Lesson 12

Components of 24 Karat Confidence

 

Confidence is a multidimensional construct that is made up of not just a simple judgment of what a person can do or achieve, but as we have discussed throughout the book, it is an amalgamation of several different components that all come together to create a persuasive form of self-direction, personal confirmation, validation and motivation.  The following is a list of the vital components that help to sustain and fortify one’s confidence levels.  The order is not value driven or ranked by importance to the overall definition, but each contributes to a level of confidence and can stand alone on its own merits.  In trying to create a durable level of confidence, we must understand the components and what value they bring to the overall feeling.

 

  1. Preparation and Readiness to perform

Many years ago, Bobby Knight, one of the greatest coaches in the game of basketball said this about preparation and winning:  “The key is not the will to win…everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”    Truer words may never have been spoken because every great athlete, business leader, performer, entertainer, politician and statesman knows the value of being fully prepared when it is time to perform.  Jack Nicklaus, the legendary golfer who has won more major golf titles than anyone in the world said this about confidence and preparation: “Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.”

 

What is important about both of these quotes is that they state with great emphasis that preparation and hard work is the first step towards creating confidence.  The will to prepare to get readyis a key aspect of top performers but is often overlooked by the mediocre or the wannabes.  Nicklaus talks about confidence as the single, most important factor and even downplays natural talent and credits hard work and dedication to the game as the major factor in success.

Whether you are on the athletic field, Broadway stage or even in the courtroom of law, the aspect of total preparation is vital in helping you feel confident and self-assured of your ability to perform.   Actor Richard Kline once said that: “Confidence is preparation.  Everything else is beyond your control.”

Thus, the notion that confidence is something that we are just born with or that people who possess confidence as a lucky trait is somewhat askew from what some of the greatest coaches and performers believe.  Preparation and hard work specifically devoted to perfecting one’s body of work on a daily basis is what drives the engine of developing and maintaining enduring confidence.

 

  1. Skill Competency / Adequacy of movement competence

Famous English poet and writer Geoffrey Chaucer once wrote: “The life so short, the craft so long to learn.”  Herein lays the dilemma of developing true mastery and confidence.  It takes a long time to develop a skill and even more time to reinforce that skill so that the human brain will retain the information into a mental program that will not easily dissolve.  Psychologist Anders Ericsson and his colleagues took the position that a major influence in the acquisition of expert performance was based on the amount of time one spends in a concept called deliberate practice.

According to Ericsson and company, a person who spends his or her time in deliberate practice for a minimum of ten years is likely to achieve expert performance.  Deliberate practice is dedicated practice designed to achieve vital components of any maneuver to enhance the overall performance of the stated skill.  Deliberate practice is dull, monotonous and often tedious work and definitely not fun time. However, in attempting to achieve that expertise, one must have the self-confidence and motivation to endure the day to day rigors of deliberate practice and get through the frustrations that you will face inevitably.

Along with the concept of deliberate practice is the concept of “sweat equity confidence.” Sweat equity confidence is a very real concept and encompasses the toil of skill acquisition, motor skill mastery and development of one’s craft that takes years to refine and instill.  When athletes, students, teachers and professional workers spend time, effort and money into perfecting their skill, whatever it may be, is considered sweat equity.  It is the time and labor of investing into the skill that will eventually lead to a productive gain in one’s performance or work task.

 

  1. Intellectual and Psychological Competence

As in physiological competence and skill mastery, one must be able to identify and become self-aware of “blind spots” of vulnerability, habituation and lack of variety.   As we go through our day to day jobs, we often become trapped in the “monotony of routine” that affects our productivity and creative juices.  When one learns to be consciously competent of their thoughts and feelings, they can self-direct and maneuver themselves through a rough patch of indecision and trepidation.  In developing your confidence, it is highly important that you can recognize and understand when you are stuck or are in a stagnant pattern of thought and behavior. To be able to self-regulate and self-monitor your thoughts and feelings and redirect your focus to a purposeful end is the transfer element to creating self-assurance and promoting true confidence in your abilities.

