We all have confidence. Or rather, we all have confidence sometimes, in certain situations. Yet only a few seem to have confidence all the time, regardless of the occasion.
This rare group possess resilient confidence i.e. they’re able to maintain a level of self-belief in their abilities, no matter how severely these abilities are challenged and tested.
It can be developed
Having resilient confidence is a game-changer. Those who don’t have it quickly crumble when a certain level of pressure is applied, and it is arguably the most significant reason why most of us fall short of fulfilling our potential. Yet resilient confidence is not something that is exclusively bestowed upon a select few – it can be developed by us all. Here’s how…
Regular little gains
Resilient confidence is built incrementally over the long-term, so patience and dedication are therefore essential elements. Each time we step outside our comfort zone and improve, our confidence grows. Therefore, we should set up challenges that are positioned slightly outside our comfort zone, giving us a good chance of succeeding. However, if this level of challenge is too great, we’re likely to become overwhelmed, which can actually harm our confidence. Rather than trying to bridge a few giant strides, creating lots of little, yet progressive, stepping stones is much more effective for building robust confidence.
Define success by improvement
Success should not always be defined by outcomes, such as winning the game, being selected for the team, scoring the most points, and so on. No matter how much we may try to, it is impossible for us to control these outcomes. For example, we can play at our best yet still lose the match, for one reason or another. Alternatively, we may play below our usual standard, but go on to win the game. Winning doesn’t always equate to success, and losing doesn’t always mean failure.
Therefore, by allowing our confidence to be dictated by outcomes, we’re allowing ourselves to be at the mercy of circumstances that are beyond our control. Put another way, we’re playing the confidence lottery.
Resilient confidence isn’t built on outcomes. It’s grown steadily through genuine improvement towards skill mastery…regardless of whether we win, lose or draw.
Focus more on the good and less on the bad
Modern culture is quick to identify and highlight our shortcomings, the things we do badly…or could do better. How many times have you been told what you’re doing wrong, compared to what you’re doing right? If the wrong’s outweigh the right’s, our confidence levels will struggle to rise. Why? Because our ancestral brains are wired to scan for danger – think sabre-toothed tigers et al.
A classic example of this is when we receive feedback. We can receive twenty comments, nineteen of which are positive, and only one being negative, yet where does most of our attention go? For many of us, it will zoom in on the negative remark. This one judgement threatens us, not physically (like a sabre-toothed tiger), but mentally – in particular, our self-worth. By focusing too much on our weaknesses, we consequently lower our self-worth. By giving too much importance to mistakes, our confidence suffers.
“When you doubt your power you give power to your doubt.”
– Honoré de Balzac
Therefore, every time you perform, either in practice or competition, make a conscious effort to bring your awareness to the things you’re doing well. This probably won’t be easy at first, but if you stick to it, this mindset will gradually become more natural for you, and over time your resilient confidence will grow. Remember, it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.
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