“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
What is confidence? It is the ability to match expectations with actual results. If we expect with certainty that we can do something and than aren’t able to achieve that result then feedback to self is negative. If we can do something like tie a shoe with success we become more confident that we can be achieve a result and that positive feedback reinforces our confidence.
Confidence can be increased:
1. Mastery – practicing until you have developed a demonstrated proficiency in the area you want to improve in.
2. Contribute to the success of others – help someone else develop their skills and in most cases your skill will increase as well.
3. Encouragement – getting positive feedback from someone who has skills in the area you want to improve. Using positive affirmations to help bolster your belief that you can do better are useful as well. The children’s program Bob the Builder says, “Can we build it? Yes we can!” Can we ChaCha? Yes we can!
4. Imagery – imagine what the completed result will look like. This is something that sports figures use to create a positive outcome by first doing the routine in the mind before actually doing the event. Gymnasts walk-thru their routine mentally imagining each move being perfectly executed.
5. Transferral – transform fear into excitement. The brain doesn’t interpret the difference between fear and excitement in terms of experience. The fear sensation is the same as high excitement and people think they are experiencing fear when what they are feeling is excited. A person who is about to speak before a large group says they are fearful and often it is excitement that they feel.
6. Physical management – manage the tension in your muscles and relax rather than get more tense as you are about to do something new. Confidence comes with repeated success and with that people can relax. Performing in big events, sports, appearing in front of large audiences can for the first time create physical sensations that decrease performance. Practice the mental imagery of success to bring down the tension of that big performance.
Confidence is often tested in big events, like Mountain Biking downhill at high speeds. The skill it takes to go full on and full-out on technically difficult courses requires a high degree of confidence.
Would you be willing to try a high-speed descent on two wheels?