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7 Strategies to Increase Confidence

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7 Strategies to Increase Confidence

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.”

Confidence. It’s the one thing we all want, yet the one thing we all struggle with from time to time. These seven simple strategies will help you build your confidence from the inside out. Let’s look at Joe. He has been through some tough times in his life, from the recent death of his mother, to his child having a major medical issue. Like many of us, Joe values his family. His strict travel schedule, un-prioritized lifestyle, and desire for success has kept him from spending quality time with his family. While Joe thought what he was doing was the definition of success, he is now overwhelmed with regret, shame, failure, and is struggling to get through these difficult times.  While many of us share similar stories as Joe, it’s important to reflect, renew, and release what no longer serves us by integrating these seven strategies to increase our self-confidence.

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Healing starts from within.

While Joe could blame himself for not being there when his family needed him most, it’s important to remember that all of us get caught up in life and forget the most important thing. The things that we value the most. Joe, like many of us, needs to look within to heal the hurt, pain, and regret he’s suppressing from having to deal with major life issues like the death of his mother. Instead of blaming himself Joe needs to forgive himself for not recognizing that his pattern of behavior was hurting not only his family, but more importantly himself.  When we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others.

Face your control issues.

While all of us want control over one aspect of our life or another, it’s important to recognize that when we release the control that we have, the universe gives us what we want. While Joe could control his travel schedule, work agenda, and other things, he could not control the fact that his child was born with a medical issue or that it was his mother’s time to go. Most of the time, we try to control the things we can’t control, and in doing so get angry, frustrated, and upset when what we expect a certain result and in return get something else.  By engaging in explosive arguments, you refuse to take responsibility for yourself.  Ask yourself, “What is it costing me?” If the answer is your dreams, identity, or dignity, the cost is too high.

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Give yourself credit.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Give credit where credit is due?” Just take a second and look back on your life and realize how far you’ve come, how many times you’ve failed and picked yourself up, how many successes you’ve had and give yourself credit. For the small successes make a huge difference in the way we look at and treat ourselves.

Understand your history.

Change revolves around learning and all learning creates change.  Your brain and body are a sophisticated communication system.  Your thoughts create inner standards or rules which were developed from the time you were a child.  These standards and rules dominate your pattern of previous and continued behavior throughout life.  While it’s critical to understand your history, it’s more important to re-learn these patterns of behavior to maximize your personal potential while governing your choices and actions with precision.  Joe may have made mistakes in the past that hurt the relationships he had with those closest to him, but by understanding his pattern of behavior he will be able to move forward and progress at a steady pace.

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Behave your way to success.

All too often we claim we are busy and although we might be, the problem is that we are not being productive. Productivity increases the efficiency of an organization. This allows you to get more done in less time. Productivity is much more important than revenues and profits, because profits only reflect the end result whereas productivity reflects the increased efficiency as well as effectiveness of you overall. Moreover, it enables you to find out your strengths and weaknesses. It also lets you easily identify threats as well as opportunities that prevail in the market as a result of competition and changes in the business environment as a whole.

Communicate with emotional integrity.  Empathetic listening is the basis for the integrity of communication that facilitates rapport and understanding. There is nothing people love more than talking about themselves.  In any important relationship, mis-communications and mistakes are very likely to happen between people. What is important is how we work these problems out. Instead of having problems end up damaging relationships and trust, these can become opportunities to learn and grow from each other. The most important skill we have is not what we say, but how well we listen. 

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Charge what you are worth.

Too many times we focus our skills and abilities on twenty different things, spreading our plate thin, and our time even thinner.  And, it is these exact things we complain are not fulfilling our basic needs.  By helping people for free, it is pulling you away from what you are naturally called to do.  While people will always want and need your help, value comes with a price tag.  E-mail, commenting on blogs, social media, etc., it all interrupts and distracts you from more important things that truly benefit both the business and the bottom line. Charge what you are worth, and don’t apologize.

While determining what direction to take in life, many of us make the same mistake. We try to apply the principles of our parents, spouses, co-workers, etc., to our own individual journey. Then, we’re surprised when we’re miserable. The first thing to do when trying to connect to your life’s purpose is to set aside the need to please others or live up to anyone else’s expectations. Be completely honest about what matters most to you. Define your core values, respect, and be yourself. This and this alone will automatically increase your self-confidence.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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