I wish I had learnt this very valuable lesson earlier. It has proved to be a major factor of me breaking out of my comfort zone. So for all you guys out there struggling to find your confidence despite numerous people telling you “Be confident! Just do it!” here’s my view on how to attain that confidence. I hope with this post you can take away the 5 lessons of confidence, and be able to recognize the different phases in your confidence. To me, confidence boils down to 3 stages: Phase 1: No Confidence Everyone has to start somewhere and I’m gonna tell you this right now. The path to confidence begins with no confidence! Ironic isn’t it? The bullsh!t society feeds you about ‘having confidence’ before starting out on something has never exist. Yes that’s right; your first step to confidence begins with NONE. Now, imagine the first time you decide you want to get a job. Recall your feelings. Were you afraid, hesitant or scared that you can’t do your job? You’re already dooming yourself to failure before you even APPLY for the job. Hesitancy grows and eventually you give up the idea of even applying for the job. This my friends is the first stage of confidence that many people are stuck in and will never get out of because they do not realize this lesson, which I believe is the lesson that you MUST learn, at the very least take away from here if you want confidence. Lesson 1: Everyone’s firsts start with no confidence. Phase 2: Taking the plunge Following up with Lesson 1, you have to realize that everyone starts on an equal footing when it comes to breaking comfort zones. Look around you, ask people about their first times doing a job, taking up a dancing class or whatever. I can guarantee you 100% that they had some sort of reluctance to take the first step. But what makes them different from the others who are stuck in the hellhole of Phase 1? They act in spite of their fears. Relate to your similar experiences in the past with mine. I’m using my first job experience because this is where I finally grasped the true meaning of confidence. So eventually I got tired of sitting around at home and decided to go for a walk-in interview. Despite my primary fears of screwing up, I headed on because I couldn’t stand idling at home no longer. To my surprise, I got the job. Then I thought to myself, “That wasn’t so bad after all” Familiar isn’t it? Lesson 2: Confidence begins as one acts in spite of one’s fear for the worst. Now, some of you may argue that taking the plunge is easier said than done. I never said it was easy, but doing it will definitely do more for your confidence rather than sitting around mucking about it. However, the following lesson will (I hope) help you to lessen the pressure of going head on in spite of your fears. Phase 3: Cycle of Growing Confidence If I could describe this in simple steps it would be this: 1. Screw up 2. Learn from screw up 3. Improve Repeat Step 1 – 3 Seems easy enough, but most people never get past step 1. Why? Because they are afraid of mistakes! As a trainee on the job, I was absolutely terrified about screwing up. Heck I even gave wrong change to my very first customer. (Screw up) But then, that experience of screwing up lasted a mere few seconds. I thought how to make sure I gave correct (Learn from screw up) change, implemented it (Improve) and sure enough it was a problem of the past. Another thing I would like to add is that as I continued doing my job, I realized that mistakes were inevitable as there were definitely things I didn’t know of. As time went on, I accepted mistakes as they were and eagerly sought to learn from them if I made one. Eventually I become more proficient at what I did and this was particularly evident with the satisfaction customers enjoyed and told my manager about my service. Obviously there is a mindset of learning involved here, but since you’re on a self improvement site I expect you to already be eager to learn. Lesson 3: Accept that mistakes are inevitable Lesson 4: Mistakes are your best friends for building confidence Sure enough, I was totally relaxed in my job after a period of time because I was exposed to it everyday. This is what I call confidence – the ability to proceed with a task in a relaxed state. As long as you expose yourself continually to the zone beyond your comfort zone (lol), eventually it becomes part of your comfort zone and as humans, we are confident in our comfort zones no? Lesson 5: Confidence grows with continual exposure. One thing I have to emphasize is that confidence by itself is a very general term. Your confidence in the gym does not necessarily equate to having confidence approaching girls. Confidence is very specific. You want confidence in approaching girls? Approach more girls. You want confidence in running a store? Get a job in a retail/food outlet store! However I would say that by building confidence in various aspects of your life, you build up your self esteem which makes it easier to break out of your comfort zone in the future. For simplicity sake, and lazy readers Lesson 1: Everyone’s firsts start with no confidence. Lesson 2: Confidence begins as one acts in spite of one’s fear for the worst. Lesson 3: Accept that mistakes are inevitable Lesson 4: Mistakes are your best friends for building confidence Lesson 5: Confidence grows with continual exposure.