This assignment was sent to me by Jeff Goins. I thought it was so great that I decided it should be put here. Tell me what you think.
When I was younger, I got bullied a lot. A short and chubby redhead, I was the kid you’d see getting teased at recess. And for most of my youth, I attracted bullies who made me feel small. They got the girl, and I got anxiety attacks.
Moving into my teenage years, the sense of victimhood didnâ€™t leave me. I didn’t have much of a social life and rarely left the house. I had a pretty cynical worldview. If something could go wrong, it would.
When I started running and losing weight, a strange thing happened: I didn’t become more confident. I was still very scared and shy, and this surprised me.
I always thought I was timid because of how I looked, but the truth was I had learned to live into others’ expectations of me. I became what other people perceived me to be. And I couldn’t escape it.
This false self-image followed me into adulthood, and eventually, I realized my lack of confidence was not something I was going to grow out of. Not without a fight.
If I was going to live the life I wanted, I would have to learn to be assertive. I would have to find a way to be confident. To overcome my fears. Even if I had to fake it.
The Practice of Confidence
So I began observing confident people. I studied how they spoke and acted, what made them different from the rest of us. I watched their mannerisms and how they conducted themselves in public, and then I started copying them.
Little by little, I made daily decisions that exuded confidence. I haggled with retailers and demanded apologies from rude telemarketers. I got in peopleâ€™s faces and looked them straight in the eyes. I acted as if I believed in myself, even though I didn’t. The crazy part? It worked.
The more I faked being confident, the more I actually became confident.
After standing up to my first bully in over two decades â€” a drunk who harassed my wife at a concert â€” I felt more alive than I had in years. Although I was scared to face him, I did it anyway. To my surprise, he didn’t pound me into a pulp. He backed down and apologized.
And I walked away with an unfamiliar feeling of strength and peace that I kind of liked.
This experience taught me something: confidence takes practice. Although some people may be born with it, others have to develop it. They don’t inherit it; they have to create it.
I’ve applied this principle to other areas of my life and seen great success. Now, I regularly speak for live audiences and get asked to do interviews. I communicate with a confidence that surprises even me â€” all because I’ve learned how to practice.
Sure, I still have twinges of self-doubt, but I am growing into the person I believe I was meant to be.
Your homework this week is to emulate someone who is more confident than you are. Find someone who is bolder and stronger and observe them. Then copy what they do, even if it feels uncomfortable.
Do they never slouch? Do the same. Do they tell the hard, brutal truth right to people’s faces? Do that. Confidence isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, either. All you need is a little practice.
Everything we do in life is practice. If you constantly question yourself and wonder about your abilities, what do you think you’re doing? It’s not being humble. You’re practicing insecurity. And if you can do that as a practice, you can do the opposite.
Good luck with your assignment. Report back when in the comments when you are done.
P.S.: Check out Jeff’s ebooks The Writer’s Manifesto andÂ You Are a WriterÂ while you’re on his site. Good stuff.
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