Increase your self-belief with 3 simple questions

Increase your self-beliefTo increase your self-belief is, by definition, to increase your confidence.

Confidence is about believing in yourself. In fact, that’s pretty much the definition right there.

And I submit that we need confidence to be successful in whatever we’re doing. Because otherwise, you’re not gonna be able to accomplish very much worthy of mention in this one life of yours.

If you think that you’ve heard that before, it’s probably because people have found this to be true time and time again. So, how can you increase your self-belief, then?

Well, whatever you’re doing, there’s three things you should ask yourself…:

1. How does this align with your values?

Because, if it doesn’t really, then that probably has something to do with it. Because our confidence is always in a dialectic relationship with our commitment to whatever it is we’re doing.

Therefore, your level of commitment at any given time is largely a product of how whatever it is you’re doing is aligned with your values. If it’s not, you’re not gonna be engaged with it.

And if you’re not engaged with it, it’s not really gonna matter to you. And if it doesn’t really matter to you, how do you think your level of confidence is gonna be like?

Not exactly very high, yeah?

And I’m not talking about everyday routines that you can do perfectly well without necessarily being passionate about it, like doing the dishes or checking your email. I’m talking about bigger, ongoing endeavors here.

Checking your phone first thing in the morning is NOT the way to increase your self-belief.
But of course, if you’re a downright FB-status update-reading PRO, then who am I to argue?

So whatever your current job or project is, make sure to ask yourself how it align with your values. If it doesn’t align with your values, you might wanna reconsider your engagement with it.

But if it does, move on to question number two…:

2. What do you need to believe in this even more?

Is it knowledge?
If yes, exactly what kind of knowledge?

Is it skills?
If yes, which skills do you need to improve?

Is it habits?
If yes, what specific habits would be good to cultivate?

Or is there something you need to cut out of your life?

 

Increase your self-belief by cutting out instant gratification
Mnaaaaah…

Question number 3 will probably come as no surprise:

3. With the above in mind, what specific actions can you take right now to increase your self-belief?

– If there’s a book you need to read, what’s stopping you from finding it on Amazon right now?
– If there’s some specific info you need, what’s stopping you from looking it up on Wikipedia right now?
– And if there’s a certain skill you need to develop, what’s stopping you from googling any courses or meetups near you right now?

Et cetera.

You have all the information in the world at your fingertips. I mean, chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re online, yeah?

There’s ALWAYS, NECESSARILY something you can do to increase your self-belief. And everything else you might be telling yourself is exactly just that:

Something you’re telling yourself.

It’s only true if you keep on insisting upon being right about it. And where does that leave you?

Yeah, I’ll just answer that one: It leaves you in a place where you don’t have to take action because you’re allowing yourself to feel confused and overwhelmed instead of focused and empowered.

And believe me: That’s not exactly an attitude that’s gonna have you believing in yourself anytime soon.

In the immortal words of Steve Perry:

Don’t stop believin’.

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Why am I doing what I’m doing?

Why am I doing what I'm doing? this one quesion might change your entire life.Yeah, ever stop and ask yourself that question? ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’. Has kind of an uncanny ring to it, right?

If you haven’t, now’s the chance.

And by the way, I don’t blame you if you haven’t. It’s huge.

See, I’m not talking about those awkward situations where you find yourself pulling away on a doorknob on which it clearly says ‘PUSH’. I’m talking about the purpose behind each and every one of your actions.

So, what’s the purpose behind your actions?

Do you HAVE a purpose?

If no, why not?

Asking oneself these questions eventually leads towards that ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’.

And I’ll say it again: I’m not here to blame or judge you if you aren’t aware of any such purpose yet. Hell, it took me more than one entire third of a century to get mine figured out.

However, once I did, the path before me shone up like something that can really shine up.

Now, if you do this right, you might find, like I did, that you’re headed down an entirely wrong direction. This might instil an existential fear and anxiety in some, but it’s actually a good thing. Because now you’ll be certain of what NOT to do.

Yes, there will be a period of transition, and yes, it’s gonna be hard. But it’ll also be necessary to get where you want to go.

Like Confucius said, “No matter where you go, there you are”. But wherever we happen to be doesn’t have to dictate where we go next.

However, to know where we wanna go, this is where the aforementioned purpose is crucial. And to know our purpose, we need to be aware of our values.

I invite you to do the following exercise:

1. Write an exhaustive list of all of the major turning points in your life. Those powerful moments which really turned you and your life around for good.

It might be sudden insights, ‘eureka’-moments, an unforeseen question, reading an article, a new friendship, the death of a loved one, etc.. They should all feel more or less like the proverbial ‘point of no return’.

You might not have very many, and that’s all good. But try to go deep here.

2. Once you’ve identified these points, going back in time as far as it still makes sense to you, analyse them one by one. For each of these turning points, ask yourself exactly what it did to you. Did it challenge something in you? Did it reinforce something? Maybe a little bit of both? What was challenged, and what was reinforced? And what changed after that?

3. By now, you should see a clear pattern of single, positively connotated words that occur almost all the way through. These are highly likely to be your values. — Especially the ones that have been reinforced in positive situations, or in hard circumstances that you still handled successfully.

Whenever you’re aware of your values, the initial ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?‘ suddenly has another ring to it, doesn’t it?

If we want to live the life we deep down know that we deserve, our actions need to be aligned with our values. And if you’re working a menial job behind a desk in an anonymous cubicle in a soul-crushing corporation, chances are that you’re probably not living our your values.

So, why am I doing what I’M doing, you ask? Because it aligns with my personal values, which are independence, confidence, self-esteem, energy, strength, courage, and freedom.

What are yours?

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Are you humble or vain?

