THE MAGIC SECRET OF GAINING CONFIDENCE
You want it, we all do — that magic secret to slay our fears and go after the things we see others doing, but don’t have the confidence to do. Well, guess what? I’ve found it and I’m going to share it with you right now… Wait for it…
Go do those things you want to do!
Ok, sure I could give you tips on books to read and mini experiments to try. This might help you build up the courage until you work your way up to the so called “big” thing you want to do. But the truth is, at some point you just have to go do the thing – right?
Why not skip the worry?
Here’s my suggestion: Skip all the worry and in between stages and just get out there – give it a shot. What do you have to lose?
No really. What came to your mind when I said that? What do you REALLY have to lose? Your pride? Your winning streak? (Are you even really winning right now if you can’t do what you want to do?) Is it your friends? Your family?
The people who truly care about you will either support you, or come around when you prove yourself (or if you fall flat on your face trying). But if you fall on your face and don’t quit — you’ve just gained a valuable lesson.
You know who failed a lot, famously? Thomas Edison. He’s not really that famous for failing now, is he though? Because, he just kept at it and took that as raw data.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
– Thomas A. Edison
Like him, you can treat the act of trying like an experiment and say ‘There’s one more way not to accomplish my goal — ok, now on to the next one that might be the answer!’
My friend and travel addict Chris Guillebeau shared a similar story of his almost fairy-tale type whirlwind idea to see every country in the world. Sure he’s a travel hacker, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make some mistakes! In his book, ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’, he shares how he didn’t just get lost his fair share of times, but he double booked tickets, missed the only flight off an island and was pretty much winging it many times by cutting it close to the wire (waiting on visas and passports in the mail).
After following his lead and heading out travelling myself, I’ve had my own fair share of mishaps too. (Thanks Chris, glad I’m not the only one!)
But, you know what we both experienced from all those mishaps — more confidence, not less — as Chris put it “when something goes wrong, seek to accept it as an investment in learning. Hopefully, you won’t make the same mistake twice… or at least, not over and over.”
Let’s face it, mistakes are going to happen anywhere — but life & his blog would be a lot less interesting if everything always went smoothly! In the end he conquered the list of 193 countries and it all started from going to the first one.
But, What If…??
Do you know what the interesting thing about winging it or trying something you’ve never done is? You start to feel more comfortable outside of your comfort zone. Well maybe more accurately, you stop worrying so much about your comfort zone. I’m talking about leaving your fears out in the cold — whether it’s jumping on a plane to a country you’ve never been, starting your own business, or jumping online and posting your thoughts on a blog… whatever YOUR dream or goal may be.
Along the way you’ll also find, that being open to trying new things spills over into all areas of your life. Soon you are being more assertive. Or your personality is changing (for the better) and you are looking back to see that you’ve become the person you’ve always wanted to be. You’ve started to achieve all the things you thought you couldn’t when surrounded by that baggage we all like to call comfort.
If you feel you’ve got to start small, do that. But check in with yourself, because it might take just as much courage to do the small thing as the big thing.
Self? Is that you or just fear and worry talking?
At the time I first wrote this post, we were just taking what a year before would have been considered a big step — but it felt so comfortable that day. We gave notice at our apartment, found a new tenant to take over our lease and we were ready to head to Thailand. And not just for the winter this time. Sure there were still some minor details to work out, like BOOKING THE TICKETS. But that’s what I’m talking about, having your ducks in a row isn’t all it’s
quacked cracked up to be. There’s always time to sort out details, but the time to go after your dreams and change your life is NOW.
If you’d like some inspiration to find your own quest, I highly recommend Chris’ book, ‘The The Happiness of Pursuit‘ (read that title carefully — clever right?).
Thanks to Chris Guillebeau and people like him that have inspired me, I’m going to bed dreaming a little bigger each day, and I know he would be the first to point out that he wasn’t always that way — he just went for it too.
If you haven’t figured it out yet… there is no magic. You just go out and make your own.
*P.S.- While I’ve been procrastinating on releasing this post, Chris has released another new book this week, ‘Born For This — How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do‘. If there WAS a secret to gaining confidence, reading books would definitely be close to it. I guarantee it will be worth reading. Get your copy here.
UPDATE: This post is coming to you from Bali, Indonesia where we’ve been staying for the past month. Shortly after I wrote this post (approx 17 months ago) until now — we’ve been travelling around South East Asia eating delicious food, meeting interesting people and being amazed by the world around us. Many times we’ve reflected on how it all happened and know the biggest factor was making a decision. We’ve been pinching ourselves almost everyday since.
Photo: This is me, looking pretty confident don’t you think? 😉
Taken at a lookout over the tea plantations of Doi Angkhang in the north of Thailand.