But in stating that competence is a value in confidence, the real acid test is the life experiences that one goes through every day.  The maturity and wisdom of making choices and decisions helps build our internal file of success and failures that drives us to become even more competent in our actions. Without the modicum of success experiences coupled with our failings that we obtain through our lives, we wouldn’t learn the meanings of accountability, productivity and self-motivation.  Psychological competence is the cognitive conduit to persuade a person to achieve the things that matter most to them.

  1. Adherence and Compliance

One of the more difficult things for people to do is to start fresh on a project, especially a self-improvement project and stick to achieving that goal with conviction.   Notably, diets and exercise regimens are particularly tough to stay committed to the plan day in and day out.  Most of the time, we start new trends or regimens only to be motivated for a day or two or a week at best.  It is similar to listening to a motivational speaker.  The message is given with passion and zeal and when you leave the auditorium you are filled with fire and new energy and perhaps a bit of what I call “the sun tan effect.”  However, this new found zeal only lasts a few days and the “tan effect” has left you feeling a bit vacant.

 

Adherence and compliance are related features of self-regulation that suggest you “want” to do something rather than feeling like an obligatory task which suggests you “have to” do something.   Adherence is the premium motor fuel in your emotional gas tank that says I want to drive faster, farther and go where I haven’t been before!  When you adhere to wanting to accomplish something or see it through, you have created a pact with yourself that you will see it through.  It is a gift that you give to yourself.

Compliance is similar to adherence except that to comply means that you will get to yes.  To comply means that you will get the job done and see things through because that is part of the personal agreement that you make with yourself.  Whether one wants to discuss the semantics of the related words is a non-issue in the establishment of true confidence.  The ability to say: “this is what I want to do and I will stick to it” is a conviction of willpower and personal fortitude.  Both are key aspects in the determination of striving to achieve goals and are strong interrelated components of the main construct of confidence.

 

  1. Mental Discipline

Mental Discipline is the ability to set priorities with yourself so that you can stay on the task of achieving your goals or even just trying to become a better person.  When we talk of someone having mental discipline we mention their ability to cut through what is not necessary or instrumental in becoming the person that they choose to be.  A simple example is that when a person starts out with wanting to become healthier and in better overall physical shape, they have the discipline to move away from the unhealthy, fast and greasy foods that are enticing but detrimental to their goal. They make a choice and stick to it. That is a form of making a choice which falls under self-control.

As we discuss mental discipline and confidence, many will try to suggest that to be disciplined means a military and rigid approach.  The truth is that having a discipline suggests you have created a foundation or bottom line for which you can follow and stay committed to that plan.  If you have started a plan to increase your fitness, having a sense of self-control regarding your sleep habits is a form of mental discipline.  By knowing that you have to go to bed at a certain hour so that you can get up an hour earlier to go work out is a form of self-control that can be termed mental discipline.

 

Mental discipline also refers to the ability that one has to resist the temptation to think and act negative.  For example, when you feel tempted to lose your temper while driving down the highway and makes a conscious choice to remain calm and composed is a form of choice that is driven by your mental control and self-discipline.

 

  1. Grit and Tenacity

When we discuss the merits of grit and tenacity, we are talking about two components that anyone with confidence would surely possess.  Grit is the persistence to move through the frustrations and failings of everyday life and to continue moving in the direction of their passion.  Professor Angela Duckworth who has done a great deal of the seminal research on grit, suggests that it is one of the most valuable character traits that humans possess because it is continually driving us to our end goal.

 

 

Grit is not about possessing great talent or skill but is more dedicated to the continual pursuit of striving to meet your goal, no matter how long it takes.  Closely aligned with persistence and tenacity, people with grit display courage and have the ability to resist and overcome failure.  People who have a passion for their work or performance will most certainly reflect having the characteristics of grit.  When we talk about athletes or performers who are tireless workers but who do not have all of the natural gifts as others, but they have “outworked and grinded” to achieve their success, we are talking about the concept of grit.

