Reluctance: Is it a lack of confidence?

When you find yourself reluctant to tackle a project is it a sign that you lack confidence? Not necessarily. Here are some other possible explanations:

Fighting nature

It may be that your reluctance stems from the fact that you’re trying to force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy. Who among us doesn’t procrastinate when we feel we should be doing something we don’t want to do?

The fact that we don’t enjoy doing certain things has nothing to do with the confidence we have in our ability to accomplish them. We can feel confident in doing a task, yet dread the deed.

If this is the case, then look for ways that you can accomplish the goal in a way that’s more fun and exciting for you. If, after a few minutes, your conscious mind doesn’t come up with a way to do that, assign it to your subconscious mind.

Ask your subconscious mind “How can I accomplish this goal and have fun doing it?” Then do something completely unrelated. The next time your conscious mind is free you’ll get your answer.

Not important

Another possible explanation for reluctance is a lack of desire. It’s not that you’re dreading what you need to do, it’s simply a matter that it isn’t important enough to you for you to take the steps necessary to accomplish what you whatever “it” is. Because it isn’t important to you, your desire to tackle the project is low.

One of the early indicators that desire, or the lack thereof, is what’s causing your reluctance is indifference. When your mind drifts back to what it is you’d like to achieve, you find that you’re neither excited about it, nor dread it.

If you sense this is the case, here’s an easy way to evaluate your desire. List the first three to five steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Then rank each of these steps using a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being high. What you’re ranking is your willingness to perform the task. In other words, its importance to you.

Unless all of the ratings are 4 or 5, don’t pursue this goal. You won’t be successful. Instead, the next time the idea for this goal surfaces, make a conscious decision not to pursue it. You’ll not only feel good about your decision, you’ll strengthen your confidence in your ability to evaluate future reluctance.

Other people’s expectations

Often our initial desire to achieve something is the result of others’ expectations of us…usually the expectations are established by parents, siblings and authority figures.

As with the “not important” explanation above, evaluate YOUR desire. Ask yourself “Is this what I really want? Or am I trying to please someone else?”

If you’re trying to please someone else, stop it! You’ll never be successful in your attempts if your goal is to please others. The people who really care about your happiness and health are those who support you in your dreams, not theirs.

The Williams sisters tennis champions gave sage advice when they said that sometimes you have to leave old friends behind and find new friends who will support you in the pursuit of your dreams.

While I don’t encourage you to leave family behind, it’s important that you let family members know that you have your own dreams and that you hope they’ll support you in achieving them. If they do, wonderful! If not, love them anyway as you continue to pursue your dreams.

Often parents who try to influence their kids’ choices are trying to live vicariously through their kids. By that I mean that they wish they could have pursued their dream, but because they didn’t they strive to live it through their children. Understanding this can make it easier to deal, in a loving way, with a parent’s attempts to direct your future when it isn’t what you want.

For you

Lack of confidence is only one possible explanation for your reluctance. Often it is a convenient lie we tell ourselves. It’s easier than confronting the real reason…that we’re fighting our nature, the thing isn’t that important to us or we’re catering to others’ expectations.

If you want to avoid the frustration and guilt that are normally experienced with reluctance, then face your reluctance with the questions outlined above. The more quickly you get to the real reason for your reluctance and make conscious decisions based on what you learn, the more enjoyable life will be again.

For our kids

When you see your kids’ reluctance ask the questions outlined above. Help them realize that it isn’t that they lack confidence. Help them explore the other explanations including whether they’re struggling with your expectations of them.

Not only will their confidence grow, but their ability to deal effectively with future reluctance will improve as well.

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