You must have heard someone say “I don’t feel confident enough to do…this or that”. It could be giving a speech, making an elevator pitch or maybe even just talking to someone new at a party or a seminar.
What is Confidence and Self Esteem?
Confidence is defined as a “feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities”(Oxford Dictionary).
“Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame”( Wikipedia).
What does Lack of Confidence Mean?
A lack of confidence is when one displays little or no trust in one’s own abilities, which manifests in a constant worry about making mistakes or letting other people down. In contrast to people with plenty of self-confidence, people with low self-confidence feel incompetent and that becomes a major stumbling block in their path to success and financial independence.
In my experience, many young people in Africa have issues relating to self-esteem. This can particularly be linked to the sub-optimal socio-economic situation in many countries on the continent which disenfranchises many youths. Additionally, the impact of the media and its definition of beauty has undermined confidence in a swathe of the African population. Proof is that statistics published by the World Health Organization suggest that 4 out of 10 women in Africa are unhappy with their skin tone. You can read more about that here; No Woman Is Ugly.
Reasons Why Self Confidence is More Important Than You Think.
Your self confidence or esteem can be associated to all the outcomes of the life you have, be it happy or sad.
- Little Fear and Anxiety: Instead of focusing on your mistakes, spend more time stuffing your confidence tank. This will enable you mitigate the risk of over-thinking and succumbing to your inner critic.
- Better Inspiration: Being self confident about any past achievement will act as a booster to confront thoughts and situations in a more confident manner, knowing that if you succeeded in the past, you can do even better in the present or future.
- Improved Relationships: Being confident about your own self means you are able to relate better with people around you, and therefore forge deeper connections with your kids, partner, colleagues, friends etc. Your interactions will be more enjoyable as your self-critic voice will be further away from you, thus leaving no room for comparisons with others. You can just be yourself!
- More Resilience: A good confidence level breeds tenacity, persistency, self discipline and resilience. This therefore means going out of your comfort zone, owning your mistakes, ignoring nay-sayers, not waiting for a perfect time to try new things, and turning failures into little successes.
- Truly Being Yourself : When you are self confident, you are really able to stand firm in what you believe in and not allow yourself be railroaded through anything. You will be able to accept your weaknesses and celebrate your strengths to the best of your ability.
Very Talented Individuals Adversely Impacted by Confidence.
Without self confidence, even the most incredible talents can be wasted away…
The 23 year old English team Player Marcus Rashford, is a brilliant naturally gifted footballer, who in the 2019/20 Premier League football season banged goals in for his Club Manchester United. However, in the 2020/21 season, his confidence levels seemed vividly damaged by an onset of self doubt. All it might have taken was for a few tabloids to write news headlines such as “Rashford unable to score”, for self doubt to kick in and override his inborn talent.
After famously missing his penalty kick at the Euro 2020 finals, he was granted a BBC interview where he said ” I had gone into the final with a lack of confidence…”, and went further to say “I can score penalties in my sleep, so why not that one?”. This failure to deliver goals, from Marcus can only be attributed to a stint of low self confidence.
Tyrone Mings is another brilliant player who despite his natural gift as a sportsman, struggled to cope with the scrutiny he face ahead of the Euro 2020 as one of the few players in the England line up without prior experience in an international tournament or champions league. This led Tyrone to seek support from a psychologist because his confidence had been affected by word on the street and his mental health plummeted. In his own words he said ” When 90-95 per cent of your country are having doubts over you, its very difficult to stop this intruding on your won thoughts”.
Naomi Osaka, is a 23 year old Japanese professional tennis player who was ranked No.1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, and the first player to hold the top ranking in the singles. Despite being a four-time grand slam singles champion, and a reigning champion at the US and Australian Opens, Naomi pulled out of the French Open in 2021 for mental health issues. However, her sister Mari revealed that a family member came up to Naomi and remarked she’s bad at clay, and that even the media persistently reminded her of her poor record on the red dirt. “When she lost in Rome R1, she was not ok mentally. Her confidence was completely shattered,” and everybody’s remarks and opinions got to her, the older sister disclosed further.
A Key Element of Self Confidence–Knowledge is Power!
One of the key elements of self confidence is INFORMATION. Doing the research and getting informed will help you confront situations with the confidence that you are knowledgeable about the terrain.
For example, if you are called up for a job interview, in order to boost your self confidence, it is best to do an extensive research on the role you have applied for, common questions asked at interviews for that particular role, what the company’s vision and mission are, what the interests of the key management staff are etc. When you walk into an interview with all that knowledge, you are most likely going to be relaxed and therefore, put in your best performance.
In my case, when I was building the premises for my restaurant business, someone stopped by and asked what type of business i was going to setup. When I told him, he said oh.. “its not going to work, I suggest you use this space for a bar instead”. I completely dismissed his suggestion because I was confident about my project. And the reason why I was not going to be derailed was because I had done my due diligence, and I had the necessary information suggesting that it was going to be a successful business. And in the first month of the launch we had really amazing sales. Read How to Regain Your Self Confidence.