Self-confidence is your most important asset. It is both a clear understanding of what you can do and a clear vision of what you can become.
It is therefore the basis for belief : in yourself, in what you do and in the ideas and dreams that you have. To lack self-confidence is to frustrate this process.
What Is Self Confidence?
People often say "I need more self confidence!" without noting for what reason. It is important to realise that there is often a clear reason for the lack of self-confidence and it is usually experienced (a feeling of doubt, uncertainty or even dread!) in relation to a particular area.
To explain it in another way, no person is completely lacking in self-confidence. We all have our areas of expertise (even though we may deny that!). For example, a businessman who has spent many years understanding his customer's needs and market place may become very wealthy and very successful, and as a result of his work, have great self-confidence in his ability to conduct his business. However, if he were asked to stand on stage and talk to 1000 people about the secret of his success, he may not now feel very confident!
Perhaps he now lacks confidence because he does not know what to say or how to prepare a speech. Maybe he hasn't had any experience in speaking in front of people or such a large crowd. Whatever the reason and despite his uncertainty, if he wants to speak in front a large audience and also believes he can do it, then he will!
From this example and your own experience it is easy to see that the feelings associated with a lack of self-confidence only arise when you anticipate your current ability to perform a particular task. Every day our self-confidence is being tested and requires continuous rebuilding. This is because in pursuing our goals and in experiencing life we are always being challenged to learn new things.
When you are learning something new you are expanding your "Comfort Zone" (which is your current level of expertise and self-confidence). There is always uncertainty - "Do I understand what has been explained to me?" When you are then asked to apply what you have just learnt there is always a learning curve as you convert what has been learnt into actual experience. We can sometimes feel at "risk" of making a "mistake", or looking like a "fool". We can also be afraid of not being able to meet other peoples' high expectations, or worse still our own! The weight of these fears can be overwhelming to the point that a person will simply not attempt to do something new, which is a pity as the situation can quite easily be mastered when you know how.
Improving self-confidence is therefore something which can be achieved through applying and experiencing the following process:
- Having the desire to achieve a goal.
- Identifying what you need to learn.
- Applying what you have learnt.
- Receiving feedback (then if necessary going back to step 2).
Although it is important to identify and appreciate the process by which we gain self-confidence, it does not always help us with the real issue which is our reluctance to apply it!
How Do We Improve Self Confidence?
A good way to explain this is to consider the scientific work of Dr Maxwell Malz. He was a plastic surgeon who noticed that his repairs did not necessarily have any effect on some people. In the case where people suffered lack of self-confidence because of physical disfigurement, he found that his operations to change the disfigurement gave the patients no improved hope, because they still lacked confidence, since they were still damaged on the inside. Malz found that he had to accompany his surgical work with a process of mental work, creating "imagined memories" and building in his patients the thoughts of a possible new life. In his book Psycho-Cybernetics, Malz also describes cases where the patient has formed a negative image of something which is actually healthy, for example a nose. One patient came to him complaining that her nose was grossly oversized, so much so that she felt she was disfigured. It so happened that she also suffered a personality disorder.
Malz managed to prove to this patient that her nose was normal and gave her a program of mental exercises to do so that she would come to believe this. She did the exercises for 21 days and slowly her mind changed until she perceived her nose as normal. As her bad image of her nose disappeared so too did her personality disorder.
Although you may not be as severely challenged as Maltz' patients you can still apply the same process and achieve the same results when your self-confidence is challenged, by learning how to develop and apply your own mental exercises.
It is interesting to read of people who have applied a similar technique, as it is often associated with a tremendous personal accomplishment, sometimes against all odds:
"I brainwashed myself into thinking I could and would win. I visualised exactly what was going to happen tonight. It's hard to explain but when you are focused you almost have no thought. Sitting behind the blocks I was 100% focused and I didn't have a single thing in my mind. I got in there, I knew what I had to do and it was just a matter of letting my instincts take over"
Kieren Perkins, interviewed after his "miracle" 1500m Gold Medal race Atlanta Olympics 1996, as reported in "The Sun Herald" July 28 1996.
