How do struggles impact your confidence? It depends on a number of factors including the magnitude of the struggle, your mindset and your desire. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
There are some struggles that are merely annoyances. Being inept at home repairs is one of mine. I muddle through, get the job done, but it’s not a lot of fun.
At the other end of the spectrum, I was a very shy, insecure child. I liked people, but didn’t know how to engage them comfortably…a struggle that took me over 20 years to overcome.
Obviously, the magnitude of these struggles is dramatically different. Which means that their impact on my confidence is also dramatically different. A minor struggle, like my home repair issue, has virtually no impact on my confidence. I simply acknowledge that these skills don’t come naturally and move forward with the knowledge that if I allow myself enough time and remain patient, I will complete the task successfully.
My confidence is neither shaken nor enhanced by these struggles. It isn’t shaken because I know and acknowledge my limitations and realize that these limitations in no way diminish the strengths I possess.
Similarly, accomplishing the task doesn’t appreciably boost my confidence because the tasks are minor inconveniences.
With greater struggles, it’s an entirely different ballgame. My confidence will be enhanced or diminished by the progress I make in facing this challenge. That’s where mindset and desire come in.
If, upon facing a major struggle, I decide consciously or subconsciously that this struggle is too great for me. I’ll not only lose confidence in my ability to deal with this challenge, but virtually all future challenges I face.
Conversely, if I consciously or subconsciously decide to face the struggle head on, determined to overcome whatever obstacles I face, then my confidence grows…and continues to grow with each obstacle I overcome. The confidence gained isn’t simply in regard to this particular struggle, but all future struggles as well.
So what is it that determines which mindset we embrace?
The answer is desire. It’s important at this point to acknowledge that desire, like most things in life, is a spectrum. The desire spectrum runs from no desire (frankly Scarlett…) to an imperative (this simply cannot continue).
To illustrate the difference we’ll go back to my earlier examples. I know that I could become more adept at home repairs if I took the time to study what’s involved in the most common repairs I face. Because these repairs are infrequent and I know that I can muddle through given enough time, I don’t have any desire to improve the skills necessary to be more competent in making these repairs.
That wasn’t the case with my shyness and insecurity. First, let me acknowledge that my insecurity was limited to my interactions with others. I was very confident in my ability to learn and apply what I learned. So I, like everyone else, was not devoid of confidence, just not confident in my ability to engage others in the way I desired.
In this instance the desire was imperative. I literally hated being so awkward and uncomfortable in dealing with others that I invested countless hours over the course of 20 years to overcome my discomfort.
Overcoming this struggle has not only boosted my confidence, but it enables me to help others who are dealing with struggles in their lives. And when I relate my story to them, it gives them hope and confidence in their ability to deal effectively with whatever struggle they face.
That’s a lot of benefit from overcoming just one struggle. The key is that the struggle has to trigger the desire to change. My home repair struggles didn’t rise to that level, but my shyness and insecurity did. What happened for me, and will happen for you as well, is that our greatest challenge becomes our greatest strength. In fact, overcoming this challenge is what enables me to teach others how to be more confident.
When struggling, the question you have to ask yourself is “Do I want this [whatever you desire] enough to do what’s necessary to change what I’m doing?”
The next time you find yourself struggling make a conscious decision to evaluate your desire to change. Ask yourself these questions:
- On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being high, how important is it to me to develop the skills to overcome this challenge?
- What steps will I have to take to stop struggling with this issue?
- Again, using a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being high, how willing am I to take these steps?
This conscious exercise will help you avoid a lot of frustration and boost your confidence in whatever decision you make.
For our kids
When you see your kids struggling, ask them the same questions. They’ll quickly develop the habit of asking themselves these questions when they’re struggling in the future.
I love hearing your thoughts on these topics, please share your insights below.
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