There is a famous saying that when you start the journey of your professional life, have confidence in your abilities. Because you have not proven your abilities yet.
Right from the early times through the evolution of human society, this saying couldn’t be truer in the context of the present. These are extremely competitive times that we are living in, and self-confidence is one of the biggest pillars of strength and self-sustenance for a human being, more so now than ever.
Being confident about your strengths helps you draw courage and resolution when the going gets tough in life. It helps you to keep things in perspective and back yourself when everyone else says that the task ahead is nearly impossible to complete in the stipulated time.
A confident person has enough ability to understand his limitations and knows how to make up for that with his resolve and strengths.
Self-Confidence Vs. Self-Esteem
The word esteem comes from the word estimate which means to grade yourself on a standard. Self-esteem means to evaluate your own value and contribution in your professional and personal life.
If you think that you are important to the people around you, are contributing to the development of your surroundings, and are a valuable asset in other people’s lives, then you could say that you have high self-esteem.
In other words, a person with high self-esteem thinks that he is worthy of the world he is in and understands his significance. While self-esteem is dependent on the perception of self, self-confidence is completely different.
Self-confidence, on the other hand, is related to action and is more domain-specific. It’s not an absolute observation as self-esteem, in the way that self-esteem is thinking of your worth in relation to the world. On the contrary, self-confidence is your positive self-assessment in performing a task.
A person who is confident of his abilities in one task might not be so when given another one. Hence, self-confidence depends on the task given to perform and on your own ability to do an action.
Dynamics of Self-Confidence
Now that we have understood how self-confidence depends on your perceived ability to manage an action, let’s discuss the actions that help to cultivate a sense of self-confidence. Self-confidence thrives in an atmosphere where the person is provided constructive feedback and the focus is always on the positive.
In such a working environment, a confident person will be able to practice his skills and talent beyond expectations, as he will get an opportunity to set goals, forget his own past mistakes, and learn new things.
On the other hand, a person’s self-confidence can be seriously hampered in an environment where there is a constant comparison with others and where expectations are unrealistic. People are pitted against each other as per their performance in the numbers game.
In these conditions, a person will be forced to nurture an unhealthy competitive mentality by resorting to unfair means for success, listening to unworthy role models, being too harsh in judging his own performances, and underestimating his own capabilities.
Such an environment breeds an unhealthy workplace where the stress is more on beating one another’s performances, as opposed to coming together as a team in helping one another. Such companies might peak for some time, but they ultimately crash.
Traits of Self-Confident people
People with high self-confidence approach their problems differently as compared to others. They know the importance of building relationships and hence, they love meeting new people to get and share new ideas. It is this quality of theirs that makes them likable, as they are always willing to be in a conversation that gives equal importance and respect to all those who have participated in it.
Confident people love expressing their ideas in front of others, as they are emotionally secure enough to take constructive criticisms and reject emotional ones. That doesn’t mean that they are arrogant; on the contrary, they give everyone the opportunity to put their points forth. However, they have the courage to stick to their decision in spite of a lot of opposition to their ideas, if they are convinced what they are doing is right.
There are two outcomes to any decision taken − either it turns out to be the correct one, or you fail. However, what sets a confident person apart is that he doesn’t boss around detractors when he succeeds.
In addition, a self-confident person has the humility to acknowledge his mistakes and learn from them when he fails. This objective approach towards both success and failure is what makes a confident person a lovable and respectable personality.
Traits of Under-Confident people
When compared to people with high self-confidence, people with low self-confidence have a very harsh and critical view of themselves. They are prone to making emotional decisions, as opposed to thinking rationally. They tend to be in their “caves” instead of meeting new people. They try to shun new companies and avoid meeting new people.
An under-confident person tends to feel that he has nothing consequential or constructive to add to any process. This feeling of low self-worth, combined with a complete denial towards any change, makes an under-confident person extremely susceptive to mistreatment and undervaluation.
People with low confidence hesitate in sharing their thoughts and opinions, as they think their views will be ridiculed in public. In addition to this, their past experiences and interactions with people have not done anything to enhance their self-worth and change their views about their productivity and importance.
This is where a productive atmosphere comes into play. Every person learns from his surroundings and your self-confidence depends directly on the kind of people you meet and the type of discussions you have with them. While self-confident people interact with people whom they have something to learn from, under-confident people are convinced that they cannot change and are going to be undervalued in spite of what they do.
Effects of Low Self-Confidence
Every person needs someone who he can idolize and follow so that he gauges his own talents, achievements, and progress in comparison to that person and constantly improves. This is exactly what self-confident people do. While interacting with others, reading about others, and putting their ideas in public to gain perspective, they constantly improve their skills and knowledge.
But what happens when people stop doing that? They tend to lose focus, as they don’t have any anchor left in their life who can stabilize them when they are getting adrift. When interaction with society is stopped, a person tends to think about himself and that reflects in the way he accepts criticism. Even constructive criticism for his work will appear personal criticism for him, as his approach would have become extremely self-centered by then.
People with low self-confidence tend to think they have no talent or skill to complete a given task and be appreciated. In fact, genuine praise for a good effort comes to them as a surprise and they perceive that as fake appreciation.
People need some positive image of themselves so that they can identify their strengths and weaknesses. People with low confidence often lapse into a mental state where everything becomes a weakness and every observation appears personal. This leads to further self-degradation.