Lack of confidence kills more dreams than lack of ability

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits said that in his recent 3–2–1 Thursday newsletter. It’s so profound and true.

Millions of people are stuck being average because of what they repeatedly tell themselves.

That’s how powerful self-talk is — it can make or break potential.
Our internal private thoughts, emotions and attitudes — shape what we think of ourselves and what we do with our lives.

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done,” says Henry Longfellow.

Influences in childhood are believed to be strongly tied to our perception of ourselves — parents, siblings, teachers, and friends, send us messages about ourselves, both positive and negative. For some reason, the message that you aren’t good enough is the one that stays with you.

People without confidence often hide away from the opportunities they need to make it in life. Their daily actions become a cycle of choices that makes it even harder to step outside their comfort zones.

They create psychological problems that consistently reinforce themselves until they are embedded deep within their brains.

Confidence is an inside job

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” ― J. M. Barrie

Validation that comes from within is a powerful motivator. We can’t change the experiences of our past, but we can do a lot to alter our thoughts and expectations of ourselves to improve our self-confidence.

To conquer your negative self-image, be more compassionate to yourself first. Don’t be too critical of yourself if you don’t meet your own expectations.

Encourage the best in yourself. Be kind to yourself. “Learning to view yourself ‘from the outside’ — that is, calmly and objectively — lets you appraise yourself not through the distortions of fear or narcissism, but through calm, fair, and objective assessment” argues Mark Tyrrell, a therapist.

Give yourself a positive-self esteem challenge. Write down every negative belief you think is true about yourself, and write down positive new habits you can start that will help you overcome them.

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with forgiveness and new routines, behaviors and actions. Confront self-doubt and turn those mental blocks into building blocks.

You can also write down other positive things about yourself, to remind yourself of everything good in your life. Recognize what you’re good at. A gratitude journal can make a huge difference.

If you tend to believe others’ perceptions about you, try to spend less time with them, or tell them how you feel about their words or actions. Often our criticisms of ourselves come from other people’s criticisms of us. Seek out relationships with people who are positive and who appreciate you.

Focus on something outside yourself that can help you build new patterns. Invest in something new — an activity you’ve always wanted to try, such as a side project, a cause or passion that excites you.

Self-confidence reflects a broader view of yourself. “Self-confidence doesn’t magically make you better at what you do, but it does prime you to take the risks necessary to achieve your goals,” writes Eric Ravenscraft.

According to Charlie Houpert, the author of “Charisma on Command,” confidence doesn’t just make you feel better, it also helps you take risks to make tangible improvements to your life.

“Internally, true self-confidence will lead to more positivity, happiness and resilience,” Houpert said. “Externally, high self-confidence will lead to taking more risks, which directly correlates with reaping more rewards.”

Building and maintaining a healthier image of yourself will provide a great psychological benefit that can prime you for action.

Many psychologists agree that positive self-esteem is a critical determinant of a healthy personality. The more you like yourself, the more confidence you have, and the more efficient you are in every area of your life.

Self-doubt is our worst energy.

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit”, says E.E. Cummings.

The best version of yourself in on the other side of fear. “To overcome fear is the quickest way to gain your self-confidence argues Roy T. Bennett.

Whatever you allow your mind to conceive and believe is what reflects on the outside. Make optimism a way of life and restore your faith in yourself.

This article originally appeared in Medium.