Self-confidence is hugely important to having a happy and successful life and career; lacking self-confidence, can lead to an unhappy and unsuccessful life and career. Self-confidence exists whether you are aware of your own or not. Increase your self-confidence and you can increase the quality of your life.
High self-confidence comes from having largely positive thoughts and feelings about yourself, whilst low self-confidence comes from having largely negative feelings and thoughts about yourself.
Both high self-confidence and low self-confidence, can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. If you have high self-confidence and your life and career are great, that is wonderful, more of the same is obviously a good thing, but if you have low self-confidence and your career and life are not great; the last thing you want is more of the same, it is like a vicious cycle, where lack of desired results and outcomes, result in lower confidence, and lower confidence, results in continuance of your unacceptable status quo.
Thoughts and beliefs, either positive or negative, can have a profound impact on our lives. Positive thoughts generally lead to positive outcomes, whereas negative thoughts, tend to result in negative outcomes.
Our thoughts and beliefs impact our actions, that in turn impact the results and outcomes that we achieve, and also the actions and reactions of others. Napoleon Hill spent decades researching highly successful people, reporting his discoveries in the father of all self-help books “Think and Grow Rich”. Countless subsequent books, and self-help gurus, psychologists and high achievers, have come back to the same thing, “what we think matters hugely”. The film / book “The Secret” which sold millions of copies, suggests that: “everything one wants or needs, can be satisfied by believing in an outcome, repeatedly thinking about it, and maintaining positive emotional states to "attract" the desired outcome” (Source Wikipedia). Henry Ford said “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t you’ll be right”.
Personally, I think it is naïve to think that thoughts alone can deliver desired outcomes; actions, effort and talents are also required.
Action, efforts and talents, are frequently not enough on their own, beliefs and self confidence in particular, are often the deciding factors. An often quoted example, is the story of the four-minute mile. It was widely believed that is was impossible to run a mile in four minutes or under, until 1954 when Dr Roger Bannister achieved it. Since that time, many others have achieved it, and the record has now been lowered by a massive 17 seconds.
Roger Bannister - First to Run 4 Minute Mile
Winston Churchill inspired Great Britain during the darkest days of World War 2 because of his self-confidence. Self Confidence lies are the heart of great leadership, and great leadership is capable of achieving extraordinary things. Imagine the impact on the troops and the nation, if Winston Churchill was nervous, fumbling, uncertain?
You may or may not see leadership as essential to your success and happiness, but the truth is, whether you are in a leadership role or not, you don’t live in isolation, if you are confident, your positive energy will be picked up by others. It will help you to get the support and confidence of others, which in turn, will help you to achieve the happiness and success you desire.
Imagine yourself as having an inbuilt transmitter; you either transmit positive or negative signals to others. Those transmissions might be made in terms of words you speak, either the substance of the words, the language you use, or the way that you say them, or from your body language, physiology and persona. Sometimes you can look at a person and see they are not self-confident, even if they don’t say anything.
Often self-confidence comes from your upbringing, childhood and early experiences. If you’ve been surrounded by negative people, relatives, teachers and friends particularly, who have projected their negativity onto you, it is highly likely to have negatively impacted your self-confidence. If your experiences have been largely positive, the reverse will be true.
You too, have the ability to project positivity or negativity onto others, as well as leaving no impression whatsoever. It is clearly better for them, if you project positivity onto them, but it is also better for you, because generally speaking you get back, a mirror of what you put out into the world. The more you make a positive difference to others, organisations and the world, the better it makes you feel, and the more good things come back to you.
It is not easy to increase your self-confidence, but it is entirely possible. Three things can contribute towards increasing your self-confidence:
- Increased Self Efficacy
- Increased Self Esteem
- Increased Positive Self Image
Self-Efficacy – “You Can Do It – You’ve Got What It Takes, or Can Get What It Takes!”
