Confidence is the deepest core desire of any man. It is the thing we yearn for above all else, whether we know it or not.
It’s the drive hidden behind all of our conventional desires. We seek the high-paying job, the romantic partner, the fit body, or the emotional and psychological healing, because we want to feel confident in ourselves.
We want to know our worth, and feel effective and respected in the world.
This is something that might come naturally to some. But for most of us, confidence has to be earned. Or, more accurately: Remembered. And it is 100% something you can do.
First, What Exactly Is Confidence?
What we call “confidence” can be described as a mix of worth, trust, and bandwidth.
When someone seems confident, what we really mean is that they seem sure of themselves. They carry an air of self-love and healthy assertiveness, which ultimately comes from knowing ones worth and value as a person, while also trusting oneself to perform in, and handle, difficult situations.
What Sabotages Confidence?
When looking to (re)build confidence, it can help to know what might be getting in the way of you feeling it more often, as well as creating a better understanding of why we’re going to take the approach below.
I say “rebuild” or “remember,” because we were all confident at some point. But along the way, we developed beliefs or habits that tarnished our original sense of okay-ness.
The first major factor that brings us down is developing false beliefs. This happens when something, or someone (usually in our early childhood) might have made us feel like we weren’t important, valuable, or enough, or were bad, dumb, weak, or “not O.K.” as you were, in some way.
Instead of this feeling going away, and you resetting to move on with your life, this idea of “I’m not enough/good/loveable” moves to the back of your brain, and filters into everything you experience. It diminishes your sense of worth and natural ability to assert yourself, and plants seeds of doubt in our mind.
Then, as you grow up, you don’t feel naturally confident because, embedded in your fundamental model reality, there’s a belief that “I’m defective and unlovable” in some way.
This becomes a shameful core that you are afraid people will see, and so you feel like you have to cover up your flaws all the time. The worst part about this is that you don’t even know you’re doing it. You just feel anxious and less valuable, attractive, or important than others.
The next most common reason to lose confidence is not respecting yourself.
If you’re not proud of who you are, and how you behave, then it’s a long shot that you’ll ever feel confident.
There is an aspect of respecting yourself that doesn’t require accomplishing more, or doing anything at all. It’s about loving yourself exactly the way you are, and realizing that you’re a fundamentally good person. This is connecting to your inherent worth as a human being.
But then there’s the brass tacks of how you actually conduct yourself in the world.
Are you moving forward toward goals and healthier habits? Do you take care of your body? Do you sit around eating junk food, masturbating daily, avoiding social contact, and complaining like a victim about your life?
Then, it’s hard to feel confident, or like you’re reliable, when you’re not being trustworthy – both to others and yourself.
Do you lie to other people? Do you make promises to yourself, and others, and constantly break them? Do you fail and fall short of the things you say you want to do, and passively make excuses to let yourself off the hook?
If you stood on a bridge, you would say that you are confident in it if you knew that you could rely on it to safely hold you up without buckling. In other words, you trust the integrity of the bridge.
The same goes for our confidence in ourselves. When we implicitly feel that we can rely on ourselves (and others can too) to handle the pressure of a load, we feel confident.
And finally, self-respect also comes from the ability to perform and be effective.
Do you lack the experience and skills to do basic things in life – like exercise, make friends, get the job you want, or get uncomfortable? Are you afraid of discomfort and pain? Do you choose to avoid it and seek familiar comforts, or do you lean into discomfort and face into the fires of life?
Ability and skill are major pillars of our sense of worth and capacity. When we haven’t been advancing or developing our skills, and feel unable to do basic things like socialize and take care of ourselves, we might begin to feel ineffectual or useless, which can cripple our sense of confidence.
The (Difficult) Way To Rebuild
Despite all of these blocks, gaining true, authentic confidence is very attainable. But there is tough news and good news.
The tough news: There are no short cuts, and this is not an easy process. There is nothing you will read and automatically gain confidence from. It will require hard inner and outer work.
The good news: Although it’s tough, there is a clear path for you to take. It will have its ups and downs, but because of the effort you put in, and the results it brings, it will be the most fulfilling journey you ever undertake.
Here are the four highest-leverage core paths to developing confidence in your life starting today.