When we talk of the old cliché’, “when the going gets tough….the tough get going” would be a display of what we now understand is the concept of grit.

 

 

 

Gritty people tend to be tough-minded and strong-willed individuals who will find a way to get things accomplished and done, no matter the setbacks or how long it may take.  Gritty people are more concerned with having a solid work ethic and focus on personal and professional excellence versus striving for perfection.  A person with grit and tenacity is a person who will see that things are carried through to a successful completion.

 

  1. Psychological Hardiness and Resilience

Consistent with many of the other components that I have listed previously, hardiness and resilience go hand in hand with building and sustaining enduring confidence.  Psychological resilience is the ability to shrug off failures and not see them as ending points, but as learning steps to promoting future success. First established in 1979 by Researcher Suzanne C. Kobasa as a pattern of personality characteristics, psychological hardiness helps people view stressful situations as less threatening and thus leads to greater coping abilities.  When a person has an ability to shrug off hard times and continue to move forward despite the hardships that they have or will encounter then that person is considered “psychologically hardy”.

 

But in simpler terms, psychological hardiness is the ability to control our thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Being hardy is the ability to face challenging situations and events with a committed attitude that things will be better and that as an individual, we can control our direction of thoughts and attitude to promote behavior and cognitive changes.

 

  1. Learned Optimism

The characteristic of being optimistic is an ally of confidence because optimism is a productive choice of mind and emotion versus its’ evil twin of pessimism.  When you choose to be optimistic, what you are really saying is that I will take a different look at things than everyone else.  Perspective is vital to creating an optimistic outlook.  Instead of looking at a glass of water as being half-empty as a pessimist may view it, an optimist sees the glass of water as half-full.

Also, instead of perceiving the half –glass of water as a loss, the optimist will see it as a positive gain or perhaps even life sustaining fluid.  Optimism is essentially a positive perspective on things that many may view as unrealistic or unachievable.  But an optimistic person is always leaning towards the possibility of good things happening whether there is anything positive going on at the present moment or not.   This is an idea that is closely related to hope.  But the two do have differences and we should not confuse optimism with hope.  Optimism is a developed philosophy of looking at things based on past events of successful and negative experiences and that one can overcome the negative pangs of disappointment and still look at the future with the capability for good things to happen and successful achievements.

The concept of learned optimism was first created by Professor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania in an attempt to view a different side of one being learned helpless.  Learned optimists realize that they can make choices in their everyday lives and that they do not have to see the doom and gloom that is so easy to do.   But being optimistic is not an easy task.  We all realize that bad things and negative events are stronger in impact than positive or good things.  But our task in building self-confidence and creating a better life for ourselves is based on how we perceive reality.  Perceiving things with an optimistic outlook is also reigning in on the qualities of hope and possibility thinking.  When a person learns how to disassociate negative limitations and move in the opposite direction of hopeful realism and opportunity, then one is learning to choose to think optimistically.

 

 

  1. Trust

Of all the components that form to create the definition of confidence, then trust is the emotional and cognitive glue that pulls and keeps them all together.  Trust is an emotional and cognitive state of absolute acceptance devoid of any doubt, worry or suspicion.  In a personal nature, when you trust yourself fully and completely, you are making a personal proclamation that you are 100% comfortable with your thoughts and feelings about whatever you are dealing with at that time.

Essentially, when you trust yourself, you are giving yourself the permission to be whoever you want to be and are comfortable with whatever happens to you via this choice.  It is linked to confidence in the sense that trust allows you to be comfortable in your own skin and that you are perfectly happy with that aspect. For any individual, the ability to trust your instincts, decision making and choices regarding your personal well-being leads to a feeling of self-control and empowerment.  The need for other people’s approval is not a major concern since you value your judgment and experience over all others.  Trust is perhaps the final piece of an intricate puzzle that pulls everything together for people.  When you trust yourself, you are essentially saying that everything is going to work out for you in whatever endeavor you are undertaking or doing.  It becomes a freeing experience that enhances self-concept, self-esteem and self-confidence.

