I have a confession to make. I am nervous all the time. Going to party’s, going to family gatherings, going to job interviews or interviewing people. I always try to back out at last minute. Even an interview with a guest that I put hours and hours into setting up I try to back out of at the last minute. But then I can’t back out because I’ve already emailed the Mr/ Mrs/ Miss several times to make sure it’s happening. Therefore I end up doing the interview.
When I was in sixth grade somehow I was labeled “class- clown.” I would always find myself with something to say after the teacher had said something. I have always been addicted to something in my life. At this point in my life I was addicted to comedy. Being funny was quite the reward. My first fan was Cory Galloway. He had an intoxicating laugh that motivated me to keep on saying ridiculous after market jokes while a teacher was simply just trying to get through the lesson. I didn’t care though because I got addicted to the laughter. It made me feel good.
One day, my teacher said “Logan if I give you five minutes at the end of class to say what ever you want, will you be quiet for the rest of the class?”
Like a deer in headlights. I was paralyzed. I felt a rush of adrenaline. What did I do?
You’ll have to read the rest suckers to find out….
What’s confidence anyhow
Confidence is a lot like a building. It takes a lot of effort to develop, regular maintenance to keep it in good shape, but just a single blow to destroy it.
So, how are you supposed to be confident at your new job if you’ve never done this type of work before? Or how are you supposed to be confident in social situations when you don’t know anyone there? Or how are you supposed to be confident in your relationship when you’ve never been in a successful relationship before?
On the surface, confidence appears to be an area where the rich get richer and the poor stay in the zone of being losers. After all, if you’ve never experienced much social acceptance, and you lack confidence around new people, then that lack of confidence will make people think you’re clingy and weird and not accept you. Same deal goes for relationships. No confidence in intimacy will typically lead to bad break ups and awkward phone calls and emergency liquor runs at three in the morning.
If you’ve always lost in life, then how could you ever imagine and expect to be a winner? And if you never expect to be a winner, then you’re going to act like a loser. Thus the cycle of sucking goes around and around and around.
This is the confidence riddle, where in order to be happy or loved or successful, first you need to be confident; but then to be confident, first you need to be happy or loved or successful.
It’s like a cat chasing a light that doesn’t exist. Or McDonalds ordering its own Freeedom fries. You can spend a lot of time star gazing trying to mentally sort everything out, but just like with your lack of confidence, you’re likely to end up right back where you started. The cat doesn’t get anything at all after actually catching the light. Which is as annoying as the person that constantly bites their nails and then wipes their nail biting spit on their pants only to give you a hand shake or high five later…
We know a few things about confidence just from observing people. So before you run off and order some Jimmy Johns; let’s break this down like Micky Mouse:
1. Just because somebody has something (tons of money, a million Twitter Followers, a bitchin’ beach body, a garage filled with top of the line sports cars) doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is confident in it. So I think the first thing we can establish is that confidence is not necessarily linked to any external gauge. Rather, our confidence is born in our perception of ourselves regardless of any tangible external reality. Your expectations for how something can go are ultimately your realities.
2. Because our confidence is not necessarily linked to any external tangible measurement, we can conclude that improving the external, tangible aspects of our lives won’t necessarily build confidence. Chances are that if you’ve lived more than a couple decades, you’ve experienced this in some form or another. Getting a promotion at your job doesn’t necessarily make you more confident in your professional abilities. In fact, it can often make you feel less confident. Dating and/or sleeping with more people doesn’t necessarily make you feel more confident about how attractive you are. Moving in together or getting married doesn’t necessarily make you feel any more confident in your relationship.
3. Confidence is a feeling. It’s a state of mind. It’s the perception that you lack nothing. That you are equipped with everything you need, both now and for the future. A person confident in their social life will feel as though they lack nothing in their social life. A person with no confidence in their social life believes that they lack the prerequisite coolness to be invited to everyone’s Jimmy Johns party (yes, this is a thing.) It’s this perception of lacking something that drives their needy, clingy and/or bitchy behavior.
