Over the years I have heard much talk about how to gain confidence. There are for sure varying opinions and viewpoints. I have read much on building a person’s self-esteem and how a lack of confidence is growing among young people in our society. A good bit of blame is directed at the media. From social media to television commercials and shows to magazine covers that are viewed as leading kids to think they need to look perfect or be a certain way to be successful. Highlighting the few, making the majority think this is the picture of success.
While I do think media has way too much influence on all of us at times, I have given it much thought and attention and I am just not buying it!! Seriously. I find that confidence comes from doing, taking ACTION, not talking or complaining or sitting around wishing. I find media can be a BIG EXCUSE AND TIME ROBBER, but that is ultimately a choice. While parents can have a huge influence, realizing no matter what situation we find ourselves in, the first step is to recognize where we are, not denying it or pretending we are at a different place. It is only when you recognize where you are that you can decide NOT to stay there!
Being at a bad place is definitely not a good thing, but even worse is a willingness to stay there! WE all know deep down when we have given what I call “half effort”. Our children even know. We may not admit it to anyone, but we know when we choose to do less than we can. I know immediately in the gym when I have given full effort or not and when I justify and when I don’t. Where do you think that takes us mentally? To the tank! We can’t think too highly of ourselves when we know we have given half effort. Facing the reality of a situation and taking inventory of who we are and what our actions are or are not is a great place to shed the shackles of deception and where building confidence can start. The root where confidence starts to sprout is in taking action.
Forward progress, one step at a time, builds confidence. Confidence to know that life can be different and that with God’s help you have some control over the outcome of your life! I recently watched a special on 60 Minutes that highlighted a program called, “Up Year,” a program designed to help desperate young people with extremely horrible backgrounds. Participants who could voluntarily enroll in the program were required to commit to show up every day for a year. They were told they could find their lives significantly moving forward at the end of that year if they gave 100% effort.
Funny, when these young people were asked how they found the program, they all said they were frantically looking and searching for a way out. I wouldn’t say any of these kids had a whole lot of confidence at that point but they were taking ACTION because they had a desperate need to take care of themselves. The program didn’t come to them; they FOUND THE PROGRAM. They were SEEKING A SOLUTION. None of the kids were passive about their situation. Many totally changed the direction of their lives by taking personal initiative and action. Most had a high school diploma or GED when they signed up. After one year of taking action every day, successfully completing the program and meeting the guidelines and 100% of all requirements, they secured great jobs. By the end of the program, NONE were lacking self-confidence. All had built their own confidence.
One young fellow, who successfully completed the program and is now thriving at 21, had been alone and on his own raising himself since he was 10. Living with a sick grandparent who he managed to take care of and, in return, he basically found shelter for himself as a child. He said he realized for him to have a different adult life, only he could make the choice to change his circumstances. He said, “The confidence came from all the “hard work” and hours spent in basically inching along.” He had a great desire to be better!
This is where they were……desperate–> led to the action of seeking solutions–> needed to eat and work–> realized where they were and did not want to stay there–> they found Opportunity out of necessity–> took action–> led to extreme confidence. Was it easy?……All of them said NO. But the desperation of admitting where they were and the forward progress of steps, they chose to not stay where they were which produced results that produced confidence. It was not found. It was built!
Now I do realize there are exceptions to what I am journaling. But, for the most part, if you are reading this post or sharing it with someone, you have the resources to search out a solution to your current situation. Whether you are a teenager, young adult or mature adult. Confidence is not something that you find; it is something that you build. It comes from doing, even if you fall. It is learning how to get up and not fall the next time. Falling may happen multiple times, but with every fall, you gain confidence by getting up and trying again. It’s called ACTION.
We all have the benefit of living in America and being able to look to our left and to our right and see others who seem to have more advantages. Travel outside the USA and you will get a true picture of just how many advantages most, if not all, Americans have. It seems young people and adults need a good dose of DESPERATION to propel them into action.
I often wonder what America would be like if, at the age of 18 ALL people had to be financially and totally responsible for themselves? Me included. I realize I have had many advantages bestowed on me by my parents and loved ones and many times done too much for our kids. But I ask myself this question often, now on the Back 9…. “Am I taking action? What can I personally do to make things better not just for me but for those around me?” I create a situation where I tell myself it is up to me, of course with God as my Guide and Shepherd, but trying to take personal action and responsibility and encouraging our kids to do the same. How many kids today could survive if parents didn’t pay for cell phones, cars, gas, food, entertainment, and college, just to name a few?!
What if we all took seriously the scripture found in 2 Thessalonians 3:10? “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule, ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.'” It is my opinion that many people would not have a confidence problem if they were forced into action to produce for themselves in order to survive. I can’t help but think we would have fewer alcohol and drug problems as well.
In Proverbs 18:9 it states, “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” When we do not work or move forward, God is specific about what it does to us; it DESTROYS! Proverbs 10:4-5 speaks of shame which is the opposite of confidence. “A slack hand causes poverty but the hand of the diligent make rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.”
Where do you find your confidence? Is it time to put some things into action? Seek the Lord and ask Him to show you where you are and where you need to be making forward progress. If you are lacking confidence and really want some, TAKE ACTION…..it is built by taking one step at a time………….!