Self-efficacy is where we believe that it is possible for us to acquire the knowledge and skills that will enable us to achieve goals and success. It enables us to accept difficult challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks and adversity. The opposite of self-efficacy is feelings like, you are not bright enough, or you are not educated enough, you didn’t go to the right school or university, or you are lacking anything, that you use as an excuse to justify your belief, that you can’t do it, you’ve not got what it takes, and you can’t get what it takes.
Self-Esteem – “You Matter as Much as Anyone Else, You Deserve it, and You Can Cope with Anything!”
Self-esteem, is the belief that we matter, that we are important, in fact as important as anyone else, and that in general terms, we can cope with pretty much whatever life throws at us, and that we have a right to be happy and successful. Our self-esteem is helped, if others around us, approve of us and what we do; but it also helped, if we feel we are behaving virtuously, and also that we are competent and skilled at what we do, and that we have the ability to accomplish things we want to, when we put our minds to it.
Positive Self-Image – “You are Good Enough in All Respects Just as You Are!”
The late Dr Maxwell Maltz, wrote a book called Psycho-Cybernetics, which has helped millions of people. Dr Maltz was a plastic surgeon, who regularly positively impacted people’s physical appearance with his plastic surgery. He observed the difference between people who had a positive perception of their physical changes, and how that positive perception could massively improve their success and happiness in life, and those who had a negative or unchanging perception of their appearance. In the case of the latter, nothing changed in their life. Our self-image, can have a massive impact on our self-confidence, and on the outcomes we achieve in our careers and lives.
I was saddened to read in the paper the story of Sarah Johnson, who was just 36 years old when she committed suicide. In the article she was described as “an 'intelligent lawyer' and loving mother-of-three. She lived in an exclusive £12.5m house in Belgravia, that used to be owned by Baroness Thatcher. She apparently killed herself after being consumed with guilt because she felt she was not a good enough mum. Having low self-esteem, and low self-image can be devastating and hugely destructive to your life. Thankfully it is possible to improve these things.
I believe that there are two journeys we make in life, one is an inner journey, and the other is a journey in the outside world. Most people don’t recognise their inner journey, and often they don’t go very far with it, it remains below the level of consciousness. It perhaps wouldn’t matter if the outer journey was rewarding and fulfilling enough in itself, but for all the advances in the modern world, a lack of progress on the inner world, is resulting in a massive explosion of mental health, unhappiness and fulfilment. Australia is a country that is known for its apparently high quality of life, yet apparently one of five Australian’s are suffers from mental health issues. Suicide is now the biggest cause of death for men between 20 and 50, and where childbirth used to be the biggest cause of death for young women, it is now apparently suicide. One in four of us, can expect to experience mental health issues in our lifetime. Mental health is reaching epidemic levels, which is why: self-confidence, self-esteem, self-image, self-efficacy should be important to all of us; but it is not just mental health that is at stake; it is the very quality of our lives, our happiness, fulfilment and success that is also at stake. This is surely reason enough to take them seriously, and put them on your agenda?
The journey to increased self-confidence, comes from the search to discover who you really are at the deepest level, and what it is that you really want, and how you can best get, what you heart truly desires, for your entire career and life.
How to do these things is in my new book: “Career and Life Game Change – Change the way you live your life and manage your career”, so that you can be:
- More Fulfilled
- Make a bigger difference
- Achieve the career success you desire
- Meet your financial needs and desires
If you’d like to know when the book becomes available, please contact me:firstname.lastname@example.org or 0787 33 33 0 33.
I’d be pleased to hear from anyone interested in reviewing the book and being involved in providing feedback on its development.
(Jonathan Blain is a bestselling author of 12 books / $3.8m sales. His work has previously been endorsed by many top leaders including nine heads of UK top 1000 companies including: Apple, Sony, Carphone Warehouse, St James’s Place, The Director General of the Institute of Directors and the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy. He is a regular contributor to the BBC.)
Copyright Jonathan Blain 2016