Alright, I’m going to admit straight up that I don’t exactly know how to become confident, because I’ve always been a confident person, ergo — never had to try to become confident. But I’m sure it can be done.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about what confidence actually is, because surely if you know that, you can work on getting it.
And, essentially, it comes down to one thing: not giving a fuck. Confidence is not giving a fuck what other people think. And that’s hard. I’m not always great at it, especially when faced with something I’ve never done before.
So then, what it’s really about is — and this seems to be a recurring theme on Untamed Writing — believing in yourself. It’s easy to do something if you know it will work. And the reason you know it works is probably because you’ve done it before. Therefore — you believe it will work. You believe in yourself, in your ability to make this work.
But can you believe in yourself if you haven’t done something before? Well shit yes, you can. And I think this is where the divide between the confident and the unconfident develops, because I’m pretty sure even people lacking in confidence are able to believe in things they’ve done before.
The unconfident, however, have a tendency to believe everyone else knows better than them. How often do you find yourself holding back from doing something because you’re worried you might do it wrong? And that other people will laugh at you or mock you? It’s much easier to try new things when no-one else is watching, isn’t it? You don’t want to be judged by others for getting something wrong — you give too much of a fuck what other people think.
The key to not giving a fuck what anyone else thinks is believing that your way is right. Your ideas are right. And that even if they aren’t right, you’ll be one step closer to finding the way that is right. For you.
Confidence is about trusting yourself. About learning to listen to your gut and then trusting what it has to say. And from there — not being afraid to act on it.
So, essentially, I guess, there’s a three-step process to becoming more confident:
- Learn to listen to your gut. What is it telling you is right?
- Trust your gut. Will you believe what someone else says is right, or what your gut is telling you is right?
- Act on what your guts tells you. Openly and honestly. ‘This is what I think, therefore this is what I’m doing.’
Wait, I think there’s a fourth step:
- Accept that some people will disagree with you. And also that you may not be right, but that this way feels right, and the surest way to find out is to try it. So act anyway. Being confident doesn’t necessarily mean you 100% believe what you’re doing will always work. But it does mean that you do it anyway, regardless of what other people think. What other people think doesn’t matter. Only what YOU think should matter when it comes to what YOU do.
I see a lot of business owners mimicking other, more successful entrepreneurs. And that’s… you know, that’s okay to begin with, because you’ve got some shit to figure out. But eventually you’ll internalise all these things you’re learning by copying others, and you’ll figure out which ones are ‘you’ and which ones are not you. Which ones feel wrong to you.
Eventually you need to get to the point where you can decide for yourself which bits are useful and which are not. Which will serve your purpose and which won’t. You need to be able to make decisions for yourself and decide, ‘Fuck it, their way of doing it is stupid. I’m going to do it this way instead.’ That’s what I do. I read up on new ways of doing things and I either think, ‘Oh yeah! Awesome! I’m going to try that!’ or I think, ‘Fuck that. What a dumb idea. I’m never going to put pop-ups on my site’.
So I guess that’s it really. Confidence is about listening to your gut, trusting what it has to say, and then openly and honestly acting on it. That’s all. And your instincts are almost never wrong. This is true for everyone. Even you. So start trusting what yourself.