Here are four things that can help anyone with confidence.
We Feel More Confident When We Have Less On Our Minds
Confidence is a natural state of being. It was part of our experience long before we learned to take ourselves seriously or took on the idea that we need something outside (e.g. money, approval, results) to make us feel OK on the inside.
Feeling confident has nothing to do with thinking positive thoughts. When we have less on our minds, we automatically feel better. Confidence naturally emanates from a relaxed state of mind, where we barely notice the thoughts passing through.
Confidence is what we feel when we are not consciously thinking about what, or how well, we are doing. This is why small children are the most confident people on the planet, despite their limited abilities and achievements. They are not wracked with doubt and insecurity, because they have not learnt to analyse everything they do. They live life in the moment, have fun and give it their best shot whatever happens.
Confidence Does Not Come From Our Results
We are taught that we can get more confidence from things outside ourselves. This can appear to be from being better, from what other people say or from achievements. If we believe that to be true, we innocently learn to make confidence and feeling good contingent on meeting certain conditions. However, confidence does not directly cause success, nor can success create confidence.
What happens for most of us is that when we win, we drop the thinking that says we needed to win and therefore we are able to enjoy the moment. It is that clear mind and relaxed feeling that makes us feel good, as opposed to the analysis and rumination that we often fall into when we lose.
We do not need to win to feel fulfilled and engaged in what we are doing. Our enjoyment of the game is not reliant on our results unless we think it is. Experiencing this newfound sense of freedom from our results can actually increase our likelihood of winning, because we simply play the game as it comes, adapting to what is required in each moment.
Everybody Loses Confidence, At Times, Because Thought Fluctuates For Everyone
It does not matter how good we are or what we have achieved, when our heads are jammed full of noise we will feel low. This is natural. Low confidence is a transient and temporary state of mind unless we fight it or hold it in place.
We extend this low feeling when we analyse the reasons that we believe are causing us to feel low and search for solutions to feel better. As we search for a better feeling, we rev up yet more thinking rather than allowing the mind to self-correct.
It is easy to believe our negative thoughts when we are in a low state of mind because they can appear logical, but the doubts are no more real than any other thoughts. Thought comes and goes naturally when we are not attaching to expectations of results and beliefs about what makes us feel good.
All feelings are simply reflections of the flow of thought – none of them are more indicative of our ability or predictive of the future than another.
We Can Perform Even When We Do Not Think We Can
There is more to performing than feeling good. Being caught up in trying to be more confident gets in the way of how capable we are even when we do not feel it. Everybody has had occasions when they have felt very low in confidence but found a way to perform to a high level. Equally, everybody has had times when they felt ‘a million dollars’ and it seemed inevitable that we were going to succeed but we did not.
Whilst confidence is a great feeling to have, there is nothing that we actually need it for. The only thing that stops us doing what we would do when we feel confident is listening to insecure thoughts. Instead of listening to those thoughts, we can perform anyway. We can watch the ball and hit it, regardless of how we are feeling. We can trust that deeper sense of knowing that we are still the same player, with the same capabilities, when we are feeling low just as when we are feeling great.
This is an excerpt from my first book, Pressure Myths. You can get your copy of Pressure Myths on Amazon here