One Simple Way to Improve Your Confidence

One Simple Way to Improve Your Confidence

During that awkward phase of high school when you are just as confused by what your math teacher says as what your hormones are telling you, my life shifted dramatically by the most dreaded experience for all school age children — I changed schools.

Thanks to the infinite wisdom of the local school board and their new school zoning policy, I was required to change to a new high school as a freshman. The standard adjustment period from elementary to high school was made exponentially more unenjoyable by the fact that my new school had an entirely new social demographic.

I went from the average awkward teenager to one who was so scared of just being looked at as he got off the bus that my entire body would break out in sweat. Forget talking to girls — walking through the halls at recess was difficult enough. All those eyes looking at me!

My family and friends encouraged me to be “more confident. This is perhaps the worst advice you can give to someone who is border-lining on social anxiety disorder.

In retrospect I know their intentions were good, although their advice was just terrible. Did they just expect me to turn on the confidence switch in my head? Oh oops, I forgot to turn that on.

The process took a long time, and actually the only thing that built up my confidence systematically was athletics, especially wrestling and martial arts.

It wasn’t so much the coaching but rather the physical challenge. The better I got, the more my confidence grew and slowly expanded into totally unrelated realms. It was almost as if once I knew I was good at something, I knew I was good enough to talk with everyone.

What Most Of Us Get Wrong About Confidence

Telling someone to be confident is like telling someone to be happy.

Happiness cannot be pursued directly, and if it is, the results will almost certainly be both quickly forgotten and disappointing. Instead it is a byproduct of losing yourself in some pursuit, moment, sensation or idea.

Confidence is like happiness — it cannot be pursued. Rather it is a product of a life-changing process or experience.

There is a basic formula to create lasting confidence.

Being Scared of Something + Resolving To Do It + Doing It = Confidence

Inspirational quotes, pop psychology and self-affirmations are just temporary confidence boosts. Although they may make you feel good, they lack the fundamental base. They are like temporary Band-Aids.

Maybe you wanted to hear some secret formula, but like most things in life, the foundations of great beginnings are often deceptively simple. Only when we look from far away do they look complicated and inaccessible.

Challenge is the mortar used to build the foundation of confidence. We build confidence one success at a time. Perhaps this is the perennial lure of self-help — it provides an external source to lay that first foundation of confidence for self-development and growth.

This idea is echoed in childhood, where good parenting instills an illusionary sense of confidence. The “Wow. Honey you are so great” comment serves to build children’s confidence. However to lather such specious compliments on an adult comes across as fake and disingenuous.

What to Tell Someone Lacking In Confidence

Instead of telling them they are intrinsically great and amazing, instead offer them a challenge. They may not take it, but you have done your part. You can’t force confidence upon anyone.

Only a transformative experience can affect someone into creating LASTING change. Any challenge, regardless of how insubstantial it may seem, is the water and sunlight needed for the seed of confidence to grow.

There are no losers — as westerners we are so preoccupied with success that we often forget just taking on a personal challenge is transformative enough. Regardless of the outcome, taking on some sort of task and completing it shows one that he or she is capable.

I’ve been a high school teacher for the last eight years. I must admit, I’ve given up on the idea of inspiring change simply through giving life advice. Instead I offer challenges.

The students who lack confidence, I build them up. I start small. I empower them to create confidence for themselves. All the while I stand on the sidelines watching them build themselves up one challenge at a time.

The Unstoppable Confidence Plan

Remember the three steps for building confidence. Think Simple Right?

  1. Pick something you are scared of.
  1. Commit to doing it and follow through.
  1. Become more confident as a result.

Sounds too simple? The beauty of simplicity is that it’s the underlying factor in the greatest achievements. It’s the water that slowly wears away the rocks or the steady hand that builds a masterpiece. Simple formulas can create uncommonly great things.

The next time someone is lacking confidence and they feel they can’t continue on or don’t know how to, don’t just lather them with well-intentioned, you-can-do-it comments.

Instead, offer them a challenge.

Do you have areas where your confidence is low? What would you like to be more confident about? Drop a comment below and let us know.

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Am I a Bad Person? Navigating an Encounter with Your Shadow Self

Your guide to understanding your shadow.

The post Am I a Bad Person? Navigating an Encounter with Your Shadow Self appeared first on High Existence.

