Dear Uncle [3] – Self-Confidence

dumbledoreThis is a post in a series of fictitious letters from/to Uncle Ash to seek guidance on challenges faced by a young adult.

Dear Vishya,

In the last letter, I ran out of space!! Hope you got time to read through it. One of your questions was how to improve one’s self-confidence. Per Wikipediaself-confidence relates to self-assurance in one’s personal judgment, ability, power, etc. That means every decision you make you want to feel assured you took the right step with it. Now, this isn’t an easy thing for anyone, even adults. Sometimes there are situations where one is in quandary what to do. In those cases, one has to put their best foot forward knowing their decisions in the past was in the right direction. It takes quite some time in developing that confidence in one’s decision-making ability.  But you need to start as early as possible. Recognizing that self-confidence is a necessary trait for one’s personal development is the first step.  Let me ask you a question – If you look back, do you feel that many times you didn’t make the right decision or do you feel otherwise? I think the answer, given your age, would be more of the former. Else, why would you be asking this question, right? But, that is perfectly okay. It is better to ask and seek guidance than try the world on one’s own. After all, there is so much learning even amongst those close to you, forget the whole world.

Every decision that you see as a challenge facing with, you might have multiple choices, but you have to narrow it down to one of the two – right or wrong. Simple. There might be many right decisions and many wrong ones, that is how it is. But learning to decide what is right and what is wrong is the first step. Remember, the right decisions are usually the harder choices. One of my favorite quotes is from Harry Potter – “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy”. The only way to find out if you made the right decision is to experience its result. Unfortunately,  that is how it work in the real world. BUT, and this is a big BUT, with every right decision you make you start seeing how the result fit into place given where you were earlier and that is key learning in making you next good decision. Such building within of the foundation of decision-making within your psyche is crucial. But, rest assured, as you recognize more and more good decisions, it starts to form a habit. Dont’ be alarmed that this might be hard. There are millions of people on this planet, this very moment, who make the right decisions all the time. And that is because of their learning from previous decisions. Making mistakes is another way of learning as long as you learn from it. The key here is to recognize whether each of the decisions you have made previously was right or wrong. This analysis has to happen with each and every decision you took – that is how you enforce your learning and get better at it.

Another remarkable thing happens as you start to make the right decisions – i.e., your self-confidence starts to increase. You see how others who have made right decisions have been progressing as you did or would have and you also see those who didn’t struggling. The opposite is also true. If one keeps making wrong decisions, their self-confidence deteriorates and so does their self-esteem.

After all these, I wanted to list out some of the decisions that you might come across where you have to decide?

– Have you clearly identified your strength and weaknesses? You can start with one or two – knowing all will take time. But that is a good start. This helps you make correct decisions about your life in general and career.

– Do you have the things and people who inspire you around you?

– Do you spend time wisely all the time? Given your young age, this is also critical in improving your self-confidence. Work hard now and enjoy life later or enjoy now and work harder later should be your motto. One of my Math teachers in College would say ‘October/November means lots of free movies and Ramotsava celebrations. I wouldn’t discourage you to attend these, but only after you have attended to your studies’.

– Are you keeping fit and eating well? Making right choices about eating and working out is a good decision to learn early in life.

– While you should be influenced rightly by inspiring people, they should be inspiring you to do your best but not to just follow them. You own identity should be developing as you get inspired; your own work should be developing as you get inspired. If you want to just follow someone blindly, that might not be the right decision.

What destroys one’s self-confidence very fast is how you feel about yourself in other’s eyes. This is terribly important. Feeling judged is something you have to get over with as soon as possible. Once you start recognizing your strengths, you will realize you are on the right path. Keep going back to your strengths and ward off any perceived judgement about yourself or your decisions. Sooner or later you will see that you have made the right decisions and within no time, your self-confidence will build up and you will start neglecting this feeling of judgement. It is easy to say this but hard to follow; however all you have to do is to make some good decisions and you will see it is indeed easy not to feel judged. You just have to look at people around you to see who is excelling and who isn’t and you will know that it is because they either don’t care being judged and do the right things OR they care and have lost their good decision making abilities.

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