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5 Simple Ways to Build Self Confidence

Guest Post by Matt Maresca

Having self confidence is one of the biggest keys to your success. If you do not believe in yourself, it is difficult to accomplish any worthwhile mission. Further, if you do not exude a sense of confidence, other people will not have confidence in you. Below you will find five tips for building self confidence. Don’t just think about these tips, give them a try. Allow them to work for you!

1. Start Each Day with a Smile

Don’t ignore this tip because it sounds cheesy. Smiling has a special way of making you feel good about yourself and your life. When you smile, you are accentuating the positive; you are exuding happiness and contentment.

But don’t just smile; think of a reason to smile. You are alive. You are about to start another day. This could be a very special day. A new day means new opportunities. And this means new ways to make yourself happy and get closer to your ultimate goals.

So tomorrow morning, when you wake up, think of all you have in life and smile warmly. Beginning the day on a positive note will set the tone for you to do great things.

2. Dump Your Doubts on Paper

We all have doubts. We all have worries. Some of us just tend to let these things stew in our minds more than others. Don’t let these doubts eat away at you throughout the day. Get them out on paper in the morning. Write out all your doubts, and just keep writing all your thoughts. Don’t even think about what you are doing. A lot of your doubts are subconscious. Simply start your writing with, “I have doubts about myself. They are…” and just keep writing until you are done.

Many times, you’ll find that as you are writing you will discover that a lot of your doubts seem silly. Sometimes you’ll begin to subconsciously start thinking about your strengths. This is because your strengths may lie below your doubts in your brain’s hierarchy right now. Once you dump your doubts from your brain, you will find out what actually you like about yourself.

3. Do Something You Love to Do

It’s no secret that we tend to do best at the things we love to do. This is because we can really put our heart and spirit into it. Take some time out today and do something you really love doing. Immerse yourself in the moment and let go of all your doubts. Have some fun and loosen up. What happens when you do something you really love is you don’t worry about not doing it well. You just focus on having a good time.

Once you’ve done this, take this feeling into other areas of your life. Life isn’t about being perfect; it’s about giving the most of yourself to each moment. Remember the good feelings and let them stream throughout your day.

4. Make a List of Everything You’re Good At

I know you’re good at some things. We all are. This is because we all have special talents and unique skillets. Just because you can’t throw a baseball 90mph or solve quantum physics problems doesn’t mean you aren’t gifted. Even if your special talents aren’t readily apparent to the layperson, this doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

Your talents are important because they are unique to you. Once you’ve discovered your special talents, it is up to you to do something special and meaningful with them.

So make a great list of everything you are good at. No matter how small your talent or skill may be, write it down. You may surprise yourself just how much you have to offer.

5. Face One of Your Biggest Fears

As I like to say, nervousness is often just your brain’s way of telling you that your fears will feel great to conquer. You are nervous because you care. Since you care, you will feel good to have accomplished the feat. Your fears will go away once you face them.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said you should “do one thing everyday that scares you”. Once you have done this thing, you will have conquered a new fear. You will grow your comfort zone. You will gain confidence in your ability to do this thing. You will grow your confidence in your ability to face your fears. Do this on a regular basis and the things that used to scare you will give you some of your happiest moments. You will be stronger and wiser.

The key is to be consistent. At first, facing your fears will make you very uneasy. You are not used to operating out of your comfort zone, but realize that it will only make you a stronger, more confident person. Day by day, it will get easier. And day by day, you will be able to conquer bigger and bigger fears.

Pretty soon, people will be asking you for advice on building self confidence!

About the Author

Matt Maresca is a motivational entertainer who aims to inspire others to take their lives to the next level of personal happiness through self improvement. This growth often begins with building self confidence. For more, check out Matt’s website at MyLifeMotivation.com.

When Did Your Life "Jump the Shark?"

This is a guest post by Daniel Brenton author of The Meaning of Existence (and all that).

I am a late bloomer.

I don’t feel particularly old, but I must acknowledge that I was born in the second half of the Twentieth Century — with a little room to spare. And I must confess it has taken me more years than I’d care to admit for me embrace the idea I had abilities that could free me from a life of the mundane, and give me a life of excellence.

We all do, of course. Some of us are born knowing who they are or what they have, but most of us have to put in the work to find these things.

Continue reading When Did Your Life "Jump the Shark?"

Education vs. Schooling

A Guest Post by Sol Smith

The idea of institutionalized education is something that I have dedicated much of my life to. I have a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and am a few short semesters away from a Doctorate of Education. While I teach students how to write for a living, there are aspects of education that I have major reservations about. As Mark Twain said, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” There are, no doubt a myriad of advantages to be found in going to school and earning degrees; it is mostly to doing this that my family owes much of our livelihood. However, for many people who go to school, building up debt and spending valuable years, they will leave with a distinct disadvantage. I don’t mean to be disparaging. Certainly the degree will perform as it should on any resume and speak for the hard work of the owner. But for those who treat a college degree as an “education,” they will leave school more ignorant than when they entered.

The completion of school is not the completion of an education, it is simply a point of departure. If you take a literature class–or major in literature–and suppose that you now know what literature is, there is little that can save you. But if you see what you have learned about literature, and the books that you’ve read, as the topmost part of a mountain that sticks out of the ocean, with millions of works that you will never know no matter how long you continue reading after college under the surface, you’ve come a step closer to understanding what literature is. The same thing goes for all the subjects you can be taught–they can never be fully learned.

