Friday, March 12, 2010

FORTUNE COOKIE - Self-Confidence

A friend of mine is a retired professor of psychology. I once encouraged him to try SCUBA diving. It's quite safe once you get some experience with the equipment, and millions of people have learned how. I described the wonders of the very different underwater world. I told him it's a beautiful peaceful experience, almost like a meditation.

He told me he'd never be able to do it, that it was too dangerous. No matter how much I reassured him, he firmly asserted that he knew he couldn't do it. So he never did.

“If you don’t think you can, you won’t.”  
Jerry West, American professional basketball player (1938- )

And then there are those cocky people, often young, who are sure they can, even though they've never done anything like it before. They figure they'll just jump in and muddle through until they get smart enough to do things right. Fake it till you make it, I guess.

And they often pull it off!

So it's a percentage thing. No confidence = no chance. Over-confidence = a reasonable chance.

Shall you write a book? Move away from your home town? Get a Ph.D.? Run for public office? Change careers? It doesn't matter that other people do these things all the time. Some goals, though highly desirable, can seem overwhelming. People have asked me, "How do you get more confidence?"

Well, you don't get it by pumping yourself up. "I can do it, I can do it!" usually doesn't sustain you when deep down you aren't sure you can.

Like most things, confidence is earned. You believe in your ability to succeed because you've paid your dues. You've prepared yourself. Because you've gained relevant experience.

A secret: most of the time the problem is that people don't give themselves full credit for the knowledge, skills, strengths and experience they already have.

As Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”

A Fortune Cookie...

Learn, work and achieve; for your confidence will be earned.

More Fortune Cookies...

The story behind the Fortune Cookies...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., , Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .


Claire Boyles said...

True, but the question that springs to my mind is do you have any tips on helping people understand what they are already good at, but don't realise?

It only dawned on me the other day for example, that although I haven't yet published my book that I'm writing, the amount of writing I've done, successfully for myself and for clients, I really AM a writer, amongst other things.

I encourage my coaching clients to write down, at the end of each day a list of everything they've done well. Usually I have to guide them on a reasonable standard of what "well" is, but once that's set they discover so many more skills, talents & qualities than they thought they had.

Simple but very effective for improving real self confidence.

Constance Chuks said...

Great delicious cookie