Developing Self-Confidence: Why Most People Approach It Completely Wrong


I recently came to some new conclusions about developing self-confidence, namely finding the confidence to make changes in one’s life (such as living a more meaningful life). They’re a bit unconventional (actually, they’re the exact opposite of how most people will tell you to develop confidence). I’ll share my epiphany with you first, and then tell you about a recent experience that got me there:

Many people say: first, try to build your self-confidence by convincing yourself to feel good (e.g. dress well, seek positive affirmations, etc.; and then go try to change the world).

But I realized that never worked. No matter how “confident” I felt, I could never feel confident to do what I wanted to do.

I realized, then, that this approach was completely wrong.

The key to confidence is entirely about doing things despite the fact you’re scared stiff.

It’s acting when you don’t know how to act.

It’s trying even when you’ll probably fail.

It’s ignoring your low self-confidence, rather than trying to negotiate it away.

When you do this over and over again, you realize 3 things:

  1. Failure isn’t actually that bad.
  2. You will improve and get better.
  3. You feel awesome. ( you feel a sense of liberty)

What this means is that the old idea of trying to boost your self-confidence in order to feel daring enough to do something great or make a change is entirely incorrect. Act first; your confidence will increase soon after.

Here’s how I got there:

Last semester, I decided to start a radio show at my school discussing the local start-up and tech environment. I got the idea from my friends always telling me “you have a voice that would be great for radio!”

Mind you, I was an accounting student, so I hadn’t exactly been spending my years at school preparing to host a radio show. I always liked giving speeches, so I thought “maybe doing radio is a natural extension of that desire”.

I got a talk show gig by hounding the station news producer for two weeks (sorry Nick!). Finally, I got in touch, told him my idea, and to my complete, unfettered surprise: he let me have my show.

Such began Start Up with R.C. Thornton. The layout wasn’t exactly unmanageable: ½ hour, once a week. When my excitement of having my VERY…OWN…SHOW!! began to subside, I realized something: uuuh…I actually have no idea what I’m doing.

Sure, radio is part talking; that’s the part that’s most visible to the audience. But the more I thought about it, I realized I had no idea:

  • How to write or format a radio show
  • How to know what to say at the right time (you can’t script the whole thing)
  • What kind of guests (if any) should come on the show
  • What I should ask them; how I should act towards them
  • Should I be funny, serious, goofy, stoic, crazy?

My boyish infatuation with having a second in the spotlight had subsided. I now appreciated the ineffable conundrum I had naively gotten myself into.

At one point, I thought about giving up before I tried. I couldn’t shake the feeling that my first recording would be a dismal failure. Through my tumultuous frustration, an interesting idea popped into my mind:

“Who cares if it’s bad? Just try anyway. I’ll bet you’ll screw up a few times, keep working at it; then you’ll do great”.

Ignore my insecurities? Try anyway? I guess I’ll try that; after all, I really had no other option.

I showed up to my first recording. I felt so nervous. I had spent the entire day before writing up a show format (I had no idea what I was doing, so I just made some stuff up). I had two guests calling in, and even still, standing in the lobby of the recording studio, I really had no idea what I was going to ask them.

The producer called me in (he looked calm; I tried to). We walked into this room with big, expensive-looking microphones and a sizeable mixer panel. He showed me how to talk into the microphone and a few other clerical-type pointers.

Then he turns to me, and asks:

“Are you ready?”

My answer? “You bet.” What I was actually thinking? “No way”.

The show started. The opening music faded in. The producer pointed at me. That was my cue. I started:

“Good morning ASU, welcome to the show! This is Start Up, with your host, R.C. Thornton. In tech start-up news today, raised $6 million in Series A funding from a large pool of investors. Crowdtwist’s appeal is that it provides an engagement tool that reaches customers across a number of platform, including e-mail and Facebook”.

And then? Nothing.

I completely froze.

I stared at my notes. Then the microphone. Then my producer. I shrugged and was beyond the ability to speak. I still had about 24 minutes of my 30 minute show left.

The rest of the show went pretty much like this. My guests called: my interview questions were terrible, and elicited nothing interesting from them. I talked like a stick: boring, frightened, unengaged…

The recording ended. I took off my headphones. I was sweating more than I had since I ran cross country in high school. I asked, with disappointment: “how did I do?”

