The following article was sponsored by Freeman’s Fitness
Mention the topic of how to create confidence and some of the most common answers are dress better, groom yourself, and improve your posture. These techniques may help you to start building confidence, but they will not do much for you unless you step over the line into challenges. Real confidence is only built by taking on challenges, pushing yourself further than before, and being outside of your comfort zone. Anything less is just mental masturbation.
In the same way as working out, confidence is built by constant progress. You can buy all the best gym gear, have all the best gym equipment and read all about the best techniques to gain muscle, but you will never gain any strength or muscle until you actually push your body and work out harder and harder each time. Confidence is no different—we must strive to challenge ourselves.
The modern day gives us many comforts and taking the easy way out generally leads to a lack of confidence. Life is so comfortable and people can get by without doing anything remotely challenging for the most part.
Want to meet a girl? Why talk to a real one on the street just message one on Facebook or look at some porn. Need some food? Why go out hunting when you can just pick it up from the store. Without some hardship and the ability to push through the pain barrier, be it physical or mental, we weaken ourselves and our confidence suffers as a result.
Action Builds Confidence
You cannot simply read about confidence, buy some nice clothes, stand up straight, and expect have developed any sort of real confidence. You have to keep challenging yourself; putting 5kg more on your deadlift or squat, running further and faster than before, expanding your business each year or improving your skills. If you are not challenging yourself to do more and more then you will not be growing in your confidence!
This is where many of us start to build confidence, especially if we were not very confident during our younger years. Lifting weights and getting strong makes us know that we capable and helps us to understand that we need challenge to grow. The big compound lifts are great not just physically, but also because it requires a lot more effort and confidence to hit a 200kg (440lb for you Americans) deadlift than it does to do lat pulldowns on a machine.
Weight lifting is not the only way to challenge yourself physically. On top of regular strength training in my gym, I regularly go for 1.5-2 hour trail runs, large hikes, and do strongman style workouts to push myself. These are tough to accomplish and contrary to popular belief won’t make you lose your strength. Pushing yourself through regular physical exercise means that you will develop the confidence that you can take on any physical challenge that comes your way.
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I have been a firefighter for seven years and I am also part of a specialist team of firefighters who use helicopter insertion techniques. We winch into remote regions in small teams and build firebreaks with hand tools in 40+ degree C weather. This sort of thing is physically and mentally grueling and is a great confidence building activity.
There are many outdoor activities that require challenge. Long distance hikes, hunting (especially with a bow), basic survival-style camping. Anything that is hard to do is worth doing! Being outdoors is a big change from our comfortable suburban existence. It gives us a rest from the internet world and puts us into a more primal environment. The view was worth the five-hour trek up hills.
Your personal challenge
We all have different interests and hobbies and they can all be useful in helping us gain confidence. Your personal confidence boosting activities will be related to the things you want to improve most. Examples of this are public speaking, meeting new people, building a successful business, becoming better at a skill set, being a better father, the list goes on.
Whichever area you want to improve upon you must take stock of where you are at. Let’s say you want to improve your public speaking ability to assist your professional life. Currently you don’t do any regular public speaking at all and shy away from it. The only way to improve this is to build confidence by actively speaking in as many situations as possible, with bigger and bigger audiences and improving your ability and range of topics. Reading about techniques won’t cut it, you have to get out there and start doing it immediately.
Persistence and Failure
The other part of building confidence that you need to develop is persistence so that you can destroy the fear of failure. We will all fail throughout our lives. The confident ones will learn from their failure and push forward even harder than before. Each time your confidence building activity doesn’t work out, take account of what happened and ensure you work towards improving it next time.
Stop talking, Start DOING
The most important part of building confidence is actually acting upon what you need to do. Take stock of where you are at in life now and where you want to be. Maybe you want to improve your public speaking, become physically stronger, or talk to more women. Whatever it may be, work out what it is and what you need to start doing today to improve upon it.
Confidence builds upon itself. The hardest steps are at the beginning but we must push ourselves constantly to go outside what feels comfortable and move into dangerous territory. Strive to take action daily to push yourself outside your comfort zone. A life of constant comfort is a life of weakness and will lead to a generation of weak, ill confident men.
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