Away with Fear - Gil Petersil

Away with Fear

How to maintain self-confidence

In the article “Networking for introverts” I emphasized that being selective in communication is not at all a disadvantage, which you should get rid of as soon as possible. It’s a type of personality that has its own strengths. If an introvert uses them competently during networking, he or she easily gives odds to any extrovert.

But you cannot say the same about a person who lacks self-confidence. Self-doubt is no more than fear that holds you back, throws obstacles in your path and worsens the quality of your life. Here are a few things that it can stop you from:

  • Applying for a high position and making big money
  • Getting the attention of the opposite sex and making people like you in general
  • Meeting new people and surrounding yourself with the ones that you want
  • Making serious changes in life like moving to another city or country
  • Fulfilling your potential
  • Living in harmony with yourself and the world around you

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You can hardly call it a shiny perspective. But if you are familiar with the lack of self-trust, do not rush to get upset. In one way or another, it is familiar to everyone. One person easily gets to know people but is afraid to speak in public. Another person has no problem managing a big department, but begins to stutter, when communicating with high-ranking officials.

Where does insecurity come from?
I will not pretend to be a psychoanalyst and search for the roots of the problem in your distant childhood. It is better to talk about the reasons that lie on the surface here and now, for example:

  • Fear of failure, especially a repeated one

Most of us are afraid to fail, to look ridiculous or to undermine our reputation in some other way. That leads to the fact that a lot of people prefer not to do anything at all, just not to make or repeat the mistake.

  • Mistaking uncertainty for modesty, that is, for virtue

In an effort to be good, you might prefer not to stick your head out, so that you are not considered an attention seeker or a boaster. As in the previous paragraph, we are talking about the fear of social condemnation.

  • Reluctance to “wear a mask”

“Yes, I lack self-confidence, this is my nature. Is there any sense in pretending to be a smart alec?” Pretending is a bad idea. But changing something in yourself that is holding you back sounds like a plan. And now I will give you a few tips on how to do it.

In many sources, you will be advised to “look in the eyes of your fear” and “get out of your comfort zone.” But this does not always work and here’s why.

The story of Michael

One of my friends, let’s call him Michael, tried to gain self-confidence in a rather original way. He decided to get from Moscow to St. Petersburg without a penny in his pocket. He stole a ride to the station and then he tried to get the money for the ticket. He offered his services of a porter and a loader, invented legends about a stolen wallet or simply asked passers-by to lend him some money. No one agreed. Moreover, on that day he had to hear a lot of nasty things about himself, including foul language.

Has getting out of the comfort zone made Michael more sociable? Probably not. Has he experienced discomfort, stress, and has his sense of insecurity even grown? Probably yes. Therefore, I would recommend that you be more careful with such radical methods.

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The following ways to maintain self-confidence are, in my opinion, more humanist and effective.

Develop emotional intelligence

EQ or emotional intelligence is the ability of a person to recognize and manage their own and other people’s emotions. As Dale Carnegie said, “fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” In order not to let negative emotions manage you, learn to ask yourself:

  • What am I feeling now: anxiety, awkwardness, panic?
  • What exactly causes such emotions in me?
  • How justified is my fear? Is there a real threat to my reputation, health or life?
  • How will I feel if I overcome fear and achieve my goal?

Thus, when “decomposing the problem”, you can often realize that it simply does not exist. You were just afraid out of habit.

Watch your posture

“The weight of the world on one’s shoulders” is not just a figure of speech. Muscle tension in the neck and shoulders is also the result of fears and other emotional blocks that you store up during your life. In addition, the insecure person’s head and shoulders are always hunched, which creates additional tension in the neck.

Our body is directly connected with emotions. Therefore, you can immediately feel more confident, just by straightening your shoulders. Keep your back straight all day long, because a proud posture is the most important detail that will give you confidence and it will get recognized by other people too.

  • Choose you social circle carefully

If there are people in your network who pull you down and convince you of the worthlessness of any of your ideas, think about whether you should communicate with them. Spend more time with those who inspire you, share your enthusiasm and help you focus on the solutions and not on the problems.

A useful exercise

Ask a few people who you trust to name your 3 main strengths and 3 areas of your potential growth. See where their opinions coincided. This will allow you, first, to clearly see in which areas it is worth developing, and, most importantly, to understand that you have a lot of advantages and reasons to be self-confident.

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  • Stop comparing yourself to others

There will always be people who are prettier, smarter or richer than you. Especially often they can be found on social networks. After all, everyone there wants to portray themselves as super successful winners. Do not spend too much time on social media, but rather look into yourself: what makes you happy? What goals do you personally set for yourself?

Strive to achieve them instead of copying someone else’s life. And remember that the only person who you should compare yourself with is you yesterday and you tomorrow.

  • Celebrate the achievements of each day

Sometimes in the evening there comes a thought: “Well, another day has gone by and I wasted it again.” Instead, focus on what you have accomplished today. It does not necessarily have to be something big and important.

Have you done 10 sit-ups while the coffee was brewing? Well-done! Did you help your kid with the homework? Super! Write down your top 5 achievements at the end of each day. Create a mood for yourself. After all, only a positive and energetic person can radiate self-confidence.

I really like an old saying: “A problem is an adventure wrongly considered.” So the feeling of self-doubt is not a problem, but only an excellent reason for further development. And here are the necessary tools for this, which we analyzed in this article:

  1. Develop emotional intelligence
  2. Watch your posture
  3. Choose you social circle carefully
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others
  5. Celebrate the achievements of each day

I wish you good luck in gaining self-confidence. I’m confident that you can do it.

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