This is largely because they’re not clear on what they want or where they’re headed.
The vast majority of people act cautiously and are reluctant to commit to long-term choices, and often only commit if they have a backup-plan in case things go sour.
This hesitation isn’t “wisdom” or “thinking things through,” though. It’s fear.
This indecisiveness exists because most people don’t even really know where they’re going. Their destination is unclear; their focus is foggy and confusing.
Said author Darren Hardy, “Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to get themselves there.”
On the other hand, the world’s most successful people make decisions very quickly. They do not hesitate, and operate with self-confidence founded on clarity and vision. They do not go back-and-forth; they are incredibly self-assured with their decision.
This incredible self-confidence is made possible because they know where they are going. Their choices, behaviors, actions, and even thoughts are aligned with their long-term goals. They know if they’re moving in the right direction.
Here’s how to create a lifestyle that enables high self-confidence, eliminating the crushing doubt and fear that prevent most people from achieving success.
“A man’s wishes and prayers are only gratified when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.” -James Allen
The Cleveland Browns might be the worst team in NFL history.
They went 0–16 this past year, only the 2nd team in history to go winless (there was a 96% probability that the Browns would win at least one game). In the past 5 years, the Browns have drafted a league-high 48 players, most of whom have had mediocre careers.
Instead of sticking to a specific plan or strategy, the Browns kept picking up random flavor-of-the-week players. They passed on sure things for risky trades, never committing to one direction. There was no correlation or method to the madness, and they were left with dozens of duds.
A lot of people make decisions like the Browns. They are constantly on the lookout to trade their current model — their partner, their job, their friends, their gadgets— for a better one. But all this indecision keeps you stuck in mediocrity.
But if you don’t have a plan, you risk losing it all through mismanagement, fear, and need to instant gratification.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up right back where you started after going in circles. This is what makes most people so insecure and full of self-doubt.
If you want high self-confidence, then make a plan, and stick to it. Know where you’re going.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins
“When we are not chosen, we feel bad. When we are chosen — even by idiots — we feel good. We need to unlearn this imprisonment. Not dissect and analyze it. Just completely unlearn it.” -James Altucher
Most people were taught a lot of garbage growing up.
I was. Due to a constant stutter, I was indirectly taught to keep my mouth shut because no one wants to talk to a stammerer.
I wasn’t good enough to make the varsity basketball team, become the lead snare drum player in drum line, or scare off the bullies who constantly tormented me. These reinforced the constant theme in my life: you’re not good enough.
A lot of needless self-doubt comes from the backwards-thinking that plagues most people’s lives.
It’s time to unlearn this. Not talk about it, not wish it were gone. Actually make steps to reverse the backwards thinking.
For me, this was counseling, therapy, and even 12-step addiction recovery. Something I’ve learned after 6 years of this: we could all use a little therapy.
Most people are unwilling to do the difficult emotional work of admitting how they were hurt, where their thinking got messed up (overcompensating, codependence, fear of abandonment), and what they now need to do to change.
“Act while you feel fear rather than waiting until you feel unafraid.” -David Richo, How to Be an Adult
As long as you’re lugging around these toxic mindsets, you’ll never truly experience the freedom and joyous self-confidence you want. It’s like having a broken arm; eating healthier, sleeping longer, exercising more, drinking less, and reading more books ain’t gonna fix it.
Like Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Before you can achieve your biggest dreams, you need to sharpen your mind first.
“You cannot allow the actions of others to define your reality.” -Steven Pressfield
“Every time you don’t honor a commitment that you’ve made to yourself or someone else, it’s a message to your subconscious mind and to the world around you that what you say can’t be trusted, that your word doesn’t mean much.” -Srinivas Rao
For most people, their word doesn’t mean that much.
A lot of people are flaky. They don’t show up on time, they cancel at the last minute, they break promises they said they’d keep.
Not only do they break their word to their friends, most people break their work to themselves. That’s the worst part of all.
Most people have promised themselves hundreds, perhaps thousands of times that “this time” you’ll change. But after dozens of failed attempts, you begin to stop believing yourself.
Some people even reach a point where they start something knowing they’ll fail. As Joseph Murphy wrote in The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, “What is impressed on the subconscious mind is expressed.” What you believe, becomes true.
It’s time to make your word mean something again.
If you want to replace self-doubt with high self-confidence, then do what you say you will.
If I say I’ll do the dishes, and forget it until right before bed, I’ll often get back up and turn the lights on (even if my sleepy wife just tells me to do them tomorrow). I said I would do them tonight, so that’s what I gotta do.
My words means something to me. If I break it, then I’m only hurting myself.
Increase your integrity to increase your self-confidence.
“Your subconscious mind takes the orders you give it based upon what your conscious mind believes and accepts as true.” -Joseph Murphy
What intensifies fear and desire is ignorance. This is why so many rich people become more fearful as they get richer.” -Robert Kiyosaki
Learning produces confidence and self-assurance. Ignorance produces fear and anxiety.
“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success,” wrote Dilbert comic creator Scott Adams. The opposite is true too: every moment you squander on something meaningless decreases your odds of succeeding.
You don’t always have to be learning every minute. The most effective learning comes from extended periods of rest and down-time between high-intensity learning. But the more you learn, the better you’ll feel.
My wife and I both agreed we wanted to do premarital counseling. I was still in the early stages of 12-step addiction recovery, and my mind was pretty out of whack, emotionally speaking.
A big part of me was terrified I’d mess something up in marriage (I still feel that fear sometimes). I hadn’t learned what to do — my parents spent most of their marriage on the rocks and ended up divorced, so I had no model of what to do. My ignorance intensified my fear.
But counseling taught me worlds of new information. It was mind-blowing. We learned how to fight, what the other typically feels during stress, and how to address things the right way.
I’m no expert on marriage, but a few years in and Kimi and I have a marriage far better than I ever thought was possible growing up. We’re constantly learning — in counseling, reading books together, asking each other hard questions — and our marriage is thriving.
Don’t stick your head in the sand and hope for the best. Fear will dominate you. Ignorance might bring bliss, but it’s an empty bliss. It also comes with fear and anxiety.
The more you learn, the better you feel.
“Formal education makes a living, but self-education makes a fortune.” -Jim Rohn
“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.” -Darren Hardy
When I was new to my 12-step program, I was told I needed a “sponsor,” someone to help me along the way. Who do I choose? I wondered helplessly.
Someone gave me some advice that made the choice very easy for me — just find someone who has what you want.
The fastest way to success is with a guide.
A lot of people waste enormous amounts of time and energy trying to succeed on their own.
If you want to have high self-assurance and eliminate self-doubt from your life, you need to find people who already have those traits, and do what they do.
You might need to spend some time finding that person. But right now, there are people out there who have been where you are right now, and succeeded. They spent the time and energy figuring it out. Go to them, and ask for help.
“All confidence is acquired, developed. No one is born with confidence. Those people you know who radiate confidence, who have conquered worry, have acquired their confidence, every bit of it.” -David Schwartz
Most people don’t have incredible self-confidence. Instead, most people are stuck in cycles of self-doubt and indecision.
If you want to eliminate your self-doubt, then figure out where you’re going. That way, you can make decisions quicker: if it helps you arrive at your goals, it’s a yes. If it doesn’t, it’s a no. Simple. Said Tony Robbins:
“Success in life is the result of good judgement. Good judgement is usually the result of experience. Experience is usually the result of bad judgement.”
Self-confidence and success comes from getting good at making decisions that expand your life.
If you want to become extraordinary and become 10x more effective than you were before, check out my checklist.