“Ron, I am not a confident person” she said.
I didn’t pay much attention to what she said, instead I was looking in her eyes to see how much she believed I in what she said.
“Are you sure you are not confident?”, I asked. She continued without hesitation, “Yeah, I’ve never felt confident my entire life. My friends and family will tell you I am the last person to say or do what I really want. I’ve always been this way”.
It has always been fascinating to me witnessing people form a judgement about themselves, they look for evidence to confirm their assessment and disregard anything that contradicts it.
Whilst Amy (name changed for privacy), may be right about her self-evaluation, chances are she has developed a belief about herself and now she unconsciously looks for evidence that confirm her belief.
I asked Amy if she had ever considered the possibility that it may not be her lack of confidence that is holding her back, and instead her belief about herself that prevents her from going after what she wants. I suspected that Amy’s self-image was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Science shows that a more positive self-image can lead to better outcomes. That’s not to say that a positive self-image will change things for Amy instantly, however a positive self-image would likely result in more confident or assertive behaviors, which in turn would increase Amy’s chances of producing successful outcomes.
Too often people place labels on themselves and never challenge their judgements. This leads them to act in ways that are consistent with ‘the label’ they have given themselves, further validating their own opinion about themselves.
It is important that before we place a ‘permanent label’ on ourselves, we experiment to test the validity of our judgement and proactively seek evidence to the contrary, this is to avoid placing a limiting label, which restricts us from being more than we can be.
If you think you’re not good enough, do something that helps you feel worthy. If you’ve labelled yourself as not confident resulting in you not being able to step outside of your comfort zone, force yourself to do something that feels a little uncomfortable.
With practice, you can train your brain to think differently.
Only after we give up those self-limiting labels, we can equip ourselves to achieve more than we thought possible.
- Ron Malhotra