The 3 Achievable Steps To Gaining Confidence
After hitting rock bottom, this is how you bounce back
After hitting rock bottom, this is how you bounce back
Confidence… Nobody really fully has it. They just look like they do.
Ironically, I’m not even 100% confident with that statement I just wrote.
Insecurity is the chainsaw to the forest of arrogance. It’s pruning you for your own good, but it can go too far.
Whether it’s dating, career goals or thoughts on your own appearance, we need confidence as much as the air we breathe.
It creates the illusion of power, knowledge, ability & experience… and I’m going to show you how you can get it. Some of it.
Why I Had No Confidence
The pre-requisite to all of this starts with a story about a fat kid. Me. I was that fat kid.
Primary school was hard for me. I wasn’t as fast an agile as other kids and a fat boy is an easier target. (Cause there’s more of him right? Easier to hit…. NO that’s not what I mean).
I ended-up quitting rugby during high school through embarrassment of having to shower with my peers after a game. Ironically, it was the lack of that extra activity that kept me obese.
I’ve been fat, and I’ve been average build, so I’m qualified to say that nobody who’s obese is 100% happy.
Always laughing? Sure.
Shies away from building meaningful/sexual relationships with people they like through fear of embarrassment and ridicule? Sure.
The same can probably be said for everyone in some circumstances. I know anorexia is a psychological disease that affects people in the same way, but with an opposing outcome.
Your trigger doesn’t have to be weight-related either. Whatever internal issue you have that’s knocked your confidence, we’re going to try to overcome it today.
Step #1 — Lie To Yourself
We’ve all heard the saying “Fake it, til you make it”. I will fully stand behind that. With success comes confidence, which breeds more success.
In the beginning you need to lie to yourself. Putting a mask over your own insecurities and just taking the actions that confident people would.
I’m not saying lie to others, I’m saying keep a lid on your own fears short-term.
In 2006, when I was 16 years old I confided in a Manager I had at the time called Steve Robb. “You can definitely trust a man who has two first names” I thought.
He seemed to have it all. He used to walk out on lunch and come back with £300 cash from a few hands of Blackjack, drinking an ice cold Pepsi.
He was always going on new dates with beautiful women and always had the right thing to say.
One Friday evening after work, we went to a local bar for a drink where he spilled the beans on confidence and set me a challenge. I had to get a girls number before 7pm, without saying a word. The clock was ticking.
The closest I’d come to success before that was winning an award in school for best haircut, which thinking about it now, was definitely a joke.
Without knowing it, Steve had set me this task to teach me to never fear rejection. When I was successful I was euphoric, elated and proud. Every time I wasn’t, I knew I had to try again to win.
This small challenge changed my life and I’d like to thank Steve for that.
Although I never pursued any of those numbers, by the end of the night I understood the point wasn’t for them to like me, it was for me to start to like me.
Not everyone will like everyone. Rejection in job interviews, relationships and social situations is just a part of life. You can’t let it affect your mental balance.
If you’re a good person, it’s okay to be knocked back, as long as you remember to never take it personally.
The only thing you can expect from yourself is your best. As long as you’re giving that, you can be even be proud of a failed attempt.
In life, there will always be plenty of people who are better than you… and plenty of people who are worse.
Step #2 — Character
The biggest test of my character was when my reputation came into question on a TV special here in the UK.
My dry wit, sarcasm and self-deprecation came across as arrogance in the only 3 minutes of life I regret living.
I survived threats on my life, and lived through brutal bullying and fat-shaming. Nothing I’d done was bad, but a 23 stone (322 pound) emo-kid was an easy target for online abuse.
It was a knock to my confidence and one day, unemployed and ashamed, I found myself crying into a bathtub with the distorted sound of the radio playing through my phone speaker.
I wrote my parents a heartfelt note, moved away to Oxford and realised life and the world is much bigger than it seems — and the difference between reputation and character is significant.
Those instances of misinterpreted hate existed in a bubble. Outside of that bubble, nobody cared. By changing my environment, I could see an opportunity to reinvent myself.
Begin building from the ground up.
John Wooden sums it up perfectly:
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
A friend called Hannah sent me that quote during my lowest point. I’ll never forget it.
It was just the right soundbite I needed to hear at the time, perhaps it’s come at the right time for you now.
I knew I was a good person, so I took away the only ammunition anyone seemed to have against me. My weight.
Each day I found myself in the gym, lifting weights, attending spin classes and struggling on the stair-master in an over-priced and under-lit LA Fitness.
By night, I read Self-help and Business books to help myself become more inspired for change.
The more weight I lost, the better I felt. Every 12 pounds was a clothing size and I was dropping fast.
I started to get looks, compliments and kind messages from friends.
Being happy with yourself, your character and your hard work is a confidence that shows naturally — and it’s attractive to people and prospective employers.
In my case, my crutch was weight, but for you it could be something else. My advice is work on improving the areas you’re not personally happy with.
You have to love yourself, or work on becoming someone you can love, before you can expect that love from others.
Step 3 — Ability vs Arrogance
Okay, so you’ve faked it, made it, lost it, worked hard for it and got it back.
I believe that you need to have hit rock bottom at least once, to really appreciate life. True confidence comes from being stripped bare of everything and building yourself back up.
Recognising your own ability and value in yourself.
“In the end, you have to leave yourself, to understand the value of yourself. You have to lose stuff, before you understand that all the stuff you’re losing is ephemeral and transitory — it’s not yours. You’re enough, you’re always enough, but you’ve gotta somehow prostitute yourself before you realise your own value.” — Guy Ritchie.
Guy’s words are very poignant to anyone going through a loss. Perhaps it’s a relationship, career or material loss.
You have to embrace any wins you have, but don’t covet them, because we’ll all lose one day.
Arrogance is egotism. Confidence is simply conviction.
In my career thus far, I’ve been fortunate enough to become a tiny-bit of a role model for some young men and women. They ask my advice. It’s flattering.
It’s my responsibility to help them, having learned the hard way, but I’m not always sure that the value I’m giving them will really be understood. Maybe it’s something they have to experience for themselves?
By enhancing, growing and shaping your abilities, you will naturally grow your confidence.
People will knock you back, projecting their own insecurities on to you for making it look easy, because they’ve not tried to grow as you have.
Remember that ridicule is not the confirmation of your deepest insecurities. So never take it personally.
Dream jobs are real jobs. Dream girls are real girls. Dream bodies are just bodies.
It’s comforting to know that nothing is ‘out-of-reach’ if you’re willing to work hard for it. This sounds like a cliché, but it’s not.
Confidence can be an illusion, so only you’ll know what’s real and what’s not.
The only real way to test if what you’re feeling is real is to put yourself out there. Be fearless, believe in your abilities and hope for the best.
By concentrating on constant personal growth across all areas, you’ll exude an aura that’s always felt, but never mentioned.
From that moment, you’ll understand that you’ll never be perfect. Our flaws are necessary, to ensure we always work harder to improve ourselves, set new goals and stay grounded.
With that realisation, confidence becomes a journey, not a destination.