Have you ever looked at someone and thought, wow, I wish I had that and make friends easily? I wish I had that charming personality. It would be nice if I could sing like that. I wish I could dance like that. I wish I was more confident. We often think confidence is something that we're born with. We either have it or we don't. I want to clear some misconceptions we hold above confidence.
Today, I will share five specific actions that you can take today to become more confident, whether it's in a relationship, at work, or anywhere that you want to feel more empowered. So let's dive in. I'm going to start today's episode with working through our past and confronting some real stuff.
1. Work Through Your Past
So one of the habits of confident people is that they've always worked through their past. They don't just push it under the carpet or under a rug. They don't try to avoid it or Dodge it. They've processed their past and they've worked through it. The experiences they've had in navigating those difficult times to see how they've been affected by those moments of the past and how they're affected by them today. So let me give you an example of what I mean by that. All of us experience things when we're young, and those experience create impressions. And these impressions almost leave marks on our consciousness. It's almost like a wound from your past. But the difference between the wound is it still causes you pain, right? Or physical scar may not cause you pain anymore, but emotional wounds and scars can cause you pain.
So what we have to do is become more confident in that phase and try to understand what in our past has had a healthy impact on us and what has had an unhealthy impact on us. And you might be sitting there thinking, Dave, how does this affect my confidence? You can only feel truly confident when you processed your past, because if you haven't processed your past, you're always going to feel weak. I'll give you a perfect example. In the movie Goodwill Hunting, Matt Damon talks to Robin Williams to work through his past. He lists all the failures from his past, all the moments, all the mistakes and process through them and accept them. They later became strength and confidence. So at the end of the movie, he felt confident enough to tell a girl that he loved her. But before he did that, he was always trying to hide that he was always trying to cover it up. And how many of us spent a lot of our lives trying to hide and cover up the past because we're insecure about it. We feel unconfident when we reflect on it.
I want you to think about something your parents or someone from the past didn't give you, but now you look for it and everyone else. What did your parents not give you that you seek in everyone else? Is it validation? How many of you felt that someone in your past put you down? They didn't validate you. They didn't make you feel good, and now you look for that, you search for that and everyone else. How many of you thought that your parents didn't give you the sense of ability to understand feelings, understanding your emotions? And how many of you now are looking for someone who will sit with you and experience that with you? Think about how you're trying to fill the void in your life.
Now notice where is that healthy and where is that unhealthy? You may find that your desire to make sure you're doing things right and doing things in a good way is useful in some areas. But where is it not useful? You may find in a romantic relationship that it's not useful at all because you're constantly seeking validation and attention from that other person. You may find that it's not useful in a friendship because you're too dependent on the others. How has it impacted you? How has it resulted in your life and where is it useful and where is it not useful? This helps us develop confidence because we know where that thing is coming from. When something's in our life and we don't know where it's coming from, we question it, we're confused by it, we're worried about it, we feel anxious about it. But when you know how you feel and you know where it's coming from, that develops confidence. So that's how you develop confidence. By connecting your past to your present, by knowing where things come from, why they exist, and knowing that you know how to use them in a useful way.
2. Developing high value skills.
This one is something that is so underestimated. People think confidence comes from how you dress, right? It comes from the fact that you work out. It comes from the fact that you think you look good because you know that's not true. We know plenty of people that have amazing bodies, amazing minds, but don't feel confident. Right? And when I say amazing bodies or minds, I mean whatever you define that to be, because that's my point. Some people subjectively have the mind or body you want, but they don't feel happy. So what is it? It's a high value skill that they value. A high value skill can be anything. It could be marketing, it could be modeling, it could be acting, it could be singing, it could be public speaking.
When we have a high value skill, we learn to value ourselves, and we don't let other people dictate our values. A high value skill doesn't have to be the thing that's trending right now. A high value skill can be something that's timelessly trending, like good communication. When you have a high value skill, you develop confidence. It's not that you have the skill, therefore you are confident. It's the journey to getting the skill that makes you confident. Let me repeat that. It's the journey of getting to the skill that makes you confident. You know that you've been in difficult scenarios. You know that you've had to learn under pressure. You know that you've had to overcome obstacles to get where you are. And that's what makes you feel confident because you overcome challenges. You've overcome difficult scenarios to get that skill. So again, it's not the skill that makes you confident. It's the journey that you take to get that skill.
