In his classic self-help book, Handbook to Higher Consciousness, Ken Keyes Jr. says the reality for everyone who walks this earth is, "You win some; you lose some."
Confidence isn't about expecting to win always. That's unrealistic. Confidence is a blending of optimism, hopefulness, self-reliance and freedom from inhibition.
Here are nine ways to build confidence:
1. Create a positive attitude. Optimism breeds confidence. Start thinking positively, and eventually you will act more confidently.
2. Set specific goals. It's hard to go after what you want if you haven't defined your goals. Write them down, the more detailed description, the better.
3. Rehearse."The pianist doesn't play on inspiration alone," says self-esteem guru Jerry Minchinton. Anyone who has doubts about doing something right can benefit from rehearsals.
4. Act confidently (no matter how you feel). Pessimists are passive instead of active, which creates a vicious circle in which lack of achievement and low self-esteem reinforce each other, writes Bob Arnot, M.D., in The Biology of Success.
5. Take risks. The inability to act comes from an insistence on certainty, says cognitive therapist Michael Edelstein. Remember, the world offers no guarantees.
6. Give in to periodic struggles. What's effortless doesn't build confidence.
7. Review successes and failures. It's obvious that yesterday's successes are worth studying, but our failures are often more instructive.
8. Accept others. By recognizing we are all only human, it becomes easier to take risks.
9. Remember what's important. When Isaac Stern took his violin on stage, he could have thought, "I am getting a little too round in the middle." But you can bet the classical music legend's main thoughts were on the eternal beauty of Mozart. When you feel a lack of confidence, remember this: The mission is always more important than the man.