For a relationship example pertaining to trust, when two people pledge themselves to one another, whether in a formal or private ceremony, they vow to remain committed and chaste to that other person. They forsake all others and will remain true in devotion and purpose for the sake of their union.   Thus, when one trusts another person, what they are essentially saying is that they are totally immersed into the good interests of not only themselves, but to the other person as well.  Trust is total and non-negotiable.  Either you trust 100% or you do not trust at all.  Trust is total involvement and commitment to the idea that you put your faith in someone or something and that there is no curiosity or doubt as to your intention.  Therefore, when you trust, there is no question of doubt.  If a person in a relationship is truly trusting, then the notion of trust becomes a non-issue.  Either you totally trust or you don’t trust at all!

However, there are a number of different ways to trust. But for the sake of brevity, I will only mention a few here.  In the outside world of supersonic travel, where people depend on others to get from one place to another, a form of face value trust is readily established.  An example would be getting onto a jet airliner. When one steps into the plane and straps in, the level of trust that a passenger must relinquish to the pilot and crew is almost a given.  If there wasn’t a trust factor there, many airlines would have nothing but ghost flights. Another form of trust is credible trust from a reputable or distinguished source, as in trusting your doctor’s orders and complying with his directions to get well.   In both of these cases, people trust another person or group of people to take care of them and deliver goods and services to them without second guessing or questioning their credentials.  What’s funny to think about is that many people put more effort into questioning who is making their Starbuck’s coffee to make sure it is right versus who is flying the plane that will take them from Chicago to San Francisco!

But the value of trust is always a precious and fragile element that needs to be continuously maintained, reinforced and developed.  Aside from these special circumstances, it takes a long time to develop a trusting alliance in a relationship or even a business situation.  When one person places their trust in another, they are making themselves vulnerable.  They are making a choice of opening themselves up for security and comfort but also with the risk of being disappointed and heartbroken because they are being totally transparent.   That is the gamble of trust because you are putting your faith into someone or something with the idea that they will have your best interests at heart.  In essence, they are putting their trust or confidence in you to come through for them!

This is why when the “trust egg” is broken or fractured by a deed of impropriety or broken promises, it is very hard to recover or make the “trust egg” whole once again.   I love the saying that legendary Jazz musician Miles Davis quoted years ago that went: “It takes a long time to learn how to play like yourself”.    The same could be said about the concept of learning how to trust.  It takes a long time to develop and only a couple of indiscretions to destroy.  But the benefits of learning to trust far outweigh the cost of doubt and uncertainty.

In the sporting world, you hear the word trust used many times.  In particular, you hear of athletes trusting their process or that they will trust their teammates, their coach and their game plan.  One of the primary reasons that athletes practice and prepare so hard is so that they can perform with automaticity and trust when it is game time. Developing the performance skill level of an elite athlete takes years of dedicated effort to perfecting specific moves and coordinating those movements to produce effortless motion.   In a motor learning definition that defines trust:  it is the letting go of conscious, over controlling tendencies that interfere with those mechanisms that have been over learned via habit and repetition. In essence, trust is the letting go of trying hard and trying to coerce or make things happens.

When an athlete trusts, they are merely allowing those habits and overlearned skills to come forth and play the way that they have practiced and prepared themselves to play!  Therefore, trust is the non-thinking aspect of performing well in competition and allowing the talent that they have practiced long and hard to come out via their refined preparation!  What is ironic is that when an athlete is having a peak performance day or when they have entered “the zone,” (which is an optimal level of functioning and performing), they are not reminding themselves to “trust”.  Rather, they are simply doing what they know and allowing those developed habits to run forth automatically without any conscious coercion or cognitive self-talk or instruction.  That allowance to play without interference from a conscious mind perspective talking you through every movement and to play with athletic freedom is the sporting equivalent of trust.

Trust and confidence are like the combination sandwich of peanut butter and jelly.  Both are separate, but interconnected entities that provide a person with a feeling of being able to accomplish anything that they set their mind to do.  Both take a long time to develop, but their powers of facilitation allow you to do things you once thought were impossible but now can become reality.

