Self-confidence is the concept of having self-assurance and trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement. People who feel self-confident are aware of their talents and do not consistently doubt themselves or possess negative thoughts about their future. Thus, the term self-confidence generally carries a positive connotation. Of course, there may be some people who behave arrogantly, but in general, most people who are self-confident simply feel good about themselves and their potential. They exude a positive vibe because they feel satisfied and in control of their lives. Thus, self-confidence is a healthy feeling that allows people to take pride in what they do.
There are lots of theories out there regarding ways to increase self-confidence. Some believe that you are born with it, and others think that self-confidence can be learned, acquired, and practiced. Psychologists often view self-esteem as an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth, which can always be improved by seeking a healthy emotional state. This includes addressing problems of the past, taking better courses of action in the now, and by gaining trust in one’s own abilities. Learning to believe in oneself can lead to much joy, inspiration, and positivity. It can also help individuals increase and meet their life goals.
Positive Psychology lists nine ways to improve self-confidence. They include things like establishing a positive body language to feel more powerful, being mindful, absorbing positive energy, exercising, visualization and more. One way to improve self-confidence, they suggest, is to speak well to yourself. Sometimes, one may fall into a negative mindset that causes doubt or brings upon harsh self-judgment. And, at times, we can be our own worst critics. Painter Vincent Van Gogh explained, “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Having self-confidence is all about ignoring the voice inside you that says you can’t – and turning the can’t into cans.
American Essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke these words, “If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.” In reflection, we may ask, what can be achieved without believing in oneself? There are many TED talks that highlight how to build self-confidence. Many of the educational talks touch upon factors that impact confidence, such as genes and brain chemicals, the past, the environment, self-perception, personal choices, and how we carry ourselves. While some factors are constant and unchangeable, others can clearly be developed. Per Amy Adkins’ TED-Ed entitled Three Tips to Boost Your Confidence, neuroscience supports growth mindset. She explains that connections in the brain can get stronger and grow with study and practice. She expounds, “If you have a fixed mindset, meaning that you think your talents are locked in place, you might give up, assuming you’ve discovered something you’re not very good at. But if you have a growth mindset and think your abilities can improve, a challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow.”
A huge number of stories exist of people who have tried and failed, yet persevered and became successful. They didn’t allow their self-confidence to be shaken. For example, Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything” and he was fired from his first two jobs. Henry Ford experienced several failed automobile ventures before creating the Ford Motor Company. Walt Disney’s first cartoon business went bankrupt, and the concept of his beloved mouse was initially rejected over 300 times. And J.K. Rowling was a single mom living on welfare who faced rejections prior to her Harry Potter success. Having self-confidence gave them the fighting spirit to overcome challenges.
Many believe that the formula for success starts each day by examining oneself in the mirror and saying, “I can do this.” Not only does positive thinking inspire people, but it can also increase drive. Embarking on a journey of workable goals provides a stepladder of achievable milestones that can ultimately lead to success. Small setbacks sometimes cause people to stumble and reconsider parts of the journey. But, if the big picture remains, and self-confidence prevails, obstacles can be easily overcome, and dreams can triumph.
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