Outer values don't mean you're vain or less worth. On the contrary, they often reflect confidence.Many of us are raised into believing that humility, modesty and inner values are virtues. — And that those are superior and contradictory to being vain, selfish, and superficial.

That money not only can’t buy you love, but it’s the root of all evil. That we’re not supposed to think too highly of ourselves, and that wanting more than your average peer is “vain”,  “selfish” and “greedy”.

… And I say that’s all a huge load of life-denial.

Want six-pack abs? Of course you do!

Want a pimped-out car? Cool!

Want to be rich? Well, who doesn’t?!

Want to eat out at fancy restaurants every week? Well, count me in!

Sadly, there’s a prevalent way of thinking that allegedly, only weak individuals who try to cover up low confidence strive for these things. And that the two are incompatible contraries.

However, I’ve found the opposite to be true.

Whether you can have a humble outlook and still cultivate outer values is a matter of confidence. Because confidence is a matter of personal growth, and being able to contain presumed differences and paradoxes.

I used to think that nothing made any sense because nothing has any inherent meaning or value, and therefore, nothing mattered. And so, it didn’t matter what I did or whether I felt good, so I might as well feel miserable.

Today, I KNOW that nothing makes sense, has any meaning or value — so we have to apply our own meaning and value. I KNOW that my existence is as objectively pointless as any other human being’s. — But also, I sure do know what I like. So I’ll have some more of that while I’m here, thank you.

Non-fidence often entails envy of other people’s fortune. With thinking in terms of scarcity, pettiness and settling — rather than abundance, admiration and ambition.

When you see successful people driving cool cars, dining at expensive restaurants, working out to get slim and fit, and whatnot, those things are assuredly a reflection of confidence. — Feeling that you’re worth something, and that it’s totally cool to have nice things because why shouldn’t you be allowed to?

But they’re only brief values, not permanent ones!

… And??

Whenever we eat anything, it’s a passing pleasure. And, for that matter, whenever we have sex, watch a movie, get drunk, have fun and all-round entertain ourselves. Life CONSISTS of passing moments and sensations: Why not make sure they’re enjoyable?

Don’t get me wrong. We should, ideally, feel good about ourselves no matter what we do. But I believe it goes the other way, too.

I believe that the things we do should also make us feel good. If someone else considers them “vain”, so what?

Just because you feel good doesn’t make it right. I know. But that in itself sure doesn’t make it wrong, either.

We’re here once. (And there’s no sensible reason to believe otherwise until someone presents sufficient evidence.) So for goodness’ sakes let’s go ahead and make that one time worth looking back upon.

ACTION ITEM:

Indulge yourself. Do something you’ve been wanting to do, but didn’t because you thought it might be too vain or selfish.

If you want to be worth it, go ahead and think that you are. That’s how we grow a little.

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We don’t “deserve” anything

We don't deserve anything just by feeling, thinking and acting however we happen to do. And that's what we necessarily do all the time.Many coaches and self-development whizzes will talk about living the life you “deserve”, and how you somehow “deserve” certain things. But… You don’t deserve anything.

Because nobody does. And already, I have a good idea what most of you are thinking:

But I’ve been miserable for so many years! I deserve to be happy!” “I’ve worked so hard! I deserve money!” “I’ve never slept with a girl! I deserve sex!

No. You don’t deserve anything, and here’s why…

Whenever we do anything, we do it because it’s what everything in our lives leads towards.

When we do something out of habit, we run on autopilot. Our habits are formed through a myriad of contributing factors, internal and external.

Whenever we break habits, it’s because we use our will. But our will is just as much of an inescapable condition as our habits.

When we break habits, it’s because our habits have become unbearable. – To an extent where change is the only option. And whenever we try something new, our guiding contributor is our curiosity. Which is just as ingrained as our habits, our will, and everything else comprising our personalities.

I know: This is kinda heavy on the philosophy. Bottom line: We gotta understand and accept that life isn’t fair. Everyone is who they happen to be. They still don’t deserve anything more or less.

While this doesn’t mean we don’t have any will of our own, it simply means that our will isn’t “free”; it’s conditioned. The only things of which our thoughts, feelings and actions are independent are the things to which we aren’t exposed in the first place.

For example, you can’t somehow want pancakes unless at some point you’ve heard about the existence of pancakes.

But we can invent things! Someone invented pancakes!

Yes. And that person wouldn’t have been able to without hearing about the existence of flour, eggs, sugar, and water, and being disposed to combine them.

We’re not the unique center of the universe just because we’re self-conscious. We can combine things – willfully or accidentally. But the comprising elements need to be available to us first.

Also, this doesn’t mean there are no values. It’s just that there are no objective values.

Some might claim that empathy, love, and procreation is “bigger” than us, transcending generations. But in a larger perspective, it still falls flat.

Eventually, mankind dies. Like the five billion species before us. Eventually, Earth will be swallowed by the sun. There will be no individuals to experience “values”. And even though we might consider the existence of otherworldly species that might share a resemblance of these values, we have no way of knowing.

(Enough philosophy for today, I promise!)

Now here’s the liberating part:

If we want values, we just gotta pick ‘em for ourselves. Your values are as good as any. So stick by them. If need be, you can always change them as you go along.

The universe; destiny; God; whatever you call it, owes you exactly dick.

And therein lies liberation. Because…

Whenever we think we “deserve” something, we live by entitlement. And confident people have no need for entitlement. They know that the only reward we get is whatever we set ourselves up for, and that the path towards it is a purpose in itself.

Confident people set themselves up for success knowing perfectly well that we don’t deserve anything. Because it’s not a matter of “deserving” it. – It’s simply a matter of doing whatever it takes to achieve whatever we want.

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