Building self-confidence: Morty Lefkoe on changing limiting beliefs
Posted Apr 15 2010 11:01pm
Playing most of his screen characters, Will Smith exudes assurance and confidence, but he admits, “I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”
In his post How to build confidence (on his blog www.mortylefkoe.com), Morty Lefkoe admits he knows very well this experience many of us (most of us?) have had:
“I had very little self-confidence for most of my life,” he writes – adding, “but now I consistently experience a high level of confidence.”
So how did he make that shift? He explains:
Confidence actually exists on a continuum, ranging from a very low to a very high belief in our own abilities, a sense we can handle whatever life throws at us. Very few people are totally lacking in confidence and very few feel confident that they can handle almost anything. So the issue for most people is where they currently are on the continuum and how they can improve their confidence.
This is a very helpful point – it is not a simple, binary matter of having confidence versus not having. There are levels and degrees – and changes from one situation to another, or even day to day. Lefkoe continues:
It is important to distinguish between confidence about being able to perform a specific task (such as fly a plane or speak a foreign language) and confidence in yourself. One might not be confident about being able to perform a specific task even though they have high level of self-confidence. Such a person knows that her inability to perform a specific task means nothing about her as a person.
But that may not be so easy to realize or put to use, especially when you are in the middle of feelings of self-criticism and low confidence.
As a teen and college freshman (many decades ago), I had the ambition to “be a doctor” – but failed organic chemistry. Like many people with a certain level of intellectual ability, I had managed to get through high school with good grades, but without really trying hard. Failing a class was devastating to my confidence. Of course, there have been other experiences in my life of confidence deflation.
Lefkoe suggests “the way to gain confidence about specific abilities is to learn those skills and practice a lot.” But beyond that, he notes, the key is our beliefs:
The way to improve our internal level of confidence that we apply to life in general is to eliminate our limiting beliefs. Every negative belief we have lowers our internal level of self-confidence – beliefs such as I’m not good enough, I’m inadequate, I’m powerless, I’m not capable, Nothing I do is good enough, and I’m not worthy.
Once you understand that a lot of negative self-esteem beliefs lowers your level of self-confidence and getting rid of them raises it, you will understand the myth that self-confidence comes from succeeding or failing at specific projects in life.
Another way limiting presumptions and beliefs can affect us is when we experience impostor or fraud feelings.