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How to Build Confidence From Scratch

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How to Build Confidence From Scratch

Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie “The Eagle” is a British skier whom no one believed in before he made it to the Olympics.

Eddie was slightly overweight, extremely far sighted (he wore thick glasses) and trained in second hand equipment. At times he even stayed in a Finnish mental hospital because he couldn’t afford genuine accommodation. Many people came to doubt his ability as a skier.  If he didn’t have confidence in himself, he could never have endured all this, and never would have made it to the Olympics; which he did, and became internationally loved as a figurehead and emblem of the Olympic spirit.

When I think about all the great people like Eddie, who achieved greatness through their confidence, I wonder where it came from. I don’t think confidence came naturally to them. It didn’t come naturally to me.

If confidence doesn’t come naturally, where is it from?

When I was a small child, before attending school I remember my friends and I seemed almost limitless in confidence.  We lived fearlessly. Though all our lives were open to us, we never looked forward and worried. We had not collected any regrets.  I remember nobody seemed more confident than anyone else, nobody carried themselves as superior.

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All this changed at school. In school, competition is entrenched. It didn’t matter what we did or studied, whether we studied English, Art, P.E, some naturally stuck out, scored better and were rewarded for it. Our conduct at school even separated us. This in turn seemed to affect self confidence.

I was never a straight-a student. My grades were good but not great. I was never one of the kids rewarded for some high grade or performance, and never had their levels of self esteem.

Confidence for me came later.

In high school, I discovered my passion for technology. I loved writing code (I still do) and each successful program I wrote, each line of effective code was rewarding to me in a way I never felt before. Each time something didn’t work, or when I came across a difficult bug to overcome, I was presented with an exciting challenge. I received no praise in school for it, no accolades, but that didn’t matter. I was doing what I loved, and every time after solving a difficult coding problem, my confidence grew.

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Here I discovered something that changed my entire outlook on confidence and ability.  Self confidence can never be found outside.  It is something that only comes from you.  No matter how much you look, or where you look, no matter how much praise you do or don’t get, you will never find confidence unless it comes from within.

Confidence came from working though difficulties, making myself work on challenging pieces. It didn’t seem to matter if I succeeded or failed (but I’ve long known that even if you fail a hundred times, you will succeed if you are able to keep trying). I only needed to keep pushing myself and confidence grew as a result.

Confidence comes when challenges are overcome

When struggles are overcome, it feels good, and there’s a great deal of satisfaction. From this satisfaction comes confidence.

Perhaps you have an unhealthy lifestyle and losing weight, doing exercises and going on diets are the difficult things for you.  Perhaps, you are shy. Delivering a talk in front of a large audience will then be something difficult to you. Or perhaps you are a perfectionist, then embracing mistakes will be the most difficult thing for you.

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No matter what it might be, you probably felt proud, strong, and sure in your abilities once you overcame that obstacle.  That is the true feeling of confidence earned through effort and experience.

Confidence grows from doubt and criticism

There will be setbacks and disappointments. There will be failures because many breakthroughs require trial and error.  There will be criticisms because everyone is far from perfect at the very beginning.

When I first started Lifehack, it took a long time to gain readers. It took me a while to get 100 visitors. This was difficult for me because I had great ambitions for this site, and for a time it seemed doomed to fail. I received plenty of criticism.  Some thought that the world didn’t need another advice site, others thought there was something wrong with the idea itself. It was hard for me not to listen to them and agree.

But in the end, I believed in my dream and persisted.  I tweaked the layout, reconsidered how the articles would be structured and written. Made the site more user friendly. The team grew with the hiring of some extremely dynamic and talented people.  With each determined effort, the site grew in popularity, and a few years later we have now influenced millions.

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Pushing out of my comfort zone and getting past the most difficult challenges were the greatest factors in growing my confidence.

Pushing yourself through is tough, I’m not denying that.  They wouldn’t be called “challenges” if it were otherwise. But there is a quote by Churchill that I think about whenever I am faced with new ones, a quote that I feel related to everything I’ve written about above:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going”

Some people avoid challenges.  Perhaps they may have failed at something one too many times, perhaps they’ve been told that they lack something needed to succeed. Instead they rely on stability, coasting through life.  This can be fine for them, but ultimately its restrictive.  They will never grow in confidence, and their fear of failure will become so powerful that will give up before seeing success.

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The key to self confidence is to face every challenge head on.  With every challenge you face and overcome, your confidence will grow to face the next.  Welcome the challenges that come, don’t avoid them.  They are all opportunities in disguise to feed your growth.

Featured photo credit: Eddie the Eagle via foxmovies.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 12, 2022

15 Reasons Why Taking Action Is Important For Success

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15 Reasons Why Taking Action Is Important For Success

Success is not guaranteed at birth, and work is required to achieve what you desire. As you grow personally and professionally, you should explore these 15 reasons why taking action is important for success so you can reach your dreams.

However, before jumping in and taking action, it’s essential to understand its three components.

  1. To take action means to do something to get a particular result.[1] Any time you intentionally create movement, it is all because of the desired outcome. Execute your actions to support your dreams and goals.
  2. Action can be hard to take, but that’s only due to the fact of misrepresentation of the possibilities. Do your best not to focus on the outcome. Instead, ask yourself, “What does this make possible?” Even though obstacles and detours will distract you from your desired results, don’t let that be your primary focus. You’re created for more, so be willing to go the extra mile!
  3. Failure to take action can stem from many areas, the main one being the failures that have already occurred. Look at your failures as a lesson learned, so you can be willing to learn even more. Stretching yourself beyond what you can see builds trust within yourself and seizes the opportunity of the present!

