There is no trick
In my Shamanic experience, behind “finding love” (ugh), people ask the most about how to be confident and/or “successful”. What is the trick? What is the magical formula?
Isn’t it amazing how some people can just walk into a room, say two sentences, and everyone trusts them immediately? Don’t you wish you could be that person? Of course you do. Heck, I wish it was me. I can’t tell you how to be Julius Caesar, but I can tell you how to improve upon what you’ve already got.
1. Train your mind to accept that you’re great
As humans, we are overwhelmed daily with messages that say that we aren’t good enough, we aren’t smart enough, and people are cynical and will reject us out of hand. Advertising relies on breaking us down so that we can “build ourselves back up” with their products. But it isn’t just advertising. Modern media as a whole is obsessed with you at home behind your computer being an impotent loser to whom things happen whether you like it or not.
And the way to counteract this “bad training” is with “good training”.
First, expose yourself to less media. Turn off the TV. Turn off the internet when you’re done doing what you HAVE to do. Find activities in real life that don’t have debilitating messages in them.
Second, find a way to affirm yourself every day. Remind yourself that you’re a smart, capable person who can accomplish anything in front of you (whether you actually do or not is irrelevant, as you’ll see by reading on).
2. Redefine “winning”
“Winning” isn’t gaining material “stuff”. That’s SURVIVING. We all have to survive, but it isn’t a goal (unless you’re failing to fulfill your survival needs, of course – but that’s a short-term goal).
And accumulating “stuff” (or money) is mostly luck: being born in the right family or with the right amount of innate privilege; being in the right country at the right time; bumping into the right people to accept as mentors, colleagues, heroes, and assistants; making the right decisions and having them work out in the right order; having the right opportunities evolve to include you; etc. Luck isn’t winning, but it can feel like it. In fact, a ton of people confuse luck with winning or success. It isn’t. It’s luck. Even if it makes you feel bad to admit it.
“Winning” isn’t having power over others. Having power over others is CONVENIENCE. Convenience isn’t a goal, unless you’re an executive at 7-11.
Acting to have power over others for its own sake inevitably leads to the painful wake-up call. People like to follow people who don’t push them around, even when pushing is exactly what they need.
“Winning” isn’t having goals and achieving them. That’s COMMON SENSE. Common sense isn’t a goal, unless you’re spoiled or dense and, again, that would be a short-term goal (I hope).
You should always have goals and take steps to achieve them. After all, you have to give your ego something to do, or it’ll start creeping into your social and spiritual lives, wrecking them. Confident people make their egos work FOR them, not AS them. Train your ego to work for you, like a good riding horse. Saddle up!
“Winning” is developing as a person. When you develop, you win. When you stagnate, you lose. How you develop is up to you. You can succeed at something and still lose and, likewise, you can fail at something and still win. In fact, everything you fail at is a win. Why? Nothing develops a person more than taking risks on things you believe in and falling on your butt – and getting back up to try something else. This is the only way to make success satisfying.
Nothing crushes confidence like stagnation.
3. Shut up
Confidence isn’t about telling everyone how great you think you are, making elaborate arguments to prove your points, or making moving speeches (unless one of these is your vocation, of course). Confident people say as little as necessary, and act boldly when the time is right.
Losers argue. Winners act.
This applies to attention-seeking as well. Most people spend a great deal of their time trying to get attention or validation from others for their lives. This is what losers do (unless it is your vocation). Winners get attention for the things they do and don’t seek it.
4. Don’t be a lazy turd
Nothing builds confidence like DOING THINGS. Instead of sitting around thinking about things or talking about them, DO THEM. Nothing disembowels confidence like laziness. Confident people might wear an air of ease and grace (or even have a “lazy guy” public persona), which can be confused for laziness, but, behind the scenes, they work hard. The comedian Louis CK is a great example. In public, he plays the “fat, lazy guy” character. In reality, as any comedian will tell you, he out-works everyone. He’s a machine. A beast. A beast machine. Okay, you get the idea.
If you are passionate about something, do it. And take the time and do the work to do this thing as well as you can. Don’t go for immediate gratification – that’s what un-confident losers do. Roll up your sleeves and dig in with long-term, well-paced conviction. And don’t give up when it gets hard. Tough out those grueling times because there will be many of them.
Winners finish what they start. Losers quit when it gets hard.
And don’t show people the hard you work. You might think that this will bring you some sort of validation or sympathy, but it won’t. People will think you are less than you are because you belly-ached (or beamed about the process instead of the thing you did). Make it seem effortless and your stock will rise on its own. People will assume you can do more and, likely, you can.
5. Don’t brag
Confident people act and other people talk about it. The confident person doesn’t brag about her capabilities or achievements. She becomes more capable and achieves more. Or takes a well-deserved rest. Or socializes. She appreciates the praise, but doesn’t need it (confident people validate themselves). She happily shares her work, but she doesn’t brag (confident people don’t need attention for their words, unless it is their vocation). She understands that recognition for achievement takes time and sometimes doesn’t materialize at all – and that’s okay.
And try to find humor in almost everything, because almost everything is funny, especially a long “cold streak” of ridiculous failures. Think about it.