“Life is not easy for any of us. But what you need is perseverance and, above all, self-confidence. You have to believe that you are gifted for something, and that, this thing, you have to reach it whatever the cost.” – Marie Curie
We often hear that self-confidence is an important driver of success. Indeed, if we believe in our ability to act and judge our actions, then, in theory, nothing can stop us. Thus, being convinced that we can face life’s challenges would allow us to achieve any of our goals.
The characteristics of self-confidence
- Rely on our past experiences: Initially, and contrary to popular belief, self-confidence is not based on a way of thinking, but on the actual experiences lived by each person, so as not to act in a thoughtless and dangerous way. To trust oneself blindly and excessively would be to go against our survival instinct. Moreover, self-confidence can be defined as a kind of prediction, in the sense that the idea of confidence first resides in our mind before being applied to an action, which also entails an element of uncertainty. This is why relying on past events allows us to predict with greater accuracy the consequences of our actions.
- Believing that we have sufficient resources: To this same idea is added the need to have sufficient resources to face a new situation. Indeed, if it is impossible to guess in advance the results that we will obtain, self-confidence allows us to predict that we have sufficient means to succeed in everything we undertake. No matter what barriers you may face along the way, you have the deepest confidence that you will be able to adapt to them and move forward until you reach your goal.
- More developed in certain fields: Another characteristic of self-confidence is that it is often specific to a field, in which one is more comfortable, often in correlation with the fact that the experience acquired there is more important than in another sector. However, this confidence is never completely established, and is often shaken by bad experiences, because it is anchored precisely in reality and therefore accompanies our thoughts, which fluctuate throughout our existence.
- To conclude, self-confidence is the result of all experiences, good or bad, and of all the knowledge that is built and deconstructed at the same rhythm of the events that occur in each person’s life. It is finally a prediction of what we are more or less capable of doing and consequently of our future performance and the results we will be able to obtain.
Why develop self-confidence?
Not to get discouraged after a failure, to face anxiety, stress, others, but also to promote commitment, motivation or the use of good strategies, to assert one’s ideas, one’s abilities in front of an audience or in one’s work, to evolve and blossom in daily life are all examples of what self-confidence can bring.
A lack of self-confidence, on the other hand, quickly leads to a rejection of the unknown and thus a preference for routine, for what is familiar and comfortable. Moreover, this can lead to a blockage that prevents us from acting, accompanied by devaluing and negative thoughts that can go as far as an “illusion of incompetence”, the result of a discrepancy between our real potential and our predicted skills. At the same time, positive thinking tells us that imagining failure leads us to failure, but that the opposite is also true. It can therefore be interesting to allow ourselves to be happy without dreading bad events, especially if we are convinced that we will be able to cope with them.
Finally, self-confidence supports the will to triumph and can be defined as the basis of motivation and perseverance, but also as the confidence that one places in one’s own abilities to achieve the goals one has set. In social and professional life, it represents the qualities that we show to others, and that will allow us to convince them, but also to create stable, even intimate relationships.
However, being sure of what we think is rarely innate. It is a quality that often requires effort and therefore calls for working on one’s self-confidence.
Work on your self-confidence
Whether it is fear of others’ gaze, criticism, feeling inferior, misunderstood or simply doubting oneself, lack of self-confidence is common and it is rare to learn how to develop it.
- Taking risks: Naturally, self-confidence develops when effort or risk-taking is rewarded with success and when the environment is stimulating and supportive enough to reduce stress and allow us to dare to let go, forget about doubts and ignore our fears. In general, this allows us to admit our potential, to stop generalizing negative experiences but also to stop giving ourselves reasons for not being confident. Thus, learning to be self-confident often starts by leaving one’s comfort zone and ends with the knowledge that one has of one’s own abilities.
- Develop your knowledge: However, in order to have confidence in our ability to adapt to new situations, it is necessary to accumulate experience. Indeed, approaching something new often generates stress due to a feeling of insecurity because it is an unknown field and it is impossible to know what and how one will be able to adapt. The habit is finally a first step towards self-confidence, provided that you dare to take the risk to start. It is therefore necessary to be fully and actively involved in order to acquire knowledge and consequently self-confidence, while keeping a stimulating margin of uncertainty, which is the thrill of new experiences.
- Learning from experience: Gaining experience is good, but going further and learning from it is better. Indeed, understanding the reason for our failures is the best way to learn and evolve towards success. We must not limit ourselves to what we know, but go to the error and deduce the causes and consequences, in order to improve our coping strategies and better predict events. In the same way, having a variety of experiences allows us to obtain the best possible adaptation capacity. Indeed, having several possible solutions allows us to face all the situations that may arise. If, in addition, this acquisition of experience is voluntary and active, then we already know that we will be able to adapt even before taking the risk. On the other hand, if it is important to be daring, the goal is not to put oneself in danger and it is therefore necessary to measure and choose the risks that one takes.
- Finally, one should not limit oneself to what one knows, but one should not blindly throw oneself into a situation that is too difficult. The acquisition of experiences must be possible in order to build little by little more accurate predictions, thanks to the confidence that we can then put in our capacities to face such or such situation. It is not an innate gift, but a learning process that evolves throughout our lives.