My life sucked for a very long time (but I didn’t know it).
I realized that this is an extraordinarily cliché story, but really, it sucked.
I had a hard time making new friends, didn’t have a girlfriend, wasn’t going after the projects I was passionate about, didn’t have the levels of health and fitness I wanted and more.
And it was all because I didn’t understand one concept.
Nobody tells you something when you’re young that’s really important: how you see yourself will determine the level of success you achieve.
How you see yourself.
So if you see yourself as confident, you become that way.
If you see yourself as having no reason to be confident, you also become that way.
And the ultimate paradox is that sometimes the only difference between someone that works for their dream body/life versus someone that doesn’t is…
… How they see themselves.
Well, if you don’t see yourself as very confident, how do you change that?
How to Become More Confident – Through Fitness
“Fake it ‘Till You Make it” And Other Bad Advice
Last year, I had a friend ask me if I identify as an introvert or an extrovert – because he assumed I never had a problem talking with people or being social.
But what he didn’t know was that I had a problem talking to people my entire life.
Imagine this: if I couldn’t even form conversations with normal people, how hard would that have been for me to talk to a pretty girl?
Let’s first take a journey down the rabbit hole and share a bit about how I used to be, and what I changed to become who I am today (aka, someone that actually possesses confidence).
One of the pieces of advice I hear quite a lot when it comes to being more confident is to just “fake it until you make it,” which I don’t think is very good advice.
I think you should be confident no matter what – no doubt – but if you aren’t confident, how are you supposed to fake it?
If you have very low self esteem and don’t think very highly about yourself, how are you supposed to do a mental thinking exercise and suddenly “be” confident?
It doesn’t really work.
For example, if I’m super skinny and I don’t think women like skinny guys, I don’t have good conversational skills, and I’m not interesting – what do I have to be confident about?
Habit #1: Don’t Fake Confidence – Acquire Wins That MAKE Confidence
The first thing that has helped me a lot is acquiring small wins.
I believe that the best way to be confident is to earn it: earn it, don’t fake it.
Instead, do things that allow you to be more successful, because then you’ve proven to yourself that you are confident.
You’ve proven that you really are confident, rather than trying to trick yourself into being more confident.
One thing for me, for example was this — the hardest thing as a teenager was talking to pretty girls.
What I did was, rather than just randomly going up and approaching people, I would just start a conversation with anyone, and then a girl, and then eventually more and more intimidating women.
Eventually, three times a week for a year, I went out to a bar or a club and dared myself one thing:
“You can’t go home until you’ve spoken with or danced with the most attractive girl in the bar or club.”
You better believe that had me shaking in my boots, but it was an experiment in personal growth or confidence.
Remember, my only goal was to dare myself – so I had to have the conversation, but whether or not I ended up with a girlfriend didn’t matter.
Over this year of getting rejected, rejected and rejected, and eventually realizing what worked, I acquired a lot of self confidence.
Again, I wasn’t faking it – I had actually been in the trenches, in the arena and learned what really worked to have good conversations with people (whether I was intimidated or not).
Habit #2: Dr. Maxwell Maltz – Change Your Self-Identity
The second thing I recommend is changing your self identity (which I’ve talked about here before).
I’ve seen it play out a million times: we only act in accordance with our own self image.
If I believe myself to be confident, and see myself as confident, I will act confident.
That’s not always an easy thing to do, and one of the ways to get started with this is what Dr. Maxwell Maltz recommended in his book Psycho Cybernetics (paraphrased):
He would give patients plastic surgery, but a certain percentage would never improve their own perception of themselves, no matter how much he altered their face, no matter how much he made a woman’s nose better, or gave her the perfect boobs, or shaped her butt. Some people would just never become confident, and that puzzled him. What he later understood was this idea of self-identity: if we believe we are so unloveable, no matter what, we can turn ourselves into Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt and we still would not believe ourselves to be attractive. Thus, externally, we wouldn’t project confidence too.
One of the exercises he recommends is a combination of visualization and affirmations – he literally recommends visualizing yourself as you would like to be.
So if it’s approaching the girl or the guy, it’s seeing yourself being confident, going up, and just talking and having fun.
If it’s going for a job promotion or interview, it’s sitting down, being professional, being relaxed, having a lot of fun, and then getting the job.
If it’s some other aspect, like you’re in a competition, you see yourself showing up without any butterflies in your stomach, then you dominate, and do great.
Again, this kind of self-identity visualization will change how you view yourself.
Habit #3: Don’t Fake Confidence – Acquire Wins That MAKE Confidence
Here’s another thing I really believe in: you become more confident by getting more wins, by taking action, and not by thinking.
Remember that during all of this period I was doing exercises like this, but I was doing things.
I got over my worst fear (talking to people, especially pretty girls), by trying to dance with it (literally, hah).
When writing my first book, when all the fear, criticism and thinking people would hate it came up – well, I got a lot of good reviews, and I got some bad reviews.
The thing is this: I’ve lived it now.
I know what it’s like to be an author who has seen ups and downs, people who love your work and people who think it’s stupid and mediocre.
I also know what it’s like here to own a business, sell my own courses, and see happy and unhappy customers.
You have to be taking action in the world.
You can’t just magically naval gaze and become more confident, you have to be getting out there and doing the things that make you feel uncomfortable or else you’re going to live forever afraid.
So now I want to leave you with a thought:
What are the things you’d do in your life if you had a 10/10 confidence?