If you think you can, you are right, If you think you can’t, you are right.
John Ford (American industrialist)
We need some confidence in many situations (e.g. at an exam, sports competition, first date, driving test, or when performing in front of an audience). So we will mostly focus on how to strengthen and fortify confidence, and touch upon overconfidence, but let’s start with what confidence actually is.
What is confidence?
Essentially, confidence means believing in yourself, believing that you are ok and that you will be ok, in whatever situation you find yourself. In fact, we all have confidence, but we take it for granted in many situations and usually focus on those in which we don’t have it. For example, you may take your confidence as given when you are with your family, and fret about a lack of confidence when among your colleagues. So, confidence is already there, although perhaps not to a degree you want in any given situation. The good news is that we can change our level of confidence and expand it to other situations and activities. The exercise below that utilises an associative link (see diagram) can be a step in that direction. The rationale for this is that we can’t change our level of confidence at will. However, we can bring an image to our mind at will. So, if we make a link between an image and confidence, by bringing that image to mind we can bring confidence too.
- Recall an experience in which you have felt confident (e.g. playing with a child, dancing, chatting to a friend, playing football, writing something, cooking, etc.).
- What does confidence look like? Make an image of it (give it a shape, colour and location within the body).
- Memorise that image and bring it up in situations in which you need more confidence.