How to Build Confidence to Do The Thing You’re Scared Of

How to Build Confidence to Do The Thing You’re Scared Of

By Jamie Matthewman
November 7th, 2015

So you want to know how to build confidence. I get it, I know how you feel and I also know that for many men confidence is a big issue.

It isn’t surprising because we’re led to believe confidence is one of, if not the biggest factor for success in life, whether it’s with women, at work or in business.

So the question how do I build confidence is something I’m often asked because it’s seen to be the thing that holds a lot of men back from accomplishing their biggest dreams.

So who wouldn’t want to know how to build confidence if there’s something you want to do, but think you lack confidence?

Because if this is the case, it’s likely you’re avoid the thing you really want like asking the girl out, or you’re performing below your potential but the thing is, as I’ll explain.

I don’t believe you lack confidence. It is just an idea, which if you’re accepting as a truth becomes self fulfilling, but I am of the opinion that confidence is overrated.

So if you’re looking to know how to build confidence to do something you’re scared of or you want to start performing at a higher level, this post exposes the most important misconception about confidence…it doesn’t exist.

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Ghandi’s quote is powerful.

It cuts straight to the chase, dispelling the idea that you have to feel confident before beginning something new. So this will be especially interesting to you if you’ve ever wanted to know how to feel more confident or wondered how to build confidence.

I certainly have.

For many years I thought I needed to be more confident before I could do something, a misunderstanding which presupposes any feelings of doubt have to be absent before you can do what you want.

This I found out can really hold you back in life.

Confidence vs. Competence

However it’s an illusion to believe feelings of confidence are a prerequisite for success. In fact this idea is perhaps the biggest enemy of success, because believing you need to feel adequate enough before you begin, means you probably won’t.

This means you may never explore the things in life that really excite you or get the chance to develop the high levels of competency required to make something look easy.

Starting is the only way you ever achieve the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell reports are required to become a jedi master at your chosen skill.

That said competence doesn’t equal confidence. You don’t need to be an expert to start something new.

What you need is a willingness to make mistakes, to learn from them and not let them mean anything about who you are.

This is the road to competence but I’ll reiterate – competence doesn’t equal confidence.

You can see this on programs such as X Factor. It features contestants with amazing talent, who’ve sung most of their lives and probably smashed the 10,000 hour mark. However even with a high level of competency, they doubt their own abilities.

Self doubt is the problem not a lack of confidence.

On the other side of the coin are contestants who clearly haven’t put in the time or have the talent, but have no problem getting on stage, only to wonder why the audience don’t appreciate them.

Confidence is Overrated

So it’s neither talent or practice that creates confidence.

It might look like practice equals confidence, but many sports stars who’ve practiced for years still somehow manage to ‘lose their confidence’.

How does this happen if confidence is acquired as a result of practice?

How is it that many sports stars miraculously ‘find their confidence again’ and their form recovers?

The truth is it never went anywhere, because it never existed.

It is a little like when you started to walk. If you’d needed to feel confident before you got off your hands and knees, pulled yourself up on your parent’s legs or the nearest piece of furniture, you’d still be crawling around today.

Confidence is an overrated idea. It isn’t a lack of confidence that’s the problem, it’s the stories of inadequacy you’re believing about who you are.

It’s these that get in the way of your innate courage which otherwise would have you enjoy dating, performing on stage or doing whatever it is you want to do.

Confidence Doesn’t Exist

Confidence is a concept, an idea that doesn’t exist anywhere except in language. Google’s definition of confidence is –

“Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.”

So if you believe this definition to be true, and you think you lack confidence the bottom line is you’re screwed.

You’re destined to a life of mediocrity because you’ll never get started. This mythical idea engulfs most of humanity. It’s why only a handful of people ever reach their potential or live the life they really want, because they believe they have something that doesn’t exist.

So the problem is never a lack of confidence, it’s self consciousness. An unwillingness to start something because you’re believing the feeling of anxiety is coming from something other than your thinking in the moment.

As I’ve said before, you’re are always living in the feeling of your thinking, so the reason you’re lacking confidence isn’t because you don’t have it, it’s because you’re accepting as truth ideas that tell you’re not good enough or your overly concerned other people will judge you negatively or you’ll fail.

Just Do It

You don’t need confidence, what’s required is action irrespective of how you’re feeling and agreement with yourself that you won’t make the quality of your performance mean anything about who you are.

If you can do this you’ll be well on your way to success, each step propelling you closer and closer to mastery. So if there’s something you’ve been putting off until now because of a lack of ‘perceived’ confidence. Take the first step and get the wheel of inertia rolling and you’ll see it was never as bad as you thought.

I am curious, what has a perceived lack of confidence been stopping you from doing until now?

Jamie Matthewman

About Jamie Matthewman

Jamie is the founder, main contributor and editor of The Inspired Man.

2 thoughts on “How to Build Confidence to Do The Thing You’re Scared Of

  • Del Singh says:

    Great post. I find that competence leads to confidence. Whether it’s approaching women, making sales calls, cooking, etc. You could say that they’re interchangeable.

  • Hi Del, I agree that practice leads to a higher level competency, and yet even with high levels of competency people don’t always feel confident as I point out in the post. My thinking is that confidence is a state of mind, which may seem like it’s affected by our skill levels, however confidence is an inside job created via thoughts about how capable we believe we are in that moment. There are many people who are amazing public speakers for instance who throw up before they go on stage because they’re not seeing how good they are. Does that make sense?

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