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Increase Your Confidence

Confidence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Confidence comes as a product of making and keeping promises to yourself. Following is how you build your confidence:

1. Increase your ability to consume information. How? Set a streak to read at least a paragraph of a nonfiction book every day. Consecutive activity is critical to increasing ability. You have a consecutive muscle that is not often exercised. Setting this streak will increase the consecutive muscle strength. Keeping this streak alive will boost your confidence because it is a promise you make and keep with yourself.

2. Apply knowledge. Choose one or two activities from what you read to apply. Let’s say you read about investing in the stock market and learned one or two investing principles you want to apply. How do you do it? Set a streak. One streak may be to deposit a sum of money in your brokerage account weekly. Any sum of money counts. A complimentary streak would be to review at least one potential investment daily. Applying what you learned means you are converting concept into action.

3. Acquire skills. In, “Talent is Overrated” we learn the importance of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is intentionally choosing activity that is specific to who you are aiming to be. If you are aiming to be a concert pianist, you will set a streak practice every day. You also set a complimentary streak to learn at least one piece of music every week. Honing your skills increases your confidence.

Think of a person you consider confident. What makes them confident? Common among all confident people is their consecutiveness. Every day they practice their craft, they acquire knowledge, they improve their skill. If you want to amp up your confidence, you steak.

Growing up I felt I was stupid. I was held back the first year I was in school. I felt I flunked kindergarten. In first grade I was pulled out of regular class to a special resource room where we reviewed alphabet basics and math facts. From that time on, way deep inside, I believed I was not intelligent and this hit my confidence hard. I hid this insecurity by being outgoing, obnoxious, and over bearing.

In school, I sometimes studied, but because I wasn’t confident and believed I wasn’t intelligent, I mainly cheated. I would find the one person in the class who was smart and sit right next to them. I wouldn’t copy all their answers, but enough to at least pass the test, quiz, or paper.

I remember one history class where I decided to take the test on my own. The test was multiple choice and I poured over it, working out in my brain what I thought was the right answer for each question. Everyone else finished before me. When I finally turned in my answers, the teacher dashed down the hall to the ScanTron machine, and was back with the results just before the bell rang. Because I had taken so long on the test I saw “A” in my mind’s eye. My teacher handed me the results with a big “F” written over all the answers. My deep insecurity of stupidity set more firmly in my soul. I limped through the remainder of high school with just above the minimum GPA to graduate and an ACT score that maybe qualified me for community college.

After taking two years away from academics to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I applied to Brigham Young University where, only by a persistent mother and the grace of God, I was accepted. I was determined to do all my own work, which I did, but still had a firm belief that I was stupid. Graduating with a little better GPA than high school I landed a job as a sales professional. But, I was plagued by the belief that my intelligence was average to low and my confidence waned. Then one day something happened and I realized that I was not stupid, I didn’t know how to be smart.

I started studying successful, confident people and discovered intelligence and confidence was a function of deliberate choice and consecutive activity. I realized that confident intelligent people weren’t born with knowledge and skill, they acquired it through conscious consecutive activities done every day. They practiced their craft every day. What, from the outside, looked like “natural talent” was, in reality, intentional choice. These people chose to be intelligent, which meant I could choose to be intelligent too, but how?

The secret for me was Streaking. Learning how to streak gave me the confidence I needed to climb toward intelligence. I learned that confident intelligent people had a strong consecutive muscle that they used to read, write, solve, and create. They did what seemed to others as laughably small activities, kept record, and socialized them every day. They were streakers.

Inside I still feel a pang of insecurity at certain times and in certain situations, but it has been greatly diminished and has lost almost all its power because I am a streaker and you can be too. So, start streaking and increase your confidence today.

Keep Streakin’,

Jeff

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