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3 Ways to Declutter Your Mind

3 Ways to Declutter Your Mind

We all lead busy lives. In today’s world, it’s as if it’s a badge of honor. Always rushing to the next thing. Working late to meet that deadline to please a boss or client. Driving from one kid’s soccer practice to the other.

With all of the busyness that fills our days, weeks and months, our mental space begins to fill simultaneously. Internal thinking begins to pile high collecting dust. Stress and anxiety begin to form, ultimately, transcending into our outer world. Our days become even busier with stress and anxiety layered on top.

This is especially true during times of personal struggle. Our mental space becomes so cluttered with thoughts of reality, sprinkled in with fictitious inner-ramblings that we often find it hard to decipher between the two.

When my wife and I decided to sell our business of three years, it put us in a not-so-desirable position financially. As we found ourselves struggling, I, without even knowing, handed the keys of my outer world to my inner world’s chattering ego.

Stuck in the Past

Instead of finding ways to move forward, I froze. I thought about all of the decisions we made over the last three years. I pointed fingers and placed blame. I was stuck in the past wanting to relive it, hoping to change it.

I thought about the things we should or shouldn’t have done. I thought about how our family wouldn’t be in the position we found ourselves in if only we did this instead of that.

I pushed off accepting and owning the reality in which we lived. I didn’t want to feel failure. My ego was in total control, and it was taking me down unnecessary rabbit holes of fictitious thoughts.

The more I surrendered to my inner dialogue, the more mental clutter was accumulating. As this began to stack, I could see and feel the stress and anxiety creeping up around the corner.

It got to a point where my inner dialogue was transcending my outer world. Pain and darkness ensued. Relationships became toxic. I was beginning to hurt the people I loved and cherished most.

Then, for a split second, I noticed how unhealthy I was becoming, both emotionally and physically, and how much hurt I was causing those around me. For a split second I heard the dialogue taking place in my head; the voice using words feeding the bad wolf.

I knew I had to do something.

Taking Care of Myself

I made a decision, a vow in fact, and committed to being intentional about my self-growth. I had to rediscover who I was. I had to reestablish my values. I had to get back to the way I wanted to feel. I had to take care of myself first in order to give my best self to others.

In order to accomplish any portion of this, I had to start by decluttering my mental space. My head chatter was clouding the lens in which I saw the world. I had to find ways to eliminate the clutter and make space for presence and truth.

Here are three ever so simple, but foundational, ways to declutter your mental space:

1. Read

As much as I wanted to find an escape, what I needed most was connection and perspective. Escaping is merely suppressing the pain, allowing it to fester and morph into something much larger than what it already was.

When you’re able to recognize the feeling of wanting to escape, use it as a springboard toward self-growth and reinvention.

Reading connected me to the power of personal story and shed light onto perspective. It made me see the very thing that caused me such pain a little bit differently. The lens in which I saw the world changed, and a shift in mindset transpired.

2. Meditate

Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting on the floor with your back straight and hands on your knees while concentrating on your breathing. As powerful as this has been for me, meditation can be as simple as finding joy in the quiet — finding space within your day to be bored and still. It’s finding solitude.

These practices allow the busyness of our daily lives to slow down – to become more present with the moment and to become one with ourselves. It’s finding wholeness and connection with ourselves.

3. Write

Writing has been an answered prayer. It’s the purest form of release. It’s the city dump and charity to the thoughts that clutter your mental space. Writing wholeheartedly in a journal holds the key to personal discoveries you couldn’t have even imagined.

Allowing everything to pass from my egotistic head chatter to my fingers and onto paper has become the foundation to my self-growth. When I don’t write, I notice. The feeling of busyness and anxiety begin to creep in again.

Decluttering your mental space uncovers the truth that sits within you, most times buried under the unnecessary. As your truth emerges and you begin to live life through it a sense of lightness takes over. Meaning and purpose ensue.

Our inner world is often the thing that gets neglected, even though it’s the very thing feeding our outer world. As you might look to declutter your physical possessions, pause and pay attention to your inner dialogue. Maybe, just maybe, your next task is decluttering your mental clutter.

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Donald Robertson: Is Stoic Philosophy The Best Preventitive Psychological Medicine? (Podcast #17)

Making Stoic philosophy a way of life.

The post Donald Robertson: Is Stoic Philosophy The Best Preventitive Psychological Medicine? (Podcast #17) appeared first on High Existence.

