Stop trying to gain confidence (do this instead)

Do you wish you could gain more confidence?


If we did, then we could be more like them. You know … those people who are perfectly comfortable in their own skin.

They don’t care what people think of them. They have no shame talking about what they want to achieve, and they speak easily and naturally whether they’re on stage or live video or one-to-one.

It’s like … Are they drinking special water? And can I buy it at Whole Foods?

Nope. A little tequila gives a temporary boost, but unfortunately there’s no such thing as a long-term confidence elixir….

“I just don’t feel confident.”

Most people assume they feel insecure because they’re deficient. They weren’t born with the genes, or didn’t have the right upbringing, or haven’t received the affirmation that those others have. And that’s just the way it is.

I disagree.

You can become more confident, because the way you feel now is NOT a fixed state.

(If you aren’t familiar with the difference between a fixed and growth mindset, you can read about it here. It’s critically important, so don’t skip it!)

So yes, while your confidence will grow, it’s probably not in the way you assume.

Confidence isn’t about gaining anything. It’s about losing something!

And that something is FEAR.


My favorite example:

Next week I’ll talk more about the biological and social underpinnings of fear and how to unlearn it. 

But in the meantime, look at it this way:

Does a baby crumble into a pool of tears and misery when everyone around it walks easily on two feet? Does it decide to just stick to what it knows rather than forging ahead?

Think about it.

The baby has virtually no leg strength and even less coordination. If we were in that situation, wouldn’t it seem nearly hopeless?

Would we have the fortitude to keep trying day after day, month after month, slowly building our skills and assuming we’d eventually get there?

Would we keep smiling and laughing, or would we feel ashamed and insecure each time we stumbled (especially in front of our older brother who’s skipping and running as if it ain’t no thing)?


At one point, we did all of that and more (don’t even get me started on the complexities of language acquisition or social behaviors)!

And we did it fearlessly.

That unstoppable sense of adventure and confidence with everything you do … not your present set of responses … is your innate state.


Here’s to that old you (which has already brought you so far),



P.S. Did this post help you remember a time when you did something, and looking back now it seems SO BRAVE?! I'd love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments!

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