When we speak of confidence, an image of a smart guy with clean hair, dressed in fitted formals who smiles like the receptionist at a hotel lobby and can get any girl’s number at the bar comes to mind. But is that genuine confidence?
Thanks to pop culture our idea of confidence (like everything else) is vastly distorted. So, here in this post we would like to discuss three different types of confidence and how you can build them in each area. Be it at work, with friends, within your romantic life and amidst superiors, it really does not matter.
To develop better confidence is the same as practising for a test, identify the area where you are the weakest and get to work into developing that area.
First, let us start with the most common kind of confidence.
Developing Experiential Confidence:
In high school chatting strangers was my recurrent nightmare. The very thought of walking up to strangers out of the blue and beginning a conversation could get me to sweat.
But now after several years, I do not even remember what I was so scared of. I can quite easily start a conversation with a stranger; in fact I can be off to do so even before you find the time to dare me.
How you ask?
Well simply because I have gathered enough experience by pushing through those initially excruciatingly awkward conversations and have since, had meaningful amazing conversations with several people. I don’t feel any fear anymore as it is all too familiar. My friend who coached me to get out of my introversion told me that I have gained something that behavioural psychologists refer to as social cognition. Now as I approach a stranger trying to open the gates of conversations, I can see their temperament and understand what they may be feeling about my approach.
So, things that we feel confident about like – driving our car, giving a presentation at work or walking up to a crush trying to make conversation are all experiential confidence. And we have all developed it at some point in our lives. All we had to do was to successfully complete the task to earn this confidence.
So, instead of bringing yourself down thinking – “That was awful. I suck. I am such a weirdo.” Think of your awkward social interactions as – “That sucked but at least I’m still breathing. Hopefully I have learnt something”.
To put in brief, the recipe to build experiential confidence is fairly easy, when you get an opportunity to talk to a stranger ask yourself – “from a statistical point of view, am I likely to feel physical harm?” if your answer is “No I probably will not suffer much physical injury”. Then go ahead and do it. Despite being afraid, because that is the only way to build experiential confidence – doing something that scares you.
Turning on the light of emotional confidence:
Unlike experiential confidence, emotional confidence is something you turn on.
To turn on emotional confidence you need to first build mental preparation. Mental preparation is crucial as it gives us the benefit of experiential confidence – even if it is imagined. To do so, you need to first think about how you need to present your case, and then estimate how the person you are speaking to may respond. It should be like an if/then decision tree. This will help you from being caught off guard and will also help you maintain your composure. This tactic comes highly recommended for big conversations.
Moreover, by tapping into emotional confidence you can control your body, and by controlling your body you further control your emotions well. If you lose control your emotions run all over you.
But, what if you have never had to face a difficult situation before and you do not have the time to steel yourself as well. How can you be confident then? How do those amazingly confident people handle such situations that come their way?
Well, the answer lies in the thirds kind of confidence. And this is the deepest one, the unshakeable one, it just is there…
Ever wondered why it is self-esteem and not huge muscles or a lot of money that give people with real world advantages?
Because in the modern era confidence is not just about survival, there are several war heroes, decorated veterans, and men who ran into bullet fires who lack the confidence for starting a conversation with strangers. You must understand that confidence today is not often related to broken bones it is rather threatened by a broken identity.
People with low self esteem are hamstrung with the following questions:
- What if they ignore me?
- What if she rejects me?
- What will people think of me?
A person with low self esteem has their entire identity stuck within this one line – “What do others think of me?”
High self esteem is the ultimate level of confidence that one must achieve. As with high self esteem our sense of identity is self-generated. It is no longer based on others perception of you, instead it is more about upholding your own internal code.
The trick is to tie your own identity to living up to your own standards and then the only person that can harm you is you. Thus, this will give you immense powers of feeling safe wherever you are no matter whoever is watching.
Here are the basic standards that most people with high self esteem hold up to:
- They try their best
- They express themselves fully
- They take responsibility for their own happiness
- They do what is right and not what is convenient or easy
Remember as long as you choose to identify yourself as “People like me”, “People look up to me” or “Hey! I am considered cool” you remain at the mercy of other people’s opinions. It is a terrible way to stay alive. Instead identify by this – “I try my best to do what is right”.
So, in conclusion it does not matter it does not matter how things go, the most essential thing one can do for their confidence is to get started at building it. Like right now!