Imagine you are standing in front of an enormous crowd trying to deliver a speech. The topic is of grave importance and people are looking forward for a heart-breaking speech. In such a situation, what will you do?
a) Take advantage of the situation and speak confidently
b) Excuse yourself and leave the stage like a coward
c) Struggle for words, stutter, stammer, end abruptly and walk away.
Majority of us has this phobia called ‘stage fear’ which makes us say “I wish the ground will open up and swallow me whole.” Most of us would resort to options (b) and (c). Very few will actually straighten themselves up and speak!
Why is that?
The problem here can be appropriately described as “low self-confidence”, a condition that makes you second-guess your potential.
What is self-confidence?
Confidence is a state of mind. It is the faith you have in yourself. It is the marriage of self-esteem and attitude. It defines your abilities, judgement and qualities.
Why do we need self-confidence?
If you want to be a successful businessman, a politician, a journalist etc. you will need a lifelong dosage of confidence. In any professional field, you would want to board a train of achievements and want people to look up to you as a leader. If you want to set yourself as an example, if you want respect, fame, attention or anything as simple as a roar of applause, you must have the self-assurance of doing things rendered impossible. If YOU won’t believe in yourself, how would you expect others to?
How do I cultivate it?
Start small: Raising self-confidence is not an overnight job. It takes time to uproot all the negativity from your mind. Start by analyzing yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. When you know where you stand and what you want, you will ultimately make a commitment of reaching a place where you wish to be. Do what you are afraid of doing! Plan your goal carefully. Divide your plan into several short-term goals, so you can aim your target step by step. Set achievable goals.
Build a positive attitude: Always be positive about the outcomes. Even if you fail, remember there is always a second chance. Be prepared to face the consequences if the results are negative. Commit yourself to your work and tell yourself, “I can do it.” If you have stage fright, speak publicly as long as you overcome it. Have you ever noticed the positive tone with which leaders speak? Your personality should radiate positivity. Confidence in yourself makes others feel confident about you. Remember, everyday may not be good but there is something good in everyday.
Do not cross the line: there exists a fine line between self-confidence and over-confidence. If you intend to cross that line and boast people of how you are going to complete a project or win a competition, you will never make it! Over confident people are often losers. Nobody is perfect. There is still scope for improvement no matter how far you have come.
Work on your body language: keep in mind the “look and feel” formula. The happier you look, the more confident you feel. Dress up pleasantly and do not give away gestures that will make obvious your nervousness. Stand tall, sit upright and boldly express your opinion without fear. If you don’t know something, be honest and brave to admit it.
Never compare yourself with others: Each one of us is different. If your friend showcases his dancing abilities, you might excel in sports. Know what you love and love what you do. There is a fair chance of your success if you listen to what your heart has to say. Haste is waste. Planning, working and then mastering your abilities is the key. Feel content with what you have but dream for more.
Believe in your talents and fake it till you make it!