We’ve established that Thanos’ but can help you to be more confident. But what of those pervasive myths? The old tales that are handed down like shiny and rare Pokémon cards?
We’re gonna bust them! I’ll turn them into a flea. A harmless little flea. And then I’ll put that flea in a box, and then I’ll put that box inside of another box, and then I’ll mail that box to myself! And when it arrives, AH HA HA HA! I’LL SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!!! It’s brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT, I tell you! Genius, I say!
5 Confidence Myths – SMASHED
Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove was filled with confidence and yet, it didn’t get her very far, which is an excellent segue into…
MYTH 1 – IF YOU’RE CONFIDENT YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING
Brill, start with a positive one here, but it’s safer to set expectations than send you careening down a path with alligators at the bottom (Why do we even HAVE that lever? – Something for the Emperor’s New Groove fans there).
Confidence IS important when you set out to do things. It enables you to tackle tasks with gusto, take risks others might not, ask for help, see and grab opportunities, do the big things, pick yourself up when things go wrong, see the big picture the end goal, that it’s all worthwhile… It doesn’t mean you will 100% be successful.
I could be REALLY confident about climbing Everest or K2. But that confidence would be misplaced and I would die.
Sure, it can be surprising and awesome the things you can do when you have the confidence to try, but I will not be able to climb the toughest mountains in the world. Not without training, practice, equipment, effort, time, money…
Confidence alone is not enough.
Confidence alone is arrogance, delusion, and probably dead having not even made it to base camp (tripped over in the supplies store and impaled head on a climbing stick).
What confidence CAN give you is the ability to gain the competence needed to succeed. Confidence alone probably won’t make you a success. There are always exceptions – tell me who succeeded on confidence alone in the comments.
MYTH 2 – WHEN YOU’RE CONFIDENT, YOU’RE CONFIDENT IN EVERY SITUATION
Deploy the swingometer of confidence!
British readers, imagine I’m in a BBC Election Peter Snow style Swingometer. And if I have someone on the team kind enough to make a graphic I’ll be standing below and it’ll be glorious…
Confidence is wholly situational. Contextual. You can be THE MOST CONFIDENT PERSON IN THE WORLD at one thing and completely lacking in another. Here’s where I get personal and, swingometer-allowing (I am pretty confidnet my team will make something great here) will rate my confidence levels in a series of tasks, where 0 means total lack of confidence and 10 means I know I will smash it.
Playing COD online – 1
Playing Space Channel 5 – 10
Playing Mario Kart against my sister – 9
Against my nephews – 4
DMing something I’ve prepared – 8
DMing off the cuff – 6
Giving a talk about something I know in front of hundreds of people – 9
Giving a talk about something I know in front of 20 people – 7
Interviewing someone for a job – 9
Interviewing someone for a podcast – 6
Coaching someone in how to be awesome at interviews – 10
Being interviewed for a job – 9
Being interviewed for a podcast – 8
Being interviewed for a vlog/TV – 7
Being interviewed about wrestling – 3
Being interviewed in Spanish – 0
About wrestling – minus 100000000000000
Some people think I’m really confident because they’ve seen me speak at Comic Con, or passed me the pad to get past Evila in Space Channel 5. Others have seen me stress about interviewing someone for a podcast episode and might have a different opinion (though the fact I go ahead with it anyway might sway that opinion in a different direction).
Confidence is contextual. It requires competence, experience, failure, practice, time, and effort.
Confidence is learned and earned. Which leads me beautifully onto myth 3…
MYTH 3: YOU HAVE TO BE BORN CONFIDENT TO HAVE CONFIDENCE
People are born with two innate fears – loud noises and the sensation of falling. Everything else is learned, whether through experience or from other people. We are not born confident. Some people might be more predisposed towards being outgoing and they might be raised in a house where failure isn’t punished, where they’re pushed into trying new things without fear, and that is going to nurture their confidence.
They may be born with the ability to learn certain skills faster. That’s going to nurture confidence too. Confidence is a learned skill, a habit, a way of being. You have to cultivate it and some people have the right environment, influence, and circumstances to be able to do so.
I was a shy kid and now look at me. HEY, I SAID LOOK AT ME!
Wait, why aren’t you looking at me?
Damn I’m getting good at these segues….
ACTION POINT: Think of a person or character who you believe has the sort of confidence you want. Pretend to be as confident as them in any situation. Don’t worry about it, just go for it. Eventually this becomes a habit. Fake it till you make it works. I’m proof.
MYTH 4: WHEN YOU’RE CONFIDENT YOU HAVE NO INSECURITIES
Nope. Feeling insecure and having self doubt is a part of being human. We all have it. Even people at the top of their game. EVEN ME. If I ever lose the flutter of excitement before I go on stage, if I ever produce a piece of content without worrying a little that it’s not good enough, then I’ll no longer be me.
I’ll always be me. And I’ll always use the doubts and insecurity to drive me to produce great work.
It’s the reaction to insecurity and self doubt that changes. Instead of letting it stop you from creating, doing, asking, producing, publishing – and oh boy! I REALLY have over the years – you let it drive you to greatness. To do better. To learn. To grow. To become EVEN MORE POWERFUL AND CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES.
Yeah I’d probably be a Warlock if I had the chance. Sell your soul for a cantrip sir? YES. GIMME.
MYTH 5: I’LL ONLY BE ABLE TO GO FOR THE THINGS I WANT AFTER I’VE GROWN MY CONFIDENCE
That’s the Family Fortunes/Family Feud ‘incorrect’ buzzer, not the goose from Untitled Goose Game. Because this is the wrongest of them all.
Confidence comes as a RESULT of taking action, not the other way around. I used to hate blogging, totally lacked confidence in it. What if people disagree? What if they think I’m wrong? What if they think it’s shit? Yeah well so what? You get better at things by doing them. The more I’ve written the more I’ve found my voice, and even used some deliberately provocative titles to annoy people so they talk about it. Oh, the web we weave.
Your best work never happens at the start of a session.
The greatest treasures are found deepest in the mines.
That genius lick never gets written until you spend time building a song out of a just-ok riff.
The best prose comes hours after you start writing.
So get started.
— Thomas Frank (@TomFrankly) 12 April 2019
Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to most, but with some practice and learning it can become a joy. That’s why training companies exists in this space. You can learn it. Learn it, do it, love it (eventually).
Yes, there will be mistakes, errors, catastrophic failures even! That is how you get good.
The longer you wait to start the longer it’ll take to grow your confidence so even if you just dip your toe in the water, start now RIGHT NOW. GO.
I’m ending here. Go and do the thing.
5 myths. There are more. Share yours below and I’ll beat them up with my words.
Robin Bates – owns a swingometer of confidence, and so do you!