“You did all right”, he said.

We spent the next half-hour going over all the things I did wrong: I cut the guests off; I asked the wrong kind of questions; I wasn’t able to be flexible (I tried to read everything from my notes); I sounded too much like an infomercial; I didn’t offer a lot of useful insight, and instead just repeated things from the news.

Some of this feedback stung: I thought I was a better public speaker than this!

This went on for 8 more sessions: I’d prepare my show, tape it, and get feedback from the producer. I tried something new with my show for each episode, notably with different types and configuration of guests.

Let’s fast-forward to the last show I did. How was it different?

  • I was really funny!
  • I had excellent insight about the topics discussed; I offered an extensive analysis in addition to presenting news of current entrepreneurial events.
  • I flowed naturally. My jokes were situational and interesting.

Basically, I was a baller. I was a great radio host. I got compliments right and left, and my producer readily admitted I had improved immensely. My classmates slowly figured out about my show, and were impressed! Not only has my radio persona improved, my general public speaking, writing, and informal communication abilities have skyrocketed.

All of this because I tried to host a radio show, despite that I at first had next to no confidence in my abilities to do a good job. I ignored fear, and it paid off in spades.

I could’ve tried to boost my confidence the old-fashioned way. I could’ve said “R.C., don’t worry man, you’ll do great!”. I could’ve worn my 3-piece suit to the studio. I could’ve tried to look cool or talk a cool game. I could have “waited” until I felt enough confidence, like so many people try to do.

But none of that would have prepared me for my first 30 minute radio show. If I had relied on requiring a perfectly sound sense of self-confidence prior to going on air, I never would have. Start Up with R.C. Thornton never would have been.

And that’s the lesson I want you to walk away with:

The only way to build your self-confidence is to do something you do not feel comfortable doing.

Doing this makes you used to—and perhaps will make you prefer—being outside of your comfort zone.

This also means that the wrong way to build self-confidence is trying to talk yourself or tricking yourself into feeling good before trying to do something.

What makes you lack self-confidence? Do you think you would be bad at living your life the way you wanted, or making a crucial change in your life? Rather than talking yourself into thinking you can make the change, may I recommend ignoring your fear, and trying to make it work anyway?

I think it will make a huge difference.

Photo by Josh Pesavento

63 thoughts on “Developing Self-Confidence: Why Most People Approach It Completely Wrong”

  1. Hey R.C., great post!

    You’re absolutely right about how moving forward despite fear is a key to building self-confidence. That idea has become a major factor in how I live my life, and it has made all the difference.

    There’s one thing I’d add that maybe some readers will find useful: it can be toxic to our self-confidence to compare ourselves with others. Remember that your star role-model has followed a different path and it’s likely they’ve had far more practice than you at your chosen skill, _so far_.

    I used to do this all the time: “That kid is 16 and graduating from MIT? I must be worthless!” or, more recently, “Tim Ferriss is only 5 years older than me. There’s no way I can catch up!”

    But who cares? Don’t compare, don’t compete. Just work on yourself and your goals on your time table. You’ll keep your self-confidence up and have way more fun.



    1. That’s a good point about not comparing oneself to others. Interestingly enough, I was just at an entrepreneurship pitch contest last night, and I hadn’t considered pitching my startup until a few seconds before the guy next to me said “get up there and pitch!”. I figured that everyone else there had thought long and hard about their pitch, and would probably do better than I would.

      Turns out, I won 2nd place in the contest. Had I just been too worried that other people might be better than me, I never would have tried.

      1. That’s a perfect example of nearly letting some other people hold you back. I wonder how many others didn’t pitch for just that reason? Good for that guy next to you for cheering you on!

        Thanks for sharing, and a big congrats on taking 2nd place!

  2. I like your style, you just inspired me to do something. :) By the way, you may have lacked confidence but you had plenty of the 2 things I think are most important in succeeding in any area of ones life: #1 Resourcefulness, and #2 Resilience. With these 2 things you can conquer the world, and it sounds like you’re on your way. ;)

  3. RC, thanks for sharing this story! Because you know what? I needed it at this VERY MOMENT. This morning I woke up and was thinking to myself, “I’ve got all these great ideas and things I want to do, but I knock myself and say I won’t ultimately be good enough to do them”

    That’s bullshit.

