Written by Siddhi Latey (Weloquent)
Nyla’s story has stuck with me ever since I read it as a child. School-going Nyla possessed a “lucky pen” that drew her several compliments every time she wrote with it. On the day of the annual essay competition, Nyla misplaced her treasured possession, and sat dejected in her seat waiting to be laughed at for potentially placing last. When her teacher asked her what the matter was, Nyla narrated her woes. Smiling, the teacher called her to her desk and handed her another “lucky pen” that the teacher herself used for important occasions.
Once Nyla bagged the first prize, her teacher confessed that it was just another pen. She then explained that what made her win was not the pen, but her own capabilities. More often than not, you only need to have faith in yourself to conquer all the obstacles that come your way.
Self-reliance and confidence are primary ingredients to success, and they precede all additional elements: conducive situations and other external factors. A boost of confidence can help you lead projects, make and save relationships, and ensure you never give up.
The following are some simple ways to instill this empowering quality of confidence in yourself:-
Walk the Talk.
Oftentimes we are able to sense someone’s confidence from afar, even before they speak to us. This is because the way someone carries themselves is a reflecting marker of their own conviction. Your body language is a form of non-verbal communication that can exude confidence or can make you seem shy, uncomfortable or awkward. Hence to achieve the former, consider cultivating poise and good deportment by making eye contact, standing up straight, keeping your hands out of your pockets, and shaking other’s hands firmly.
A growth mindset is key to living a more purposeful life. The more you study a subject, the more confident you are that you’ll perform well in your exam - similarly the more you grow in every other avenue of life, the more sure you are of your abilities. We must realize that it wasn’t a grade A that gave us confidence to start with, it was our dedicated study of the test material.
You are more than the laurels you possess, or the grades you receive, what counts is the cumulative effort you invest towards learning. The notion that confidence comes from prior success puts you in a cocoon that keeps you from growth. Just as the story in the introductory paragraph suggests - confidence does not come from external achievements or material possessions but from an inward faith in yourself.
Accept your Follies.
Contrary to popular belief, reminding yourself of your achievements is not the way to build confidence. If you start building your confidence based on your past achievements, then there grows a constant fear and pressure of delivering just as well the next time around.
We are unfortunately a part of a society that perpetuates exhibitions of a flawless picture of those who we consider successful. We don’t see them in their moments of self-doubt or anxiety. The Dutch scholar and philosopher Erasmus insisted that no matter how important or learned someone might be, he or she is still unarguably a fool. He aims to convey a very important understanding of our failures - that - greater confidence is not the result of reminding ourselves of our dignity or our achievements, but it comes from embracing our foolishness.
Curiosity is a rewarding quality It provides us with the gift of knowledge and brings us closer to truth. Accepting that you don’t know something, is half the battle won. Confidence accelerates as you develop a greater understanding of who you are and what exactly it is that you want. When you explore your curiosity, you estimate how good/bad you are at the given task - which in return gives you an opportunity to refine your skills, and complement your confidence. So, be a curious cat and chase the world with your questions.