 

  1. Relentlessness

In discussing how you can become more confident, an item that often comes up in conversation is that you might need to “toughen up and become mentally stronger”.  These are words that often heard around the locker rooms of sporting teams and especially those teams that have developed a winning and tough-minded culture.  Specifically, one such team that has developed a culture of tough-mindedness is the New England Patriots NFL football team.  Despite all of the talented players that they recruit and manage, the thing that has made the Patriots multiple Super Bowl Champions is the fact that they play with passion, purpose and a relentless approach to getting better every day!  Whether you love them, hate them or dislike them for any number of reasons, one thing is for sure:  The New England Patriots get the job done and they are winners!

Their coach, Bill Belicheck, is known to be a no-nonsense, extremely hard-working individual who will accept nothing other than one’s best on and off the field at all times.  One of his favorite quotes and the only one in the Patriots locker room is from the classic book by Sun Tzu: The Art of War.  The quote is: “every battle is won before it is ever fought”.  This means that you have prepared yourself to win long before the game starts.

Another saying from the Patriots team bench is: “Do your job!”  This means that the focus of doing what you know how to do and be relentless in your attention to detail will bring you the confidence to succeed when it is time to perform.  Your individual effort will tie in with team collectiveness to create excellence. Therefore, the individual becomes part of a much larger picture than just himself.

These philosophies create a mental, emotional and physical readiness to give you an edge long before you take the field.  Even after a game whether they have won or lost, The Patriots are looking forward to the next game with stubborn aggressiveness towards playing their best in the only game that they can control….and that is the game they are getting ready for or that they are already in.  To be relentless is to say that you will not be denied.  It is associated with stubbornness, tenacity and a ruthless dedication to getting the job done, no matter what!

The quality of being relentless is associated with confidence because it is about the value of duration, tenacity and grit. To say that you have a relentless fire is to suggest that you never give up and never give in, no matter the odds or how things may be going at the present moment.  All you know or care about is that you are in the moment whether that is a sporting contest, business venture, or a fight.  You simply won’t take no for an answer.   Many of the world’s best sales and marketing people have relentless attitudes that suggest that whatever they want, they are going after and they will not stop until they get it!

Just for the record, I am not a New England Patriots fan.  Many of the teams I root for are competitive rivals, but as a sport psychologist, I am a fan of fantastic effort and a directed mindset.  It just so happens that for the past two decades, the New England franchise has made a template for what a relentless pursuit of excellence should look like.   And to that I applaud them and their entire coaching and playing staff!

 

  1. Patience and Composure

Patience is confidence waiting to happen!  This has been a signature statement of mine for many years. What I mean by this is that in order for good things to happen or arise, you must have the emotional and psychological stability to endure the ebbs and flows of success and disappointments that you will encounter in your life’s journey.  Being patient and staying emotionally invested in the short, mid and long term aspects of getting what you want is truly worth the waiting and the setbacks that occur to you along the way.

For example, when I was in my early thirties, I decided I wanted to become a Ph.D. in Sports Psychology.  I had studied for years getting ready to become admitted to a new program and essentially a new field of sport science!  It took me eight to ten years of preparation work past my Masters graduate degree to get ready to submit my applications for graduate school for the doctoral degree.  What many people see are the many books and articles that I have written throughout the years, not to mention a wealth of video and television pieces.  They believe that is has been all fun and games and must have come fairly easily for someone like me.  Far from it!  I had to take and retake several entrance exams and for nearly two years prepared for the GRE exam in order to be eligible for admission into the doctoral program at the university to which I was applying.

