Confidence is generally defined as being certain that a chosen course of action is the correct one. For example: “I’m confident that if I keep practicing, I can play Cliffs of Dover on guitar” or “I have complete confidence that Sue can get the job done”. We frequently also use the words “I believe” and “I know” when speaking about confidence. Similarly, Self-confidence is defined as “having confidence in oneself”. Self-confidence is what this article will be speaking to.
We all have doubts about ourselves at times. We think that we may not be able to do something at all and therefore we never start. We may think to ourselves, “My fingers are stiff and slow, I’ll never be able to play guitar” or “30 pounds? There is no way that I can lose thirty pounds?” But the simple answer is other people have learned to play guitar. Other people are able to lose weight. When the truth that other people have done these and many more things (and some of them with significant obstacles) it only proves that you can do it too. So how do we do these things that we’ve always wanted to do? How do we get the confidence to go about doing it?
What holds back a lot of us is fear. Fear of failure; fear of disappointment. Since by nature, we want to avoid these feelings, we simply don’t do the thing that we think we might not be able to do. So how do we get confidence that we can do something? How do we believe in ourselves?
There is a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” In our two examples above, if you take the plunge and start playing guitar, you’ll soon find that you can play it and that fear goes away. Similarly, if you start exercising and watching your diet, you’ll find yourself losing weight and the fear that you can’t lose weight goes away.
Another great quote is “fake it until you make it.” While this quote has to be taken with a grain of salt (e.g. you can’t fake being an airline pilot, though you can “fake” going about the steps on learning to be an airline pilot), when you start to pretend that you can do something, like exercising, and you do it long enough, you become confident that you can do that thing because you’ve already been doing it. You then believe or know that you can do something. Which is an awesome feeling and very empowering.
So, we can see that Self-confidence is something that we learn by doing. It takes practice like so many other things in life. I don’t mean to get slightly off topic here, but this is the great thing about playing guitar – in learning how to play guitar, we learn how to practice. And when we learn how to practice, we can take that same skill of knowing how to practice and apply it to something else, like practicing to be self-confident.
Here are some easy exercises that, when used in conjunction with some of our other RCGS articles in recent weeks (Being Positive, Goal Setting, Practicing on Guitar) will give you confidence to start whatever you want to do and keep you doing it until you reach your goal.
1. Make a list. Take 5 minutes and pick up a pen and a piece of paper and list out what steps you’ll need to do to achieve your goal. When we put things on paper, we know what we have to do vs. being uncertain on what needs to be done. Something that is unknown is always scarier than something that is known. A great example of this would scary movies. Have you ever noticed that the scariest movies rarely show the actual scary monster until the end? We are more afraid because our mind runs wild thinking of all of the scary things that this creature is or might be capable of doing. If the monster is repeatedly shown throughout the movie, we become knowledgeable about it and become less fearful, we may even begin to think the monster is funny if it is a grade B horror flick. We are more fearful of the unknown vs. known. The easy 5 minutes that you take to make the unknown a known quantity by making a list can make a big difference in you getting the confidence to start.
2. Study or read materials from people who’ve done what you want to do. When you learn the steps that others took to achieve their goals, you gain confidence to do it to. You learn the steps that they had to take therefore you have increased confidence that you can do it too.
3. Surround yourself with the positive. When you tell friends and family what your goal is, tell them that you will need their support and encouragement. True friends and family will always be there to support you – make sure you have them at the goal line for you cheering you all the way. Also, listen to positive motivational cd’s and tapes or go on YouTube and listen to some free motivational material. Surround yourself with the positive and your confidence will receive a great boost.
4. Use words like “I am” and “I will” when referring to your goal. Don’t use words like “I’d like to” or “I’m hopeful” or “I’m trying”. For you Star Wars buffs out there, there is a great Yoda quote that applies here: “Do or Do not. There is no try.” When we use words like “I will” and “I am” when referring to a goal, we start to believe and have confidence that we can achieve our goal.
5. Use Goal Setting. Read the Goal Setting article (http://www.robcompagnaguitarschool.com/fr_blog.cfm?feature=4624605&postid=4782324) that was recently posted here at RCGS about goals and how to set and achieve them. When we have clear, defined goals and logical steps to achieve them, we get a big confidence boost that we can achieve our goal because the steps are laid out nicely before us. All we need to do is follow them.
6. Do something every day. Do at least one thing every day to achieve your goal. With each passing day, you’ll find that the flicker of confidence that you have on day one becomes a roaring furnace as the days and weeks fly by. Remember, we become more confident by doing, so do something every day!
7. Falling off the bandwagon. If we find ourselves losing a day from our goal for whatever reason, typically our confidence deflates. This is when we need to tap into our support network of friends and family and positive motivational material to pick us back up and hop right back on that wagon. Everyone has their challenges when doing something and you will too. Take that as par for the course and realize that this is normal in achieving goals and gaining confidence. Read the Being Positive article (http://www.robcompagnaguitarschool.com/fr_blog.cfm?feature=4624605&postid=4839236) from RCGS to help you out with this.
Using these seven easy steps to gaining confidence will get you on the right path to believing that you can achieve whatever you want to do. Remember – Self-confidence is something that is PRACTICED, it is not something that only a few certain people have. They learned how to be confident and you can too.
So what are you waiting for, start practicing so you can become confident too! There is so much life out there to live, so go out there and live it!