“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”
– Henry David Thoreau
“The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
What do these two quotes, some hundred years apart, have in common? Both are from great Americans, one a leading philosopher, author and poet and the other a US president facing the greatest economic crisis his country had to then ever faced.
Each of us may take something quite different from them – and so we should. The learning for me is that we ourselves are the only ones who can ultimately hold us back. How many times have you heard people blame others, or other things for why they couldn’t do something? “Oh, I just didn’t have time”, “You made me…”
The reality is all too often that it is we are ourselves who are responsible for not pursuing our dreams. We need to have confidence in ourselves to succeed and we need to build this confidence.
So what are some of the habits of confident people we can learn from? Others will have different thoughts but here are some of mine from observing life and those around me.
1. They Get Their Happiness from Within
To be confident in what you do, you need to be happy with who you are. If you derive your satisfaction from what others around you say about you and what you have achieved, your confidence will always be subject to the whims of others.
Confident people understand the value of what they do and are and the value of their accomplishments because these are the things important to them, not to others. They reflect their values
2. They Don’t Compare Themselves to Others
Confident people understand that their own accomplishments stand in their own right and are neither multiplied nor reduced by the accomplishments of others. So they don’t need to take others down in order to feel good about what they have done. They don’t limit themselves by comparing themselves to others and they don’t waste time worrying about whether or not they measure up to everyone they meet.
3. They Aren’t Afraid to Be Wrong
Confident people learn from the mistakes they make and because their sense of self-worth does not come from the opinions of others, being wrong does not diminish them. They’re prepared to put their opinions out there to test them; it’s an opportunity to grow and to learn.
4. They Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Help
Knowing their own strengths and weaknesses, confident people are prepared to look to others with more experience as a way forward and a learning opportunity. As they aren’t afraid to be wrong and derive their sense of worth from within, asking for help doesn’t diminish them. They know it can actually be a source of strength.
5. They Seek Out Small Victories
We can all strive for great successes but often life is a series of small challenges and wins. Indeed great wins often come ultimately from breaking a daunting task down into smaller bites and then systematically working your way through them. And as those small wins accumulate it builds the confidence to continue on with the bigger challenges.
Building confidence is a journey and it has many stages. We are ultimately the only ones holding ourselves back on the trip.