It’s not positive thinking that makes people have a good outlook on life. It’s positive beliefs that build happy people. A person can think all the positive thoughts they want, but if they don’t truly believe them then they aren’t true for that person.
You’ve probably met people who are good at what they do and the only thing that matters is happiness. Whatever it is that made them confident goes to the core of their being. You’ve probably also met people who seem to be confident and content, but then you see their dark side. They lash out in a tough situation or maybe they give up right in the middle of a project. False confidence will always show it’s true face if you stick around long enough.
Real vs. False Truth
There is a big difference between real and false truth. They both look similar at the outset, but eventually it all flushes out.
There are many different kinds of fake confidence: covering an insecurity, trying to copy others, lack of talent and thousands of others.
There are many different kinds of real confidence: knowing and trusting choices, being creative and unique, talent, and thousands of others.
Real and false confidence are not easy to distinguish, but by watching and learning as people go along in their lives, you’ll see whether their beliefs come from their core or if it is just a façade. Some people have fooled me for many years. I had a boss that yelled at people when they weren’t doing a well and didn’t have any problems speaking his mind. At first I was impressed and tried to do my best, but after a few months his aura of confidence faded. It wasn’t anything he did differently; it just took a little observation to learn that he covered up his insecurities with yelling and micromanaging.
Real confidence comes from within a person and flows out naturally. It’s like a little kid who knows the answer to a test because she studied her butt off. The confidence just comes out because of all the hard work. The thing is many people can study hard and know all the answers, but they still don’t have the confidence to put themselves out there because they’re fearful of the consequences. They’re afraid to fail because the people around them will criticize their mistake. When a person is not afraid to make a mistake then true confidence will shine through. A mistake can be forgotten if done with good intentions, but a mistake out of fear is harder to forgive.
How do you cultivate true confidence?
By doing the best you can. That is all you and the world should ask. Only you know if you are doing your best. When I write these articles and blogs I’m putting all the effort and energy that I can into the work. Some are better than others and that’s just the fluctuation of being human. When I work on a report, I edit it once on my computer, print it out and edit it again, give it to a co-worker for inspection, and then read over it one last time so I know that it’s as clear and smooth as possible. I have gone overboard at times because I was feeling insecure and edited the report into the ground. On the other side, there have been times I haven’t taken the time to edit a report as thoroughly as I should because I was too confident.
Confidence is a daily balance that you’ll have to find as you go along in any business or personal relationship. The best way to develop your true confidence is by being compassionate and patient with whatever you are doing. Compassion will allow you to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Patience will help you learn from your mistakes and make the next try a little better.
I lacked confidence in my ability to speak publicly (that’s why I joined Toastmasters and I’ve improved by leaps and bounds, but still need more work); investing the family’s money (and again I’m not afraid to do it, but I’m learning by reading and talking to professionals); designing a good blog (and once again, I’m working on my skills); meditating well (I practice everyday); designing a great advertisement (I'm always looking at magazines for inspiration) and there are so many more things that I could improve, like playing the guitar and dancing. But I must tackle a few things at a time. When I spread myself too thin I get frustrated.
I’m confident in many areas like my marriage, my ability to write a well thought out idea, my smile, my conversation ability, laughing at a good joke, making a good joke, creating new ways to reach new customers and many other things. I may be confident in all these things, but I am still improving on a daily basis. We must always keep improving our skills, even the most basic things like writing a good email. When we improve in one area that we already feel comfortable in then we realize how we can always keep growing.
“If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
- Martin Luther King
There are only so many things that you can be good at and perform with confidence, so pick your battles and knock them down one by one. I have my list of things that I’m looking to build my confidence in. What’s on your list?