However, upon dedicated years of work and preparation, I finally was admitted and even then, it took me many years to complete my education.  To say that I was an applied learner would have been an understatement!  But lo and behold, my patience, determination and emotional composure steadied me through the difficult waters and I finally made it. Was it worth the sacrifice and all of the blood, sweat and tears (and even years)?   I can only tell you that it has been a wonderful ride with a lot of ups and downs and that anything worth having, is worth working and dedicating yourself to for a long time. After all, I happen to believe that anything is possible if you want something….but you really have to want it in order to achieve it!   I think a lot of people want things quickly and feel that they are entitled to things of which they have not earned or deserved.  To those people, I know that you like the idea of having some things…but if you are not willing to work, sweat and toil for these things….then you probably didn’t want them very much in the first place!   Patience is the ability to hang in there when things don’t look good and to stay the course.  Eventually, your ship finds the wind and you sail into a safe harbor of success and happiness.  To say that patience is a big part of confidence is much like going to a restaurant and ordering salt without the pepper.  It seems that if you have one, the other is right there.  So too is patience and confidence.  The two simply go together well!

 

  1. Concentration and Attentional Focus

The value of focus is a critical component to our 24 karat gold confidence model.  Let’s face it, the ability to stay focused on what you are trying to achieve is an absolute necessity for success.  You can have all of the talent and “know-how” to intuitively and intellectually know that you can do a thing, but if you are unable to stay on the task and finish the project, it really doesn’t matter how much talent or belief that you can do something.   The key aspect of all of this is to have the focus to be able to execute your intention and do whatever needs to be done.  In a very real sense, the ability to concentrate helps reinforce your confidence foundation!   But many people have different ideas and definitions about concentration and focus. Here are a couple of ways that I describe concentration, focus and how they interface with the ability to be confident.

For a lot of people, when you talk about the ability to concentrate, you are suggesting that it is the ability or skill to create a singular focus on your task to the exception of everything else around you.   To concentrate means to fine center and create a pin-point focus of attention on an object or thing.  In the real world of doctors, lawyers, construction workers and administrative personnel, there are an infinite number of examples of concentrated focus.

One simple example could come from your neighborhood butcher.  Whenever he or she is starting to slice a side of beef into specific steaks and cuts, they need to know exactly what they are attempting to do before they actually cut. This means that they cut off portions that are too fatty and are not a part of the specific type of steak or cut that the customer has ordered.

Albeit this is not thought of as a daunting task of concentration, it still requires a fine eye and a precise execution to produce the right thickness, depth and portion that has been ordered.  Their focus has to be specific and fine-tuned in order to come up with the execution of slicing the meat to the customer’s specifications and order.  No matter how experienced the butcher may be, each order is a new order and the mental focus to deliver a successful product has to be exact and well defined.

Another more extreme example would be an eye surgeon doing corrective retinal re-attachment.  The precision of his cuts and utilization of the special lasers that are required takes enormous focus and attention to the most precise detail in order to achieve visual success.  With each person, whether a butcher or an eye surgeon, attention to detail and the ability to execute their craft with masterful results creates a residue of success that is associated with confidence.

Then if concentration is the ability to focus on one thing, then the ability to process information in the sensory system to the exclusion of the other senses, is another form of concentration. Specifically, when a person is engaged in the visual system, the auditory and balance systems are integrated and catching up.  What many people think is that we think, see, feel and act all at once.  This is not entirely true.  Each system acts a bit independently and the final integration of those processes is what we call flowing energy.  Have you ever been engaged in a movie when someone was calling your name but you didn’t hear them? That is being engaged in one sensory system and devoid of another.

When we think of focus, we are actually talking about two dimensions.  The first is attention and the second is intention.  When you are paying attention to someone speaking or your focus is visually locked on something, you are “paying an energy cost” and engaged in that person or activity.  That is the first part of focus.  The second part of focus is the quality of intention. Intention is where and why you are directing your energy to accomplish something. The combination of the two components creates focus.  When you want to do something or accomplish a task, you ask yourself:  what is my task and where do I want my energy to go?  Intention and attention are the primary spokes in the wheel of attentional focus and concentration.

As I have stated previously, to be able to concentrate and stay focused on the task that you are presently undertaking, provides a funnel of energy that produces a state of internal knowing that we call confidence.  Knowing that you have the ability to stay focused during your task lends itself to feelings of composure and confidence that things will turn out well.