    I’ve been wanting to start an interview podcast both with audio interviewas and video interviews for a long time now, and have simply felt like I’d mess it up, wouldn’t ask the right question, cut my guests off, be boring, say something stupid, etc. And your experience just goes to show that sure, maybe in the beginning there will be some bumps, but practice makes perfect. And everything from our projects our or personal lives to our relationship takes practice, and improvement to be all it can e.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!
    – Lauren :)

    1. Exactly. People overvalue the potential negative effects of failure, and allow that to keep them from trying.

      I’ve found that by allowing myself to fail, I not only increase my self confidence, but I also gain the respect and admiration of those who are better than I am. For example, I recently moved to Hartford, CT. I’ve only been here for a month, but I’ve managed to become involved in the local entrepreneurship community, including planning for the upcoming StartupWeekend in Hartford (

      Even though I’m not the “best” when it comes to being involved with the professional and entrepreneurship scene in Hartford, I think enough people in positions of power have recognized my resilience and genuine desire to help out. The old me would have just worried these people would find it silly that I was reaching out to them. With my new attitude, I’ve made friends and connections fast, and am having a great time.

  4. Super article. From personal experience, I find self-confidence ebbs and flows over time. Lack of self-confidence can begin to emerge as we age- but your lesson holds true ” Do something you do not feel comfortable doing” – being outside your current comfort zone can be exhilarating and rewarding. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I completely agree. I feel my confidence recedes when I spend less time on an activity. For example, I’ve always been naturally shy. If I go a week or two without going out of my way to meet and talk to new people, I start to feel really shy and nervous about doing so. But if it’s something I do continuously, I usually feel pretty good about doing it.

  5. I agree. This is awesome, and so relevant to my life right now. This week, for the first time, I taught a lesson to young children. There were 55(!) of them between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. I was really nervous and felt unprepared, but I pretty much knew that I had no other choice. It turned out fine. It wasn’t *fantastic* but it wasn’t the epic fail I imagined it would be either. And afterwards I realized that I kind of enjoyed it :) A little bit of challenge is always good for the soul.

    1. There you go, living out the true way to bolster confidence and comfort! I must admit that I empathize with your nervousness–I can’t imagine trying to hold the interest of that many kids at one time.

  6. This is exactly what i was looking for!
    Thanks RC for sharing you’re wonderful experience,
    Gettin’ out of comfort zone….sounds really tough,but i’m going to go for it! :)

  7. I’ve been looking for an answer for why I haven’t been able to regain my confidence, and this has been an eye-opener! I’ve been doing everything WITHIN my comfort zone and all the superficial changes (ie. clothes, hair, blah blah blah). Thanks for this post, Rick!

  8. I absolutely agree to what all you said! Unless we try, there is no success or confidence that we can do it.

    Very interesting and inspiring post.. :)

  9. I think this is the “truth” I’m afraid to put into practice. I really liked that the outcome of your story was a positive one, as that shows me that I too can learn a lot from doing something I’m afraid of. I’m a fairly timid person and I usually load up on research before trying anything new in order to avoid messing up, but this post is making me feel like learning to just bite the bullet and give things a try may be good after all. =)

  10. Thanks for making my day. This article boosted my going through the day with a smile.
    Though it’s much closer and realistic to what I also experienced to be a way to change your life, namely not to fake self confidence before acting, but rather acting and see how it goes. But for me, this doesn’t always work. Maybe it’s also because of the environment you grew up in, the people who influenced and formed you while you were a kid, society as a whole, etc. Just like in that Validation move by Kurt Kuenne.
    What I mean is that if I were in your case, the producer would have said at the end of the show “ok, it was good…but we can’t do it anymore” actually meaning “you really suck and we can’t let our ratings go down with your show”. What I mean here is that I don’t know where the limit line is between you and the people around you. And more often then not, self confidence is – if not defined, validated by others – and if you were thought that others validate your actions and results, how do you know what your worth is if your worth is related to other’s inputs ?

