Many people believe that the more self-aware a person is the more confident they are, that isn’t true.
Aware, not confident
I’ve met many people who demonstrate awareness of their strengths, their weaknesses and the challenges they face. Each candidly shares these perspectives about themselves.
You might wonder “Don’t their admissions indicate confidence? They can, but these folks also state that they “don’t feel confident.”
So what’s missing?
What’s missing is memory, or more accurately, the focus of their memory. The reason these folks don’t “feel confident” is that they recall the mistakes they made, the initiatives that didn’t work as they’d hoped, the “failings’ (their definition, not mine) they experienced. All of these memories create doubt in their minds.
They doubt their capabilities, in particular their decision-making ability. They doubt that they have the resources they need. They doubt that they have the strength or desire necessary to persevere through the inevitable challenges they’ll face.
These doubts are often nurtured by those closest to them. We humans have a natural tendency to discourage others, especially loved ones, from their dreams because we don’t want them disappointed if it doesn’t work out. Or, for purely selfish reasons, we don’t want to make the sacrifices we need to make for them to realize their dreams. We also doubt our own ability to recover if things don’t go according to plan for our loved ones. We believe that their success and ours are inextricably linked.
Converting awareness into confidence
What’s required to convert awareness into confidence is a shift in the focus of our memory. What few of us realize is that we have the capacity to choose what we remember.
Aware people who feel that they lack confidence may not have done it consciously, but they have trained their subconscious minds to recall confidence-limiting memories instead of the confidence-enhancing memories.
The good news is that we can retrain our brains to the point that our new way of thinking is virtually automatic. All that it requires is that each day we recall times in which we overcame challenges and produced a favorable result. Repeat this simple exercise twice a day, upon rising and just before bed, and you’ll train your brain to automatically think of the success you’ve enjoyed instead of the disappointments you’ve experienced.
Your new awareness, your new view of yourself as someone who can deal with anything that comes your way, enables you to feel the confidence you already possess.
The next time your awareness is of your shortcomings, recognize that in that moment you have a choice to make. Are you going to nurture these feelings of inadequacy? Or are you going to choose to enjoy the confidence you possess?
For our kids
As you see the kids in your life tend toward confidence-limiting thoughts, ask them to cite examples of times in which they were successful, when they overcame challenges they were facing. Then ask them “How is this any different? Why would you not be able to be successful in this endeavor?” You’ll be amazed at how quickly their demeanor changes from the pain of doubt to the joy of the possible.
If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program.