th“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” -Peter T. McIntyre

Having confidence is easy. Just convince enough people of it, and you’re in. The old “fake it til you make it,” mentality that seems to work on so many people because they want to believe it. The key is to find out what others are looking for from a confident person and portray that. Now, some people aren’t good enough actors to pull this off, and those are the ones we label “anti-social,” or “followers,” which is okay. But many people exist who push that fear down deep enough to project confidence.

Want to know something funny? Usually pretending to be confident is adequate over the long run to actually make you confident. That works with anything, pretty much. Remember Eddie Murphy’s character in “Trading Places”? He was down on his luck and resorted to running scams to try and get cheap money while living on the streets. But then he was picked up out of the gutter and given his heart’s desire, and a sense of purpose. Suddenly he began acting like a more confident man to the extent that he shed the bonds of those men and made something of himself. By himself.

“Confidence is the first step. It doesn’t matter how you achieve it. What truly matters is that you get it in the first place.”

This happens often, from shy nerds who only have confidence in their computer abilities, to weightlifters whose confidence comes strictly from their physical strength, to stay-at-home mothers who are only confident in their homemaking skills. Yet, if these people are placed in other situations which require confidence of a different sort they can usually adjust and pull it off. How? Because confidence is the first step. It doesn’t matter how you achieve it. What truly matters is that you get it in the first place. Then use the power of transference and you’re set.

I knew a guy who was probably the most introverted fellow on the face of the planet, until he met a woman online and they struck up a friendship. They soon met and this guy came out of his shell. I had no idea he possessed an actual sense of humor, or that he had a good singing voice. But then — meeting the right person who could bring it out of him — he developed that personality seemingly overnight, and you could tell that it was genuine. He finally believed in himself and in his abilities and he made it happen. The woman is long gone, but that confidence still remains.

That’s what I think so many people who have no confidence needs — a catalyst, a reason to believe in themselves. And sometimes that reason is as simple as another person recognizing worth in them, bending an ear and listening to what they have to say, going out of their way to say one positive word. You know we all love to hear positive things about ourselves, no matter how small that thing may seem to others.

“It took me a long time not to judge myself though someone else’s eyes” -Sally Field

Our problems come when we take what others say about us as the god’s honest truth. When people open their mouths the positive comments aren’t the only things that come out. In fact, more often than not, people can be extremely catty and say the worst things about others, whether or not those things are true. I remember the mantra, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all,” and I am a firm believer in it. Even if your negative words are true, all it does is make others think less of you, and if they get back to the other person they make them feel badly about themselves. Do you want to be responsible for that?

Saying positive things about others, no matter how small, and helping to increase their confidence can only help you and others around you. So be confident in yourself, but also help others to be confident in themselves. Who knows where they may go in life, and what they will remember about the people who helped them get there? And what goes around truly does come around again. When you’re feeling down, who do you think will be there to lift you up again?


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Dr. K. L. Register

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