How to Develop Self-Confidence

A quick story on how to develop self-confidence:

The business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out.

Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.

Suddenly an old man appeared before him. “I can see that something is troubling you,” he said. After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.”

He asked the man his name, wrote out a check, and pushed it into his hand saying, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.”

Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world!

“I can erase my money worries in an instant!” he realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed check in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought.

With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.

Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed check. At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.

“I’m so glad I caught him!” she cried. “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.”

And she led the old man away by the arm.

The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him.

Suddenly, he realized that it wasn’t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.

That story paints a great picture of how to develop self-confidence. It is all a state of mind. But how do we change our state of mind? What steps can we take today to have more self-confidence?

In his book, “How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking” Dale Carnegie give step-by-step instructions on how to do just that. He gives four steps in the first chapter that we can do today!

How to Develop Self-Confidence

how to develop self-confidence

  1. Start With a Strong and Persistent Desire. If your desire is pale and flabby, your achievements will also take on that hue of consistency. But if you are persistent with the energy of a bulldog after a cat, nothing under the Milky Way will defeat you.
  2. Know Thoroughly What You Are Going to Talk About. Unless a person has thought out and planned what he is going to say, he can’t feel very comfortable when he faces his auditors. Know and study your subject.
  3. Act Confident. Actions seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. So, to feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all of our will to that end, and a courage fit will very likely replace the fit of fear. Fake it until you make it.
  4. Practice! Practice! Practice! The whole matter finally simmers down to but one essential; practice, practice, practice. You won’t be confident in any undertaking if you don’t practice – in real scenarios or pretend – it doesn’t matter…just practice any way you see fit.

This is obviously just a small portion of Dale Carnegie’s book and is packed full of essential truths and guidance on how to develop self-confidence. It’s a book that I’ve had on my shelf for years and encourage you to get your own copy. Amazon offers a great price.

Remember, YOU have the CHOICE to make it a GREAT day!

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Evan Scoresby
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