Build Confidence With A Package Of Successes

This is a guest post by Armen Shirvanian.

To get into a state of feeling winning confidence, you need to form a foundation of successes for that confidence to lean on. A person who feels hesitation or weakness to implement a plan, or to ask for something, would be smart in building up a package of successes, of any size, and then conquering their desired mission.

You can get to a point where you feel nearly invincible, as I do at times in public, by adding another success, and another, until you start to feel like you are meant to take the biggest risks. Although I agree with the concept behind “fake it until you make it”, the concept I am presenting here is more about making it small, over and over, until you can’t help but make it big.

Piano Playing Example

The focus here is to build up your confidence. Let’s say you are nervous about playing piano in front of a larger audience than you normally play to. This method would then work for you. You can boost your confidence to a level where the audience will be more than manageable, by creating a package of successes.

Maybe you are fearful about the audience as a whole, but are more than glad to talk with other piano players. What you then want to do is start becoming more social and connected with the other piano players you hear or know of, or who will also be at your big event, until you feel like the whole scenario is a small item to you. By doing this, you are not removing the source of the fear, which is the audience, but are building your confidence up over that level, rendering the fear unable to grip your thoughts.

This technique is very powerful, but takes a lot of effort on your part. The main foundation-building in the example I provided is the talking and interacting with other piano players. This could take a lot of time and effort, but it is the only way to overcome your fear threshold using this method, which is all it is for.

Research Position Example

Let’s say you were, or are, a student wanting to get into a research position with one of a few professors. It may be the case that you are not applying to a position because you aren’t sure if you can handle it, or if you will be accepted, and so you postpone the attempt out of fear of potential rejection or incompetence. This is another example where you can build up ample confidence to overcome the threshold of this fear.

One way to do this would be to start to get to know other student researchers who work with the professors you might want to work with, and find out what they specifically do. This is less intense than directly applying for a position, and gets you some headway into the process. You could start to get know one student researcher after another until you are so involved with many of them that they start trying to influence you to join. Each extra success you make in connecting with a person doing something you are interested in brings you a step closer to taking the action you weren’t ready to take(for one reason or another).

Another way to build up successes in this example would be to start reading research papers. You could set a goal to read a research paper every day until you asked a professor or two to start working with them. You would learn about new experiments, through some source like PubMed Central, building up confidence due to being directed towards a goal, and would eventually see the fear or worry as unable to hold you back from asking for a position.

Your Successes Don’t Have To Relate To Your Desired Action

While these two examples both involve building up successes in relation to the action you want to build up confidence and energy to perform, this does not have to be the case. You can also build up successes in unrelated activities. You can build up confidence to set up a business deal by taking notes on business books for one hour every day, or you can build that same confidence by approaching and talking to 5 random people each time you go to your local bookstore.

The main thing is to prove to yourself, little by little, that you have what it takes to do larger things. After a certain point of doing enough small things, you will feel like the tough action to take is brought down to a manageable level. Then, it will only be a matter of time before you conquer it.

Armen Shirvanian writes words of wisdom about mindset, communication, relationships, and related topics at Timeless Information. You can follow him on Twitter at @Armen.

Posted by in Personal Development | February 7, 2010 | Digg | | Stumble | Print | 9 comments

  • Oscar – freestyle mind

    Great post Armen. Confidence can be built slowly, and perhaps the best way to fight fear is by doing things we are afraid of and see what happens.

  • fas

    Confidence can help you get through when you are not in the know too.

  • Armen Shirvanian

    Oscar – Thanks about the post. Good point about it building slowly. It probably can’t build that quickly at all. It needs to be step-by-step. On that point about fighting fear, that sounds about right.

    fas – That is true. Sometimes folks have enough confidence to travel through some process they haven’t even tried before, while someone else who has some experience in it lacks enough confidence to give it a go. As long as it is confidence, and not cockiness, it can help make up for a lack of experience or knowledge in select cases.

  • David Rogers

    I agree with your main point that “doing enough small things, you will feel like the tough action to take is brought down to a manageable level” but I’m not so sure about doing so in unrelated fields. People can have the confidence to perform, say, their sport or act in front of millions, but still lack the confidence to speak to a crowd of people.

  • Jonathan Figaro

    Confidence can be acquired by acting confident. We all can lean on the sheets of action with persistance. The saying goes ” act like something long enough an you’ll become it”, Who do you want to become?

    Nice post Alex!

  • Martyna

    thanks for your post, I found it interesting as some of the issues discussed in it are mine as well. I find it difficult at times to really go after the big achievements I know I am destined to…because of fear, or simply repetitive small actions in the past.
    your article gave me great insights.
    right now when I am writing these words I feel the power of focus, when you concentrate on small actions how are you going to breakthrough to big achievements?
    we both agree that it is how we see things, outcomes determine our results.
    we are destined to possess amazing power, the moments of FLOW show it to us. I know that by chasing the state of flow can expand our knowledge on our own success

    best of the best
    Martyna 🙂

  • Farouk

    nice post armen

  • Armen Shirvanian

    David – I hear what you are saying. That is true that a person can be fine at one aspect and lack courage in another. After thinking about it for a moment, I can think of a couple of types of examples that agree with what you are saying. In some areas, or with certain types of people, they would need to build the successes in the related field to feel confident enough to rise to the next tier. This is not required for all, but after your comment, I could think of a couple of people who fit your description. Thanks for that elaboration.

    Jonathan – That’s true about acting like something long before you become it. Usually “becoming it” is a small step that is nothing in comparison with all the experience gained acting as though it has already occurred. Thanks about the post.

    Martyna – Hi to you and thanks there. I am pretty sure that a person can mainly only focus on the small actions, because enough of them packed together looks like a huge achievement to people not involved in the process. A lot of examples come to mind of where 10 or 15 small actions put together is what we call something great. Glad you got that feeling of flow.

    Farouk – Thanks there. I knew I wanted to discuss the concept when I had already thought about it, and was reading something in a book that reminded me to put it together.

  • How to Build Confidence

    Great Article. Building confidence can get easily by acting as confident.