As young children, we have a strong sense of confidence. Children have not yet developed feelings like doubt or fear.
A baby observes their parents walking around and decides they want to walk too. Everyone is so excited, laughing, and cheering and is confirming to the child that they have done something unique they want to keep doing. They will fall hundreds of times and keep trying, then one day, they stay up and start their first steps into their life journey. They have succeeded in their first steps into a world full of exploration.
What we learn from our immediate family ethics and beliefs can influence how we feel about situations and people. Our peers, such as teachers, friends, and older family members, can affect our thoughts and beliefs. Unfortunately, as life progresses, we often hit speed bumps in the road and begin to lose confidence and trust in ourselves and others.
Sometimes things work well, and other times they may not. We may begin to doubt our abilities to make choices that benefit our life journey. We may begin to develop doubt and fear of failure or even fear of success.
Doubting ourselves is fear of making mistakes and taking on things that we can learn from “If failure is not an option, then neither is success” – Seth Godin
Levels of confidence or lack thereof can show up differently. You may feel confident in math or science because you were praised for your academic results. Perhaps you try a sport for the first time and don’t do very well. If we are encouraged by loved ones to try again, we might give it another go, but if someone says something like, “you’re not very good at this,” chances are we may give up before we learn that with a bit of practice, we can be really good at it and actually have some fun.
Public speaking, for example, is one of the most feared things to do for most people. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety affects about 73% of the population. We are held back by doubt and fear of rejection by our peers.
In the following article, you can see that people from all walks of life suffer anxiety at speaking publicly, musicians such as Jay Z and Beyonce, and one of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffet.
But here’s the thing...
if you never choose to try, you’ll never learn how great you could be and what a confidence builder the first time you speak and discover people enjoy what you have to say.
What you practice Grows Stronger
The good news is that low self-confidence is fixable, and you are totally in charge of making it happen. Confidence is definitely something we can develop and grow. We cannot change things like past mistakes, difficult childhoods, or critical peers, but we can learn self-confidence moving forward.
If you do not have confidence in a part of your life – it’s not your fault! You are not a victim. It is learned, and it's important to celebrate all the small "wins" you have throughout the day. It's easy to stay cozy in your comfort zone. But your comfort zone doesn't have much space for growth.
Start with one area in your life you want to feel better about and practice until you feel your confidence growing and remember, confidence is a learned choice.