Lately I stumbled upon tons of articles about how to gain that extra plus in confidence that allows you to worry less about what other people think of you, bring up the willpower to do great things (and even looking super relaxed and competent while doing so).
There seem to be one trend among all those articles that claim that your positive mindset is all you need to be confident. An Easy and therefore very appealing idea.
Hold on…isn’t there something missing? How do I develop this positive mindset if I’m not a notorius tree hugger with an unshakeable optimism?
Here is my experience with this positive mindset formula.
If you would have asked me a year ago about how to gain confidence, I would say that your attitude plays the most important part. Reading Napoleon Hill’s “Think and grow rich” set me in the right mindset to train the belief in myself and my abilities. I remembered all the times when I did something really well, I meditated and simply forced every inch of my body to perform really well when it mattered. I read Joe Navarro’s “What every body is saying: An FBI Agent’s guide to speedreading people” and developed a fairly good understanding which posture helps to set yourself in a confident mood.
A “fake it till you make it” mentality helped me very often to be a confident speaker, succeed in job interviews or simply connect with new people (which for me is one of the most exciting but also challenging tasks to do-being very curious about psychology lets me overthink many things). While it worked many times, I also failed many times because I relied only on my positive mindset.
Here comes the catch: although I know how to switch into the super confident state of mind through some training, it didn’t last for very long. It was situational and not long-lasting! While it helped to gain that extra confidence in the moment I needed it the most, it vanished until the next challenge. You can compare it with a short-term and a long-term orientation. The confidence I trained was very short-term focused. The positive mindset was helpful in the moment I needed it…and if the outcome was great, my confidence level rised for a certain period…and went back to my standard level after that. Hence, for the next time when it mattered I would have to build my positive mindset again in order to gain that extra confidence. I would take the right posture and put a winning smile on my face…and I still do-with the difference that this is only a support strategy. The most important strategy now, and this time its long-term oriented, is practice!
I had to realize: there is no short cut! If you want a confidence that lasts you need to improve…whatever that is you want to master…marketing skills, financial literacy, coding, playing the guitar…If you fail, accept it and keep moving on. I always have a curve in mind that is shaped like this when I start to develop a new skill or improve an old one:
It reminds me of the fact that you have to undergo a “valley of tears” before you can take of…practice bears frustration, setbacks and failures-but in the end comes the gratification in form of confidence! Not only in that particular field of competence but in an overall confidence level – the confidence you develop in one area spills over to other areas.
This long-lasting confidence has many benefits: it’s not as susceptible to setbacks and failures as short-term, situational confidence and you don’t have to build up your confidence anew everytime you step up to a challenge – since you already have success in your bag!