One interesting thing about failure is that once you’ve experienced it, you realize that it’s nothing to fear. One of the biggest obstacles to success is the fear of failure. Yet in almost every case, failure is not really that bad. Of course it’s not something you would ever choose. It can be painful, inconvenient, embarrassing and costly. However, it can also be survived. In fact, failure can be transcended and transformed into success. But to do that, you must not live in fear of failure. Actually experiencing some setbacks can help you to realize that the setbacks always set the stage for something better, and constitute great learning experiences. Obviously you can gain confidence from your successes. What’s not so obvious, but perhaps even more powerful, is that you can also build confidence through activities that do not bring about the desired results.
So how do you find the confidence to take that first step? One way is to look for confidence that already exists in your life, reservoirs of confidence that you may well have forgotten about. After all, to get to where you are today, you’ve had to work your way through all sorts of challenging situations. You’ve had to learn skills, gather knowledge, and figure out what works and what doesn’t work. In doing all this, you’ve certainly gained a measure of confidence in some areas. Most likely, you take that confidence for granted and rarely even think about it.
If you regularly drive a car, for example, the act of driving has likely become second nature to you. Yet that’s not how it was the first time you sat down behind the wheel. It took time and focus to learn how to steer, accelerate, brake, and judge the location of the curb. You probably made some too-sharp turns, hard brakes, over-corrections, and ran up over the curb a few times. With time and practice, you learned, you experienced, you developed the coordination and muscle memory, and you became comfortable in the driver’s seat. And though driving is always something that demands much of your attention when you do it, you can apply that attention toward carefully watching other drivers and looking out for possible problems, instead of having to consciously focus on the basics of steering, braking, accelerating and all the rest.
In other words, you have developed a certain level of confidence about driving. You rarely think about that confidence. You simply put it to use day after day.
When you stop and think about it, there are many areas of your life in which you have built confidence. Your use of language, your participation in sports and recreational activities, your relationships, your involvement in community organizations, cleaning and maintaining your home, using computers and other technology are examples of places where you may have developed specific confidence.
Look at your own life and the things you do each day. Look at the path upon which you’ve traveled to get where you are now. You’ll discover that you are most certainly capable of building confidence in yourself in many different areas. Having already built real confidence, and being aware of it, gives you a certain amount of confidence to go out and develop new confidence in other areas of your life.