“Failure is only a trial run to the success for the greatest of these, your journey.”—Kristianne Wargo

If you want to escape the world of mediocrity, you have to embrace the power of taking action. By doing so, you keep moving in the right direction.

Your journey is no longer dependent on the outcomes or the results. Instead, it empowers you to tread the trail of hope even when all seems hopeless.

Further, the main result becomes the balance in your life, all based on Newton’s First Law: the state of motion of an object is maintained as long as the object is not acted upon by an unbalanced force.

You can take all the hits that come your way, good or bad, due to all things resisting changes in their state of motion—they tend to “keep doing what they’re doing.”[2] The only shift that needs to happen comes from you taking action.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”—Pablo Picasso

Taking action seems to be so fundamentally basic that it should not even have to be mentioned. But life can have you turning in circles that you become disengaged with the basics and need a foundational review. Blaze a new trail filled with the discovery of consistent actions and a determined heart.

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These 15 reasons why taking action is important for success will decrease your confusion while increasing productivity and heightening your purpose for a lifetime.

1. Action Allows You to Shift or Pivot

It’s easier to direct a moving vehicle than one that is parked. So, why not keep moving? Your activity encourages what you don’t see to become visible as you go through the intentional motions. Here is where change occurs, releasing what might have been a struggle to that which is natural.

2. Action Ignites Motivation

Getting through the stuff when life happens doesn’t come from pity parties but by taking the next step.

When you constantly fight for encouragement, your emotions are set in overdrive. The focus is unbearable and stifles the opportunities before you. All you feel is what couldn’t be, and you leave all on the table what you couldn’t see.

Keep your emotions and feelings in check by staying in action.

“One step at a time leads to miles of greatness!”—Kristianne Wargo

3. Action Establishes Habits

The more you do something, the easier it is to keep doing it, whether good or bad. You can’t succeed if you don’t do anything.

By maintaining the action, you are setting yourself up for a greater chance of hitting your goals without being too detailed and overplaying the plan.

4. Action Shrinks Failures

As much as you always want to be successful, failure is inevitable. But by taking action, your failures become less of the everyday cornerstone and more about engaging in firsts and seconds.

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The only failure is not trying. So, when you try, you cannot fail.

5. Action Induces Winning

No one afraid of losing has ever won. How many times does an athlete have to lose before the win? Too many most would say. But actually, it’s just enough to keep the iron in the fire to refine the gifts and talents. It’s in the fire where champions are made.

6. Action Breeds Better

Preparation is good. However, it’s easy to get stuck in research and making sure everything is going to play out as planned. But you can get buried in the preparation and forget that to get you moving to the next level, you must be in action.

Don’t let yourself become trapped in practice trying to get it all perfect first. Action will always make it better.

“Action is the heartbeat of success.”—Kristianne Wargo

7. Action Determines What’s Possible

You cannot eliminate what doesn’t work and establish what does work except through trial and error. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. That requires action on your part.

You have to be ready and willing to test in real-time to understand the complexity of what you are going after. The more action you take, the deeper your possibilities grow.

8. Actions Create Your “Now”

There is no need to put off tomorrow what you can do today. Build consistency in doing something with intention, and see how your life changes.

If you wait for the right time to show up, you will be waiting forever. Take your day into your own hands and create your “now.”

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9. Action Slows Down Time

There’s no time like the present. By staying in action, essentially, you slow down your inhibitions and fears from manifesting into more than what they need to be. You get to decide how fast you move by the actions you take in your every day leading to your success.

10. Action Produces a Result

How will you know if what you are doing will get you down the lane of success? Trial and error.

Every step you take produces an outcome, good or bad. So, why shy away from what works. Do it and make the adjustments needed in real-time.

11. Action Creates a Chain Reaction

Once you experience the result and determine the validity of how it coincides with your dreams and goals—meaning getting it right—then it directs you to the next step.

The plan of how you’re going to achieve success continues through the chain reaction. Action is the foundation where consistency is built.

12. Action Silences Your Inner Critic

The most significant time spent is with your inner voice.

If you are in a constant mode of debating whether or not you are worthy, good enough, or qualified, how will you be able to move forward? You’ll be frozen in time. However, staying in action makes the inner voice more of a nuisance yet can be muted by taking the next step.

13. Action Utilizes Knowledge

Reading and learning are addicting. But no matter how much you read or learn, nothing will gain success for you unless you take action.

The thing is that action is not so exciting. In fact, action can be tedious, especially if you don’t get the desired results. Yet, knowledge can lead your action when utilized appropriately. Don’t sit on what you know. Knowledge is power.

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14. Action Minimizes Risks

When you are in constant motion, momentum is on your side. What appears as a risk initially fades away more quickly because there is no time to overthink what just happened. The risks exist only to be outnumbered by the actions taken.

15. Action Builds Trust with Yourself

Many failures and dreams stop you in your tracks simply because of the lack of trust.

When you find yourself down and out, and your record reflects losing more than winning, it’s easier to quit and retreat. Yet, if you have confidence in yourself, trust triumphs over what didn’t happen, opening the door for what’s possible.

The Success Equation for Life

Knowledge + Action = Success

Ready your head to make a commitment that nullifies the missing link and establishes success by taking action. Here is where you will celebrate success more often than not. Now, the results and outcomes may not be as expected, but a little suspense never hurt any journey.

May your heart compound the experiences, including your commitment to taking action and the results of what’s to come. Claim the ultimate success when action meets your everyday.

“Grow beyond what you see so you can succeed beyond what you desire.”—Kristianne Wargo

Your journey is a path of many colors. Take a chance to make a change to choose the action that serves your purpose. Cheers to you for taking action and creating success this new season! The best is yet to come. Be present. Be incredible. Be you!

More Tips to Get You Into Action

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: take action
[2] The Physics Classroom: Newton’s First Law

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