Confidence—three syllables that take a lifetime of practice to master. Why is confidence so difficult? There are millions of self-help books, motivational speakers, and training courses out there that promise to build your confidence, but it’s not always as easy as they make it sound. Why? It all has to do with the definition.
Confidence | noun | con·fi·dence
The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust
The state of being certain about the truth of something
Faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way
Hidden within this definition are several other difficult-to-master concepts. When we rely on someone, we give up part or all of our control over a situation, leaving us vulnerable. No one likes that feeling. Firmly trusting requires vanquishing any trace of doubt—not an easy task. Faith and certainty? Those concepts are often at odds with one another. With lofty requirements such as these, it’s no wonder so many people struggle with confidence.
In my opinion, the only way to gain confidence is to make a conscious effort to trust, believe, and rely on others, ourselves and our abilities. I’m not saying this is easy, but with enough determination you can achieve anything. Last night, I began a nine-week journey through the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training course. My mother took the same course in her 20s and has repeatedly said that it changed her life. One of their primary goals is building confidence.
They propose that confidence is a skill and skills can be practiced and mastered. The first step to building a skill is having the right attitude. It starts with “I need to” which becomes “I want to” which takes an optimistic turn to “I can do” and finally, with a little motivation, you tell yourself “I will do”. Next you gain the knowledge and put what you learned into practice. Repeat these steps and eventually (or in just nine weeks, as they claim), you’ll end up a confident person.
I’ll let you know in a couple of months how it went. Until then, I’ll just have to have faith that their methods work.