Confidence is something that everyone seems to want to have, and it comes in many forms. There are the people who just seem to be born with it, there are people who sorely lack it and there are people who have it but you can’t seem to work out why. The third member of our trio is who we’re going to be looking at today, the (wo)man who gets their confidence from within, a type of confidence that is unwavering and always present.
Before I go onto that though, I want to explore the concept of ‘external’ confidence, which is the most natural and noticed form. External confidence is basically confidence that is derived from external sources whether that is the opinions of others or the material possessions we own. Let me explain…
To get a better idea of external confidence, think about the following question. Why are we never surprised that the shy person who lacks self-esteem in movies and TV shows tends to be fairly geeky looking? Why does it make ‘sense’ to our subconscious that they could really be a shy person?
After all, you never see film directors picking a 6’3″, 200lbs ripped Italian to play the role of a socially-inept character.
The reason this makes sense is because we are a society that sees confidence as something that stems from other sources, anywhere else but within. I mean, just look at society’s definition of making it:
- Having a flash car
- Having model looks
- Having a large bank account
- Being in a position of power
- Having an attractive partner
If you know that society (media) promotes these things as all you need to have ‘made it’, how can you not be confident once you have them?
So you just have to attract those things into your life and you’ll become confident, right? No. You may develop something which I’ll refer to as ‘Ego confidence’ but if that’s the only place you can derive confidence from then you’re going to face some problems along your journey.
What happens to the millionaire who loses all his money in a stock market crash?
What happens to the model who starts to age, as we all will, and starts to get wrinkles and other effects of aging?
What happens to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who is caught committing fraud and loses not only his wealth but the status of power that he’s always been known for?
Sadly, the reality is that people slump into depression, they commit suicide or they just lose all confidence they once had. This certainly doesn’t happen for everyone but I think you will find it is true in a large number of cases.
Once you’ve had the external gratification of “being someone” it can be difficult to lose.
Core confidence is completely the opposite of this ‘Ego Confidence’ I’ve just talked about. Instead of relying on external sources, it is confidence that comes from within. The greatest thing about core confidence is that it isn’t fleeting and anybody can have it, and I’m going to tell you exactly how to get it in this post.
You may be thinking that I’m only focusing on core confidence because I haven’t received all this ‘Ego Confidence’ myself. I don’t have male model looks, a million dollars in my bank account and I’m simply working from home so I’m not exactly in a position of ‘power’. That’s true, I don’t have those things but that’s perfectly fine; I hope that if I did or do ever have those things, I won’t rely on them to feel good about myself or trust in my own abilities.
If you play the Ego confidence game of life you will ultimately lose. Looks will fade, your status will change and there will always be somebody else ready to come along and challenge your position. Whether that happens while you’re alive, or it occurs due to death of your physical form, it will happen.
I’m here to tell you today that while you may have some of the things that society loves and that’s great, the place where true confidence and true happiness are found, is within. If you rely on external sources for validation and happiness, you’re also going to have to weather the storm when things don’t go your way (i.e. looks getting criticised, losing money).
Thankfully, whether you have these things or not, you don’t need them.
Building Core Confidence
Now that we have a clear understanding of the two, we can go on to look at how you can actually build core confidence. Although I said core confidence comes from within, there are certain steps you have to take in order to realise this and give your mind some level of logical justification as to why this article is true.
Trust Yourself – No matter how many times you’ve had your heart broken, no matter how many times you’ve cried into a pillow at night and no matter how many times you’ve been in situations that you really hate, you’ve made it. You’ve made it through every single challenge that life has thrown at you and you are still here today, looking at ways in which you can improve yourself.
That, in its own right, should be enough to give you a strong level of belief in your own strength. You’ve been agile, resilient, adaptive and you’ve gone through hard times, we all have. And you’re going to be able to go through a lot more. If you need to trust yourself based on past experiences then do so, but right now you’ve managed to survive all the years you’ve been alive, all the times when you have wanted to give up.
