When I was in 7th grade, there were a bunch of really pretty girls in my grade who I desperately wanted to impress.
The thing was, they liked a bunch of my friends, who were Filipino. I began studying these guys — what did they have that I didn’t? How could I be more like them, so the girls would like me?
Well my 7th grade pea brain did some simple logic:
- My Filipino friends didn’t have hairy legs — I did.
- Pretty girls liked my Filipino friends.
- Solution = shave my legs.
I remember being in the shower that night, scared to go through with it. But hey, pretty girls were on the line. So I took a deep breath, and shaved one long strip of hair off my shin.
Then I chickened out and wore pants for a few weeks until my bald leg patch grew back.
Your brain will only accept you pretending to be something else for so long until it’ll snap. It knows who you are — and what you’re not. The longer you try to hold the illusion, the more stress you’ll put on yourself.
I spent a long time trying to be someone I wasn’t so other people would like me. I began being what I thought they wanted, not myself. As a result, I really had no idea who I was. I couldn’t really connect with anyone, because there was nothing for them to connect to.
I didn’t realize the toll it was taking on me. I would have waves of self-pity, anger, and sadness for no reason. I was simultaneously resentful of others, yet desperately wanted their approval and acceptance. I had no idea how the “cool kids” seemed to be so comfortable in their own skin. In many ways, I hated my own skin, and tried all sorts of things to change it.
It took me many years to learn this simple lesson:
It’s far more noble to embrace yourself than try to be something you’re not. Because people always know when you’re pretending to be something you’re not.
How to Activate Extreme Self-Confidence and Destroy Chronic Anxiety and Fear
“Personal incongruency is what causes so much of our pain.” -Tim Denning
When I was growing up, I had virtually no self-confidence.
A chronic stutter had convinced me to keep my mouth shut; better not speak at all than speak and get laughed at.
I didn’t know how to connect with people. I would frequently make huge conversational gaffs when I’d try to hold a conversation. “Look out, huge butt coming through!” I cackled stupidly as a girl I liked walked past me to her seat during a football game.
Do you ever just want to go back in time and…repeatedly smack your face with your shoe?
Most people don’t have high self-confidence. A life lived for others and no real effort to improve has left them wildly insecure, full of self-doubt and confusion.
The solution is confidence and self-belief. But these aren’t innate gifts, as most people might think. Motivational speaker David Schwartz once wrote:
“All confidence is acquired, developed. No one is born with confidence. Those people you know who radiate confidence, who have conquered worry, have acquired their confidence, every bit of it.”
If you want to activate extreme self-confidence and finally eliminate chronic worry and anxiety, you need to build it yourself.
Most people constantly practice mediocre, substandard routines and behaviors.
There is a distinct difference between how successful and unsuccessful people operate. They think, speak, and carry themselves very differently.
Successful people with high self-confidence weren’t just born that way — they became that way. NYT Best-Selling author Grant Cardone once said, “Success is not something that happens to you, it’s something that happens because of you and the actions you take.”
Success and self-confidence must be grown, nurtured, and trained. Anyone from any background, regardless of upbringing/social class/ability can cultivate this skill.
It requires deliberate and intentional training, though. Like any skill, it’s grown over time. Those who put in the work, get the results.
If you want to have the type of confidence, focus, and charisma that enables you to achieve your ideal lifestyle, you need to model your behavior on others who’ve already succeeded.
Want 100% financial independence? Find a mentor who’s already done it.
Want to own your business? There are dozens of incredible people who teach how to do it online, for free.
Want a strong, healthy body? I think you see where I’m going with this.
Trade in your outdated and unhelpful actions with the actions a successful person would do.
There are people, right now, living the life you want. Read their stuff. Buy their courses. Follow their instructions.
If you want a different life, you need to do things differently.
“One of the greatest turning points in my life occurred when I stopped casually waiting for success and started to approach it as a duty, obligation, and responsibility.” -Grant Cardone
If You’re Bald, Short, Skinny, Goofy — Embrace It, and People Will Respect You.
Back at my old corporate job, there was this high-level director who worked in an office down the hall. He was smart, talented, and very capable.
But for some reason, he kept bringing up the fact that he was bald.
He’d bring up the fact at the most random, awkward times in conversation. It was heartbreaking, because it was so obvious he was ashamed of his bald head. He’d constantly make nervous, self-deprecating jokes about it. At first, it got a chuckle. But after a while, that’s what people began to see — an insecure bald man.
I remember thinking one time, he should just fully embrace it. Why keep drawing attention to it? Why keep letting people know you were insecure and didn’t like yourself?
Frankly, a part of me could relate. See, I was never “buff.” I never had abs, never had a lot of muscles. My body is lean and athletic, not big and muscular. A “jogger’s body,” as I’ve heard it called.
I would constantly compare myself to my cousin, who was an actual body builder.
I found myself making the same kind of jokes my old bald coworker would make to my wife and friends. “Well, we share the same genes, so I could probably do that too, if I wanted…” I’d chuckle nonchalantly, subtly watching everyone’s reaction. “I just get so bored going to the gym and lifting weights.”
I’ve had to do a lot of internal work to finally start to embrace myself, my body, and who I really am.
The truth is, I’m not a best-selling author.
I’m not a bodybuilder.
I’m not on the cover of any magazines.
I’m not a millionaire.
I’m not a 10/10 on the hotness scale. (Yet.)
I’m a writer with a jogger’s body who still occasional stutters and makes typos.
But by embracing myself, I know people will respect me more, because I respect those who embrace who they really are.
Stop trying to be something you’re not. You, your brain, and the people around you can tell.
Embrace who you are, and people will respect you for it.
It’s tempting to try and be something you’re not.
In Gates of Fire, the young Xeones, dreamt of becoming a noble Spartan warrior and fighting off the terrible invaders that killed his parents and burned his city to the ground.
After being caught stealing a goose from a farm to feed him and his starving sister, the farmer brutally maimed him, leaving his right hand a broken clump of flesh and bone. He realized he’d never be able to hold a spear in battle, and resolved to go off in the woods and die. If he couldn’t fight in battle, there was no point going on living.
As he lay dying in the frozen tundra of the Grecian countryside, he had a vision of the god Apollo holding a bow and arrow. “I have always found the spear to be an inelegant weapon,” the god seemed to say. He held his shining bow in front of the dying Xeones.
Xeones realized he could never hold a spear in his mangled hand…but he could still nock an arrow. He chose to live, and became a supremely talented archer.
If there’s one thing people are good at noticing, it’s when someone is pretending to be something they’re not.
It doesn’t work. It’s no use. Even if you manage to fool some people, you can’t fool yourself. As Arthur Golden, best-selling author of Memoirs of a Geisha once wrote, “We can never flee the misery that is within us.”
Instead, focus on embracing who you are, warts and jogger’s body and all. A person who loves themselves is a treasure, because it’s so rare.
If you want most people to start respecting you more, embrace who you are.