Self-Confidence, Why We Don’t Have It?

What’s your reaction when you’re faced with doing something for the first time? If you’re asked to give a talk on something you don’t know much about, how do you feel? If you’re faced with an unexpected bill you don’t know how you’ll pay, what’s your first thought? If you’re asked to do something new at your job, what’s your reaction?

Excitement about a new challenge?
Fear that you won’t be able to do it?
Trust that you will do whatever it takes?

Is there something in your life that you would like to do right now? Are you afraid that you’ll procrastinate, or get sidetracked, or that you won’t finish it? Has this happened in the past? This is the point where you stopped trusting yourself, and stopped pushing past the obstacles and the fear.

You’ve probably heard about Thomas Edison’s thousand failed attempts to invent the light bulb and how he said, “That wasn’t failure since he had learned one thousand ways not to invent the light bulb.” That’s exactly the attitude that separates winners from quitters. All of the winners — those who eventually succeed — trust themselves to keep on going in spite of challenges and mistakes.

One of the secrets these winners share is that there are many failures on the road to success. We look at them after they’ve succeeded, and all we see is the final result, the success. We assume they have always been successful and even that there’s something special or miraculous about them that we don’t have. We’re waiting until we feel as confident as they seem before we begin. If there’s one formula for failure, that is it.

To do something, whatever the “thing” is that you want to do, you need to realize in advance that you’re starting from a place of not knowing what you’re doing and will make mistakes, probably lots of them. You might even be very bad at “it.” It’s OK, really. You have to look bad before you look good. That’s how it works. Ask yourself, “What’s the alternative.” Well, the alternative is doing only the things you know you can do well. Now, where’s the fun in that?

Are you procrastinating? Are you waiting to feel confident about doing something before starting? Sorry, but you will wait forever. Are you wanting to write a book but won’t go near the computer? Wanting to start a business but won’t leave the TV room? Are you waiting for the magic to happen that will take all the fear away and make you feel certain of success? The only magic is in not waiting for the magic and taking the first step in spite of the fear.

In fact, the longer you wait, the less confident you will feel. The more you procrastinate, the more your fear will grow.

Another sure way to sabotage your dreams is to put off feeling good about yourself until…sometime in the future. Have you every told yourself that you will have confidence

  • when you lose 15 pounds
  • when you have a girlfriend/boyfriend
  • when you’re out of debt
  • when you’ve finished school
  • and on and on and on…

There’s no problem with wanting to improve ourselves in any capacity. The problem is that this is conditional self-love and this attitude makes you feel bad about yourself until you’ve accomplished that task. Even worse, what usually happens is that, once you’ve achieved the first goal, you will probably come up with another one: “Oh, ok, I lost the 15 pounds, but what I really need is a boyfriend. Then, I’ll feel good about myself.”

Look at it this way. How would you feel about a boss who said, “I know I promised you a raise when you finished that project, but I need you to do this project now. Then I’ll give you the raise.” How about a boyfriend who said, “I know I said we’d get married this June, but we really need to wait until next June.” You’d probably be furious and start looking for another boss and another boyfriend! Rightly so, too. Can you see that this is the way you’re treating yourself? Every day! What’s happening is that you’re foregoing so much joy in the present by punishing yourself in an attempt to achieve goals.

In what ways are you sabotaging your own self-confidence? Here’s a question you need to ask yourself: “When do I feel really good about myself?” Take your time with this. Find as many answers to that question as you can. You might be surprised at all the answers you come up with.

Here’s what you can do. Instead of telling yourself, “I’ll like myself when…” replace it with “Right now, I really feel good about myself because…” Do that daily; every morning come up with as many answers as you can. When you honor yourself for who you are right now, you build on your self-confidence.


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