Thursday, January 6, 2011

Protecting Our Confidence

I have said it before and I will say it again: confidence is the foundation of success. It is also true that success breeds confidence. That said, the easiest way to become confident is to start succeeding, which is why I advocate starting with small changes and working up to larger ones. But this being said, moving forward with success is all well and good, but what happens when we stumble? What do we do when we have a set back, or a plan does not come together the way we want it to? How do we protect our confidence?

  1. Don't Stop. Let us take as an example going to the gym. We set ourself a schedule of going every other day and stick to it for the first week. Then we miss a day then another. We start to feel that we have failed. The most important thing to do is to start going again. If we stop working to achieve our goals the flow of missed opportunities and untaken action will erode our confidence. So the first rule for protecting your confidence is, keep moving in the right direction.
  2. Discover Your Obstacles. There was a puzzle game I used to play where a number of mirrors where placed in a box and when light was shone into the box it would be reflected out a different opening. The object was to try and determine where the mirrors where. Once you knew where to find them then light entering the box behaved the way you would expect it to. Personal growth is like that. As we start to run our race we find that we run into walls and get knocked on our asses. This happens because we do not know the walls are there. We have three choices when this happens. We can sit on our asses and complain about how much the fall hurt, we can get up and run into the wall again or we can find a way around the wall. The first two will work to destroy confidence by creating an attitude of I can't do that. The last will teach us about who we are and the barriers we make for ourselves.Once we know the barrier we can tear it down or move around it. Second rule for protecting your confidence is know your limits and know how to work with them.
  3. Set Smaller Goals. Sometimes we aim higher than we are currently capable of reaching. I do this all the time with bike rides. I go farther than I can, then have trouble (call for a ride) to get home. We can protect our confidence here by building up to the large challenge. By breaking it down into smaller sections we are training ourselves to be able to take on the whole in one shot. By creating smaller tasks within the larger, each accomplishment is a victory, each building block we add towards completion is another bit of confidence gained. Rule three, when a problem is too much find the small parts that make it up and focus on those.

Confidence is a vital resource in personal growth; we must cultivate it and protect it as we try to achieve new things.


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