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5 Essential Elements of Natural Self-Confidence

5 Essential Elements of Natural Self-Confidence

Do you find yourself wishing you had more self-confidence?

I know what it is like to look around and see people who appear to have all the self-confidence in the world, while you are silently suffering with self-doubt.

Of course, those very people you envy probably look at you in a similar way — hiding their own doubts and wishing they had it all together.

Silently suffering in self-doubt often inspires goals to be more confident. Interestingly, self-confidence is not an achievement. It is the a natural outcome under certain conditions.

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The following five elements of self-confidence address those conditions. When you are in line with these principles, you cannot help but be more confident!

Here are the 5 essential elements of natural self-confidence:

1. Know your limits.

Interestingly, knowing what you can’t do is an important element in knowing what you can do with confidence. I remember as a young and nervous counselor that much of my hesitation came from thinking I needed to be able to work with and cure anyone of their psychological problems.

Over time, of course, I learned which people I work best with and which people I need to refer away. What a relief! Admitting to myself that I cannot work with just anyone was a huge confidence booster. I was no longer afraid to pass on a case, and I approached the people I could work with knowing I was well-equipped for the job.

Are you lacking confidence because you are biting off more than you can chew, or pretending you know something you don’t?

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2. Know your values.

Values are indicators of what is important to you. When you know your priorities, you can focus on them and pass on everything else.

When you are not clear on what is important in your life, something happens that undermines your confidence — you typically turn to others to determine the agenda. This naturally puts you in a one-down position.

3. Get skills.

Confidence is often tied to competence, as it should be. I want the pilot of the plane I am riding in to be confident. I want his confidence to be based squarely on his level of skill. If he doesn’t have the skill to fly, he should lack confidence.

And the same goes for me in my life. When and where I don’t the have skill, I am okay lacking confidence. It is possible to lack confidence in spite of having an appropriate level of skill, but competence is always a factor.

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4. See others as people.

Often we feel inadequate because we see others as ‘more than’ and ourselves as ‘less than’ by comparison. We see others as having it all together and not suffering the way we are. This is rarely true.

As soon as you get to know someone beyond the public persona, you soon discover a plethora of struggles that are the hallmark of the human condition. Everyone has their cross to bear. When you tune into this fact, you will get better at seeing people as people — we are all in this together! Understanding this comes as a relief and happens to build social confidence.

5. Act!

When all is said and done, you need to just go for it! Confidence builds as you take positive action and begin to see positive results.

Take these elements of natural self-confidence and meditate on the ones that you resonate with. Take your understanding of them to a deeper level and watch your confidence grow.

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Align yourself with the above and feel your self-confidence slide into place!

If you find yourself resisting the process of gaining greater self-confidence even though you know what it takes, then you may very well be prone to self-sabotage.

Self-sabotage is an entirely different issue that you should learn about, as it could be the only thing in your way!

More by this author

Mike Bundrant

Co-Founder @inlpcenter, which offers NLP training and life coach certification to students in over 70 countries.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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