Take the Bull by Its Horns

In the early 1700’s, bullfighters in Spain were known to defeat the raging bull by forcing its head down by grasping its horns. This was the ultimate display of facing ones fear by doing the most terrifying thing. Today, most of us no longer fight with four-legged bulls anymore.

We do however, fight with imaginary “bulls” called confidence killers. When we intend to embark on something difficult or complicated the imaginary raging bull will rear its ugly head.

I encourage you to be confident even in the face of these confidence killers because in many cases these imaginary “bulls” are exactly what they are; imaginary 🙂

You can be confident! All you need to do is to rid yourself of the confidence killers. Confidence killers are merely a self-defeating thought pattern. Many of us go through life harboring these self-defeating thought patterns.

See if you’ve got any of these “bulls” in your thoughts:

1. The All or Nothing Shooter

This way of thinking might be one of the reasons why you can’t seem to celebrate the small wins you’ve been achieving in life. Were you one of those kids in school who went home crying when you got one wrong in a test? If you were, you probably fall in this category. You think you are a failure when your performance is not perfect. You can help yourself to increase your confidence if you didn’t spend so much energy trying to be a perfectionist. Stop being so hard on yourself!

Every time I play Fifa 2014 with my 16 year old son on his PlayStation 3, I end up losing. I lose simply because my reflexes are much slower than his. I am more than 3 times his age, by the way. Do I lose my confidence because of this? NO! I keep celebrating, cheering & congratulating myself every time I score a goal. The end result? Nowadays, my greatest loss would be a 2 goal margin. If this doesn’t sound impressive to you, it’s okay. Once upon a time, I used to lose by a 5 goal margin 🙂

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I improved my performance simply by celebrating, cheering & congratulating myself for the small successes I achieved. Here’s a motivational talk of mine which emphasizes the same point in a different way.

2. The Gloomy Cloud of Destruction

Watch out! There is a calamity lurking behind every corner. Expect it. The Gloomy Cloud of Destruction may make you imagine depressing things like: ‘I failed my biology test; it is pointless in even thinking about university, now.’

In my first attempt to sell on eBay, I was permanently banned for some “heinous crime” I supposedly committed on eBay. I appealed to them and begged for forgiveness. I explained that this was my first time trading on eBay and I had no idea regarding the violation that I supposedly committed. Did they lift my suspension? No. Did I get depressed? Yes. The Gloomy Cloud of Destruction got the better of me. However, I’ve moved on. I’ve discovered many better ways to make money online rather than waste my time on eBay.

3. Warrior of Negative Magnification

If you entertain to this confidence killer you’ll have a hard time trying to be confident. This naughty fellow has got a warped idea that if its good, it not important or it doesn’t really count. He will take any little negative molehill and magnify it into a mountain.

If you won 8 speech contests but lost in the 9th one, he will harp on that loss and you’ll never appreciate the 8 trophies as your great achievements.

Remember, in any competition / contest, you are competing against yourself to bring out the best in you. As long as you improved in some way or another from the previous competition / contest, you have become a better person. That’s all that matters.

4. The ‘If I feel it, it must be true’ Creature

This creature will shut down all the clear thinking parts of your brain! You may think that your instinct or some divine voice is speaking to you. While that may be true, the Divine also gave us a left brain to think logically. Sometimes, your feelings may not necessarily match up with the reality. We all have days when we don’t feel our best or perform at our best.

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I don’t have a hard and fast rule in this instance because sometimes, I would also like to think that the Divine is speaking to me 🙂 Therefore all I can say is trust yourself and make a good decision. Once the decision is made, take responsibility for it. Don’t blindly accept all emotions as the truth. Be confident enough to consider that tomorrow you may feel differently about the matter.

5. The Creepy Should

Fusspots are very good at “should” statements. “Should” statements are more about what you think other people expect from you than what you really desire. Were you born in this world to live up to the expectations of others? Somehow, I don’t think so.

Should statements can be along these lines: “Everyone should get married before the age of 35”. The person then thinks ‘Oh dear. I’m 36 and I don’t seem to have a steady partner! There must be something really wrong with me. I must be gay / lesbian.’

The way I look at it, there is nothing really wrong or right about being the way you are. Perhaps you are in the wrong environment and therefore you are looked upon as weird. Your responsibility is to move to the “right” environment where you will be accepted by like-minded people.

When you feel accepted by like-minded people, you will gain self-confidence.

6. Slanderous Labeller

Let’s chuck this fellow in prison and throw away the keys. You understand the thought. It’s the one that we use to blame things on something. ‘I am a loser. I was born this way.’

In my years of experience as a Speech Evaluator, I have trained myself to first listen to the words spoken, then listen to the words unspoken. The Slanderous Labeller has got the tendency to use subtle self-disempowering phrases such as, “I am trying to do..”, “I hope to achieve..”, etc. While these phrases seem innocent at the outset, the unspoken emotions beneath these phrases have the tendency to convey struggle, low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence.

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Well, if you are going to think labels, you might as well label yourself a confident person. Instead of “I am trying..”, say “I am doing..”. Instead of “I hope to achieve..”, say “I am moving towards my goal..”.

Do also watch this useful video on self-disempowering words. I chanced upon this video while researching for material to write this article. Hope it helps 🙂

7. Praise Constrictor

Just like a boa constrictor, this slimy guy just can’t seem to let you receive a compliment. Remember, you deserve to be praised. Therefore, if someone tells you that you look elegant in that dress, accept it wholeheartedly. Your willingness to accept praise is closely related to how much you love and respect yourself. If your self-esteem is healthy, you will have no problems in accepting a sincere compliment.

By now, you have probably recognized one or more of these villains which have been impeding your confidence. You will also realize that many of these villains were a result of your childhood upbringing. Instead of feeling bitter towards your parents, I would suggest that you use the tips suggested in this article to cancel these confidence-killing thoughts.

Do also take a close look at how you are treating your children. Are you inadvertently passing on some of your villains to them? If you are, forgive yourself and make a conscious effort to change today. “If the mountain streams are polluted, then the lakes and the rivers will also be polluted” – Confucius

I wish you well.