 

Successful Experiences

No matter how you discuss it, nothing succeeds like previous success.   There has been a debate for years in the field of sport and performance psychology about which comes first or is more important: Does confidence create success or does success create success? The professional literature suggests that previous success is a greater indicator of success than mere confidence predicts success, but the explanation may be much more involved than that.  Let me explain.

In the definition that I call complete confidence, you must obtain some modicum of success in order to sustain the momentum to continue forging on to create more success.  The feelings of attainment confirm that you can indeed do something and be successful therefore leading to feelings of personal achievement.  However, if you are not being successful and that you are failing more than you are succeeding, your belief system in to what you are trying to attain will suffer.

What this simply means is that without some form of success, the motivation to continue will whimper and full confidence in your abilities will never be attained.  However, even if you are successful just a few times in the endeavors that you are participating, those positive experiences can fuel your performance execution for upcoming events or goal strivings.  These events can be springboards for future positive endeavors.   This is why the road to success is always under construction!

A few years ago, PGA touring professional Billy Mayfair discussed the value of winning.  If you don’t know Billy Mayfair, he is the only player on the PGA Tour to ever defeat Tiger Woods head to head in a playoff back in 1998.  However, as the years waned on, Billy’s successes on the golfing tour were far and few between. His confidence and belief that he could win again started to fade a bit.   After a while, Billy was only playing in certain events and one week he was playing in a local club event which he won.  In his brief acceptance speech, he discussed the importance of being in the mix and feeling the nerves coming down the stretch.  For Billy, whether it was a PGA event or a simple local golf event, the outcome and feelings confirmed what he knew deep inside: that he could win and that whatever you can pull from that experience is a catalyst for future successes!

What was important about this story is that Billy was not speaking about his win over Tiger, but discussing a different win he had at his local club after having not won or been successful for many years on the PGA Tour.  Billy’s speaking points were that it didn’t matter at what level you win or who was in the field.  A win is a win.  It was a confirmation that what he did was successful and that he could pull positive feelings from it.  The point of this story is that Billy Mayfair defeated one of golf’s greatest players ever and used that win as a motivator for future events for many years, but he needed another win to confirm what he held inside to validate those feelings once again.

According to Albert Bandura, a renowned researcher in the field of social psychology, nothing is more important to the establishment of self –efficacy than possessing a wealth of mastery experiences.  Self-efficacy is a form of self-confidence in the sense that one can execute a given behavior to execute a task and be successful in that endeavor.  It is in a very real sense, a situation specific type of confidence.  A mastery experience is having success in an endeavor that one has undertaken and has achieved that goal.

Therefore, when we discuss having confidence it is important to realize that in order for you to substantiate a belief in yourself, you have to perform well and create mastery experiences that promote strong feelings of accomplishment.  Without these accomplishments, the persuasive value of success is diminished.  In order to feel the strength of confidence, nothing supports that like developing mastery and having a string of successful experiences. By piling up success after success and executing to a high order, the residue of that success is what many term to be true confidence.  Without you obtaining at least a modicum of success and producing productive results with some consistency, it is likely that any feelings of confidence you have established will diminish.  Producing positive experiences that create mastery feelings are vital to developing enduring confidence!

 

Summary

The thirteen components of confidence that I have listed and explained are all inter-related.  The sum of these valuable components makes the whole of which we call enduring confidence.  Without any one or even a number of these values, confidence would be lacking or diminished.  As we have discussed throughout this book, confidence is not just one thing, but a combination of many things that mesh together to form a powerful whole.  From preparation and competence to having the grit and determination to trust that you can create performance success, confidence is much more than simply a global belief in one’s abilities.  Confidence is multi-dimensional and dynamic.  True and enduring confidence is a feeling and human trait that can be developed, maintained and strengthened via various sources.  The quest to becoming and remaining confident is a self-fulfilling prophesy that is ongoing and never-ending.

 

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