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How I Overcame Social Anxiety

How I Overcame Social Anxiety

I’ve been shy. I’ve become accustomed to being called”the quiet one” My mum tells stories of a toddler that, through hereditary build up — me once I was only a little toddler, whenever we had company, hiding my head away and perhaps conditioning, acted on his own instinct.

As I grew, so did my anxiety. In my childhood innocence, I transformed into a more receptive, sensitive young man. These were conditions for anxiety to develop, to germs like dampness and warmth.

My brother bar-mitzvah possibly exaggerated my worries and exposed. My nine-year-old self happened to deliver the sister and brother speech as obligated by convention and expectation.

The address has been received well, but my laughing gradually turned into crying, the scenario for my spirit that was little. I once again took to hiding my head along with my sister’s arm a guard against the nerves and humiliation I felt looking into the audience .

The episode was laughed off by people in attendance, put down to my youth and my shyness. However, as I grew older, with muscles beginning to appear and hair, within I was this shy, scared boy of nine.

Growing Tide of Anxiety

As man civilization began to envelop my college — boys getting interested in women and banter adopted as the new official language — I felt as though I was drowning in this growing tide of anxiety.

From people, I felt isolated with my silent character. I felt like a child in a group of adults. Consumed by my anxieties, I would think people were judging me:

  • “He is silent”
  • “He’s not humorous”
  • Or worst of all”He is boring”

Not being able to show the real me at school or to be the man I had been at home, in which I had been fortunate enough to feel comfy, became increasingly bothersome.

I made custom of seeking solace. An increasing quantity of my rest times were being invested safe in my cell that was isolated. There I was , able to have a break from the strain I felt while socializing, not having to execute.

Time moved fast, my mind occupied on my current blunders. I got annoyed at myself to mumbling my words in history class or later when that girl I like talked to me personally, considering a response.

Seeking a Quick Fix

In an attempt to improve the circumstance, I introduced cognitive therapy and more standard counseling a try.

I determined that counseling wasn’t because of me when both advisers indicated the only way I could create any improvement was during exposure treatment. I wanted a fast fix, a no-pain, no-effort solution. This vulnerability therapy seemed backwards to me if I could do it, I would do it. I would not be sitting in this seat!

The reason I could not go out and be confident was I couldn’t go out and be more confident! I was not going to let a tarantula crawl over my head, although I wished to conquer my fear of spiders!

Both of those advisers were of course right. I needed to confront my issues head-on, otherwise become incurable and they would continue to fester. I realized that I was getting paralyzed by my own social anxieties. They had been controlling my each decision and running my life, I had been the puppy, social anxiety was my first leash, and it was tight round my throat.

I understood there were two chief things holding me backagain. I discovered that these items were only figments of my own imagination! This has allowed me to loosen that leash, so a clasp anxiety had on me for such a long time.

1. Not All Of Awkward Silences Are Because of Me

Conversations are a two-way street. Understanding this enabled me to take the strain off — letting myself relax a bit.

I really enjoyed talking to people! If things went rancid and began to feel somewhat awkward, I accepted this was down to me. The man believing I was dull wasn’t judging me. I could just be myself and stop worrying so much.

2. No One Cares

This discovery in particular has been tremendously liberating for me personally. There was something arrogant from the mindset I had developed, that we needed me in their mind always, caring what I looked like, inspecting.

If I did not spend my time inspecting others each actions , why in the world would others do so for me? No one judged me.

I had been free of the burden. Instead I could spend some time on really living, not only living, treading through this minefield of judgement and humiliation.

When I started to understand my idea procedures were absurd, I could begin to confront my worries .

Only Living

I now voluntarily socialize, something that I was able to consciously avoid. I realize it is more significant to live, not to just live, while I still find it scary, as most do.

I can speak to people with no heart feeling as if it’s going to burst, although I the one. I am dreaming much larger than I did. Free from the jacket that has been my stress, my entire life has opened to opportunities.

Whom I once would use for tasks that would limit interaction and not participate in nightclubs, I now have the ammo to overcome those allies whenever they rear their ugly head.

Where I was once living to not be viewed, I’m now trying to simply live.

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Ridiculously Creamy Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

I'm calling this entree recipe a showstopper because it's just that good. My Ridiculously Creamy Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo has a velvety, dairy-free Alfredo sauce drenched over top tender fettuccine pasta. The flavor is cheesy with a hint of lemon and garlic — yet ironically has zero cheese or even nutritional yeast! And this recipe can be made in about thirty minutes, no prep needed! Get the recipe…Read more »

This is a summary, images and full post available on HHL website!

