What moments have changed your life’s direction, for better or worse? What events shaped your future and turned you into the person you are now? Have you ever created major changes in life without some external impetus to force your hand?
What if you could change anything about your life right now? What would you change? Think it over!
One of the most important traits you can develop is confidence. It makes you more attractive. It gives you the courage to live your dreams. It smooths out dozens of small bumps in the road of life and helps you progress much faster toward your inherent potential.
With that in mind, here are a few stories of confidence-related pivotal moments to help you process the concept. PLEASE SHARE your own pivotal moments in the comments sections below! Everyone would love to hear and learn from them.
A Scout is…Confident?
I went to scout camp the summer before 9th grade, and sitting around the fire one afternoon, Coy started spitting watermelon seeds at me as he ate. Coy was one of the “cool” kids and I was not. After several seeds, something in me snapped – something small at first, then bigger. “If you spit one more seed at me,” I warned, “I’ll beat the crap out of you.” Coy calmly took another bite of melon, chewed, then spit a seed at me.
I stood up, he stood up, and I swung and swung, driving him about thirty feet through camp until the scoutmaster (aka my dad) arrived in camp to stop the fight. The rest of the week was miserable for me, but the next week, all the “cool” kids began treating me with respect and by the end of the year, many of us became best friends and my confidence grew considerably.
I don’t recommend getting in fights to increase your confidence or self respect, so what other lessons can be learned from this experience? Here are a few:
- Confidence happens inside and it’s purely subjective. Why not simply choose to think that way now and act accordingly? Stand up straight. Speak more boldly. Smile. Live your dreams.
- Because I didn’t yet know to simply choose confidence, I gained it after others treated me like I deserved it – BUT they treated me like I deserved it after I acted with confidence, even for only a single moment.
- This confidence-increasing event was triggered by its opposite: being treated with disrespect. Do you feel oppressed by someone or some event in your life? Why not use it to catapult your pivotal moment? That’s why Andrew Solomon explains that “Oppression breeds the power to oppose it, and I gradually understood that as the cornerstone of identity.”
The Justin Effect
In high school, our friend Justin T. was a self-confessed dweeb. We all liked him, but when he one day proclaimed that he had decided to become cool, we just laughed.
A week later, we had stopped laughing. His confidence changed his carriage as he stood taller. His voice sounded more firm. He quit jokingly tearing himself down and exuded comfort in any circumstance. He was, in fact, cool! I don’t know how he managed to make that change so abruptly, but because of his example, I learned that it’s possible.
Do you believe it’s possible to simply choose to feel more confident? How can that happen? Try out these suggestions and see what happens:
- Simply choose to feel more confident. Make up your mind and let your brain figure out the details.
- Choose role models and watch how they stand, speak, and act. Let this awareness sink into your brain where you can begin to apply the ideas to how you feel about yourself.
- Ask your friends for support. If they mock you, ignore them. Show ’em what you’re capable of!
When I Want Your Opinion, I’ll Give it to You!
As the years passed, I learned to steer my own course and once walked into an interview and rather than worrying how the interviewer might evaluate me, I thought, “I’ll give you your opinion of me!” I spoke confidently, made eye contact, felt relaxed, and let my passion for living burn steadily inside me and pour out through my gaze.
What I realized after this successful interview is that people want you to be confident. They want to be inspired by your greatness! They want to be surrounded by strong, happy, and bold people because it helps them to feel the same way about themselves. When you rise and shine, everybody wins.
Ideas for implementation:
- Try bold new experiences to stretch your comfort zone and practicing your new self in new situations that then transfer to old situations and change how you see yourself there.
- Imagine that you’re an actor in a movie. Design your role as someone confident and act accordingly. Get yourself fully in character! This helps you bypass your brain’s objections that this new & improved you can’t be real, while letting you try on your new self.
Fake it till you make it?
I’ve seen lots of people trying to act confident but who were clearly frightened inside. Such people often act cocky, superior, arrogant. It isn’t pretty. Rather than successfully seeking true courage, they run from their fear and try to deny it and hide it behind false bravado.
I was swimming at my apartment pool many years ago and observed a muscular guy trying to pick up on an attractive girl. “Hey girl,” he said coolly, then asked some inane question that seemed to add tension to the atmosphere. I wondered whether she could see through him and whether she found his false confidence attractive. Maybe I was just jealous because at least he was talking to her.
So what should you do when you want to act confident but feel terrified inside? I don’t know what to tell you there. I’d probably suggest what I hope I would do in that situation: go for it, but remember that your goal is to eventually feel relaxed and comfortable, with a solid inner assurance that you’re good enough, that you like yourself no matter what anybody else thinks. Don’t think of it as a competition wondering whether your good enough for anyone else, but a flat statement that you are good enough, period.
“Confidence doesn’t say ‘They will like me.’ Confidence says, ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.’” – Unknown
Now get out there and try this for yourself! Good luck! I believe in you!!! Please report back with your experiences below!