Confidence. It’s something we all wish we could have more of. From job interviews to public speaking to leaving a great impression on a beautiful member of the opposite sex – there is not a man or woman alive, who wouldn’t love a little more genuine confidence in a particular area of their life.
But confidence isn’t always easy to come by. People can spend large portions of their lives trying to find it and still come up short, while others (to our envy) seem to be born with it.
The question is; Are those, who weren’t born with the gift of confidence, able to grow it later in their lives?
The answer, fortunately, is an unequivocal: Yes
In fact, often, those who learn to acquire confidence surpass those who are naturally confident, because in the process, they’ve learned the secret of how to grow confidence. The best part is, once you’ve grown confidence in one area, you can apply the same formula to growing confidence in any area of your life.
What is the secret to becoming confident at anything you like?
People often think they need to be confident at something, before they can try it, so they query me as to how to find that confidence, so they can give it a go. This is a misunderstanding of confidence and how it works. Here is the reality.
You can read or watch instructional videos all day long, but unless you get out and take action, you’ll never build real confidence.
You do something, THEN you get the confidence. Not the other way around.
Here is the formula I teach to build confidence:
Take Action – Reframe Your Failure – Build a Habit of Success – Increase confidence
This model applies to confidence in any area of life. Imagine if you wanted to become a confident swimmer. I wouldn’t have to tell you how to build confidence… You’d know to get in the pool (take action). You’d get a terrible lap time, but then, remember it’s only your first time, and you’ll improve (reframe failure). You’d start getting faster lap times (build a habit of success), and soon enough, you’ll feel like you can handle it (increase confidence). The more confidence you grow, the more the formula builds on itself.
So if we know the formula, why is it so hard to apply in dating?
Because step 2 (reframe failure) is an insurmountable stumbling block for most people.
Reframing failure means, seeing your failures as progress, rather than as indications ‘you’ are a failure. It is the reason Thomas Edison could say, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways to build a light bulb that won’t work.” Edison knew – better than anyone – how to reframe failure. Most people quit, once they’ve failed at anything more than a few times, thus breaking the cycle. In the end, they never build confidence.
In dating, failure is especially hard to deal with. When you’re learning to swim, you can hide your terrible lap times until you improve. But when you’re improving your skills approaching and flirting with men, your failures and rejections are public, and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. Most people don’t want to deal with this, so they never get started taking action (step 1) or if they do, they fail to reframe failure and exit the process (step 2).
I can speak from first-hand experience that failing in dating, isn’t fun. Having to reframe a sour look from someone you were attracted to isn’t easy. But it’s incredibly rewarding.
If you can garner the courage to risk talking, flirting, and going on dates with more men and importantly – higher quality men – than you have previously, while, at the same time, reframing your failures as positive indicators you’re taking action, then you’ve cracked the code to generating confidence in dating. You’ve also internalised a formula you can apply to build confidence in any area of life you choose.
In addition to building this type of situational confidence, it’s also important (over time) to work on developing your Core Confidence. Here is the difference;
Situational confidence refers to any type of confidence that is unique to one set of circumstances. Being a confident swimmer, a confident surgeon, or a confident date are all examples of situational confidence.
Core confidence is your underlying self-efficacy. While a woman can be situationally confident (i.e., good at talking to men), that doesn’t necessarily make her a confident person.
A person with core confidence will have an easier time developing situational confidence, because they will approach new situations with generalized self-assurance. They’ll be able to fail without taking it to heart or having it affect their identity. As far as this goes in dating, if you have core confidence, you’re more likely to be yourself and try things/risk rejection around a guy (hence, learn faster), because you won’t care much about the outcome.
Don’t worry; if you don’t feel like you have core confidence, rest assured it, too, can be built. Core confidence is achieved by:
1) Developing situational confidence across several areas, and
2) Creating and practicing new mental habits.
For example, a swimmer may not have core confidence, but if she then takes up dancing, starts her own business, works on her social skills and over time examines and breaks down negative thought patterns, she’s likely to achieve core confidence.
If you want to become confident, being your truest self around a man, it’s important you build both situational and core confidence. While situational confidence will help you immediately, it is core confidence that will create the most solid foundation for your newly learned set of skills and allow you to spread your confidence more easily through other areas of your life.
In summary, you build confidence in a situation, first, by taking action, then reframing any failure and continuing the habit. Ultimately, the best way to be confident talking to guys is to have practiced talking to 100 guys and taken your fair share of knocks along the way. Core confidence is developed by challenging yourself across many areas of life, building self-esteem, and rewriting your thought processes, until it becomes a permanent habit. Remember, this process won’t make you into someone you’re not. It will grow you into the most confident, authentic version of someone you are.