A Look at The Confidence Gap

A few months ago, I read The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris, and it turned out to be a great read in my opinion (if you’re interested in checking it out, here’s a link https://www.amazon.com/Confidence-Gap-Guide-Overcoming-Self-Doubt/dp/1590309235/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481812266&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Confidence+Gap).  While I don’t want to do the author an injustice and tell you everything he said in the book, I’d like to discuss some key points that he made that I feel are important.

  • Act First, Feel Later. A lot of people are under the impression that you have to FEEL confident before you can ACT/BEHAVE with confidence, but that’s not true.  Actually, it’s the other way around.  You have to act with confidence first before you feel confident.  Confidence is something that’s “earned,” you don’t just naturally possess it.  Take a moment to think about something in your life that you struggled with at first, whether it was a new job responsibility or starting a graduate degree.  Chances are you didn’t necessarily feel confident at first, but you persevered, acted with confidence, and eventually began to feel confident.  It’s the same with everyday life, whether it’s social confidence or professional confidence, confidence is something that’s earned through practice.
  • Helpful Thoughts vs. Unhelpful Thoughts. Most people perceive their thoughts as either being positive or negative, and while that’s not necessarily bad, it can be better for you to perceive them as being helpful or unhelpful instead.  For example, perhaps you’re worried about losing your job.  That’s a negative thought, which could make you feel bad.  However, that negative thought could actually prove to be helpful because it can motivate and inspire you to work harder at your job and pursue job security or even a promotion.  So in the end, that “negative thought” actually proved to be rather helpful, didn’t it?
  • Make Room For Unpleasant Emotions. Most people hate feeling bad, and try to avoid and completely eliminate negative emotions. But this is impossible.  Even positive psychologists struggle with negative emotions and bad feelings.  The key isn’t to eliminate them, but rather to let them come and go freely and to focus less on them.  For example, if you’re out with a group of friends one night and suddenly someone you dislike shows up at the same party or establishment, would you completely tune out your friends that you’re having fun with in favor of focusing on how much you want the person you dislike to leave? Probably not.  Why let 1 person take away from the positive energy that the other people are giving you? It’s the same thing with bad feelings.  Why allow the negative feeling to completely negate the positive feelings?
  • Be The Person You Want To Be.  Finally, picture the person you’d be, or aspire to be, if you had complete and total confidence.  Now make a list of the changes you want to make to become that person.  After that, begin to act with the confidence of that person you want to be, and eventually you’ll find that you actually feel confident and are the person you’ve always wanted to be.
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