Riding The Waves Of Confidence
Use momentum when you’re at peak self-confidence.
Self-confidence is the key to achieving almost anything. It’s the power of certainty within yourself that you can pull something off. Without that belief, you’ll find it difficult to live up to your potential. Self-confidence can do wonders for your personal growth, but it can also raise your level of motivation, productivity, and creativity.
This is probably no secret to you — you’ve been aware of the power of self-confidence since you were a child. In hindsight, maybe there were moments over the course of your life where you wish you had more of it. The problem for most of us is that when we do have it, we take it for granted. We don’t take advantage of it, nor do we know how to sustain it.
Here’s our natural assumption: once we gain confidence we keep it forever. It’s simply not true. You have to think differently about the nature of self-confidence in order to make the most of it.
Imagine that confidence is a wave
‘Confidence is a wave. A wave rises and falls, and sometimes doesn’t even roll in.’ — Joe Jacobi
Gaining and sustaining self-confidence is a lot like surfing. It comes and goes like a wave, and you have a small window of opportunity to ride it. Each wave can take on different strengths — not all of them will roll into huge barrels, but they’ll keep coming and you have to be ready. When riding, you obtain a focus and determination to stay balanced, and nothing else matters. You’re in the pocket of the wave. It’s a moment you savor and nothing can stop you.
Some surfers have described the feeling of riding as euphoric and exhilarating. There’s a sense of adventure, freedom and creativity rolled into one. Others have described it as a feeling of weightlessness; a means to drain all negative energy and forget daily problems to face bigger challenges. In the same way, being self-confident allows you to push towards your ambitions without all of the usual negativity bogging you down.
You cannot ride a wave indefinitely
‘There is no-one that I’ve ever met, that no matter what situation they’re in, is always confident. Everybody gets knocked off kilter at times.’ — Tony Robbins
When was the last time you were really self-confident? Regardless of if you think you are most of the time, or only some of the time, your confidence levels are never really even keel, and you cannot live with full confidence all of the time. It just doesn’t happen.
Self-confidence can peter out like a wave. After all, it’s just a temporary enhancement of your psychological state that can only be accessed some of the time. For better or worse, your brain is naturally conditioned to change and adapt to your current circumstances, so in a sense, you’re always going to sabotage yourself. Even success can cause people to sabotage themselves because of the added pressure and self-consciousness that goes with it. You’re not alone—everyone is susceptible to self-sabotage.
Even the most confident lose confidence all the time — they just know how to catch waves quicker, and ride for longer.
The sooner you admit that you can only be confident for brief spurts, the sooner you’ll be comfortable with the ups and downs; the ebbs and flows. Psychologically, this will make it easier for you to switch your confidence levels up a notch—on demand—instead of holding out.
Peak self-confidence is the reward of stepping outside of your comfort zone
‘Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.’ — Theodore Roosevelt
Thinking positively, killing negative thoughts, engaging with your physiology, grooming and dressing yourself nicely, focusing, and setting small goals are just some of the well-known routines to help boost your self-confidence.
What’s great about these techniques is that while they’re relatively easy to carry out, they put initiative into your own hands. You have some control over preparing yourself mentally. You stand a better chance of catching a wave. But these common routines will rarely get you to the peak levels of self-confidence that raw, unforgiving experience will.
Everyone has different natural levels of self-confidence depending on how they were raised and what they’ve experienced. It always seems a bit like the chicken coming before the egg—you have to be confident to do something, but to be confident you have to experience something.
The more you face fear, challenges and difficult moments instead of running away from them, the more confidence you can summon going into the future.
Peak self-confidence only comes after you’ve overcome a significant challenge, or resolved a substantial burden. Perhaps it’s completing a demanding project, participating in public speaking, or solving a difficult problem. It’s likely to be outside of your comfort zone. By nature, nobody wants to do the things they’re uncomfortable doing—especially if they don’t have to. But when it’s over you feel the weight off your shoulders. Euphoria. Relief. This is when you’re the most self-confident. You would do way more than you would give yourself credit for.
When you’re floating in the water, don’t swim away from the waves, ride them.
Peak self-confidence can also be initiated by the positive reaction from others. You might be the only one aware of your own personal challenges, but it’s usually when others are involved; observing, collaborating, or dependent on you that you’re able to grow the quickest. It’s much harder to give yourself a pat on the back. External acknowledgement of your efforts can provide a huge confidence boost you can ride until the next endeavor.
Sustaining self-confidence for longer relies on memory and momentum
‘Self-confidence is the memory of success.’ — David Storey
Your ride might be cut short, so how do you exploit it while it lasts? Interestingly, the average ride time for a surfer is about 6 seconds. To the layman, this doesn’t seem like a lot and might make surfing sound like a waste of time given this fact. But maybe time slows down when you’re riding. Maybe the memory of it will be so powerful that it’s hard to forget—surfers often cite that you don’t forget your first wave.
Similarly, self-confidence may only last for a few seconds, but it could potentially last for days. There’s no way of quantifying or predicting the duration, but a day can make a huge difference. Our psychological state ebbs and flows throughout the day and during the course of a week. We reset our emotions every time we go to sleep, because we often have to re-align ourselves when we wake up—and Monday mornings tend to dampen spirits more than Friday afternoons!
Due to the uncontrollable circumstances around us, self-confidence is sabotaged when reality sets in, or the memory fades. This is why recollection is important.
Memory is the key to sustain your self-confidence.
What really keeps you confident is this: remembering how you felt, and the positive incentives that compelled you to be more confident in the first place. What did it feel like when nothing could stop you carrying out certain tasks? What propelled you to take risks? Recognizing when you’re at peak self-confidence is incredibly advantageous because you are able to absorb the moment and take note of what it took to reach that level.
But don’t just remember—leverage the energy of the wave to stay motivated, productive, and creative in whatever matters to you the most in the moment. Just imagine what else you can accomplish.
Take advantage of your enhanced state before it fades away. Use momentum to do the things you normally wouldn’t. Speak. Share. Engage. Do.