For me, confidence is the key to success in life. When we are confident, we can achieve anything; from losing the excess weight, to conquering addictions or achieving sporting excellence. One of the fundamental lessons that all my clients learn in my sessions is how to master self-confidence. How can we become healthy if we don’t believe that we can? How can we reduce our anxiety when we use such negative self-talk? If you have the belief that you can succeed then, I believe, there is nothing you can’t achieve.
In a survey conducted by YouGov in 2019 on levels of confidence in Britons, it was found that 34% of participants felt that they were not confident in their personality with slightly higher levels of low confidence in women than men.
Yet we were born confident and have to learn to be unconfident… How have so many people learnt this negative mindset and, more importantly, what can we do to put it right?
So if you need help with self-confidence… let’s have a look at what some of great minds of today are advising.
Mind your body language.
In a 2015 lecture, Richard Petty, a Psychology Professor at the Ohio State University discussed the importance of confidence and how we have linked this trait to the notion of success. He spoke of the way in which cues from our body help to validate or invalidate the ways in which assess our abilities and the environment around us. In an experiment involving 150,000 he asked groups of people to think of positive thoughts about themselves and repeat them over and over in their minds. Some he asked to nod their heads, ‘Yes,’ whilst doing this task and some to shake their heads, ‘No.’ In follow up questions he found that the participants whose positive body language correlated with their positive mantras were more likely to assess themselves and their environment as positive. Those who shook their heads seemed to invalidate these statements.
The process was repeated with other physical movements associated with confidence, such as sitting up straight, and similar results were found mean that our physicality could have a direct impact on our feeling of confidence.
It stands to reason, therefore that if we perform this physicality, we will start to feel more confident.
Repetition is the key
By far, one of the easiest ways to increase our confidence is ‘repetition, repetition, repetition…’ says Dr Ivan Joseph in his seminar on ‘The Skill of Self confidence’
He describes how it is impossible to be confident in doing something new to us – how could we be confident in a skill we haven’t mastered? The first time I was acting as a corporate speaker on confidence, I practiced my speech a hundred times. I knew it inside out and could have performed it backwards. The result was I was able to deliver it with passion and flair. The more companies I worked with, the more I repeated the presentation, the more confident I became. So if you want to be more confident, you have to practice the thing that you want to be more confident in, whether that is public speaking, social conversation or learning to play a musical instrument.
Dr Ivan Joseph explains how a lot of people give up after the first couple of attempts because of a fear of failure, rejection or a need to be perfect. Yet these early attempts our vital to help us master a new skill and, ultimately, improve our confidence.
Positive self talk
Dr Ivan Joseph goes on to explain the importance of positive self-talk in cultivating a confident mindset, citing the importance of scattering positive affirmations to yourself during the day’s downtime, when you are getting dressed or cleaning your teeth for example.
Citing Muhammed Ali’s ultimate repeated positive mantra ‘I am the world’s greatest,’ Joseph goes on to explain how we spend enough time in life with people telling us that we can’t do things so why be another voice of doubt. We need to start championing ourselves in order to believe it to be true.
Change your environment
In a very powerful seminar, entrepreneur and public speaker Peter Sage talks about the importance of environment in cultivating confidence.
He describes how we are our nervous system is hard wired for comfort. Our powerful, intellectual mind can decide on a positive course of action but this part is generally only in charge of our direction of travel for 5% of the time. The other 95% of the time we will happily go along with the environment that we are presented with. If the environment is a negative one then, no matter how much we want to be positive, we will always drop back into this unhelpful way of thinking. He explains that we ‘don’t get to choose how we get programmed… our environment chooses us.’
So if you want to be confident, surround yourself with people that make you feel good, that elevate you and creates a default position that is nurturing, constructive and encouraging. This involves not putting the wrong things into your mind such as negative media, fast-food and the opinions of pessimistic people and start surrounding yourself with a more beneficial diet of positive news, healthy food and stimuli that supports your ultimate passion.
If you want to find out more about how to build your confidence with hypnotherapy then take advantage of my free initial consultation – a chance to find out more before you commit.