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Easy Vegan Chili

Vegan Chili is among my very favorite meals. And the very best part about chili is it is quick and easy to whip up! I made this batch is merely about fifteen minutes yesterday. Really! It is possible to serve this deliciousness with optional easy polenta cakes. Both recipes beforehand! . .

Plus a movie! . . .Read more”

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4 Ways to Be Your Own Hero

4 Ways to Be Your Own Hero

What makes us love Harry Potter or action films? Why do we cheer for the good men? Why can we love a good story of battle , perseverance and succeed?

Makes these stories classic?

This hero’s story hasn’t changed for thousands of years. Since early times culture and our customs venerate the myth of the hero on a mission. A hero leaves residence, faces struggles, triumphs and generally returns home as a man or women.

In 1990 the late American author and intellectual Joseph Campbell composed of the protagonist ’s travel — the mythological journey that most men and women undergo in life. He believed that the purpose in life was supposed to complete this journey.

A hero is with no shape and past time; the human need for heroes surpasses all cultures.

The Demand To Get a Story

Why is a hero unforgettable isn’t their strength but instead their will. We admire their capacity to persevere and surpass defeat. We temporarily turn into them As soon as they are watched by us. We live vicariously through them. This is the bait of sports.

What makes a hero undefeatable? What makes several times stand up after being knocked down? The answer is straightforward. A story. Not just any story, but one which involves a path that is personal that the person walks .

It may be a story that grandparents informed them maybe it’s the end consequence of some event that is powerful or while sitting around the fire or even moved in them.

Regardless of the medium, the narrative has been absorbed deep to the protagonist. His/her adventure’s ups and downs are not viewed as separate events but rather as parts of a whole.

Just like a fabric that is beautiful that the ups and downs of this travel weave together to form his lifetime.

This is actual motivation — motivation which sees beyond the successes and failures to some grander purpose of existence.

Every goal, every step, every time you fall down is seen inside a bigger context. A fanatic doesn ’ t concentrate on the trees and plants, like seeing the forest in its entirety that is exquisite.

 Concentrate Rather Than Reaction

When we examine the larger picture of our own lives we see exactly that both the highs and lows as a piece of the journey. We prevent focusing on objectives that are different and focusing our attention. Instead of responding to events, we maintain our attention.

In all honesty, I’ve stumbled for nearly all my life searching for actual motivation — one that lasts. I have jumped from goal to goal like a collection of faculty romances that were unsuccessful.

My intentions have functioned well, however my leadership hasn’t remained constant.

It wasn’t before I challenged everything was important for me that my narrative became more well-defined. I wished to do things in existence. I am able to ’t if I am attempting to do everything and do nothing else in the same 25, be the hero of my story.

So I recognized it.

How to Find Your Story

The first step is defining what is important is focusing on what you want and cut out the rest. This clarity came to me from the form of a yellow legal pad and also twenty five well-thought-out items I wanted in life.

These were my dreams, my goals and my dreams. I had a great deal but I can just pick five. Doing this focused my focus and my entire life . It allowed me to recover my purpose without feeling scattered like I did earlier.

Physically writing down them and deciding which five things were the most important for me behaved as a proof of my own values. I place them on my wall.

The most strong change always comes from the simplest items.

The exercise in priorities was not my suggestion but instead Warren Buffet’s. Buffet recommended this to his pilot who had been struggling with everything to do with his life. He advised him that invest it and only the secret to ruthless determination is to amass your attention. Do not distribute it.

The story’s moral is that if you need inspiration which transcends one which unites them all together in a goal that is larger, the individual objectives and to-do lists, you must define your own story.

You’re already a hero. You just need to make your story and live it.

1. Focus Your Energy

Use the exercise over. Using pen and paper or computer, write twenty-five items you need in life. Pick five. Put aside a time, one hour or so, to perform this. You do not need to get distracted.

You have two lists — you to focus all your energy to prevent. Put your lists you’ll be able to see them.

2. Embark on the Journey

This is both scary and exciting. Tomorrow don ’ t start. Start now. Like literally NOW.

  • Need a site? Sign up for one today.
  • Longing into travel overseas? Proceed today to get your passport.
  • Interested in becoming a photographer? Subscribe for a course.

There’s not any perfect moment. Beginning is the initial step of the travel. Write down your targets. I break mine into every three months, yearly and weekly.

3. Battle Monsters

Happiness is a by-product of meaningful experience. It cannot be directly chased, and when it is it won’t continue.

