I read a lot about confidence and how to get it these days. Many people believe that some have it and some don’t. Others believe you can study it to develop it in yourself. Still another group is convinced they don’t have it and never will. And yet, it seems so clear to me. Why does everyone make it so hard?
We all were incompetent at things in our early life. We didn’t know how to hold a fork. Couldn’t write. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t tie our shoes. Couldn’t drive a car. We developed experience through practice. With our experience we became confident in our ability to perform these life altering capabilities.
But, what of being able to talk to a stranger? What about public speaking? How about singing in front of a group? Whatever it is that challenges one confidence, 99 times out of a hundred, the person has not practiced it very much, in real life or in a closet.
Elite athletes practice every day. Musicians practice every day. Why? Because it is through the act of practicing that the difficult becomes easy. We forget how we struggled to ride a bike. We forget how nervous we were when we first drove a lethal weapon through the streets of our home town. Yet, as we rode or drove more and more, our confidence levels increased.
A corollary to the challenge is that through practice, the likelihood of failure decreases. The anxiety created by the thought of failure prohibits us, as adults, from many, many things. “What’s the worst that could happen?” Through practice of speaking to people at the store, on the bus, at the airport, in the waiting area, you can develop confidence talking to people spontaneously. Through speaking to your family, at a party, at a wedding, at the local school, you can develop confidence about public speaking.
If you want to be good at something and have confidence in your capability, you have to DO IT, And you have to do it a lot. Do it where it’s safe first. Do it where you have nothing to lose. Continue to grow and so will your confidence.
Next time you watch someone who exudes confidence, ask yourself just how long they might have been developing that confidence. How many times has the lawyer spoken in a courtroom? How many times has the athlete practiced thier moment. Then, become determined to get there yourself in whatever it is in which you think you lack confidence. Do it 100 times. Do it 1000 times. It’s your investment in your future with the most precious thing you own, your time.