If you suffer from low confidence and low self-esteem, you may be familiar with the an effect I refer to as the Paradox of Confidence. It’s a self-esteem Catch-22; you don’t feel confident because you have no accomplishments to feel confident about. However, without having that confidence in the first place, you aren’t able to achieve those accomplishments in the first place.
In case it wasn’t obvious, is a wonderful way to set yourself up for failure. After all, part of having confidence in the first place is being able to trust yourself and in your abilities. But how could you possibly be confident if all you have are failures, flaws and missed opportunities? But because you have no confidence in yourself or your abilities, you sabotage your best efforts; you take fewer chances, you don’t try as hard and you can’t rebound as quickly or easily from mistakes or failures. These experiences just go on to confirm that yes, you shouldn’t be confident, which causes you to further mistrust yourself and encourages you to just quit trying in the first place.
And if you did succeed… well, who’s to say that this was a genuine success and not some crazy black swan event, never likely to happen again? How do you build your confidence off of that? Especially if you aren’t able to accomplish that a second time?
You could be forgiven for thinking that confidence is just for other people — the gifted few who won the lottery at birth and had success handed to them on a silver platter. But you’d be wrong. The Paradox of Confidence is circular reasoning born out of misunderstanding of just what confidence is. Like validation, true confidence isn’t built from externalities; it comes from within yourself.
But rather than continuing the self-reinforcing cycle of negativity, let’s talk about the mistakes that shatter your confidence. Here’s how to break out of cycle, and develop true, bulletproof confidence.