In the first 2 parts of the series VISION and PRACTICE were identified as key components to attain your goals. Following these two principles alone can bring about amazing accomplishments. Yet there are 2 more principles that are necessary to apply in order to achieve your most challenging goals. At times of difficulty seeing your vision solidify and when goals seem to be taking longer than expected, your self-assurance may waiver. It’s at this point that you’ll need to muster the fortitude and courage to push ahead through the setbacks and find new strategies to realize your objectives. Thus, the next principle is “Confidence”.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Theodore Roosevelt
Confidence is not the same as arrogance. Confidence is subdued, yet bolsters others. Arrogance is outspoken, promoting self and lowering others. There is also false confidence, which comes from ignorance and naivety. Real confidence comes from continuous encouragement, enablement, and experience.
Confidence builds with encouragement.
“Kindness in words creates confidence.” Lao Tzu
Encouragement is generated through happiness and support from people you trust. You could say it comes from love – of a family member, friend, or colleague. Sometimes you may garner encouragement from your own passion for the task that you are about to tackle and trust in your own abilities. But unless you have unlimited confidence, you will need to feel the comforting embrace of hope and inspiration from others before you make-ready to delve into more unfamiliar territory.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Henry Ford
Fear of failure is the biggest killer of confidence. Because we typically are not encouraged to make mistakes or learn from our mistakes. We get teased at early ages for not being as competent as our peers at some manner of skill or another.
Or we are provided all the “rules” about the right and proper way to do things without first-hand experience and get yelled at when it doesn’t go so well and blamed for not instantly understanding and that it must be a result of not paying attention or stupidity.
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” George Bernard Shaw
With proper encouragement, success or failure does not deter confidence. Encouragement makes no demands, the choice to pursue the goal is ultimately yours to make. The only expectations that come with encouragement are that you will grow from the experience, irrespective of the outcome, and that the experience is aligned with some goal you wish to achieve.
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Napoleon Hill
Enablement is the sincerest form of encouragement.
“To be prepared is half the victory.” Miguel de Cervantes
Think of this more as helping without overstepping. In recent years this term of “enabling” has a negative connotation associated with it in situations where dysfunctional, unhealthy, or inappropriate outcomes are likely to occur. In the context of education and confidence, the enablement referred to here is designed to provide an environment that allows you the authority or means to accomplish a goal on your own, not to have it done for you. The idea being that you will be equipped with the resources for success and overcome some of the anxiety associated with the unknown or possible failure.
“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything and Rise’. The choice is yours.” Zig Ziglar
It’s safe to say that most anyone would rather succeed than fail; rather win than lose; rather prosper than struggle. But where is the personal growth in that? It’s true that success breeds confidence, but confidence without humility becomes arrogance.
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Bill Gates
Confidence is the greatest killer to fear of failure. Having tried and failed can generate more confidence in people, then having never tried. You’ll see the failure makes them eager to try again, try another way, build on what worked, and change what didn’t. That is as long as they have the courage and support to continue.
“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
Experience is the gateway to all things.
“Practice creates confidence. Confidence empowers you.” Simone Biles
Experience from practice gives you more confidence. You will have seen more variations. You’ll know what to expect. You’ll be prepared because you’ve seen and handled the situation many times before. And if a new twist or variant occurs, you’ll be able to draw from your knowledge and prior experience to adapt more readily. Confidence is very much like a muscle, in that, the more regularly it is exercised the more effective it becomes.
“After a longtime of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, swift, and steady.” Bruce Lee
Confidence doesn’t necessarily mean “I’ve done this before and will succeed”, but rather “I believe in myself enough to try something new and grow from the experience, whatever the outcome may be.”
If you learned to swim at one time, but haven’t been swimming for awhile and someone asks you if you can swim, you’d probably answer “Yes, I can swim.” Although it’s a bit of a Schrodinger’s paradox (i.e. you can be thought of as both a swimmer and a non-swimmer at the same time). You can’t really know with absolute certainty that you can perform the task until you try it. However, you have the confidence in your prior success at it that you have every belief and little doubt that you will succeed again.
“Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward.” Oscar Wilde
So, when you’re confronted with a new variant of a challenge, remember that you already know how to swim, even if it’s just the doggy paddle. Or that you know how to ride a bike, even if it was just in the driveway. Or you can whistle, even if it was just one note. The point is you have experience that you can draw from and that you can build upon.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
To make the most of this recursive cycle of confidence, surround yourself with people who will encourage you; and seek people who will provide the proper environment to enable you to flourish; and take advantage of any experience offered that aligns with your goals just to learn and grow from it. You’ll regret nothing…
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