Google “self-confidence” and you will get three-bazillion web pages that suggest a variety of ways for you to gain self-confidence. Some promise instant self-confidence if you do this or act like that.
Common sense tells you nothing as powerful as quiet self-confidence comes once you learn a few tricks and make a few tweaks to your personality. With those few tricks and tweaks you can mask your self-doubt, but somehow through your face or hands or other body language, the truth of your self-doubt leaks out, your mask melts away and you are caught with your confidence down.
There are at least four artificial ways to acquire confidence:
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Catch it. A sports team can suddenly play with great confidence because of one good play or because an enthusiastic audience cheers them on. It’s called momentum and it’s a wonderful thing when it works for you. However, momentum goes in two directions – for you and against you. Catching a wave of momentum is great, but it is not the long-term, deeply held quiet confidence that you want.
Borrow it is a second artificial confidence acquiring technique. A salesman can borrow the confidence of his sales manager if they go on a sales call together. The problem is when he is on his own his confidence may dissipate. I play basketball with several other seniors and I notice that when I play with the better players I have more confidence in my own skills. The kind of confidence you want is the quiet deep-seated confidence that is present even if you are on the losing team!
Fake it. The old saw, “Fake it ‘til you make it” is not anything new. It has been offered as a way to portray confidence when you have none. Perhaps we could call this the Halloween Trick for Instant Self-Confidence: wear a mask. Pretend you are something you are not. A synonym for fake is phony. When you are a phony you are not confident, you are anxious.
Buy it is another cheap and ineffective way to acquire confidence. You feel insecure so you go out and buy a new car, a stylish dress, a leather briefcase, the latest iPhone, or some other thingy that renews you poise or reestablishes your coolness. Does it work? Of course it does; for awhile at least. Then the newness wears off and the coolness dissipates and you are back to your insecure self.
What’s interesting is that these things do work to some degree. It helps to have some good breaks (Catch it). We all need encouragement (Borrow it). It makes sense to imitate positive role models until we learn successful ways of doing things (Fake it). And, dressing right and having the right tools also helps (Buy it).
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Next: Authentic Ways to Acquire Confidence!
©2014 Ronald D. Rosss
- How Confident are You? Part 1
- Acquire Confidence – A summary of the coming book