So ask yourself in life not what high value skills you have. If you have one that's great, but what high value skills do you want to develop? And yes, it's going to take time, but that high value skill is going to give you so much confidence. I know a ton of public speakers that walk into a full room and have confidence because they know that they're going to give the best speech that night because they know that they have had to do that under pressure before and under difficult circumstances.
3. Turning Rejection into Confidence
I'm going to share a short story I read about a boy named Jia Jahan growing up in China. One day, the elementary school teacher told the students to gather around and participate in a compliment circle, an easy activity that builds community and teaches students how to give and get compliments. When a following student says something nice about you, you can go in front of the room and choose from a pile of gifts. The boy was excited along with his classmates. He gave the students compliments and watched them smile and collect their gifts. When the exercise came to end, no one said anything about him. The teacher just looked at him and said, Go grab your gift. As the years went on, he never forgot that day and the rejection he felt. For most of us, this situation could be enough to wreck our self confidence. He went for years in his life that didn't try things because he was so afraid of failing. And finally he said, Enough is enough. When he approached 30, he realized all the fears that were keeping him from truly living. Yet he was still terrified of rejection. But he worked on rejection, and one day he came across the idea of exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy is essentially doing things that scare you, like being near spiders or flying in a plane often is undertaken with assistance from a certified coach or licensed therapist, and they can also be incredibly helpful. He decided to do this himself for 100 days. He would do one thing every day that he was so sure he would get rejected with the idea that he could get used to rejection and minimize the impact on him. Not only that, he decided to film himself getting rejected and posted on a blog for the first when he walked up to a big security guard who worked at his building and asked him if he could borrow $100. No, the man said, why Jahan was so nervous, he just apologized and than ran away.
Later, when he reviewed the video, something stuck out to him. It was the contrast between how scared he had been to approach this man and how scary the man had not been in his reaction to the question. In fact, the security guard asked calmly to explain why he needed the money. It wasn't nearly as bad as Johann thought. We have a tendency of talking ourselves out of confidence before we even test it. But when we see it for what it is, it's something a lot different than how we imagined it would be.
4. practice makes perfect.
I've heard a lot of people say, to build your confidence, you just have to keep trying. There's some truth to that for sure. But for most of us, especially if we've had an experience like Johann's story that I just shared, it's not that simple. Having confidence doesn't come from one place, and we can't just simply do it because it has two different components. We need to pay attention to both if we want to be successful. Those components are beliefs and behaviors. It's entirely about our mindset and that belief in ourselves. We tend to lack confidence in certain situations, such as if we're speaking in public or when we ask someone out. One reason is simply a lack of practice. Developing confidence is a reflection of our beliefs about ourselves as well as our behaviors. Therefore, we need to look at both the mindset of self confidence as well as the actual skills that support and enable our confidence. I hope that makes sense.
Let's look at first skills and behaviors we've all heard. Practice makes perfect if we want to get good at something and gain confidence at it. But it's not just any practice, it's a particular practice. It's super important to get Crystal clear on the skills that you need to improve on those that are weak and concentrate on those. I have a friend who's really scared of presenting on stage as so many of us are, and this person is a successful business owner.
We encouraged her to share her story of her business. And as afraid as she was of getting out there and no one listening or no one's paying attention, she really wanted to try it. What if she forgot she couldn't use notes? What if she got distracted and lost her place? There's questions that go through her head. So she started using every free moment that she had to practice on her story. But she didn't just keep going over it. She noticed the parts that she would most likely get stuck on and practiced those more. And she not only practiced her words, she also practiced keeping her focus, which is a separate skill. She practiced it at times and in places where she was most likely to be distracted, like in her kitchen while she was cooking a meal, while commuting, and so she could have the experience of having to pause and then picking up where she left off. It came time to finally perform that story in front of a live audience of hundreds. It was a big success. Even though she often had to take unplanned pauses, she never lost her place. She created confidence through practice. By the time that they were announcing her on stage, she couldn't wait to get on there and perform her story.
Tell yourself you're excited and you'll feel more confident. I use this all the time when I'm about to make a video or speak at an event. Also, being nervous isn't that bad. It's a signal that you care how you do and about your outcome. In fact, when we're not nervous, sometimes we start to slack off and get complacent and not pay as much attention because we think, I've got this a little nervousness shows humility, not low self esteem, and humility keeps us focused. It's like if you've ever watched a hockey game and it was an open net and you're on a breakaway with nobody around you, they go for the shot and they miss. They were so overconfident that you lost focus. Don't let fear of failure define you. Failures can define us if we use them to move forward, but most likely we think that failure will finish us biggest thing holding us back is fear, our own fear of trying and failing.