    But going on a positive side again, I agree that dealing with fear will boost your self confidence. because it’s actually fear that holds you back: fear from failing, fear from being rejected, fear from this, fear from that. But “ignoring” is a strong and dangerous word. It’s not ignoring fear that one should do, because that fear that you ignore (i.e. “push aside for now”) will come back another time, more powerful than before. And if you keep doing that at some point it will have so much power over you, that you won’t know where to start dealing with it if, at some point, you decide you _really_ need to change something. I think it’s rather a matter of accepting your fear and act in spite of it. And it will go away once it has no anchor inside you anymore, at which to grab to. At least this is the conclusion that my experience brought me to. And the deeper the fear is, that you accept you have and that you deal with, the greater you will rise after getting over it. Just like in Batman Begins when the dude deals with his fear of spiders.

    Anyhow, thanks for all the nice posts here, great blog and very inspirational website, in the true sense of the word.

    1. I think you make some interesting points. Let me elaborate on a few things you mentioned-

      You mention that ignoring fear is dangerous, but I would stand entirely behind the way I phrased it in the article. I have found that my success in life (be it with meeting friends, working on my start up company, my blog, and my radio show) has been directly proportional to the number of times I was willing to take risks, and as such ignore fear.

      For example, when I got in touch with Peter Clemens (the owner of this blog) to post my first article (not this one), I was “worried”. I felt like doing a bad job could potentially tarnish my reputation as a blogger. I felt “fearful” that he would reject my article…and even when he did post it, I was “fearful” it would get tons of negative feedback. My first article here did okay…not exceptional, but not bad. Even still, I “feared” that my article may not have “been good enough” to merit future postings. But actually, Peter’s feedback was motivational and helpful, and in many senses led directly to the article you see here.

      Think about all of those points I felt “fearful”. If I hadn’t ignored the “fear” I felt at any of those points, I simply would never have started writing articles here, and you and I would never have had this conversation. I ignored the fact that I could be open to criticism at any of these points, and decided to try it anyway.

      1. I wish to thank you for the advanced arguments on how to handle FEAR in an attempt to build self confidence. All the suggestions put forwards are laudable. But, in all, my thinking had been that, whether one ignores fears or evaluates fear, the fact still remains, there is fear to deal with in order to gain self confidence.

        As such, I am of the opinion that, (the method that worked for me) in order to deal with fear, one has to, first acknowledge that there is fear. The next thing is to deal with the fear once and for all, so that you don’t have to meet it again. That is trying to break the mystery surrounding the unknown which is preventing you from achieving the next level that you are aspiring to be. So, it is neither ignoring or evaluating the fear that might be the solution. Rather, dealing with the fear and /or overcoming the fear should be the key word.

        This is because, “he who runs from a fight, lives to fight another day”. As such, if you ignore the fear, it does not mean that it doesn’t exist. You would have to meet it another time. If you evaluate the fear, and it is more than your capacity, it means you are likely to give in to the fear. That is to say, if you are overwhelmed by the result of your fear evaluation, you are likely to say, I can not do it.

        But I think and hope that the way to treat the fear of the unknown, is to confront it, deal with it, and overcome it once and for all. Remember, if you dont confront something which is obstructing your progress, you can not over come it. After all, not until you confront your enemy face to face, you can not overcome it. It is the face to face confrontation that would send a signal to the enemy (fear) that, you don’t have a place for him/her in your life, so he/she should not venture you again.

        Therefore, I think, in order to put our fears behind us and move forward in the pursuant to our goals by breaking new grounds, we need to confront our fears and overcome them, by engaging in the very things that we are afraid of, repeatedly, and the fears that surround it would vanish!!!!!

        All in all, I am very grateful to all of you for sharing your thoughts. The thoughts have been very inspiring. please keep it up!!! Thanks.

    2. I agree with some points here – fear is certainly a Sign. It’s there to keep us alive after all. We have to evaluate it carefully – is it helping us or hindering us. Then we can make a decision about it. Good comment. :)

  11. Totally true. While there are situations that require careful preparation (brain surgery, etc) there are many things in life where you can jump in and go for it!

