As we grow up, we hear it over and over again: Be confident! Whether we want to date a hot blond, get a good grade at school, go to a job interview, try to get a promotion from our boss or simply run a business, we are told that the number one requisite to be successful is to be confident. When does confidence become delusional, though? Suppose I want to build a nuclear reactor and I have no knowledge whatsoever of nuclear physics. Everyone tries to discourage me, and I feel a little let down. Would you come to be and suggest me to “be confident” and do my thing? Sure, if you answered yes to that, I bet you would take your family and loved ones very far away from my construction site, right? When you have what it takes to do the job, being confident despite the negativity that surrounds you can help you achieve what you want. Without a good dose of confidence, you won’t make it.
Confidence alone is not a sufficient condition to success, however. All the confidence in this world will not help you date that hot blond, if you are as ugly as hell. Yes, it happens in the movies, maybe, but not in real life. You will not write an impressive article if your English sucks. You will not get employed as a mathematics teacher if you can’t do one plus one. Likewise, you will not get traffic to your site if your content is poor, you will not sell anything if your sales tactics suck, and you will not get any leads if you have the personality of piece of tissue paper! True confidence means being able to assess your skills independently of other people’s judgments. It means knowing yourself and what you can truly achieve, but also having the humility to admit your limitations. Further, it also entails overcoming those limitations. The toughest part, at least for me (but I believe for many others too), is understanding the difference between lack of confidence and a real limitation. If you are able to write an amazing article, but are put off because of the opinions of other people, then you are lacking confidence. If you can fork our only garbage, but think that all other people are telling you that you suck because “they are jealous“, then you are not being confident, or even overly confident; you are being delusional. Telling the difference can be really tricky. Here’s a few tips that will help:
1. Think with Your Brain, not with Your Heart
Hearing others tell you that you are useless, you’re incompetent or worthless can be very hurtful. Judgmental people can suck away your confidence like leeches. On the other hand, friends and family who tell you that everything is fine when you’re doing it all wrong can give you a false sense of confidence. So what to do? There is no simple formula that can solve the issue. If these people are expressing an opinion on your private life, just ignore them. As long as you’re happy with what you’re doing and it’s not anything illegal or hurtful, who cares? If your hobby is stealing credit cards or beating puppies, you better stop, though … On the other hand, if we’re talking business, it’s a whole different story. If you are producing content or doing work that others have to benefit from, their opinion is more important than your own. It’s them that you have to convince to make a sale. You need them to like you and like what you give them. If you are factually giving them crap, then you’re doing it all wrong.
Rule #1 is to think rationally
Do their objections make sense? I will take as an example a critique I received on the Warrior Forum: my grammar sucks. That makes sense, and it’s likely true! In fact, I have since then tried to improve it, and, if you compare my present work to what I was producing in November, I think you’ll notice that I improved a lot. As another example, I will take a guy who said that my site (this one) is useless because, since I am presently not making any money, it has no purpose. However, the idea behind this site is to provide a record of my journey from the very beginning, and therefore, obviously, that included the initial months when it was making no money at all. Plus, there are many tutorials on the site, such as how to get an EIN for affiliate marketing, setting up WordPress, dealing with scams, knowing web hosting and many others that users can benefit from right now. So, does his objection make sense, from a logical point of view? No, it doesn’t. There was no point in listening to him, even though he insisted and expressed his view with great authority. Irrespectively of the form in which a judgment is made, it’s the substance that matters. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t listen to it, even if it’s common opinion. If you notice that way too many people are saying the same thing, the issue isn’t the concept itself. It’s a communication issue, and you may need to deliver your message better in order for them to understand it.
Rule #2 is to ignore unconstructive criticism.