The obvious and most common answer to this problem is to simply believe that you lack nothing. That you already have, or at least deserve, whatever you feel you would need to make you confident.
But this sort of thinking — believing you’re already beautiful even though you’re a frumpy slob, or believing you’re a raving success even though your only profitable business venture was selling cool stickers from your locker in high school — leads to the kind of insufferable narcissism that causes people to argue that obesity (something that is more detrimental to your health than smoking cigarettes) should be celebrated as beauty or to believe that getting this exact haircut is actually cool.
But hell, we can agree it takes confidence to make this haircut actually work.
How To really gain the goods
To build confidence we have to make the decision to step out of our comfort zone (like being seen with that bitchin haircut) and allow ourselves to grow and seek new experiences. As we learn new things, meet new people, and engage with the world around us, we begin to develop self-trust, which leads to a more confident outlook as we view ourselves as interesting and engaging people.
Story Time about confidence continues…..
Making side comments such as “In bed,” was a phrase that flew out of my mouth after the teacher finished her lesson. But now. I didn’t have anything to go off of. It was up to me.
So I stood up in the very front. My teacher said “Now everyone give Logan a warm welcome. He’s going to tell a few jokes. I walked up and I looked at everyone. And what felt like 500 years of silence was really a few seconds. Sweat dripped down my face and my heart was racing faster than it ever has. My stomach twisted itself into knots. I barely ate anything all day because I knew today was the day I agreed to try my hand at stand up comedy for five minutes after class.
My glass of confidence was at an all time low.
“Hi everybody,” I managed to nervously spurt out. My words sounded surprisingly confident. I felt incompetent but somehow I sounded confident. I chased this like a cat going after the light. I didn’t have much life experience. Due to the fact that I was only in sixth grade so I went for one liners.
“What is the secret ingredient a toilet.” I said. The class was silent. No sound. Every kid just blinked. I made eye contact with Cory and said “Poo.” Cory saved my life. He laughed with his contagious laugh and everyone else started to laugh. There’s laughter. Then I hit them with another one “Why can’t dinosaurs clap? Because they’re dead.”
More laughs! Not the whole class, but at least half. This might be OK I thought. Then I went on rapid fire….
“Have you ever tried eating a clock? It’s really time consuming.”More Laughs!!!
“What should you do if you see a spaceman? You should park, man.” “Two cows walk into a vegan bar. The bartender says, ‘We don’t serve your kind here.” “What is orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot.”
A total of five jokes set me up for five minutes of my first time ever doing Stand up Comedy and it was ride. It was like nothing I ever experienced or expected to pan out well at all.
“Five minutes, that’s nothin Logan. I see Louis CK do hour an a half long comedy routines.”
A) I’m not Louis CK. I’m a 26 year blogger who has a potty mouth and tries to make sense of the world.
B) The point of the story is everyone starts somewhere Smart Alec.
What does this have to do with confidence?
It has everything to do with confidence.
Confidence is about pinching yourself and feeling the ouch. The solution is to simply become comfortable with that ouch as much as possible.
Not everyone has had the same experience of success I did with stand up comedy. Hell you might have tried stand up yourself and it was a complete fail.
The truth is that the route to the positive runs through the negative. Those among us who are the most comfortable with negative experiences are those who reap the most benefits.
You can either be the person who stays in the back of the room saying side comments or you can get yourself in front of the room. Have all eyes on you and stare right back and deliver. I bet all that fear that you’ll have will quickly disappear as long as you don’t stop. High jack the momentum. The hardest part is the start. This is what confidence is all about.
Now, start small like I did. If you can, do five minutes of something that scares the living shit out of you and you’ll soon discover that your scardy cat characteristics were just fuckin with you.
Comment below and please don’t be that kid who’s hiding behind their keyboard; scared to say anything. Hit a couple of keys and let me know what area of life you’re trying to improve in but are too damn scared to change.