    1. Hey Steven,

      I think what you’re saying is right, but I think I should clarify a bit. I would encourage everyone to ignore their fears and try to do those things they find important to them, but I don’t mean to suggest that one shouldn’t try to prepare. I think what you find (at least what I’ve found) is that it’s inefficient to attempt to learn something by doing it without preparation. So, for example, if I hadn’t spent the hours researching and preparing that first show (as misguided as the efforts were), the producer would have said “You didn’t even try to make this work; don’t come back again.”

      The point I want to make is being willing to take the leap when the only things holding you back are 1.) fear, and 2.) things you don’t know because you can’t know them without trying to do them. Think of it like starting a company for the first time. If you’ve never done it before, you probably still feel like you don’t know what to do, even though you’ve spent hundreds of hours preparing your business plan, doing market research, meeting partners, etc. You can only know so much by just reading and talking to people. Nothing will teach you how to run a company, short of actually running one.

      At that point, if your problem is just “I fear”, why not try to do it? Ignore your fears, find a way to try in a manner that hedges your financial exposure, and give it a try.

      Note how that’s contrasted from something you actually do need to know, but don’t. Let’s say you’ve done no market research, and as such you fear that your company won’t be successful. That may be valid; and you likely ought to do market research.

    2. It was never the issue of not jumping into the lion’s mouth. By not ignoring fear I didn’t mean actually not doing stuff which you’re afraid of. I was just trying to make the difference between “ignoring by putting aside” and “ignoring by accepting”.

      What I meant was:

      ignoring fear by putting it aside is just postponing fear, not getting over it; which will lead to bigger fear later in life. it may help you a little bit, but on the long run it will not solve the root of the problem.

      ignoring fear by accepting it, by accepting you have it (you know as they say, the first step into solving a problem is accepting you have a problem) will solve the root of the problem, because it’s actually the fear you want to get rid of; and not as much as getting rid of the fear but being conscious about it and overcoming it.

      Dealing with fear is the answer, for sure, but the approach you take related to fear is the key. It’s just like when you try to do something and there’s some guy standing beside you always annoying you: you can, at the surface, ignore him but inside you will still not be able to concentrate. Or maybe you will, for a while, but overall this guy will have power over you with his attitude. Or, you can accept he’s there, accept his always bla-bla-ying and trying to do your stuff in spite of that. it’s just a matter of mental state, really.

      And I bet that’s also what you did by jumping into this or that, which makes you fear.

      Anyway, overall I never argued with the post and I 100% accept what you wrote. it’s just that English is not my native language and have a hard time express ideas at such level. Sorry if I didn’t make myself understood.

      Thumbs up!

      1. I see what you mean. An entirely valid point! I think I actually better like the wording “accepting your fear”.

        And no worries about arguing (though you weren’t). Even if you had been, since I’m giving advice, it’s important to be able to back it up when people ask questions. Comments like yours make ideas stronger, since it helps me think of these concepts in a manner I’d not thought before.

        Thanks for taking the time to write extensive comments!

  12. I totally had a similar life experience this year. Thank you for sharing. I started a blog about people accepting themselves and growing as a person.

  13. I am an actor in New York and we have a saying “Fake it til you Make it!”
    Act like you know what you’re doing….just do your best. Put on your Nikes and Just Do It.
    It works.

  14. I’m a 20 y/o IT admin/programmer for a Real Estate company in BC, Canada. I had some of the lowest confidence imaginable, and when I started this job I had to go out of my comfort zone and do 15-20 minute public speaking bits in front of roughly 100 REALTORs every so often to address technology and security, what’s new in IT, Tech Tips, etc at sales meetings. This has helped me immensely with my confidence beyond belief and every time I go up in front of this group, it becomes easier and easier to talk in front of a large group. I did some public speaking in University which is where the bulk of my public speaking knowledge comes from, and this also helped me too. Thanks for the fantastic article!

      1. Thanks! It took a lot of courage, and one thing that I found that helps me focus and calm down is cracking jokes sometimes in my presentations. It makes me laugh which in turn makes me more calm, and it reminds me the audience is still with me when I’m talking. Another thing I learned (and this is an age-old technique) is that rehearsing in front of a mirror is more than OK! It forces you to realize some of the actions you do while publicly speaking and gives you a chance to create a routine and effectively eliminate said actions if that makes sense.

