The unknown and uncharted has always been scary for us human beings. It’s not the actual danger but the thought of the danger which has been a problem for as long as we can remember.
Confidence is a state of clarity, either in believing that a hypothesis or prediction is correct, or in determining that a particular course of action is the most effective. The word “confidence” has its roots in the Latin term ‘fidere’, meaning “to trust”; thus, having self-confidence means having faith in oneself.
What we wish vs what we do
The control room of us Brain is the decision maker for all our actions whether good or bad. At a given time we always make the best decision, it’s later that we judge about the accuracy.At a backdrop level we always wish for a life full of happiness, money and better relationships. And all our decisions are based on achieving that only.
However, we do have a pre-programmed reaction mechanism developed as collective and personal experiences. For example, we wish to have a million rupees in our bank account in the next 3 years, but we have bad habits of overspending, eating out, partying and showing off shopping which are by no means helping our million rupees goal. In the end what happens is we do not achieve our goal and lose some of our confidence in our capabilities.
The confidence mechanism
Confidence is not a one dimension game, it builds up with tiny habits that we do on a daily basis. The conversation with your boss, the argument with your colleague, the sleep in the night and the likes on your last insta post all contribute negatively or positively to your confidence. All these incidents keep on building layers upon layers and recall when a similar situation is faced later in life. For example it so happens with children that oftentimes we as parents don’t respect their decision of having that extra chocolate or those extra 10 minutes of their favorite video game and end up scolding them instead of making sense logically. As a result subconsciously they develop a mechanism that having enjoyment is wrong and they deny themselves of such things in future creating low confidence around their own needs and do not speak up for themselves when necessary.
Confidence and no confidence
We know from brain imaging studies that when we are thinking positively, we activate what we call “the value Areas” of the brain in regions including the striatum and prefrontal cortex. When we feel confident, we engage circuits involved in reward and pleasure and we literally feel good.We are extremely complex.
We know that our emotions, prior experiences, stress, sleep deprivation, environment, memories, values, culture, or impairment due to drugs or alcohol all play a critical role in our ability to feel confident. The confidence killers will be different for each of us, but it’s important to be self-aware of what makes you personally feel beat down so you can adjust.
How to build your confidence
1. Revisit your good memories more often
Brain imaging studies have shown that when we think positively, we activate the “value areas” of the brain—the parts of the brain that are involved in reward, motivation, and pleasure—causing us to feel better. This implies that in training ourselves to think more positively, we can increase our self-confidence.One more reason is that the thoughts which are repeated over and over cause related circuits in the brain to be strong and change brain mechanisms permanently. On the other hand less used circuits are lost when they are not practiced for long. Therefore it’s wise to think positively to ultimately achieve this state permanently. The great thought “Fake it till you make it” Should be good to go.
2. Don’t compare yourself with others
Comparison is the enemy of confidence. When you focus on how much better someone is at something than you are, you train your brain to think constantly about what you are lacking. This causes stress, which wreaks havoc on your performance, which in turn affects your confidence. By doing so we reaffirm our negative connection inside the brain and permanently change brain circuitry for bad.Instead of seeing others as competition, view them as someone from whom you can learn.
To be self-confident—and to bolster confidence in others—we should deliberately shut down our inner critic, over and over again. At the cellular level, this requires building new connections.
3. Look out for confidence killers
We all have specific confidence killers developed based on our biases, experiences, life events and lifestyle. It’s important to look out for these killer clues and be aware when we feel down because of a situation or thought.
For example we may feel down because someone has behaved in a way with us which we do not appreciate and behave negatively for the entire day or even weeks. Just remember a situation is as bad as we think of it to be. We can always choose to be positive no matter what. In the end it all comes down to how we handle our reactions and not the situation itself.
4. Practice logic and improve your knowledge
It is the most underrated talent nowadays when people are more keen to react and listen very less. Practice the habit of thinking about a situation with logic and avoid instant reaction. Train the brain to practice patience, cognitive capacity and positive memories. Our brain has this priceless capacity to change itself if we pay enough attention. In science it is called neuroplasticity which explains that our brain circuitry can be changed with practice.
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