1. Find your North Star and pursue it relentlessly
When you find your guiding purpose and mission in life – or North Star – almost nothing can ever knock you off centre. That is because you’re connected to a reason for existing that transcends all external possessions and relationships.
Of course, you will need things and people to help you achieve your mission. But I just mean that your deepest sense of worth and direction won’t be ultimately based in material things, or dependent on other people’s approval or validation.
What we’re talking about here is a deep confidence that arises from a permanent transformation of the soul – or your essential psychic self – which cannot be stripped away by any material loss or misfortune.
With a North Star, you’re a man standing on his own two feet in the world, and you know where you’re going. It’s much harder to be distracted and detoured by meaningless work and unhealthy relationships.
Finding this takes a lot of reflection and experimentation. However, many people find a few valuable signposts when they try the thought experiment of winning the lottery.
Imagine going for a walk right now and finding a lotto ticket on the sidewalk worth 500 million dollars.
For the next year, with absolutely no limitations, you can go travel the world, buy a helicopter, drink 200-year old wine at the top of a castle at sunset, sleep with whoever you want, and have all the material experiences you could ever want to have.
At the end of that year, the question is: Now what?
Since money is no object, and you’ve got all your worldly desires out of the way, how would you spend the rest of your days?
This is where you can start to more clearly see what you ultimately care about, and what your heart really wants to do with your limited time on this planet.
As you go, what you actually end up doing over the years might look different, or you may also be committed to several different things over your lifetime. But this exercise can help crystallize the deepest values that will underpin all of those missions and projects.
Once you connect with this North Star, you feel engaged in a personally meaningful hero’s journey. Your purpose switches from acquiring all the “things” and checking the boxes that society taught you to check – like a drone in a hive – to expressing your unique potential to its fullest and serving the world in a way that only you can.
2. Bring important things to completion
Wrapped up in the pursuit of purpose is the virtue of accomplishment.
Next to knowing your direction, a major essence of confidence comes from being effective and skillful, and believing in your capacity to get things done. This comes from finishing things – whether that’s small tasks, big projects, or tough conversations with people.
When you do something as simple as clean your room, or purge unneeded clothes, or finish a home/work assignment, it’s a small demonstration of being in control and responsible in your life.
Your brain gives you the same reward chemicals for finishing these tasks as it would for making your first sale in a business, or building a house. The difference is that the more work and effort you put in on the front end, the bigger the mental and emotional payoffs will be.
If you start looking around at your life, you will notice piles of half-baked in-progress messes that are waiting to be tidied. These are usually created due to a passive attitude toward life, being overly distracted, or the lack of mental discipline to see things through all the way.
It’s the way a lazy, entitled prince would operate, rather than a mature and passionate king. And “king energy” is the final frontier of what a man needs to develop in order to feel like his greatest, most confident self.
All that unfinished business in life is a great place to start looking, because attacking them begins to build internal momentum and self-respect, which plugs up the leaks that drain your sense of confidence and puts you in a better headspace to explore and experiment with your North Star.
Right now, you can do something as simple as compile a list of each and every thing you have to do. What work is waiting to be completed? What have you been putting off? What errands need to be run? What needs to be fixed?
Those questions apply equally to physical labour as they do to our relationships.
Unfinished conversations with other people in our lives have the same effect as having a messy home and procrastinating on work. We avoid directly addressing unsaid thoughts and feelings with friends, family, and co-workers because we fear the discomfort of facing things head on, and moving forward. Therefore, we avoid stepping fully into ourselves and our power. We allow anxiety to keep us stuck in the passenger seat of the car, so to speak, rather than being in control of the steering wheel.
That’s why it’s important to…
3. Tell the truth
This can sometimes be the hardest point on this whole list, because it’s usually not as straight-forward as making a ‘To-Do’ list and taking clear action.
In pursuing your North Star, or bringing things to completion, you could accomplish much of that by quietly working away on your own and chipping away at a defined list of tasks.
But telling the truth requires you to turn head on into some messy, unpredictable conversations – with other people and yourself – where you’re risking your comfort, self-image and approval. Sometimes, it requires you to expose mistakes and more difficult parts of the mind, or take hard looks at your behaviour, and owning up to how you’re falling short.
If you have a habit of lying, or withholding information, that usually means you’re trying to hide something, or get something. They’re both forms of manipulation.