If it’s not constructive, there is no point in listening to it. “You Suck”, “Go work at MacDonalds”, “die”, “you are no singer”, “you’re as ugly as hell”, “you will never have any success online. You don’t know what you’re doing…” You know the kind of remarks I mean. These are just the opinions of people who want to be hurtful without providing any real input. Take again the example above: the guy who told me that my articles suck because my grammar is poor. That’s constructive criticism. He told me specifically what I need to fix in my articles to improve them. He had been helpful. Those telling me to hang myself, haven’t and there is no point in listening to them.
2. It’s not what you do but who you are
A story that has nothing to do with my Internet marketing efforts will help make my point clear here. Some years ago, I was managing a podcast, which I did with six other people. Some of them, seemingly, had issues with the way I was managing it. In fact, they went on their own and created a competing show after the incident I am about to tell happened. I proposed an idea — honestly I don’t recall what it was. I could go to Facebook and dig it up, but I am not in the mood and it’s not important. Anyhow, one of the people in the group who had issues with me, said that it was terrible idea, that I was wrong, that if we did that we would get in trouble and so on and so forth. However, a few minutes later, the leading guy from his group chimed in and proposed the EXACT same thing that I suggested earlier. The first guy then started saying, “Oh, yeah! I think this is an amazing idea! I didn’t get how cool this would be. Let’s do it now!” So there you go: when it was my idea, it sucked; when it was from the other guy, it rocked!
Sometimes, when we don’t manage to get approval for an idea, article or project, it may well be the case that there is nothing wrong at all with the idea, article, project or whatever. The problem may be our authority. When Silvio Berlusconi, a man who has been proven guilty by a court beyond any reasonable doubt, claims his innocence and a conspiracy against him, thousands of loyal followers believe his words. The same people would laugh at the average Joe in the street claiming the same thing. Building authority is important, especially for achieving success in Internet marketing and business in general. If you know that you are skilled and competent in what you do, have the confidence to keep going on that route, but don’t be delusional to the point that you feel that you’re doing everything right. If others don’t respect you, you’re failing to build authority. A lack of confidence can be the culprit. Sometimes, however, you just need to get endorsed by a reliable source (usually for a fee). Also, being honest like I am in my “Saturday Updates” will not help at all. Once you admit that you are weak, this is the way you will be perceived. I blame Hollywood for that. We’re too used to determined, confident and invincible guys in movies who are perfect in every respect. Thus, we forget that people in real life can have their bad moments, feel sad, depressed or weak. Remember that if you tell someone that you’re unsure, sad or don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you will be losing all your authority. As soon as they find a weak spot, they will project all their insecurities upon you. So, unless you have a very special reason like I do, always be authoritative and prove that you know what you’re doing.
3. Test yourself
That suggestion, which I often quote, and which I was given by some guy on the Warrior Forum is so important. Spend half of your time learning and half of your time doing. If you don’t feel confident enough with your skills, improve them or learn new ones. This is a great way to increase self-esteem and, at the same time, get new tools to help in your quest towards success. There are many online and offline learning opportunities and also tests that you can take to check yourself. There’s nothing better than getting a good grade at a test to improve self-confidence.
Don’t use your “confidence” or rather your delusional idea that you are perfect to stop you from learning new things. It may seem convenient to make up for a lack of competence with excessive self-confidence, but that’s not the right way to solve the problem.
4. Surround yourself with like-minded people and work in a team
If are still unsure whether you’re doing whatever you’re trying to do in the right way or you’re doing it all wrong, which is what all this boils down to, try to find a group of like-minded people. Use Facebook, workgroups on Google or set up your own forum and try to help each other improve your skills. If one guy comes up with terrible ideas, but writes very well and another is a genius, but doesn’t manage to express his brilliance at best, they will be able to help each other. Just remember that such a project has to be a give and take. Also, try to seek the help of those people who are at your level because the others will not care.
So, those where my four tips to help you figure out whether you need to be more confident, less confident, less delusional and whatever else. Do this exercise: try each of these four recommendations and then come back here and tell me if if you have found any of them to be useful. While you’re at it, feel free to let me know if you think that I am delusional or confident too, of course…