Instead challenge yourself to combat the monsters . Know that collapse is part of this process.

4. The Hero Fall

The protagonist returns home better and more straightforward. Reflect on your journey and discuss it with other folks. Nothing is as sharing with other people, as worthwhile.

Our contemporary world, with all the remarkable progress and technology, has forgotten a number of our origins. Modernity has slowly annexed the use of heritage.

As our world becomes more integrated, it gets easier to forget our personal connection with lifetime .

We look out for inspiration. We love inspirational speeches and quotations, but seldom do we turn our attention inward and see that motivation lies in your story.

Define exactly what you really want in your life and recover your motivation.

What helps you get through those times? Drop a comment below, and let me know how you keep yourself inspired .

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4 Ways to Embrace Uncertainty

4 Ways to Embrace Uncertainty

Have you ever felt like you were just not good enough? That somehow everyone had received the handbook for life, except you? Do you keep waiting for the moment when you will finally arrive and feel like you have made it?

Yes, I have been there too. When I was younger, I was sure that age 35 was when I would definitely arrive at my full self — that I would finally become who I really was and who I was meant to be.

When I turned 35, I was in a state of shock when I realized I had not arrived at this age as I had imagined. I did not have it all figured out. Far from it.

How had I arrived at this spot in my life and still felt like I had so much to do to get where I wanted to be in my career? With so many unknowns?

I felt angry.

  • Angry at myself for being so uncertain about my future
  • Angry at all of those people who supposedly had it all figured out
  • Angry that I didn’t have it figured out by now

I lashed out. I cried. I tried to stay busy, so I could avoid the thoughts that were hurting me so much.

Take a Closer Look to Find the Answer

After many days of doubt and self-loathing, I decided to start writing in my journal again to try to make sense of what was going on. Why I was feeling so much anger toward myself? Feeling so inadequate?

From that reflection, I realized that my insecurities stemmed from my recent decision to leave my corporate marketing career and become a writer.

I felt like I was starting from scratch again. There were so many uncertainties and so many things I had to learn. Should I really be doing this now?

But I knew that if there was one thing I would regret not doing in my life, the answer was being a writer.

That was how I decided that I had to start from somewhere, even if it was from the beginning again — to build the life and career I wanted — and that meant dealing with uncertainty head on.

We are all wired to want to control our environment. Once we let go of control, we are able to understand that change is a constant part of life.

Here are four ways I learned to embrace uncertainty. These tips can be helpful anytime you’re starting something new or stepping into the unknown.

1. Reframe Imperfection

Perfection is a shield we use to hide from our true gifts.

The most ironic thing I discovered is that those things I thought were my biggest imperfections are actually my greatest gifts. This was so freeing.

So first and most importantly, we must reframe what imperfection means.

By embracing our imperfections not as faults, but as a demonstration of our unique gifts, we can see our strengths more clearly.

2. Avoid Seeking the Approval of Others

We all want to be accepted and loved. However, to really live the life we want we need to tell the truth about who we are, not wait to get praise or approval from others first.

This is a difficult thing to do, and it takes practice. One thing I learned to do is to keep a Self Appreciation Journal where each day I acknowledge and keep track of the things I am most proud of, the good choices I have made, and the successes I have had.

This type of practice strengthens our trust in ourselves, so we don’t always need to look for others for the answer.

3. Rethink Risks

When we start something new, there are so many things we are uncertain about.

It was helpful for me to reframe these moments of uncertainty and the outcomes of these new actions as learning opportunities.

By taking small risks, we move out of our comfort zone and into the learning zone.

We can reframe outcomes that did not go as planned not as mistakes but as good ways to get feedback and learn something new.

4. Know That You Are Enough Right Now

It hit me that I had been bogged down with a list of all of the things I needed to learn, to master, to do before I felt ready to start the career I really wanted. I needed to stop waiting.

We need to let go of the stories we tell ourselves about where we are supposed to be. We are all becoming who we are every day, over and over again. There is no arrival point.

I like to say this short affirmation when I am feeling stuck: “I am enough.”

I am enough. You are enough. We are enough.

Build the Life You Want

The only thing constant in life is change. To fully embrace uncertainty we must replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.

With a curious mindset, we can see the new pathways that point in the direction of our dreams.

Are you ready to embrace uncertainty and build the life you want?

The world is waiting for us to tell our stories and live our dreams. Let’s get started.

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