    1. Brandon, your story is a perfect validation of the right way to expand and increase confidence! Going way outside of your comfort zone is definitely the best way to work on public speaking. Did you start to find it fun after a while, as opposed to frightening?

      Thanks for reading!

  15. Fantastic post. I was actually discussing this very topic with a friend recently. We were comparing notes on how we experienced/generated confidence within ourselves and I realized that my way of doing it may be construed as morbid.

    For example, when I have self-doubts, I think to myself: “I accept that I’ll probably fail. Having accepted this fact, I’m going to do it now and try to prove myself wrong. Because when I die, I don’t want to think I accepted failure without having even made an attempt.”

    I relate all major decisions to my deathbed and ask myself: “When I recall my life, will I be proud of myself for having made this decision?” This gives me TONS of courage and reminds me that the next few minutes are mere moments in the expanse of my life.

    This way of thinking probably is a more morbid construction of your points but acknowledging failure and then accepting the challenge of proving yourself wrong is a thrill. If you succeed, it’s always a step forward. And even if you do fail, it’s never a step back, just always net-zero. It’s sort of like saying I’m going to walk in without any expectation and try my damndest anyway.

    1. Love this outlook. We must always ask: ‘Will this move me towards or away from my goals?’ then decide. Failing if we do go for it is only an opportunity to learn. :)

  16. hi RC I have this problem since my child hood….i am trying to get away from this but i couldn’t and this is the main reason for my failing :(

    1. Hey Di-

      Just keep working on it. Take a small step at first- ie something small that puts you slightly outside of your comfort zone. As you get used to–and in fact, start to embrace–ignoring fear and preferring action, those things you used to fear actually become your default way of acting.

      Start with something small to build your confidence, and keep working up!

  17. You just made my day! Many Thanks for sharing! Respect for the way you ignored your fears. I am feeling so much energized now. Must admit, I used to waste so much time fearing about the possible things that would make my plans a disaster, but now I am really ready to put aside all fears and give it my best.

    Thanks again!

    1. That’s good! I’m glad you’re ready to do that! Taking the first step is the hardest (as it was for me with my show), and it gradually becomes easier–and fun!

  18. This is a great article. And it made me think of this quote by Dale. So I wanted to share it will the rest of you because it summaries this post perfectly.

    “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
    Dale Carnegie

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Yes, that’s the first step. But then, there’s also need of being aware of your fear, knowing exactly which fear in order to overcome it. And being aware means being conscious about yourself, being aware of yourself. I think it’s wrong to only establish a goal you want to achieve and do everything it needs to be done to achieve it, regardless of the damages you could do to yourself and others. You have to know yourself, know what obstacles (fears) hold you back and overcome them, that’s the primarily goal. And if you do that, you’ll be able to achieve anything – everything – not just this or that goal. You’ll know how to handle fear. And this you can only achieve by being self aware of you and your actions. Just like Socrates said: “Know yourself and you will know the whole Universe”, then, truly, nothing will be able to hold you back.

      1. Great comment. So true, we have to be aware before we can decide what we want. This starts with awareness and then leads to creating an open and positive mindset. Then plans can be made. So many people have strived for an achievement only to find that once attained it has no joy for them. Why, because they didn’t know their WHY. :)

        1. Unfortunately, what I’ve seen and keep seeing all around me every day (including myself of course, we all have issues :) is that people don’t want to be aware, they don’t want to be conscious. It’s a veery long story as to why and how this manifests, not suitable for a comment to this great article, but I can tell you, people are very ignorant nowadays. If, for 2500-3000 years kids were learning philosophy in school, now, if a discussion gets in that direction, if it gets a little philosophical, people usually drop the subject, they say “come on, we’re just in an infinite loop now, this goes nowhere, etc”. And you actually do enter an infinite loop, the moment one or the other who is part of the discussion hits their own limits, which we of course all have. This, because we’re not really open to new, just on the surface.

