Confidence is the single most important skill that leads to a successful life.
That’s right, confidence is a skill. That’s great news for everyone since it means that anyone can learn how to be confident.
If you want to master a valuable skill, like confidence, you need to start from the basics, the absolute fundamentals. Once you learn those fundamental parts, the rest is easy.
Lucky for us, there are only 2 fundamentals of confidence.
1. Self Love
If you want to be confident, you have to have self-love first. Self-love is the act of loving your true self without the judgments and impressions of society.
Most people fail miserably at this.
They get prestigious jobs because that’s what their parents wanted. They wear clothes that other people say are cool. They eat and drink and like the hobbies that society tells them is acceptable.
It’s the exact opposite of self-love. You’re acting in a way that doesn’t align with who you are deep down a person. You’re accepting the opinions of others for your own life, even if you don’t agree with them.
Someone who really loves themself wouldn’t do that. They wouldn’t follow other people to act in a way that doesn’t make them happy.
To have self-love, you must put yourself first. You must decide what makes you happy and fulfilled.
Then just do it.
Ignore what society tells you to do and do what you want to do.
Pick the job that you want and that would make you happy. If that’s making loads of money as a prestigious lawyer, do it. If that’s becoming a YouTuber, do it. If that’s starting your own business, being a teacher, engineer, accountant, whatever: just do it. This is a job that you’re going to work in for a long time, so you should pick something that you enjoy.
Self-love also applies to other aspects of your life. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and sexy. Suits, dresses, plain t-shirts and hoodies, whatever you want.
Do the activities that you find fun and make you happy. Workout if you want to. Play video games if you want to. Go to the mall if you want to. Go to events if you want to. Choosing what you want to is a practice of self-love.
When you choose to love yourself in this way, your confidence will come as a byproduct of your lifestyle. You’re doing things that you love to do and as a result, your life becomes a lot happier. The good feelings give you energy, strength, and confidence.
You don’t care what other people think because you’re enjoying what you’re doing so much. If they hate it, you don’t even notice because you’re so happy and having such a great time. They’re not happy with you? Who cares! You’re happy with yourself.
Your confidence builds up even more because you see the strength you have. You were strong enough to ignore the naysayers and the haters to choose to do what you wanted. Very few people have the courage to do that.
Self-love puts energy back into your life.
You’re living your life for you.
2. Outcome Independence
The first fundamental of confidence, self-love, was all about inward confidence. Loving who you are on the inside and doing what makes you happy. The second fundamental, outcome independence, is about outward confidence — bringing confidence to the actions you take on the outside.
People who lack confidence often have a lot of fear. They fear that taking action might result in pain or failure. They are dependant on the outcome.
Fear can come up in any part of your life. It could be with your career, whether you’ll get the job you’re looking for or not. It could be with relationships, where you’re too scared to ask out that guy or girl you like. It could be for trying something new, like learning to dance, fearing that you’ll be ridiculed or laughed at.
Living in this way holds you back from happiness. You’re so anxious, so fearful of all the bad things that might happen that you never give yourself a chance to act.
But if you never act, you never know what good things might happen. You never experience anything new. You never grow.
Action is literally life. Without it, nothing really happens in your life.
When you live in fear, your sense of success and happiness is dependent on the result of your actions. You’ll be happy if you make a lot of money or if the person you aks out says yes or if become an amazing dancer. But if any of those things were to fail, you’d see yourself as unsuccessful and unhappy.
To break free of this and become confident, you must change your mindset to be outcome-independent.
Stop measuring your actions based on the outcome and start measuring them based on the effort.
Did you contribute a lot at work to aim for a promotion? Great, that’s a big win for you! Even if the promotion doesn’t work out the first time, you’re confident that you’ll get something in the future.
Did you ask out that guy or girl you fancied? Awesome, that was totally courageous! Whether they said yes or no, you still had a good time giving it a shot and being more confident than 99% of people out there.
Did you try learning to dance? Cool, that’s a lot better than most people who never try unless they’re drunk.
Without taking action, you have a 0% chance of succeeding. Action always gives you a better opportunity.
When you take action, you never lose. Your action taking requires courage and that courage builds up your confidence. You’re never afraid to try, never afraid to give it your best shot. You know that in the end, even if you don’t get your ideal outcome, you’ll have gained a learning experience and practice with your courage.
Courage is worth more than everything in the world. You could have money, fame, and success, but without the courage, your life will be boring and meaningless. But with courage, you can accomplish anything and experience everything you’ve ever wanted.
Be strong and take action. Don’t be afraid of the result. Focus on the effort. The fact that you put in the effort means you’re already a success. Nothing can hurt you because every single one of your actions is a win.
The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris