In his 1969 book, “The Psychology of Self-Esteem”, the Canadian-American psychotherapist, Nathaniel Branden writes;
“If self-esteem is the conviction that one’s person is worthy of happiness—pathological anxiety is the torment of a person who is crippled in this realm, who feels cut off from reality, alienated, powerless.”
Branden’s book argues that most mental or emotional problems people faced could be traced back to low self-esteem or lack of confidence.
Several scientific studies have shown that the more confident you are, the more likely you’re to achieve success.
For example, a survey of 4,100 professionals in 32 countries by a global management consulting company, Accenture, shows that the employees who are confident enough to ask for what they deserve often get it https://www.accenture.com/us-en
In this study, 77% of employees who have asked for or negotiated a pay raise have received one while 68% of professionals who have asked for promotion also received one. https://www.fm-magazine.com/news/2014/feb/20149706.html
In his 2008 book, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely wrote about Anchoring which is the tendency that you’ll get more than what you want in any negotiation, if only you’re confident enough to raise your bar, open your mouth widely and ask something big.
That’s why Christopher Columbus was such an admirable figure
In the year 1487, Christopher Columbus met the queen of Isabella, asked her to finance his voyage, and request some other ridiculous things from her.
Columbus had earlier met the king of Portugal, Joao the second, asked him to finance his westward voyage, give him some ridiculous titles and 10% (emphasis) of the future commerce with whatever country he discovers.
Even though many powerful people often turn down Columbus whenever he asked for the Moon, he often ended up getting the star
Which is more reason why disagreeable people succeed faster in life https://news.nd.edu/news/men-earn-a-premium-for-being-disagreeable-in-the-workplace-women-dont-says-new-research/
Disagreeable people usually stand up and speak up.
They often open their mouth wide and ask for the Moon and even when they can’t get the moon, they often get the star.
While healthy self-esteem and confidence open many doors for you, lack of confidence does the opposite.
For example, this 2015 study of 548 Jordanian students shows that the students who experience higher levels of fear of failure secure lower academic GPA https://www.dovepress.com/fear-of-failure-among-a-sample-of-jordanian-undergraduate-students-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-PRBM
The Carnegie Institute of Technology carried out research that showed that 85% of our financial success was due to skills in “human engineering”, personality, and the ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. https://www.realityhr.co.uk/emotional-intelligence/
If success in life depends on our ability to communicate, negotiate and lead people, it then becomes obvious why people who lack confidence may not go far in life.
The Nobel Prize-winning Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone with a better product at a lower price.
But what determines whether or not people will trust you?
According to this 2014 article by the Harvard Business Reviews, when you meet people for the first time, they decide whether you’re trustworthy or not based on your level of confidence; https://hbr.org/2014/03/who-can-you-trust
You and I see this all the time.
Confident politicians get us to vote for them https://static.politico.com/dims4/default/332fa88/2147483647/resize/1160x%3E/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fs3-origin-images.politico.com%2F2015%2F03%2F11%2F150311_clinton_gty_1160.jpg
Confident salesmen get us to buy their products.
Confident activists get us to come out for protests and even go to prison for them; https://cdn.britannica.com/18/1918-050-0166D6BB/Martin-Luther-King-Jr.jpg
Even confident liars get us to believe them.
Confidence is an important weapon, whether you want to do good or evil.
Whether you’re trying to get someone to invest in your business or you’re trying to convince your boss that you deserve a raise or you’re trying to get your country to vote for you so you can steal their money, without confidence, you’ll get nothing out of life.
So, how exactly can you become super-confident?
Chuko Liang Strategy
In his 1998 book, 48 laws of power, Robert Greene told the story of a China general called Chuko Liang https://www.9900news.com/images/vimg/2105/202105221640410.webp
During China’s War of the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 220—280), the great general Chuko Liang, leading the forces of the Shu Kingdom, dispatched his vast army to a distant camp while he rested in a small town with a handful of soldiers.
Suddenly sentinels hurried in with the alarming news that an enemy force of over 150,000 troops under Sima Yi was approaching.
With only a hundred men to defend him, Chuko Liang’s situation was hopeless.
The enemy would finally capture this renowned leader.
Without lamenting his fate, or wasting time trying to figure out how he had been caught, Liang ordered his troops to take down their flags, throw open the city gates, and hide.
He then took a seat on the most visible part of the city’s wall.
He lit some incense, strummed his lute, and began to chant.
Minutes later he could see the vast enemy army approaching, an endless phalanx of soldiers.
Pretending not to notice them, he continued to sing and play the lute.
Soon the army stood at the town gates, at its head was Sima Yi, who instantly recognized the man on the wall.
Even so, as his soldiers itched to enter the unguarded town through its open gates, Sima Yi hesitated, held them back, and studied Liang on the wall.
Then, he ordered an immediate and speedy retreat of his men because he was afraid that Chuko Liang must have set a big trap for them, for him to have open wide the gate of the town.
Chuko Liang in the above story pretended to be confident, in the face of danger.
It was this ability to fake confidence that saved his life and it’s the same strategy you’ll need to become confident in any situation.
People only become super-confident in anything after they’ve faked confidence for some time.
It’s that simple.
When it comes to confidence, the rule is; Fake-it-till-you-have-it
The very first thing you have to understand is that almost everyone who appears to be confident in anything today wasn’t born with confidence.
In fact, most people become confident by faking confidence for a long time.
Let’s say you’re one of the thousands of young men who are afraid of approaching the opposite sex https://medium.com/journal-of-journeys/why-you-shouldnt-be-afraid-to-talk-to-the-opposite-sex-66fd2b7e2950
GOOD NEWS; I was once like you and the medication I used to cure myself is called fake-it-till-you-have-it.
Sometimes when I was around 20 years old, to cure myself of the fear of speaking with the opposite sex, I simply pretended that I was not having that fear.
There was a period I set a goal to speak with tens of women within a week.
I would just walk up to a woman, introduce myself and start a conversation.
Yes, you’ll be rejected a few times but soon your brain will stop exaggerating how painful such rejections are.
When your brain starts seeing such rejections as a normal thing, then you’ll be able to do more of such things you’re afraid of.
Let’s say you’re one of the 77% of humans who fear public speaking https://www.verywellmind.com/glossophobia-2671860
To overcome the fear of public speaking, the first thing to do is to understand that even the most famous public speakers in the world still experience some level of anxiety each time they want to speak to an audience but because these people have spoken hundreds of times in public, their brains can easily act out confidence.
The second thing to do is to create an environment that allows you to speak to groups of people all the time.
Join a club, an organization, or a political party and contest an election.
Push yourself to a leadership position in a small group and you’ll be forced to act confidently.
Whatever thing you’re not confident about, the only way to improve your confidence is to get your body to act confidently, even if you don’t feel confident.
In other words, the only way to become confident is to fake confidence for some time.
The more you get your body to act confidently, the more your mind believes you’re a confident person and there are scientific studies to back this claim.
You see, in the year 1641 a French Philosopher, Rene Descartes promoted the concept of mind-body dualism which essentially means that your body and mind are different entities.
Descartes wrote; “there is a great difference between mind and body, since the body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible”
Other 17th century philosophers like Arnold Geulincx and Nicolas Malebranche also believed that the mind and body are separate entities
However, several decades after Rene Descartes, scientific studies have shown that in fact, your body and mind are closely linked together.
According to this 2017 publication by the Frontiers in Psychology https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00362/full , our body is tightly linked to the mind, which means if you can get your body to do something, you can change the way your mind feels about such a thing.
This concept is called Embodied Cognition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embodied_cognition and it was first proposed by philosophers like Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and John Dewey
For example, what do you think about this man? https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/man-with-migraines-holds-her-hand-by-his-nose-bed_10317058.htm#query=a%20sad%20man&position=1 or this woman? https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/unhappy-asian-pretty-young-woman-siting-alone-couch-with-feeling-sadness_5392736.htm#page=1&query=sad%20woman&position=0
You and I know that these people are sad or worried but what exactly makes them sad, their minds or their body postures?
It turns out that it’s both.
Scientific studies have shown that these two people are sad because of their minds and their physical posture and if we can change either their minds or their posture, we can change their mood.
This study of 74 people published by the American Psychological Association https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-37739-001, for example, shows that if we can get someone who is depressed or sad to stand up, we can make them happier.
Better still, if we can get them to walk outside, we can change their mood https://time.com/3394589/slumping-makes-you-sad/
For example, this 2019 study published by Science Daily found that you can be happier right now simply by smiling https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190412094728.htm
Even if you force that smile by putting a pencil in your mouth, your brain will still get you some dose of happiness https://static.wixstatic.com/media/3d3568_06f1f4b50bce40e0a03721dadf70006f~mv2.png/v1/fit/w_1000%2Ch_766%2Cal_c/file.png
In a recent study from San Francisco State University, students were told to either walk down a hall in a slouched position or to skip.
The slouchers reported increased feelings of depression and lower energy than skippers https://www.nbcnews.com/health/body-odd/straighten-slouching-makes-you-sad-study-shows-flna1c6854908
Now let’s say that you’re not confident about certain things, this state of low confidence is a collective work between your mind and your body.
To change that state, that feeling, or that belief, you’ll have to use your body to influence your mind.
Just as this sad people can change their emotions by changing their posture, https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/man-with-migraines-holds-her-hand-by-his-nose-bed_10317058.htm#query=a%20sad%20man&position=1
https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/unhappy-asian-pretty-young-woman-siting-alone-couch-with-feeling-sadness_5392736.htm#page=1&query=sad%20woman&position=0 , studies show that you can become confident by pretending to be confident for some time.
Let’s say you don’t have enough confidence to start a conversation with a stranger and you want to change that.
Scientific studies show that the best way to become a great conversation starter is by pretending that you’re a very confident person who can initiate a conversation with anyone.
Yes, the first time you do it, your awkwardness will almost be visible to the next person.
The second time will be better and the third time will be easier.
The best way to convince your mind that you’re a confident person is to get your body to act like a confident person, again and again.
When it comes to confidence, the rule is; Fake-it-till-you-have-it