A spiel about self-confidence (#138)


Day highlights:

  • Took a morning walk.
  • Got to have a study date with the one and only awesome JB.
  • Played a bit of badminton (thank you for encouraging me and filming me JB).

Thought of the day:

One trait I wish I had more of is self-confidence.

For the sake of succinctness, I'll simply refer to it as confidence from now on.

While thinking on my walk today, I discovered that a lot of by behaviour is based around low confidence.

The reason why I tend to never follow a straight direction is due to having no confidence that the direction I'm following will work out.

The reason why I tend to tell people before starting a project is to validate that my project isn't crazy or stupid (as I explained in a previous post).

In general, I'm pretty sure the reason why I'm always lost in life is due to having no confidence. Or low confidence.

It even affects the way I speak to people. I noticed that I often say things to other people, partly because I want their validation, but also because I'm trying to convince myself that my words are true.

Bad habit.

Now, there are two questions that appear based on this fact.

  1. Why do I have low confidence in the first place?
  2. Now that I'm aware of it, how do I grow confidence while keeping my cockiness in check?

Answer to question 1, for me, isn't really important. It probably has to do with something that happened in my childhood or while growing up.

An observation I have based on my surroundings and a lot of my asian friends is that, confidence is generally low in asian families. I think it might have to do with our culture of always trying to be humble in some way. Like, if we always dismiss everything we do as being "normal" or "nothing important", then I feel like it would be hard to be confident about life...

Actually, I don't know haha.

Okay, I'll move on to the next question because my observations are only based on personal experience and might not be the most relevant.

Now, for the interesting question: How do I grow confidence?

Back after a 10 minutes google / reddit search

I seriously did not know how to answer this.

I had no clue and after 10 minutes of Googling, I still have no clue.

However, as I was thinking with myself, I came to a few conclusions.

Okay, first off, what exactly is self-confidence / confidence for me?

Self-confidence is my belief in myself and my abilities.

Not to be confused with self-esteem, which is less related to my abilities and more related to how I appreciate myself and value myself.

Do I have no confidence at all? Of course not, when I thought about it, there are a few things that I am pretty confident about.

Badminton and mathematics are two of them.

There are even smaller less obvious ones that I'm so confident about that I don't even think of them.

I'm confident about walking, dressing myself, taking my shower, brushing my teeth (with both hands !), hanging up the clothes, etc.

These are all things I'm confident about and that most people are confident about doing.

It's sounds silly when I list them out, but I did it because I know that, in the world, there might be some people who are unconfident about these.

Just like how I used to be confident about running... before all my injuries and now I'm terribly unconfident about running !

Or let's say, when I broke my wrist in 3rd grade of high school, I suddenly became unconfident about washing the right part of my back when taking my shower.

And why am I so confident about these little things?

The answer is simple: I successfully did them over and over again.

When I ran my first 5km in high school, easily, pain-free. My brain associated running a 5km with something I can do and with ease on top of it.

There was a connection that was made.

The next time I had to run a 5km, my brain referred back to that connection and told me "yup, that's definitely something you can do" and I was therefore confident in my abilities to run it.

But what happened when I ran a 5km while injured for the first time? I was not able to accomplish it. It was hard, it hurt.

So then, now, whenever I think about running a 5km, my brain no longer refers to the connection it made when I was in high school, it refers to the newest information which is currently "I cannot run 5km pain-free".

And this, I think, is the secret-not-so-secret sauce to building confidence.

I have to put myself in a position to succeed at the things I want to be confident about and retrain my brain to tell itself "I can do this."

A lot of things I have low self-confidence about is because I constantly failed at them and, consequently, the only references my brain has are those failures.

I guess practice makes perfect is something that applies here also !

Good day.

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