Here's an exercise a mentor gave me to try, which I would encourage you guys to try. The exercise is take yourself through the scenario and what happens. It goes something like this. Let's say that you've wanted to ask someone out, but you're afraid that you'll be rejected. I'll ask you what happens if you are rejected. You might say, I'd feel embarrassed. Then I'll ask, what happens when you feel embarrassed. Maybe you'll say, I'll go home and eat a pint of ice cream. Then I'll say, what happens if you go home and eat a pint of ice cream? Maybe you'd feel guilty. Okay, none of those feel great, I'll give you that. But notice what didn't happen. The world didn't fall apart. You didn't lose all your friends somewhere in there. You got up the next day, you brushed your teeth, and you got dressed and you went to work. It wasn't fun, but obviously the world keeps turning.
We've all gotten over disappointments and embarrassments before and know we all have and you've succeeded at them. We all have. We've all failed and we've all succeeded because of negativity bias. Our brains are more prone to look and to focus on our past failures. So here's a practice to boost your confidence. Look at the evidence of your past success and write it down. Success includes every time you failed or rejected and the world didn't end. That's also a success. So if this is something you struggle with, I want you to make two lists. Get out a piece of paper and make two columns entitled One failure and the other one success. And then the failures column takes five minutes. Break down everything you can think of that you tried and didn't work out the way you wanted it. You tried cooking a romantic dinner for your partner and burnt the dessert. You applied for a job that you really wanted and didn't get it.
Even if it hurts, even if it was truly painful. You're still here. That's what's important. You're still in the game, and that's a win. So we didn't get the part. We didn't get the job. We didn't get the raise. We didn't get the date. The rest of the world never even knows about it. I was watching an interview with Kobe Bryant, and it was brilliant. He said that failure doesn't exist, and everyone was just like, what do you mean? Obviously, people fail. Kobe Bryant said that if you think about any of those movies that you've watched, they'll say at the end, happily ever after. But what he says, they never show what happens after that. They never show the arguments, they never show the disagreements. And he said, because the story continues, he said, the same for happily ever after. It's the same for failure is final. The story continues. One of my favorite hockey players of all time, Wayne Gretzky, once said, you miss all the shots that you don't take. Failure is only final when it makes us quit. As long as we're trying and as long as we're making meaningful progress, we're in the middle, not the end. Here's something I'm going to say that I hope sticks with you.
Don't fall into the trap of mistaking weakness for an experience. That's where some of our confidence disappears. If you look back at some of my earlier videos on TikTok or Instagram, I don't think they were nearly as good as the ones that I had putting out lately. And I'm not trying to be hard on myself or say that I did a bad job, but it's that there's always room for improvement. Hopefully in a few more years they'll be even better. I'm not naturally gifted at being on camera or even talking on a podcast. If we want to be more confident, we have to be honest with ourselves that sometimes it's because we're put off by the effort it will take for us to become truly good at whatever we want to do. We think that we have to jump this enormous gap from where we are to where we want to be. And yes, if anybody was trying to go from the beginner manual to the advanced manual right away, that's a huge leap. You have to start small and gain confidence through practice and put yourself out there.
One of the key areas so many of us are trying to build our confidence in is talking to others in relationship building. Something I hear a lot of is that we're really bad at small talk. We get tongue tied or come in too strong or say something awkward. Here's my strategy for that. To build confidence in a conversation, live with curiosity. Here's the big secret you don't have to do or say all the right things about yourself to get someone to like you or to want to work with you. True connections start with paying attention. It starts with focusing on the other person and we can start doing this simply by letting our curiosity guide us.
You can start with simply what brings you here or how do you like this kind of events? Or if you're FaceTiming you can focus on something someone's wearing or art in the background or something around saying or something around saying, hey, what do those mean to you? What did you get? When did you get that? Have you visited that beautiful place in the background of your living room or whatever it may be? Research shows that when two strangers are introduced and when one mostly answers questions and listens to the other's answers the person who did most of the talking reports high levels of liking the questioner and wants to speak to them again.
Plus, this approach takes the pressure off of you. There are so many ways to build your confidence but those are some of the specific tactics you can start today. So that's all I have for you today. Thank you so much for stopping by. If you love this article please share on your Instagram stories and tag me davide.demango, as always, I appreciate you and hope you have an amazing day.