Building the Power of Self-Confidence
The greater our self confidence when beginning something new, the better is our chance of success. But just think if we could raise our confidence to certainty.
Let’s look at golf. Many people play golf but lack self confidence in their skills. Each time they play, they remember all the bad shots they’ve taken. This can turn what belief they have in themselves to absolute certainty that they’re bad at golf. Guess how they play!
But if they began by remembering only the good shots that they made, they would realize that they have the skills to make any shot. Golf consists of three types of shots: long shots, short shots and putts. On any given day, a player will make a few good shots of each of these types. Those good shots may not be the majority, but that doesn’t matter. Even a few is enough to show them that they have the skill to make any shot. Once they believe they can make a shot, they just need to focus on doing it.
Whatever our field of endeavor, we must build our self-confidence. If we strengthen our belief in ourselves until that belief becomes a certainty, we will be much more successful.
A funny thing about confidence is that it spills over into the other areas of our lives. If we become confident in one area, we will become more confident overall. The self-confidence a person exudes opens a lot of doors in his or her life.
There is a saying that “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” That really applies to self-confidence. We could say that the people with strong self-confidence get stronger while the people with weak self-confidence get weaker. So we need to work at building up our self-confidence. If we do, we’ll see a big improvement in all areas.
Changing Your Belief
When we approach something new, our attitude will often determine the outcome. If we approach something believing that we can master it, then we can. But, if we start by believing that we can’t master this new thing, then we won’t.
When I taught introductory accounting, it was a required course for all students majoring in business. Many students would enter the class with a terrible attitude that could lead to disaster. It was not unusual to hear a student say, “My friend took this accounting course last year and said it was the hardest course ever.” Or my personal favorite: “I heard that this course is really difficult, so I’ll take it this fall and fail and then I’ll retake it in the winter and pass.” Usually they got the first part of this belief correct. How could they succeed when the began with this attitude?
I spent time the first day of class each quarter trying to change this belief. I heard the same things when I first started to study accounting, but that just motivated me to study harder. I found the tests weren’t so difficult, and my grades reflected my hard work. Many students’ grades reflected their fears instead.
Students in my classes were required to do lots of homework. An important aspect of learning accounting is doing the homework. This not only helps them learn the material, but it also builds confidence in their ability to do the work. This is an example of the Rocks to Diamonds Cycle.
I tried to make all my tests and exams a fair reflection of what I taught in class. To measure each class’s performance, I used statistics and expected to see a bell curve, with most grades concentrated around a certain point. For example, let’s say that the median grade was 70%. We’d then find lots of students with scores between 60 and 80% and fewer students with grades in the 50s and 80s and even fewer below 50 or over 90.
But, in accounting classes, the grades typically formed two bell curves instead of one. One bell curve was centered on 75% and the other on 40%. What caused the difference? It was simply the amount of effort the students put into the course. One group studied and did their homework while the other group didn’t.
What many students also discovered was that when they applied themselves to the material in the accounting course, it wasn’t as hard as they had imagined. When they did the assigned homework problems, they found they weren’t as hard as the student thought they’d be. Each homework problem that they completed successfully raised their level of belief in themselves and their ability to do accounting. This was the Rocks to Diamonds Cycle in action. Each time they completed a cycle, their self-confidence rose higher. Some got to the point of certainty and earned A grades on exams, and some even went on to become accountants.
Did this success affect other parts of their lives?
Since they could handle what they had perceived as one of the most difficult courses in their degree program, this increased their self-confidence in other courses and also in other areas of life. Success breeds more success because it increases our self-confidence.
We need to use this concept to our advantage in life. Whatever we do, we should do our best at it. Afterward, we should be aware of how well we did and let that bolster our self-confidence. Then we can take on bigger challenges. We can take on tasks that we thought were too difficult to prove to ourselves that we can do them. Who knows, we may find our purpose in the process.
In my next article I will discuss why challenging yourself will build self-confidence.
This is an excerpt from my book Attitude Determines Destiny. In it you will learn how to get the most out of life by changing your attitude and making personal changes…changes that can lead you down a life-long path of personal growth.
As a motivational speaker, I conduct seminars and workshops based upon the ideas in my book. I will entertain and inspire your audiences, and I can customize my topics to fit your needs and desires.