Finally the most important thing I would like to add to all this is that you do not have to believe that you can achieve the goal - simply doing the mental exercises is enough!
In the Life Skills Seminar we show you how to develop self-confidence by teaching and practising the following skills:
- The ability to relax and release stress.
- The ability to develop focused concentration.
- A complete scientific explanation of how the mind works.
- An effective method of goal setting.
- How to develop mind/body exercises for developing self-confidence.
- practise at applying mind/body exercises.
- Proof that you can achieve the required skills through bio-feedback equipment.
You May Ask "How Effective Are These Techniques for improving your confidence?"
How about I let some of my seminar participants explain that to you?
Sandy, I want to let you know how very much your course has changed my life. As Norbert Wiener has said, the techniques you teach are nothing less than "the secret of life". For some years I have been a nervous and fearful person, both of which were a manifestation of going through a marriage break up and bankruptcy proceedings. Confidence in myself had plummeted. Through the techniques you have taught me, my life has dramatically changed around.
For example, my first book is on track to being published; my business is on track to being largely successful; and more importantly, all my relationships family and friends continue to strengthen. By using the techniques I've been able to cope with my stresses and work towards balancing the diverse demands of relationships, family and finance. It is electrifying to be associated with someone who understands the awesome power of imagination.
Spiritually it is gratifying to know someone like you, who understands the power of forgiveness and the power of love. It can be truly said you are a walking example of one of Ralph Waldo Emerson's creeds - "Every soul is not only the inlet, but may become the outlet of all there is in God."
Kieran John Forde, NSW
I have been in a devastating situation, or to put it mildly I have been in the depths of despair. However I am now turning things around and getting back to my former self and feeling confident to get on with life again. Thank you Sandy - you have taken me from feeling worthless to becoming 110% human again!
Today I have started to set goals again but this time I'm doing it your way and it's working! I have read so many books and attended many seminars dealing with goals and self help but none of them speak about the HOW and WHY as your books and tapes do; taking you through the necessary procedures to achieve goals and more importantly get rid of stress on the way.
Wally Scanlin, VIC
Sandy, I received your pack of "Piece of Mind" book and two tapes in October 1995. If you had told me I could instantly gain noticeable improvement in one day I would not have believed you. I must also be a left-brained sceptic. I have been wallowing in despair for six years. I've read many self-help books and I could not rid myself of that constant feeling of dread, nor could I sleep at night. It took Sandy MacGregor to show me how to help myself. Since using the techniques I have now slept 7 to 8 hours every night. I've had interruptions to my sleep, e.g.. late night 'phone calls, storms with thunder and lightning and still have been able to return to sleep easily.
Furthermore, I have just returned from Canada and USA. In years gone by I have needed to take a Rohypnol sleeping tablet on these journeys. This time I slept for 7 hours during the flight over, and on the way back, with no drugs.
Kevin Gray, VIC
So much has happened during 12 months of my life when I felt everything had ground to a halt and there was no hope of anything changing. I was trying to recover from a major depression, I weighed 12 stone, my marriage was in a bad state and I felt I had no future.
I decided to try the methods you taught even though I was a little sceptical. The goal I set at the seminar was about releasing weight. Now 12 months later, I'm 3 stone lighter. As the weight began to go, I started using Alpha to get through difficult day to day situations and to relax in general. As I became more relaxed, I was able to think more clearly about what I wanted and started to set and achieve goals.
I don't want it to sound like the CALM Seminar instantly solved all my problems. I still battle depression on a daily basis and my marriage, though much more secure and happy, still has problems. The greatest difference is that now these 'problems' don't totally overwhelm me. I feel I have the tools I need to tap into my own power and deal with things as they happen. I can see that things can change and that I now have the power to change the way I act and feel when confronted by problems. Instead of problems running my life, I feel in control again and therefore have a future.
Thank you Sandy
Erika Gelzinnis, NSW
So What is the Next Action Step that You Can Take?
CALM makes suggestions on how you can develop your skills in dealing with Improving Self-confidence using Sandy MacGregor's low cost Tapes, Books, CDs, Videos and Seminars which have been utilised by thousands of people successfully since 1990.