How Can We Build Confidence?

You need a certain amount of confidence to do anything that involves some risk, like speaking in public, starting a business, righting a wrong, or standing up for yourself or for others. Why will your book, or blog, or podcast, or request for a raise, succeed? You need to have confidence that what you are doing is worthwhile.

Often, perhaps too often, lacking confidence in our ideas or our talents prevents us from taking risks, and while that might keep us from failing it also keeps us from stretching and doing something worthwhile.

How can we get past this? How can we build confidence?

Related questions: How do you define success? When is it useful to fail? Why do we care what strangers think of us? Why do we put up with unhappiness?

When Is Doubt Helpful?

Our doubts can range from healthy skepticism to unhealthy paralysis. Everything from questioning someone’s intentions to doubting our faith (or lack of it) can be beneficial or crisis-inducing.

When is doubt helpful? Or, more specifically, how do you know when it’s good to listen to that inner voice of doubt?

Related questions:  What do you do that you shouldn’t?, When is it useful to fail?, What is necessary to change your mind?, How important is intuition?

What Do You Do That You Shouldn’t?

We all do things that we know are bad for us, for our individual selves or for our society or for our environment. And yet for one reason or another, for pleasure or convenience, for personal ease or peer pressure, we do them anyway.

What do you do that you know you shouldn’t?

Related questions: How much of our thoughts are our own? What are our responsibilities to others? How do you define success? When is it useful to fail?

Why Do We Care What Strangers Think Of Us?

Public speaking is a common fear. People, it seems, are afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of a large audience.

Why should that be? If someone speaks in front of a large group of strangers, why should their reaction matter? Setting aside an instance, say, like a job interview, where a stranger’s impression of you has something to do with your future, what difference should it make whether complete strangers, who we have never met before and will never see again, should like or approve of us?

Why do we care what strangers think of us?

Related questions: Where do our fears come from? When is embarrassment a good thing? Why do we behave differently alone or in large groups?