The Big Lie Killing Your Confidence


This post originally appeared on Shine, a free daily text to help you thrive.

There’s this really amazing skill in life called maximizing your strengths and playing to them whenever possible. Not only does it put you in a position to be more successful, but it also it keeps you feeling energized when you’re working within your talents.

From work to interpersonal relationships to creative hobbies, playing to your strengths is a great tactic for success.

On the flip side, however, dismissing your weaknesses can hold you back.

Related: Stuck in Negative Thinking? Here’s What to Do

How many times have you ever muttered the words, “I’m just not good at that”? Whether it was spreadsheets, entrepreneurship, painting, surfing or public speaking, assuming that you’re not good at something, and therefore staying away from it, is a recipe for dissatisfaction.

According to renowned Stanford psychology professor Caroline Dweck, the most successful people in life believe that everything develops and grows. They have a growth mindset, which is shown to correlate directly to confidence as challenges are met with optimism in order to improve.

Believing that your talents, skills and competencies are static is a huge lie you’re telling yourself.

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You simply need to rewire your brain to believe that you can absolutely get better at whatever you put your mind and energy toward. Getting into action on new skills helps build self-efficacy and creates new opportunities for you across the board.

To harness a growth mindset and improve your confidence, start here.

1. Identify where you feel your skills are innate or predetermined.

Where are you staying on the sidelines of your life? What things do you feel drawn toward but have convinced yourself that you’re just not good at?

Identifying these competencies is the first step in creating an action plan to improve them. Try listing out all of the things you’ve ever assumed you’re not good at. Circle the one or two you wish you were better at, and voila, you have a skill worth putting your energy toward.

2. Measure effort and improvement.

No one wakes up as the best gymnast in the world. Nor do they become an amazing public speaker just by breathing. Anyone who is great at something has dedicated time and energy toward it.

Everything about you can and will get better with effort. If you track and measure where you started and how you progress, you’ll be fueled with more encouragement to keep going.

3. Know it’s always a stretch and act anyway.

Anyone who does something they don’t feel strong at feels the discomfort of a stretch. The greats? They do it anyway. They level up. They feel the stretch and keep going for it.

Having a growth mindset keeps you moving toward that stretch instead of away from it. Stretching is key to knowing that eventually you’ll be able to reach the new level you so desire.

Remember these four tips whenever you find yourself “convinced” that you’re bad at something. Harnessing a growth mindset will remind you that you’re not bad, you’re just inexperienced and being hard on yourself.

If there’s something you really want to experience, master or create, don’t let a few shoddy attempts discourage you. You’re not static. You’re not stagnant. You’re not still. You’re not bad at it. You’re just not far enough in to level up. Fiercely believe that you can, and you will.

Related: 3 Ways to Take Back Your Confidence

Maxie McCoy

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Shine is an award-winning self-care app and community for people with anxiety & depression.

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