As a kid, I had terrible confidence.
And I know that some of you do, too. So I hope this article helps a lot.
I may shout at people in a noisy gym for a living now, but back when I was a teenager I was as quiet as a mouse and while all the other kids were having a laugh, I’d be hiding in the background trying not to be noticed.
I was so shy I’d avoid social situations at any cost, and if I was ever put on the spot at school or college I’d turn a nice shade of lighthouse red.
Heck, the thought of something as simple as holding a conversation with a stranger, or an upcoming social get-together or family event, used to bring about a feeling of impending doom.
Of course, I hated this personality trait.
I wanted to be more active with my friends. I wanted to meet girls. I wanted to have fun. But I was terrified of not being accepted.
In fact, I think this lack of confidence is what led me to the weights room for the very first time.
Because weight training is one of the biggest natural confidence-building techniques in existence. Seeing yourself get stronger and persevering against ever-growing obstacles does wonders for your mindset.
And over the years I’ve met thousands of you guys and girls who have that same chronic lack of confidence I used to suffer from.
So what can you do about it?
Well, alongside my obvious recommendation of hitting the iron on a regular basis, you could watch endless experts telling you to ‘just do it’ but that kind of thing never really worked for me. These days, people watch motivational videos on YouTube to hype themselves about changing their lives, before closing their laptop screens and failing to apply any of the fire they just created.
I prefer real-world knowledge.
So here are 2 tips to teach you how to be more confident. The second tip was given to me by a friend about 15 years ago. I still use both of these to this very day, whenever my old issues creep back up on me.
1. Don’t Take The Shot
Yeah, you heard me.
If you are anything like me, then you’re already tired of the advice of so-called “experts” telling you to live every day like it’s your last.
We hear it so much that it doesn’t mean Jack anymore.
So while it may sound counter-productive at first, my first piece of advice is something that’ll hopefully hit home.
Miss an opportunity. Live with the regret.
Then remember how it felt, and focus on that.
See, we can try to sound clever all we want, but the reality is that as human beings the number one thing we learn from is our own mistakes.
We don’t want words. We want interaction. We want something we can personally relate to.
Totally unrelated to fitness, but when I was a kid my Granda was my best friend and I spent all of my free time with him. At 16 years old, he’d been in the hospital with pneumonia for a couple of weeks when I got the news that he wasn’t going to make it.
I had the opportunity to go say my goodbye’s, to go tell him that I love him.
You know what I did?
You know why?
Because the rest of my extended family was there, and I knew I’d break down if I saw him. The thought of opening up in front of a bunch of other people who I hardly knew, absolutely terrified me.
So, thanks to my own stupidity, I missed the opportunity to say goodbye to the guy who taught me so many life lessons, many of which I’ve tried to pass down to you guys via my blog and social media pages.
Well done, Russ, you fucking Dingbat.
I’ve never told you that story before, because I’ve been embarrassed about it since the day it happened.
The ironic thing is, do you know what would’ve been number one on that list of life lessons he taught me? Fucking do what you want to do!
Nowadays, I regret that simple little decision every day.
Saving myself from that temporary embarrassment stings deep down inside my soul. And every time I come across a new opportunity in life, I think back and remember that living with the regret of not doing something is far, far worse than the pain which could be caused by ‘maybe looking silly’.
I learnt this the hard way, but the one thing I have tried my best to pass on to my kids as they grow up (see Junior below) is that you can literally do anything if you stop worrying about what others think of you.
Speaking of Junior, he currently watches a bunch of football-mad lads on YouTube called The Sidemen. Check out their YouTube channel here. One in particular, called Simon, is his favourite of the bunch.
When I asked why Simon is his favourite of the bunch, he says it’s because he’s not afraid of being himself, he doesn’t try to be cool, he is who he is.
In a world where people spend upwards of $300 on self-help books where the bottom line is always “believe in yourself”, perhaps this makes the most sense of all.
2. Go Out At Night
Another unorthodox piece of advice here, something else which really worked for me was taking a walk at night.
Not to clear my head, or recite some ‘be all you can be’ bullshit.
But to look up.
You see, on a clear night your eyes will be met by hundreds of stars. Each one a reminder of how insignificantly small we are in the grand scheme of things.
Because sometimes we get caught up in our own issues to the point where going for a job interview or being in a new social circle can make us cringe with dread. It’s the worst possible situation that we could be in. And we just want to fade into the background and protect ourselves, right?
Take a look up.
A constant reminder that no matter how big we think our all-encompassing problems or challengers are, we’re really just tiny ants floating around on a relatively small rock.
Talking to a girl.. Joining a gym for the very first time.. Making new friends..
Not such a big deal when you think about it.
Now I want to ask you something!
In the comments below, tell me:
- A time you didn’t do something due to a lack of confidence?
- Would you do it differently today?