’t do it.” They’ve tried eating healthier, exercising, being more productive, drinking less, but nothing seems to work.
If you were a business, would a customer trust you’d follow through on your word?
The answer is no for more people. To remedy this, you need to start building trust in yourself again. Your word must be your bond. If you say you’ll do something, that means something.
So seek problems out. Give yourself some reps. Failure doesn’t matter; Seth Godin once said, “If I fail more times than you, I win.”
What matters is the practice. This builds up your self-confidence and self-trust.
Most People Aren’t Self-Confident — So Don’t Do What Most People Do!
“When they zig, you should zag, and you’ll win every time.” -Ramit Sethi, NYT Best-Selling author and entrepreneur
Most people aren’t full of confidence or self-belief.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Most people are insanely insecure. They are heavily preoccupied in what others think of them. They act to please others, and their primary motivations are “keeping up” and “looking cool.”
Whenever I fall into the rhythms that are common or “popular,” I start to feel that fear and anxiety again. Things like:
- I need to keep up an image on social media
- I need to make sure I have a cool-enough answer at my high school reunion for, “So what have you been up to?”
- I need a better haircut so people will admire me fondly
It’s all a game. None of it matters. It only leaves you feeling more insecure.
So if most people are insecure, scared, anxious, and fragile…
Don’t do what other people do!
“If you keep living like the way you are now, you will continue to produce the same life you already have,” wrote prolific motivational speaker Jim Rohn. If you want a different life, you need to do things differently.
If you want to eliminate your anxiety and fear, then don’t look for answers from what author Hal Elrod calls the “Mediocre Majority.” They’re just as lost as you are, even if they’re great at pretending they aren’t.
When most people zig one way, you should zag the other way.
Choose your role models carefully. Those with the loudest voices rarely offer the wisest insights. In my years in 12-step programs for recovery, getting a “sponsor” (a guide for the difficult path ahead) is crucial. The best advice given to me about choosing a sponsor was to just find someone who has what you want.
Do you want the same insecure, boisterous, superficial life most people have? Or do you want the real thing, full of quiet self-confidence and an inner pride?
Then find someone who has what you want, and ignore the rest.
What Doesn’t Add to Your Healing Subtracts From It
“If your lifestyle does not add to your healing, it will subtract from it.” -Benjamin Foley
Is your lifestyle full of positive, supportive, healing influences?
Or is it full of garbage that drags you down and prevents you from growing?
Most people have several negative influences in their life that are dragging them down. “All around you is an environment that is trying to pull you down to Second-Class Street,” author David Schwartz once said.
These influences — environment, people, media, behaviors — prevent you from evolving into better versions of yourself. It’s your responsibility to cut them from your life.
If it’s not helping you, it’s likely hurting you.
“You cannot hang around negative people and expect a positive result.” -Darren Hardy
Strangely, most people try to fill their life with all sorts of “things” to remove the fear. But for the most part, more things means more anxiety. It’s more upkeep, more debt, and more things draining your attention.
I gave away most of my clothes. I don’t buy “trinkets” or “doo-dads,” things that have no real value. Prolific blogger James Altucher claims he only owns “15 things,” ensuring his mind is focuses and unencumbered.
“I wonder what it is that the more we have, the more we become prisoners at the thought of losing it, rather than setting us free.” -Nirmalya Kumar
Most people struggle with big levels of anxiety and fear. It’s uncommon to see high levels of self-confidence; people notice the person who is secure and comfortable in their own skin.
You can be that person. Even if you’re not there yet, start by modeling your behaviors around people who already have what you want.
Act while you still feel the fear; it’s not going away, so act anyway. Trust me — you’ll feel better after.
Seek problems out. Start proving to yourself you can handle problems and you won’t back down.
Remember — most people are full of tremendous anxiety and self-doubt; don’t do what most people do!
If you want to activate extreme self-confidence and eliminate anxiety and fear, then start living a new life with new behaviors that will make that possible.
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