Since starting this blog I have reread some of my own books on self confidence and personal development, and generally researched and followed up links on the topic. Some I have made reference to, or quoted. I have paid particular attention to any source that has given exercises to build self confidence.
My aim is to build a resource that will be useful, not just interesting or entertaining. Reading books on any aspect of personal development I always feel they have a major drawback – when the reader is presented with an exercise to carry out, its so, so easy to turn over the page (promising ourselves to return to it later!).
Personal development involves change, and you won’t change by just passing by. If you do try to follow some of the exercises you come across another problem – changing habits usually involves effort, some discomfort, and will power. Surprisingly, few books even mention will power, suggesting that just once someone has embarked on a new course of action keeping going is simple.
We all know from our own experiences that this is nonsense. The surge in gym usage in January, followed by a decline the rest of the year, and the growth of life coaching are two examples of how we lack will power.
The only book I have that has a chapter on will power is “A Touch of Greatness”, by Frank Tibolt. I list this book on my About page as one of the most influential personal development books I have read. Rereading this chapter, Tibolt starts off with a great quote by Huxley on the trait of will power and self discipline:-
“The most valuable education is that which trains us to do what should be done, when it should be done, whether we feel like it or not.”
Tiblot makes will power second only to goal setting in importance and says himself:-
“Knowing you can depend on yourself to finish whatever you start builds self confidence faster than any other exercise discovered so far.”
So how do you develop will power? The Tibolt method is to make yourself do something useful everyday for no other reason than you don’t feel like doing it. In other words, get tough with yourself. To make it work best, draw up a list of things that fit with your lifestyle and assign one to each day ahead. You could even select one at random each day, so you avoid making things to easy.
What sort of things are we talking about?
Get up 30 minutes early and have a walk/read a book
Watch no TV at all that day
Buy a newspaper/magazine that is the opposite of your normal reading (and read it!)
If you are going out and would normally drink alcohol – abstain.
Smile and say hello to at least 5 people on your commute to work (unless this may get you arrested for being so abnormal!)
Think of compliments/say thank you for 5 colleagues at work – or friends/family members.
You get the idea? You can also add numerous things under “finish doing….” or “volunteer to…”. There is a movement that encourages “Random Acts of Kindness” – doing things for others out of kindness, without being asked. If you read through some of the things that have been done, you may get some more ideas of what you can try. Give it a go.