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7 Ways Successful People Regain Their Self-Confidence After Major Setbacks

7 Ways Successful People Regain Their Self-Confidence After Major Setbacks

We are all sensitive souls. No matter how successful or talented we are, an unexpected setback can directly impact our self-confidence. When things have been going well and then suddenly take a turn for the worse, rebounding can take some concerted effort.

Successful people understand this and deploy impressive tactics to bounce back after huge setbacks and rebuild their self-confidence.

1. They reaffirm themselves

One thing most successful people know is that failure happens to the best of us. It’s nothing personal. If you haven’t failed at something before, it means you’ve never tried anything. Just because you failed doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Successful people visualize their desired situation and reaffirm that their dreams and goals are credible. When the momentary negative feelings of “I can’t do it” arise, they assert: “Yes I can.”

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By using this strategy consciously and intently, they influence their subconscious mind, bringing it back to center, transforming their behavior, and reshaping their attitude and reactions. After all, there’s a lot of truth in the words, “Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life.”

2. They take a break and do other activities that they enjoy

Successful people often take some time out to de-stress after major setbacks. This gives them a reprieve from the failure, soothes their ego, stirs their creativity, and helps them get a sense for what truly matters in life. They surround themselves with positive, supportive people and make time for simple pleasures like fishing, reading, organizing charities, or just hanging out with their family.

Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington are among the many successful people who love to unplug from technology and read a book. They say it helps them unwind and take the edge off after a particularly busy or stressful day. Bungled attempts, lost business, and negative feedback seem to have less of a toll after this.

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3. They reflect on their past successes and failures

Successful people like to reflect not only on their success stories, but also on their failures. That’s because both bring learning opportunities. By reflecting on these experiences, you become much more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You become conscious of your personal quirks, your blind spots, and are better able to explain your insecurities — informing your best course of action going forward.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore. While reflecting on her experience, she came to the conclusion that she needed to create her own TV channel, which paid off magnificently. Today, she is a household name and a self-made billionaire in the media industry.

4. They forgive themselves

A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggests that the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes is the key driver of success. Many successful people know this and practice self compassion. They don’t beat themselves up too much after making a mistake. That’s because they know that being too harsh on yourself does nothing but dent your confidence further and make it harder for you to bounce back to winning ways.

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Truly successful people learn and move on precisely because they know how to forgive themselves first. It’s just as bad to be mean to yourself as it is to be mean to others. The moment you realize this and learn to forgive yourself is the moment you give yourself permission to rise again and make things happen.

5. They manage their self doubt

When successful people make a mistake or suffer a major setback, they analyze what they are feeling and frame strong arguments to tame negative self-talk and doubt. Many write down their fears and concerns as clearly and succinctly as possible and challenge them calmly and rationally. If their worries and doubts dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great. However, if the worries are based on genuine risks, they set additional measures to manage these appropriately.

There’s something about this approach that boosts confidence and makes the worst of setbacks seem surmountable. It was Confucius who observed that, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” As you think, so shall you become.

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6. They re-create their approach

Insanity is defined as trying the same thing again and again but expecting different results every time. Successful people know better than that. They constantly recreate their approach and deploy new ways of doing things based on what they’ve learned in the past. This means the best, clearly-thought out plan, solution, program, or system possible to boost confidence and propel them to success.

Thomas Edison would not have become one of America’s most renowned inventors were it not for his exemplary attitude toward failure, unwavering persistence, and willingness to recreate and try new ways to achieve his goals. He is famously quoted saying, “I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That was the secret to his success as a standout inventor and businessman who developed many life-changing devices, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.

7. They get back up on their feet and commit themselves to success

After all is said and done, successful people get back up on their feet and continue with the journey. They don’t stay down. They might start over a bit more cautiously after huge setbacks, but they start. Then, they accelerate towards success as their confidence is reborn. The simple act of starting and making small, steady steps forward, armed with lessons learned from past setbacks, rebuilds and rejuvenates their self belief. They eventually begin to stretch themselves, make the goals a little bit bigger along the way.

Musical artist Bob Marley was shot in his own hometown two days before a major public performance. What did he do? He defiantly walked out on stage anyway. His reason for doing so was simple, yet powerful: “The people who are trying to make the world worse never take a day off. Why should I?”

That was arguably the point at which he became a legend. Every step you take after a huge setback is a testament to your resolve. Every win is a reward for your commitment.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

12 Things High Self-Esteem People Don’t Do

12 Things High Self-Esteem People Don’t Do

Having high self-esteem is important if you are aiming for personal or professional success. Interestingly, most people will high levels of self-esteem act in similar ways. That’s why it’s often easy to pick them out in a crowd. There’s something about the way they hold themselves and speak, isn’t there?

We all have different hopes, dreams, experiences, and paths, but confidence has its own universal language. This list will present some of the things you won’t find yourself doing if you have high self-esteem.

1. Compare Yourself to Others

People with low self-esteem are constantly comparing their situation to others. On the other hand, people with higher self-esteem show empathy and compassion while also protecting their own sanity. They know how much they can handle and when they can offer a helping hand.

