Are You a Duck or a Dog?
Eckhart Tolle says we come into the world as a duck or a dog. Ducks are born with waterproof feathers in which water simply beads up and rolls away without incident. Dogs, on the other hand, have fur or hair that's absorbent and gets weighed down with even a small amount of water. Even when the dog performs a complete body shake, wetness is left behind and it takes some time for the dog to completely dry.
If you're a dog, you might feel slighted and a bit envious of the ducks out there. Most likely you know a few. Ducks forge on even when life throws curve ball after curve ball their way. The dogs of the world can begin to feel as if they don't have what it takes to roll with life's challenges. They might even begin to think that they lack the ability to truly be successful or happy.
The good news is that this is simply untrue. Regardless of whether or not you think you're a duck or a dog, it's really about confidence. Even for the dog that gets weighed down with water, you've seen plenty who begin to wag their tail and jump up and down waiting for the next treat or adventure. It's more about the attitude than anything else.
So if confidence is what it's truly about, you might ask “How can I become more confident?” Here are some simple suggestions.
Be aware of self-defeating thoughts. Making statements like, “I'm just not a confident person” or “I just don't have what it takes” is downward pulling because it focuses on a lack of something.
Notice areas where you demonstrate confidence even if it's riding a bike, singing, drawing, or telling jokes. It doesn't matter what it is. Notice how your body language changes when you're actively engaged in it. Notice how you feel. Become aware of how you talk about that skill or ability. Now transfer all of that to an area in which you want to build more confidence. Act “as if” you have the confidence you desire.
Recognize that people who are confident aren't necessarily the best and brightest at what they do, so if you're thinking you need to be the best before you can become confident about it, think again.
Get specific. If you want to build confidence in an area, break it down into steps. Simply saying, “I want to be more confident at work” won't likely get you there because there's no plan or specific intention. However, if you state, “I'm going to become more confident with my presentation skills at work by attending a class in which I can regularly practice my public speaking skills” you're more likely to build confidence because it's specific and actionable.
The steps to building confidence are similar to building a muscle. You build muscle by doing. Building your confidence muscle will happen gradually if you stick with it. Be patient with yourself and notice the small successes along the way.