You’ve seen him dodge bullets, you’ve seen him bring the bad guys to justice and you’ve even seen him effortlessly mingle with the rich and beautiful. Whether he’s the action hero in Mission Impossible or the reserved Jack Reacher one thing’s for sure – Tom Cruise has enough self-confidence to light up a city.
Don’t be fooled by appearances though. It’s easy to watch the movies and get the wrong idea about what self-confidence really is. You might get the wrong impression and demand too much of yourself, you might think you should be highly confident in all situations and all of the time or you’re failing, failing badly. But that would not be true. You can be sure Tom Cruise has self-doubt at times just like the rest of us only you never hear about it.
Confidence has an ebb and flow just like any other feeling, and that’s all it is, a feeling, a sense that “yes, I can do it”. And it doesn’t take much to chip away at your self- confidence. If you have a few days with very little sleep and not enough good nourishment, you will become physically and emotionally less capable. You’ll be weaker, you won’t be as confident. And for good reason, you’ll have less of a sense of being able to do what needs to be done. In other words, you’ll have less self-confidence.
Of course, it seems like this never happens to Tom Cruise. He can enjoy high-speed car chases, stay up all night pursuing criminals and still exude that relaxed charisma that makes the leading lady smile. Unfortunately that’s not real life and it’s not a good standard against which to self assess your self-confidence.
What can you do to enjoy more self-confidence?
Take good care of your physical, mental and emotional needs each day and you’ll have a solid basis from which to express your natural self-confidence. Eat foods that give you energy and avoid those that weaken your body, get the rest and recuperation you need and spend time with supportive and loving people. Do all of this consistently and you’ll be in the best possible condition to say yes to life, to say yes to new challenges and to persist and succeed where others give up.
These same principles apply to becoming more confident with people. You can know what to say to people and you can even know how to approach strangers and get people talking but none of that will work too well if you are having a bad day. If you are worried about pressing problems, tired, hungry or feeling unsupported all of these issues will chip away at your confidence with people. And if this happens do not beat yourself up about it. Simply notice what happened and more importantly how you got into that poor state of mind. Only then can you identify what changes you need to make.
For example, in the last few days I was drinking too much coffee, spending too much time at the computer and forgetting to eat at meal times. And, this is okay for one day but this went on for a few days. The next thing I know I’m meeting people and my mind goes blank, I’m not sure what to say and I can’t be bothered to make small talk. Why? Because I chipped away at my self-confidence by weakening my body. I became less capable because I tired myself out. So, then it hits me, oh yeah I’m out of balance. Time to exercise more, set a better routine for meal times and spend less time staring at the computer.
Then, the confidence starts flowing again. I feel energetic, happy and connected to people, I enjoy meeting people again and everything starts to click.
So, my point is, confidence needs fuel, and you provide that fuel by taking good care of your physical, mental and emotional needs. As you get stronger, you’ll feel capable of achieving more i.e. you are more confident. Then, you naturally start to stretch beyond your comfort zone, you are on a roll and before you know it maybe you start to feel like you’re Tom Cruise!