How to Be Self-Confident | Motivational Podcasts

Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration and gift ideas. Visit them online at Bookofzen.com. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from Psychology & Higher Life by William McKeever, published in 1905.

What opinion should we have of ourselves? Should we believe that we can accomplish almost anything we care to undertake? Does our merely believing that we can do a thing help us in any way? What is self-confidence, anyway? Is there a really wholesome and helpful attitude of mind toward one’s self, which we may learn to assume? These are some of the questions that we’ll be attempting to answer today.

Self-confidence might be defined tentatively as the courage to go forward and do one’s best under all circumstances. To work faithfully and honestly in the situation in which one is placed, even when the immediate reward is not at all in sight, and to turn the thoughts toward victory when defeat seems already to have come, is to form the beginnings of a self-reliant character.

I may seem harsh in saying it, but the evidence is unmistakable that there are many a chicken-hearted youth in this land of ours, who are such because they have been brought up too tenderly. Such persons ought to be taken through a course of “hard knocks,” wherein there is smarting and hungering and considerable weariness of the flesh. One year of practical “roughing it” will do more toward developing a self-reliant character than a decade of moralizing on the subject.

Hard conditions bring out sterling qualities of character. Of this fact, there are thousands of shining examples among the pioneers of the West. They went forth without purse or coin, but with vigorous health and with faces set like flint, and made the desert place blossom like a garden. But this is not true of all of those who made the venture. Thousands soon became disheartened and went back, leaving the sturdier folks behind. It was a case of the survival of the fittest.

Many of these survivors became wealthy in a land where they were expected to starve. It is a law that persistent effort brings success. These sturdy pioneers soon discovered that, notwithstanding a variety of menacing conditions, in a series of years the successes overbalanced the failures. So the young person, if rightly trained, discovers in time that it is only necessary to be true to the promptings of their better self; for by pressing forward in a confident manner they find that more than half of their trials are successful.

In short, they become anything but a pessimist. The pessimist is a person who is out of tune mentally. Discord and discouragement are always in their path. We meet pessimists throughout society, propagating mental disease and disloyalty. Even in religious circles, we find the pessimist dealing out moral distemper and disbelief.

And yet the pessimist has necessarily only one bad fault — they persist in looking on the dark side of things. They are consequently a disbeliever in themselves, and they never begin an undertaking but say instead: “Oh, it will fail; there is no use trying. This thing will never succeed;” and it never does.

The optimist, on the other hand, thoroughly believes in themselves. By degrees they come into an unswerving purpose in life and an unwavering faith that they can carry that purpose out. They have come to realize that a hand mightier than their own is guiding the destinies of humankind; and that, by the very nature of things, their life is divinely ordered. Unlike the negative thinker, the optimist sees the bright side of everything, and as a result, even the commonplace affairs of life inspire them.

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