One of my favorite authors of all-time is Grenville Kleiser. His books, published in the early 1900′s are filled with more wisdom than you’ll find in most modern books. His writing style is also one that I just genuinely enjoy.
He’ll be serving as a co-writer for a series of Self Confidence posts this week, through one of his greatest books, “How to Develop Self Confidence,” Copyright 1910. I think you’ll be amazed at how applicable Mr. Kleiser’s writings are to our present time.
In this world of self help and self improvement, we run across “buzz words” or “keywords” such as ability, action, passion, determination, and talent on a regular basis. But, the one thing they each rise on or collapse under is Self Confidence.
As defined by Dictionary.com, Self Confidence is 1. realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc. 2. excessive or inflated confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, etc.
Self Confidence, to me, is what we think ourselves capable of. If I think that I could design and publish a blog about Coffee & Tea and, within a year, have it ranked amongst the top 10 food and drink blogs, my confidence is healthy or high. If someone suggested that I do such a thing and my first reaction was, “I can’t possibly do that, so I’m not even going to try,” my self confidence is sickly and low.
If that were my response, I would have two choices:
- Drop the subject all together and never think about it again. I know I couldn’t do it, so why bother thinking about it.
- Determine WHY I don’t have any more confidence in myself than that – poke around until I get to the root of the problem, then do what it takes to remedy the problem.
“The development of self-confidence begins properly with intelligent self-examination. The mind must be closely scrutinized, undesirable tendencies checked, faults eradicated, and correct habits of thought and conduct firmly established.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence
Fear trips us up more than anything else when dealing with Self Confidence. We’re fearful that we’ll make a mistake, that we’ll make a fool of ourselves, that someone will laugh at us or (my greatest fear) that we’ll let someone down. We know, full well, that we can erase all chances of any of these happening simply by not attempting anything we fear is beyond us. We pull the covers up around our ears and find our comfort zone. The only thing about comfort zones is that, while they’re a comfortable spot, they encourage zero growth. Comfort zones are like overly indulgent parents – the end results are never pretty. They spoil what could have been.
Fear needs to be diagnosed and faced. More times than not, fear arises from what we allow to go on in our minds. You know those quiet little conversations we have with ourselves throughout the day? The ones where we think, “I’m fat (or scrawny),” “I wish I were smarter (younger, older),” “If only I had more money…” etc.
“The mind is permitted habitually to dwell upon thoughts of doubt, failure, and inefficiency. So great does this power become, when unchecked, that it affects to greater or less degree almost every aspect of one’s life.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence
We can be so fearful sometimes, can’t we? A lot of times we’d be so much better off if we’d stop thinking so much and just TRY to do what needs to be done. We have to find a way to work with our fear rather than not working because of it.
We can actually use our fears as tools to help us. Going back to the example above, if I were timid about building a Tea & Coffee blog, I could very well write down my fears. They might read something like this:
- There’s too much competition. I’d never be able to compete for top rankings in the search engines. There are far too many other caffeinated bloggers getting their groove on.
- Just because I drink them every minute of the day doesn’t mean I can find enough things to write about coffee and tea.
- Where would I find the time? I have 12 blogs as it is.
- My husband would think I was nuts….
“To walk straight up to the thing feared will often strip it of its terror.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence
When we write down our fears, we can then go back and stare them eye to I and manipulate them to work FOR us rather than AGAINST us. We can take our “objections,” and create “objectives.” For example, if I were worrying about time, I could write out a strict time schedule (you have no idea how that phrase just made me cringe – I’m not sure if it were the strict part or the schedule part, but I shivered). By writing the day’s available hours on paper, I can hold them accountable and find the extra time I need.
If we’re fearful of what others would think, we could always ask them. OR, we could realize that they’ll think what we cause them to think! If we prove ourselves, they’ll have no choice but to think positively. The world generally accepts us at our own value. That, of course, can be a big problem for someone who struggles with Self Confidence – others will have trouble developing confidence in a person who doesn’t even have confidence in his or herself.
“The other day I saw a dog leisurely pass a cat on the street, and to all appearance there was no ill feeling on either side. The cat looked him straight in the eye as he approached, and the dog returned her confident glance and quietly passed on. Then the cat, seeing a good chance for escape, bolted across the street, but the instant the dog saw her running he turned and followed in hot haste. It was cat and dog for some yards, when suddenly the cat stopped, humped her back and looked defiantly at her adversary. He stopped, caught his breath, blinked uncertainly, turned up his nose, and walked off. As long as the cat showed fear and ran, the dog chased her; but the moment she took her stand, he respected her. When a man stands up boldly and self-confidently for his rights, fear slinks tremblingly into the shadows.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence
Self Confidence can be built and nurtured. We can work towards the level of self confidence evident in the cat at the top of this post. He has got it going on! If we work hard and believe in ourselves – the same can be said of us.