by Lou Russell

May 01, 2021

The Gift of Confidence


I recently received a gift “The Little Book of CONFIDENCE” edited by Hardie Grant. Most of us, if not all, would like a bit more confidence. We all know people who seem confident, but are they really? Think of times that you pretended to be confident. Given the confusion of our current way of being, we all have dialed in fake confidence just to get through the anxiety. 


Let’s start with a list of the building blocks of confidence: Self-esteem, knowledge, courage, diligence, compassion, self-discipline, non-verbal communications skills, humility, and my favorite, a sense of humor.


Pause a minute, play with these words and notice how each makes you feel.

  • Which of these mean confidence to you and which don’t?

  • Pick one of these phrases that call to you and think of a time when you were confident and when you were not. "The Little Book of Confidence," tells me that we gain confidence through our experiences, including our levels of self-respect and self-belief. And it takes real work.




“If one advanced confidently in the direction of his/her dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he/she has imagined, he/she will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden


This quote emphasizes the need to never undervalue yourself. NEVER is a tough challenge. While the world is draining your confidence, you can choose to speak to yourself, reminding yourself that you deserve to have the best life possible with confidence as part of that. 




“Let your body tell you you’re powerful and deserving, and you become more present, enthusiastic, and authentically yourself.”
– Amy Cuddy, TED talks


Every task we complete, every obstacle we overcome, and every goal we reach gives us a sense of self-accomplishment and self-reliance. Take a quick minute and jot down ten goals you want to achieve before the end of 2021. 




“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story


It’s so easy to get knocked back by other people’s negative observations and criticism. However, it is important to view our vulnerabilities as a strength, not a weakness. Find the strength within to explore and accept other’s criticisms without allowing them to damage your confidence. Practice makes perfect. 




“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
– Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Istlan


No one else knows what we are really thinking or feeling. It is easy to forget this when you feel as though your lack of confidence is showing up loud and clear. Sitting around brooding breeds self-doubt and fear, and we have certainly been spending a lot of time at home. Sometimes, all that is needed to get rid of anxiety is simply to go for a walk. This helps you start to face and combat your fears. It takes courage, but each step becomes easier and grows your confidence.




“To sing a wrong note is insignificant, but to sing without passion is unforgettable.”
– Ludwig Van Beethoven


Perfection is the enemy of confidence. Perfection drives comparison which magnifies the made-up cracks in your confidence. Snap out of it by reaching out to people who are positive and who bring out the best and most confident version of you. Remember, they are also waiting for you to do the same for them.




“Ask with confidence, listen with humility.”
– Charlie Van Hecke The Art of the Q: Build Your Business with Questions


Having informed and well thought out opinions increases our confidence and protects us from people who are comfortable with made-up opinions that are not well informed. Take a minute and list some of the criteria you use to vet your decisions. Do they all merit consideration? What have you learned about yourself with these questions?




“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if it may not have it at the beginning.”
– Mahatma Gandhi


I watched a small child in front of me at church and noticed his absolute confidence. He wasn’t able to walk well yet and he didn’t have words, but he owned his being. How can we own our being, without comparing to all the other people? 




“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
– Lao Tzu


Watch your chance remarks carefully. In receiving either type – uplifting or hurtful – remember that we can contribute to other people’s self-confidence and similarly, take care to avoid damaging it.




And finally, “Always act as if you are wearing an invisible crown.” This will create a physical posture that creates a positive emotion from other people.


Being as in control as we can rather than being controlled is part of maintaining our self-esteem and confidence. Regularly noticing our lives – our goals and how happy we are – allows us to work out what we want to achieve in life. A daily routine of contemplation or mindfulness will provide the mental space and time to do this. 


Lou Russell

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