More often than not, you’re just trying to control other people’s perceptions, stay out of trouble, and make sure no one gets mad at you, or thinks you’re a weirdo or a loser.
Ultimately: You’re hiding.
And hiding undercuts your confidence.
The opposite of hiding is exposing yourself, and telling other people the truth. Many beautiful things start happening when you do that.
First, you finally begin having real relationships. Up until that point, in so many ways, you’re just playing games and showing a mask. Other people can’t completely see you or feel connected to you (whether they know it or not) and vice versa.
Second, you begin to feel more safe, comfortable, and confident in the world, because you’ve stopped hiding so much. You begin disproving the negative internal beliefs we talked about earlier – like how you’re not enough, or not lovable, as you are.
You also free up all the stuck energy you had locked up in putting up a front and playing a role, which means you get to relax and feel like you’re actually loved and seen for who you truly are, and feel less alone.
Another person you need to start telling the truth to is yourself.
It’s one thing to fruitlessly be hard on yourself because of a core wound around worthiness. But it’s another thing altogether to passionately look in the mirror and say, “This is bullshit. You can do better. You’re better than this, and I won’t allow you to tolerate these low standards any longer.”
Get honest with how you really feel about yourself and your life – for better or worse. We respect and trust people who look out for our best interests, and don’t tolerate mediocrity. When you do the same thing for yourself, and actually act on it, you feel stronger and more confident.
4. Keep moving forward
Even when you’re connected to purpose and have healthy community, the struggles and storms of life don’t suddenly disappear. You will still get knocked down and experience set backs often.
What changes is your resolve to press forward, no matter what.
To move like this through life, and bolster our confidence, we need to focus on developing the warrior archetype in our psyche.
The warrior is all about courage, engagement, charging forward, and never retreating.
We can apply this energy to our forward momentum to all aspects – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In practice, warrior energy makes the time for a workout, or sit down to be productive, or wake up earlier, even when the small part of your mind wants to just be lazy and coast.
It never dwells on toxic and negative emotions, or holding grudges and resentment.
It leans into tough conversations because honour, truth, integrity, completion, and connection are more important than comfort and self-compromise.
Warrior energy recognizes and pushes back against small-time thinking and behavioural patterns that limit your success and self-expression.
So, if you’re not feeling confident or satisfied with yourself, lacking warrior energy might be another big reason.
You can already tell when you’re living on cruise control, or even when you’re not moving at all. Your greater mind knows whether you’re making an effort to expand and when you’re contracted and stagnant.
The answers are directly reflected in your level of confidence.
Luckily, if you’re feeling low on that scale, it doesn’t take long at all to make a huge shift. You will feel a huge immediate boost once you start kicking your warrior energy into gear.
In simple ways, you can start pushing yourself further in exercise and organizational discipline, or patch up unaddressed issues in your relationships (and, alternatively, maybe even cut some off altogether).
The deeper work is to leave behind all the stories, attachments, and mindsets that are keeping you idle.
Too often we cling to familiar circumstances and beliefs because they provide a sense of familiar comfort and identity, even if they don’t serve our happiness, or maybe even work against it.
To move forward is to sever all the dead weight and cut the inner ties that tether us in place, and step forward to welcome the inevitable change and impermanence of all things with open arms.
So… how long will it take until I’m confident?
Each of these points are lifelong projects and ways of living, but that doesn’t mean the results and benefits won’t show up in your life quickly.
Confidence is the symptom of doing all of these things. It builds more and more over time, but its charge can also be felt immediately, which also serves as fuel to keep you moving forward.
Each time you do something like score a victory over laziness, knock some projects off your list, or practice telling the truth, it’s like finding a hidden Easter egg full of power and confidence.
Everyone is at a different stage, with different things to work on, so it can take longer for some than others.
But know that nobody feels 100% confident 100% of the time. Everyone backslides, or has times where they feel low, or forget their worth for a second. But they understand what makes them feel their best, and they know how to get back on track.
No matter where you’re at – having never truly felt confident, or being the most confident of all-time – the same rule applies to everyone: Keep going.
Confidence works like riding a bicycle. If you sit still, or go too slow, you’ll start to wobble and fall over. But if you keep moving your feet, you’ll gain momentum and stay firmly upright.
Get back to these four practices, and keep turning the pedals.
Dedicated to your success,
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