I just came across something that I read in a book called “The Charisma Myth” which is very surprising. In fact, I’m almost tempted to say it was shocking. And it involves you and your self confidence
It’s called the impostor syndrome. This is the perception where competent people feel they don’t really know what they’re doing, and are just waiting for others to expose them as being a fraud.
Now here’s the surprising and shocking part of it.
Every year the incoming class at Stanford Business School is asked the question, “How many of you in here feel that you are the one mistake that the admissions committee made?”
Every year two-thirds of the class immediately raise their hands.
And amazingly this is a similar theme also seen at Harvard, Yale, and MIT.
What this shows is that there’s a high level of self doubt and a lack of confidence among most people. This ranges from the elite educational institutions all the way down to people of all walks of life.
Is this a bad thing? Of course not.
Can something be done about it. Of course.
Why is this important and how does it involve you?
Because if you’ve ever had feelings of self doubt and a lack of confidence you know how frustrating it can be. You know how much of a fight it is because of the anxiety of not knowing what to expect…and in many cases just out right fear of what may or may not happen as a result.
So this raises the question…
“How much self confidence do you have?”
…and most importantly what can you do about it.
1. Stage fright, self confidence, and the unknown
One of the main reasons many people struggle with feelings of low self confidence has to do with the fear of the unknown. And this stands to reason. Because after all, humans in general are seeking comfort and safety. This has evolved over millions of years due to the fact that humans back in the “caveman” times were in a life and death situation in almost every moment.
Therefore the “unknown” has always been a fear that we’ve had.
Except nowadays that unknown can occur in any area of life.
For example, this is something I experienced when finally deciding to start my own business. It would have been easy for me to work a job, collect a pay check, and go on my merry way. But there was something telling me otherwise.
That “something” was either be a slave to a boss and a predetermined salary…
Be my own boss, do what I love, and determine my own salary.
The way I saw it was that, whether I work a job or start my own business doing what I love, there were going to be an equal amount of supports and challenges either way. There were going to be moments of peace and war either way. There were going to be times when things seemed “up” and days when they seemed “down.”
Then there was the known versus the unknown.
And this is what makes the difference.
When you’re able to embrace the unknown and know that no matter what you do there will be those equal amounts of support and challenge, pleasure and pain, peace and war, you’ll be much better prepared…
And your self confidence will start to rise as well.
2. The invisible ego
Here’s something else that frequently is an overlooked factor into why some people have low self confidence…they don’t want to appear as being “cocky” or having an “ego.”
It is quite common for people who carry themselves with a high self confidence to be perceived as having an “ego.” And let’s face it, in some cases this does happen. Some people call this narcissism.
In most cases, however, it’s someone that’s just showing that they have a high level of self confidence.
If you’re someone who may have this sub conscious fear of not wanting to appear as having a big “ego”…not to worry. Because there’s a very easy way to distinguish the difference between having high self confidence versus having a big ego…
And it comes down to the ability to maintain your poise.
This is very important so pay attention.
No matter what you do they’ll be people who like and dislike you. In fact, the more self confident you are the more people will dislike you and perceive you as having a big ego.
But guess what?
You’ll have an equal amount of people liking you and they’ll will be drawn to you.
The person who has a high level of self confidence and is poised will not be perceived as having a big ego. While at the same time will have the ability to attract more of the things they want to them.
So how do you maintain your poise.
By not getting too elated or too down towards yourself.
In other words, if someone criticizes you, look for how their criticism is helping you achieve your goals.
If someone is praising you, especially if they infatuate over you, look for how their praise is a drawback and a disservice to you.
This will help you be more present without becoming too “puffed up” or “cocky” or as some would say, having a big ego.
3. Into the stratosphere
Here’s the other part that is very much involved in your ability to have a high level of self confidence…and it’s living according to your highest values or the things that are most important to you.
Why is this so vital to raising your self confidence?
Because when you live according to what is truly most important to you, you’ll take the time to come up with a clear plan and strategies of what you want to accomplish.
Instead of hesitating and procrastinating and living with “should’s”, “have to’s”, and “supposed to’s”…
You’ll have clarity in what you want to achieve while living a life of “I love to’s”, “I’m inspired to’s”, and “this is what I’ve always dreamed of doing.”
You see, most people are trying to live a one sided fantasy life while seeking more positive than negative, more support than challenge, and want more pleasure than pain.
But when you embrace both the positive and negative, the support and challenge, the pleasure and pain equally…
While living according to what is truly most important to you…
Your self confidence will soar along with the rest of your life.
And this will also give you greater insight into your own brilliance and magnificence beyond what you ever realized.
You were put on this planet for a reason…
Whether you’ve gone to Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT or not…
The fact remains that you’re an amazing person who has a tremendous amount of value to contribute to the world with your uniqueness.