The danger comes when someone completes their schooling and makes the mistake of thinking they’re finished. Far from it. A degree comes with it a grave responsibility–to continue a quest for an education for the rest of your life. And this is a grave indeed, since the very awareness of this reality comes with the knowledge that your quest will be a futile one. Your quest is destined to fail, and as you learn more, you should only learn that there is so much more that you haven’t learned.

We don’t tell you this in school. We’re peddling a product. For you to earn your degree, you needn’t learn much. Even to get a doctorate, you don’t have to learn anything original. Instead what you really learn in college–or any other level of schooling–is how to navigate the system. Though you may be exposed to wonderful ideas, works, theories, and discoveries, these are simply side-effects of your primary mission in school: to conform. You will have proven to your educators that you can do everything exactly how they want you to. And that way, you have learned to think like they do. Without the gift of original thought, and armed with the notion that you are now an educated person, you cease to be a force of change and movement in the intellectual universe. In short, you’re not a threat to the status quo, but another cog in the mechanism that will keep the machine running. You will get a fine job, a fine credit card, and work your life to promote the thoughts, ideas, and passions of other people.

This starts in childhood. We are told what things are, and therefore what they are not. We are shown a world of black and white–of binary. But the expanses of our reality and of who you can be and what you can accomplish are not so clear-cut. As parents, we should encourage our children to question the reality we illuminate for them. We need to keep in mind that everything we think we know is hearsay, after all. Interpretations should be welcome and encouraged. As teachers, we should recognize that many of our most gifted students won’t do well in our classes. The general route of shaming them and giving them lower grades to denote their deficiency is a tool of conformity and little else. And as people who wish to be educated, we should realize that we know nothing without experiencing it ourselves. This experience, we should be striving to broaden, with enthusiasm every day. And with this in mind, we can hope that our children will do the same.

Sol Smith is a writer and professor of writing living in The Woodlands, Texas. He has two daughters, Solstice and Luna, and one lovely wife who is probably a much better blogger than he. He makes it a habit of riding his bike to work as often as he can, since he feels that this practice establishes ethos, even though most people don’t ride their bikes at all. He maintains a blog about engaged parenting as a guide to new fathers who want to be more than society feels they should be, at badassdad.com.

How to Engineer Yourself for Peak Performance

A Guest Post by Alik Levin

Why are some cars faster than others? Why do some remote controls switch channels faster than others? Why do some mobile phones dial faster than others? Why do some digital cameras take pictures faster than others?

The answer is simple – some products are engineered with high performance in mind and some are not.

Why are some people less productive then others? We are all “engineered” the same, aren’t we? Fortunately, people can change and continually improve. You are your life’s engineer.

I am a software performance engineer and I’ve adopted J.D. Meier’s Software Performance Frame for my professional life. I am amazed by how this framework maps perfectly to my personal life. Here are a few examples:

Caching

Keeping just enough information at hand is essential to be focused and productive. I manage simple lists of immediate action items with related information. Once done with an action item, it disappears from the list releasing room for more current action items. The trick is keeping the list fresh, not stale. The other trick is having it handy and easily accessible.

Communication

I’ve developed a communication diet. I use email as my primary communication channel, which helps me be mobile and removes the need to be connected to any communication device. Anybody can reach me anytime no matter where I am. If you send me an email, expect a reply within 24 hours. Usually it is much less. If you call my mobile expect to hear “My email is <<email goes here>>, send me an email and I will contact you in 24 hours or less”. This helps me manage action items too.

Concurrency

Few humans can do multiple things simultaneously. Maybe some can, but most of us handle things one-by-one. Once engaged with one thing, I lock on to it. Once completed, I unlock myself for the next thing in the pipeline. I think of myself as a pipeline that processes things one-by-one. That said, I do my best to make sure my calendar does not have overlapping activities in it.

Coupling / Cohesion

How much dependency do you have? How tightly are you coupled to your office, people, devices, or time? The less you are coupled, the less dependent you are and the more productive you will be. Batching related items for processing is a productive technique for me. For example, I batch all office work for Sunday, because I am in the office all day long. That is the principle of high cohesion.

Data Access

What data gets processed? Emails are processed daily and I stopped reading newspapers and listening to radio and TV news. I use more productive techniques like RSS and alerts.

How do you process data? How much time does it take you to find a document, an email, or a contact? Building solid habits for filing and accessing data will save you time.

Algorithms

My productivity habits are like algorithms. Simple algorithms for email processing, meeting management, time allocation, and goal setting.

Mechanical work + streamlined processing = saved time.

For example, I never go to meetings without clear goals and an agenda. During the meeting I stay focused on the agenda and ask others to stick to it. I take notes which become the meeting summary and read them aloud at the end of the meeting, setting each action item for each participant.

Exception Management

Expect problems. There will be exceptions. Anticipating problems reduces stress when they occur. That way it is faster to fix the problem and with less negative emotion. Negative emotion drains energy and productivity.

Resource Management

How do you lock and release your resources? When your resource is locked, it cannot be used by others. Time is a good example. Do you allocate and lock your time proactively for important activities? If not, chances are you will be juggling a multiple activities simultaneously which is not productive. Allocate your time proactively, and increase your focus which reduces errors.

State Management

I manage simple lists of my life projects – customers, family, finances, and few others. Each list item holds its current state. The trick is having it handy and keeping its state updated consistently. It is best if it all sits in one familiar place.

Finally ask yourself?

Am I getting connected to the Matrix?

Or Am I getting disconnected from It?

The Matrix Trailer

My name is Alik Levin and I work for one of the world’s largest software companies, with more to do than there are hours. I like trying out new techniques for self improvement and personal development. I adopt what works and share it on my blog at http://practicethis.com.