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If You Want to Build Unshakable Self-Confidence, Quit This Deadly Habit
You will destroy yourself from the inside out.
Confidence did not come naturally to me.
For the entirety of my life in school, I was too unconfident to even raise my hand in a classroom. Athletically, my entire wrestling career in high school was marred by lackluster performances under pressure. Romantically, I didn’t go on a single date for 3 years in college because a heartbreak I experienced pushed me so deep into the ground that death sounded less scary than talking to an attractive stranger.
For years, my life was dictated by unconscious behavior that smelled of zero confidence and low self-esteem.
But a few years ago, everything started to change.
Over time, I became a confident person. Now, I teach martial arts every single day now and speak to a roomful of strangers without even sweating. I also publish writing on the internet every day and subject my ideas to public judgment.
Years ago, these things would have scared the living shit out of me.
Everything changed when I dropped this one terrible habit.
Confidence is hard to build but easy to lose.
Gaining confidence is a lot like losing weight, which is ironic because so many people attempt to lose weight as a way to gain confidence.
Weight takes a bit of a long time to lose (you have to be disciplined and eat in a calorie deficit for a long time), and you can gain it all back way faster than the time it took you to lose it.
Confidence is the same way.
It takes a long time to build confidence, and you can have your entire notion of confidence unraveled after a bad date, a bad performance at work, or any other personal failure that your ego cannot digest.
That’s why, if your goal is to build unshakeable confidence, you must never get in the habit of taking the easy way out.
If you want to be confident for the rest of your life, you must commit to doing the hard thing, every single time.
There is no way around this.
Where does confidence come from?
Psychologists and self-help gurus agree on this one — self-confidence comes from overcoming things that you thought you couldn’t.
Because of this, you should commit to doing difficult things, every single day.
It seems like the article should just end here, right?
If you want to believe in yourself more, you must commit to doing difficult things. This is a pretty simple philosophy to get behind, and there’s very little evidence that suggests that doing easy things will get you as confident as you want to be.
Here’s the caveat: “difficult things” are relative. There are layers to this — and the layers are philosophical in nature.
It’s not just that you have to do hard things every day, but you also have to have a respectable amount of self-awareness so that you can commit to doing hard things every day that won’t destroy you.
Let’s go deeper into this.
A few years ago, I had knee surgery.
When I tore my meniscus a few years back, my confidence as a Jiu-Jitsu athlete was temporarily obliterated.
Soon after, my confidence as a person was obliterated as well. All the confidence I built went away insanely quickly.
I was depressed, but what really sent me over the edge was that I was no longer able to do the thing that I did every day which was the root of all of my confidence building at the time. I couldn’t go to Jiu-Jitsu and learn new skills, test myself, and try to improve my fitness.
All I could do was sit on the couch — and sadness ensued.
Jiu-Jitsu is difficult to do, but I became so addicted to the personal growth I experienced from training that not training was harder than training.
At least, for a while.
After a few weeks of sitting around and being lazy (what else was I supposed to do? I could barely walk), I started to get comfortable with my sadness. At the time, I had nothing else I was doing that I enjoyed besides Jiu-Jitsu training, and when it was gone, I just wallowed in self-pity for several months and let it consume me.
I had nothing else that challenged me in the way that I wanted to be challenged. Life became easy (I sat on the couch and waited for my leg to get better), and I got very depressed until I was able to find new, easier ways to challenge myself.
This happens to a lot of people for many different reasons.
For many of us, modern life is not set up in a way to help us thrive.
We have challenges, but we don’t have challenges that help us become better.
Especially for young people, who haven’t started careers, don’t have families of their own, and constantly get hits of cheap dopamine on social media, struggling for the sake of struggling is a bit of an obnoxious concept.
Why would I struggle when I can… not struggle?
The thing is, once you’ve reached a certain threshold of safety, you must struggle to find fulfillment. If your life is, for the most part, safe, struggling is the only way to climb the self-actualization ladder.
I know I’ll probably catch some heat for saying this, but the ability to create your own struggle is perhaps one of the most fulfilling things that you can do as a human being.
Do hard workouts (relative to your current fitness level). Accept daunting challenges (relative to what you can take on). Dive into tasks that offer the possibility of failure.
Relationships might fail. Businesses might not work out. You might fail when you test your one rep max in the gym.
But what if you don’t? You’ll survive either way, and that difficult-to-get-dopamine will change your life.
True confidence and fulfillment come from doing difficult things to completion. True confidence and fulfillment come from committing to never taking the easy way out.
The startling amount of hustle porn on the internet has given hard work a bad rap.
I love working hard. It makes me feel good about myself, it helps me build confidence, and the hard work that I’ve put in in Jiu-Jitsu and writing has completely changed my life in the last several years. If I didn’t work as hard as I do, I would not have the life I do right now.
So yeah, it’s stupid to embrace the grind all the time. There’s more to life than working hard and improving yourself. We get it.
However, if you totally forgo hard work altogether, you’ll find yourself on a slippery slope to depression, decreased confidence, and worst of all, existential angst.
Confidence and fulfillment lie on the other side of doing the shit that scares you.
Stop taking the easy way out.
Before you go…
Here are a few things I’ve been working on these last few weeks that you might be interested in:
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