Developing Confidence Through Achievement

When I was younger I went in search for knowledge around the topic of confidence. People would talk about being confident or say something like “Just be confident! You can do it!” but if I asked questions to learn more nobody could really pin down what that meant. Even people who I thought were successful didn’t have anything useful for me to grab a hold of and go apply in my life. I started to wonder if a lot of successes were accidental since nobody could explain it to me.

Since I’d gotten into philosophy I knew it would be helpful to start right at the beginning. I began by asking myself the question “What is confidence?” and “What are the conditions that allow confidence to arise in me?” After all, the beginning of knowledge is to admit what you don’t know and start with definitions. I had this idea that, like plants in a soil, I had to find out how to build the right soil so that the tender shoots of confidence could grow in it. (Could that sound cheezier? Nope!)

A person can be said to have confidence when what they think or say about themselves is true. It’s distinct from arrogance because the arrogant person has an exaggerated sense of their ability. So confidence reflects the reality of our self image and our abilities rather than a false story about it.

A way to find out our confidence is to pick a goal or a few of them and track if we can accomplish those goals. For someone who is suffering or having a lot of difficulty in life it’s important to pick smaller goals that can be achieved. That means picking goals appropriate to the scale of life we are living. Too easy and we don’t gain much, too hard and we risk a lot of stress and failure. But, at a difficulty that is challenging but attainable we can get that boost in confidence. It’s important not to select fantasy scenarios of all-encompassing importance to the universe. We have to start with those things that are directly applicable to our lives like cleaning up, exercise, and having good relationships before we fix the planet.

After we know what thing we want to achieve we have to give ourselves the best shot at achieving that goal. It comes down to removing distractions and putting enough energy into the task at hand. If we set out to clean our room but we get distracted watching TV or talking on the phone that can hinder our progress and add to our frustration. Next, once we have committed to doing the job we can make sure to put some oomph into it. A way to add some finesse to the achievement is to try to have fun or be goofy while imagining the final product.

So many problems can come up while moving toward our goals. We can get sidetracked or someone else comes to shift our attention to something they need. If there is something very important for you to do consider fighting for it. You can say “No” or growl off the requests of others while you give yourself some time to do your own thing. Having confidence is not free. It comes with the cost of prioritizing some of your own needs above others.

The accomplishment of our goals relieves frustration! A big source of frustration in life is repeatedly setting goals or having expectations that don’t happen. Each obstacle we overcome sets us up for more success in the future. Like when you work out at the gym for a while the weight goes up a bit over time as we become more capable. The same goes for confidence and achievements.

Not everyone will be able to understand or support what you’re doing if you choose to boost up your confidence levels and success. Some people can be hostile towards progression because they’re stuck, hurt, and jealous. Only people who are curious about your goals and methods can be trusted to talk about these things. If you’re in a community that is mostly stuck in the status quo while you want to become big you’re definitely going to butt heads with some people on your ascent to a better life.

It’s your life and you’re worth fighting for!

Author Tony Crowe, Salt Lake City, UT
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