In the age of social media, however, social comparisons are nearly ubiquitous. One study found that “participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”[1]. Basically, you will feel worse about yourself if you are constantly getting glimpses into lives that you consider to be better than yours.

Try to limit your time on social media. Also, when you do start scrolling, keep in mind that each profile is carefully crafted to create the appearance of a perfect life. Check yourself when you find yourself wishing for greener grass.

2. Be Mean-Spirited

People with low self-esteem bully others. They take pleasure in putting other people down. People with positive self-esteem see no need to down other people, choosing instead to encourage and celebrate successes.

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If you find that you feel the need to put others down, analyze where that’s coming from. If they’ve had success in life, help them feel good about that achievement. They may do the same for you one day.

3. Let Imperfection Ruin Your Day

Perfectionism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but obsessing over making everything perfect is a sign that you have low self-esteem and can lead to never-ending negative thoughts. This can turn into an inability to solve problems creatively, which will only make self-esteem issues worse. 

Those with high self-esteem disconnect from the results and do their best without expecting perfection.

People with that kind of confidence understand that messing up is a part of life and that each time they aim and miss success, they’ll at least learn something along the way.

If you miss the mark, or if your plan doesn’t work out exactly as you would have liked, take a deep breath and see if you can pivot in order to do better next time.

4. Dwell on Failure

It’s common to hear people dwelling on all the ways things will go wrong. They are positive that their every failure signals an impossible task or an innate inability to do something. People with healthy self-esteem discover why they failed and try again.

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People with higher levels of confidence also tend to adopt a growth mindset[2]. This type of thinking supports the idea that most of your abilities can be improved and altered, as opposed to being fixed.

For example, instead of saying, “I’m just not good at math; that’s why I did bad on the test,” someone with a growth mindset would say, “Math is difficult for me, so I’ll have to put in some more practice to improve next time.”

Next time you experience a failure, check out this video to help you believe in yourself again:

5. Devalue Your Self-Esteem

People with high self-esteem value their own perception of themselves – they understand that they come first and don’t feel guilty about taking care of themselves. They believe charity starts within, and if they don’t believe that, they’ll never have a healthy self-image.

Self-care is often top of the priority list for people with self-esteem. For some ways to practice self-care, check out this article.

6. Try to Please Others

They can’t please all the people all the time, so confident people first focus on doing what will make them feel fulfilled and happy. While they will politely listen to others’ thoughts and advice, they know that their goals and dreams have to be completed on their own terms.

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7. Close Yourself off

Confident people have the ability to be vulnerable. It’s those with poor self-esteem that hide all the best parts of themselves behind an emotional wall. Instead of keeping the real you a secret, be open and honest in all your dealings.

As Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, points out, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen”[3]. When you embrace each facet of who you are and allow others to see them as well, it will create deeper, more meaningful connections in your life. When that happens, you’ll realize that perfection doesn’t lead to people liking you more.

You can learn more about the power of vulnerability in this TED talk with Brené Brown:

8. Follow and Avoiding Leading

People with low self-esteem don’t believe they can lead, so they end up following others, sometimes into unhealthy situations. Rather than seeking a sense of belonging, people with high self-esteem walk their own paths and create social circles that build them up.

9. Fish for Compliments

If you’re constantly seeking compliments, you’re not confident. People with high self-esteem always do their best (and go out of their way to do good deeds) because it’s what they want to do, not because they’re seeking recognition. If you need to hear compliments, say them to yourself in the mirror.

You can even try some positive affirmations if you need a confidence boost. Check out these affirmations to get started.

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10. Be Lazy

People work harder when they have high self-esteem because they’re not bogged down by doubts and complaints. Those with low self-esteem end up procrastinating and wasting their energy thinking about all the work they have to do rather than rolling up their sleeves and just getting it done.

This may also bounce off perfectionism. Perfectionists often feel intimidated by certain projects if they fear that they won’t be able to complete them perfectly. Tap into your confidence and simply do your best without worrying about a perfect outcome.

11. Shy Away from Risks

When you trust yourself, you’ll be willing to participate more in life. People with low self-esteem are always on the sidelines, waiting for the perfect moment to jump in. Instead of letting life pass you by, have confidence in your success and take the risks necessary to succeed.

12. Gossip

People with low self-esteem are always in other peoples’ business – they’re more interested in what everyone else is doing than themselves. People with high self-esteem are more interested in their own life and stay out of others’ affairs.

Instead of participating in idle gossip, talk about some positive news you heard recently, or that fascinating book you just finished. There’s plenty to talk about beyond what this or that person did wrong in their life.

The Bottom Line

Self-esteem is to success in life. People who maintain a healthy level of self-esteem believe in themselves and push themselves to succeed, while those with low confidence feel a sense of entitlement.

If you need a boost in your self-image and mental health, avoid negative self-talk and the other mistakes of people with low self-esteem. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

More Tips on Building Confidence

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem
[2] Brain Pickings: Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives
[3] Forbes: Brene Brown: How Vulnerability Can Make Our Lives Better

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