Trust in yourself because you know you can face any challenge that presents itself. Your past is an excellent reminder of that, use this knowing as a pillar to know you can overcome everything thrown your way.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – If you are constantly undermining yourself because other people seem to have more of something or another then you are identifying with external confidence. You wouldn’t feel bad comparing yourself to someone you think is not as attractive as you, so why compared yourself to someone ‘better’ looking? Whilst you can always try and look your best, you shouldn’t feel lesser than someone because they were born with ‘attractive’ genes.
Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to your former self
- Robin Sharma
People will always be better looking (at least in the eyes of someone), it’s likely that someone will always have more money and I doubt you’ll ever have as much power as the President of the USA, does that matter? Does that mean you should feel less about yourself? No way.
Trust in yourself and if you are going to compare, compare you to your former you.
Live in the Moment – Let’s for a second take a typical shy person who has been afraid of speaking socially all their life. If one day they are scared to go out in public, but the next they speak in front of a crowd of 20,000 people and give a powerful speech, what are they – shy or confident?
Whatever your answer, it is based on the past rather than present. You are not shy, you are not confident, you just are. Don’t judge yourself based on your past, and don’t hope for liberation in the future. Right now, be here. Just as the boy who can go from shy to giving a powerful speech, be right here in this moment and don’t let your past define who you are (although using the past can be useful as an example of trusting yourself).
Everyone is confident in this very moment; you have no reason (or way) not to be. I guess you could say it’s not even confidence; you don’t need to know that you are confident, you can just do anything anyway.
Have a Purpose – If we look at a lot of external confidence, most of it is built around completing a purpose. So for example, the skinny guy who wants to gain muscle, the cleaner who wants to become CEO, and the homeless man who wants to become a millionaire. These are all goals, and all of these are examples of people with a purpose.
However, generally you will find that these purposes also have an extra layer to them, the hope of finding happiness, joy and salvation in the end result. I’m sorry to tell you that it won’t happen, but you can use this knowing to greatly improve your life right now.
“It took me 5 brand new cars to realise they weren’t making me happy. I would park each one for the first time and think ‘Now what?’”
- Russell Simmons (worth over $400m)
If your current purpose is to lose weight then it’s great that you want to get in shape, just don’t look for the end result to bring you happiness and confidence. As I stated in the last point, confidence is right here and right now, and the core confidence you have in this exact moment cannot be taken away from you.
What I’m saying is this: have your purpose, have your goal and work towards them. No matter what happens along the way, you know which direction you are headed in life and nobody can take that away from you. This is where your confidence lies.
Follow Through On Your Plans – Although I’ve said confidence is right here and right now, being present is something that takes practice; therefore, I’ve included logical reasons to trust in yourself. The first is that you’ve survived everything life has thrown at you so you can take on the future; the second is to become the type of person that follows through with their plans.
From this day forward, be the type of person that makes plans, sticks to them and gets the desired outcome. If you have a goal to achieve, for example to lose weight, then put together an action plan and stick with it. If you want to make money online then do the same.
Knowing you have the self-discipline to have a goal, work towards it and then complete it is an excellent confidence booster for anything you want to conquer in the future.
This All Adds Up
If you haven’t noticed already, all of these points work together:
- If you live in the moment, you stay self disciplined and complete tasks
- If you are self disciplined you build trust in yourself to do the same again
- If you have a purpose then there is reason to be self-disciplined
- If you don’t compare yourself to others then you are living in the moment
External confidence is found in many people, and if you don’t rely on it solely then there is no problem in having it; take pride in your accomplishments. On the other hand, if external confidence is the only source you derive your state from, you are going to suffer at one stage or another.
Core confidence comes from within, you don’t need anyone’s approval and you don’t need to match up to society’s definition of making it. Most of all, unlike most external confidence, anybody can build this form of confidence and use to to allow them to do what they want in life, especially you.