          1. I agree – people find it strenuous to THINK! It’s why myself and a group of friends started a Philosopher’s Club. We debate all kinds of subjects with good humour – although it can become quite heated because, as you point out, we ALL have our limits. Good talking with you. :)

    1. Unfortunately we meet up every Tuesday evening. However, I am toying with the idea of creating a blog version for other like minded people. :)

  19. This is really nice especially having someone cheer you up after your first attempt.

    I had just started talking about the condition I have and surprisingly was invited to a TV show with a Dermatologist and an man (who’s been running his organisation for about 3years), it was my very first time on TV and in front of many cameras. I was very tensed not knowing what to say or do, I tried an excuse to walk away, but it didn’t work, I hoped that one of them could talk to me and yes the man did, but simply told me that he doesn’t think I can do the work am getting into as he sees no confidence & boldness in me. We finished from the show which I know was not good, he walked up to me again and said, I don’t think you can do this job, he asked me if I know that it involves much of public speaking and all, that he saw no confidence at all, that I could hardly talk. He was very hard on me that I asked him, what was it like the first time you were on TV? He didn’t answer me, I asked again, do you know this is my very first time and instead of encouraging or guiding me through it, you are condemning me?
    Truth, his attitude helped me so much as I decided there and there to get better with it and not chicken out.
    A year or so down the line I was on TV with him again and he ended up with excuses why he didn’t do well, that he has been off TV for 3months, I didn’t understand his excuses at all, but learnt that as I was facing my fears and getting better on it, his assumed confidence was actually no confidence

    I have also learnt to cheer myself up after any presentation or speech no matter how bad I think it is, then pick up feedback’s and constructive criticism and work on them for a better work. i don’t see failure, I see mistakes – that I have got priceless experiences from. It has really built my confidence

    1. Thanks Ogo, it’s exactly what I was referring to in my comments, but because my English is not so good, I couldn’t express it in the right way.

  20. Fear in it’s real form is a natural instinct which is our bodies unique response to danger but when we are clogged, i.e. not functioning properly fear does subconsciously manifest. The key here, like you say R.C. is to learn to differentiate the real from the fake and completely ignore those fears. Working on yourself to develop the skills so you can actually remain unaffected by these irrational fears does take time but is so worth it.

  21. I agree with you…to a point. However, I don’t think it would hurt to do both simultaneously. You know? Using positive thinking techniques PLUS confidence building clothing PLUS forcing yourself to fight the fear and face the situation head-on .

    But I do agree with your overall point. Self-confidence follows actions that actually mean something. You can’t trick your own subconscious into feeling it; it kinda knows what you’re up to. But you can do something that is scary and exciting and that will really build your self-confidence. Only by doing can you change, however. Words, in the end, are meaningless without action. But words and actions together? There in lies the power of humanity.

  22. well.. most people are trying wrong and wrong methods ,… the only way to become self confident in the real sense is to change your negative beliefs and develop the required skills !!!!

  23. This article made me smile :)

    I’ve wanted to improve my confidence in public speaking for so long now and just generally develop my self-confidence at work etc and I’m glad I came across this blogpost because it’s similar to the concept of ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’. I admit, sometimes I used to try and talk myself out of doing something because I would think about it too much purely because I wasn’t confident – your story was an inspiring one, thanks for sharing!

  24. Nice one sir! Honestly, the more we understand that paying attention to fear is a serious success-inhibitor, the more successful we will become. Taking Nike’s advice to “just do it” no matter how we feel about our confidence level is the best self-confidence booster and training we can give ourselves. Thanks so much. Your story is both inspiring and insightful.

  25. Hey R.C.,

    Thanks for sharing this article. I’ve found myself in positions where fear overtook me and I dropped all plans of moving forward with my ideas. And, I think it is the same with motivation. I once read that action precedes motivation. You don’t get motivated and then do something. You do something and then motivation follows, and this helps you to do more things. So, in that sense, I could relate to this article.

    Thank you once again.

    Kind regards
    Varsha S

  26. This just hits me a lot. I just realized how much of the learning opportunities I’ve lost for not facing my fears — thinking, I’m not prepared, yet. I was actually almost bashed for some of the people and activities I let down. Indeed, I believe facing your fears is better than doing nothing, waiting that you’ll improve, eventually. The next time someone will ask me to do something I’m not yet confident doing, I will try to do it… For a ‘change’.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences to us, R.C.. This can bring positivity to those who are hesitant to go out of their boxes.

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