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In this episode, I explain how your mind proves to you, that your incapable of doing many of the things you really want to do. And that happens, because your mind has two parts to it.
Your conscious mind, the part that has the original negative thought and your sub-conscious mind, which is the part that proves to you, you were right. And once you know how it does that, you can use the same process to prove to yourself that you can do these things.
If you have any questions, or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.
Podcast music: Is ‘Sweet Life’ by Twisterium.
Music Link: https://www.twisterium.com
Hello and welcome to episode 23 of the Everyday Confidence podcast, from theskillfulmind.com. I’m your host, Steve George and today subject is How to prove you’re confident.
So in this episode, I want to explain how your mind proves to you that your incapable of doing many of the things you really want to do. And that happens, because your mind has two parts to it. Your conscious mind, the part that has the original negative thought and your sub-conscious mind, which is the part that proves to you, you were right. And once you know how it does that, you can use the same process to prove to your self that you can do these things.
How you think has a huge effect on how you behave. I mentioned before that it’s impossible to make your mind completely blank. There’re always gonna be thoughts zipping around inside your mind. And it’s those thoughts that start a chain reaction in your subconscious that eventually determines how you act in any given situation.
Okay, so let’s quickly go through what happens… Imagine that you’ve been asked to do something that you’ve never done before. And because you’ve never done it before, in your mind you might have a vague thought like, “I’ll never be able to do this”. Now, because your subconscious mind always tries it’s very best to make sure you’re right.
It starts looking for times when you tried, but weren’t able to do things in the past. And every time it finds something, it presents that ‘Proof’ back to your conscious mind as evidence that you won’t be able to do it this time.
So, just by vaguely thinking that you won’t be able to do it, you start a process who’s sole purpose is to prove to yourself that you can’t. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that ends up with you trying to steer clear of anything new, because you just know you’re not going to be able to do it.
Now stopping these sort of thoughts isn’t easy. Especially with the negative thoughts you have regularly, because they become habitual. And once they’re a habit, it’s much easier for you to go straight to your negative conclusion.
But, you can always choose whether to accept, reject or question any initial thought. But the problem of course, is remembering to question it in the first place. And that’s often where the problem starts.
In the same way that an often repeated negative thought pattern becomes a habit, you can do the same thing with a positive thought pattern. And there are ways to help you do that.
But, the most important thing to remember is that this technique won’t change your thinking to begin with. But what it will do is help you start to change the way you think over time. So, changing what would’ve been an immediate negative reaction, into an immediate positive, or at least a less-negative one.
Now it relies on your ability to question your negative thoughts whenever you have them and that’s not something you’re gonna remember to do every time. So, don’t get disheartened when you forget to do it, especially in the beginning. And as you get more efficient at identifying your negative thoughts as they happen, remembering to question starts to become a habit, which makes it much easier to remember to do next time.
The more you can question negative thoughts, rather than letting them pass straight to your subconscious, the quicker they lose their power. And once you’ve stopped yourself immediately thinking negatively, you’ll find you’re much better at things than you thought you were. Even things you’ve never done before.
It might also be helpful to try to think back over your life so far, to times when you’ve thought to yourself things like… “I can’t do this”, or “This is too difficult”. And then recall that in fact, most of those times, you have been able to do them after all. Somethings might have been difficult, or you might have needed some help or guidance, but ultimately, they weren’t as bad as you thought they were going to be.
Okay, so what sort of things can you ask when you notice a negative thought cropping up? Well, you’ll be the best one to decide on that, because everyone’s negative thoughts are gonna be different. But I’ll give you some ideas you can try…
To start with, try and be realistic. As an example, some people might tell you just to change the words in the thought from “I can’t do it”, to “I can do it”, but sometimes, you just can’t, or at least it’s going to be safer, or eventually more beneficial if you don’t.
So, a simple example is trying to renew the braking system on your car, if you’ve never worked on a car before. You wouldn’t want to find out you really couldn’t do it, when you’re brakes failed at 60 miles an hour the following day. So, there are going to be times when the negative thought is just the right thing to do.
But in cases where there’s no reason not to do it yourself, try re-phrasing it. Maybe instead of thinking “I can’t do this”, re-phrase it to “ I can’t do this right now, but if I can just find out this missing piece of information, I could do it”. Or “I can’t do it that way, but there must be an alternative way to do it, I just need to find out what it is”.
Another way is to ask curious questions instead. So when you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it”, ask yourself “How could I find out how to do it”, or “who could I ask to show me how to do it”. You could also ask “what more do I need to know, so that I can do it in the future?” or “How would a confident person handle this problem?”. Or, “What can I do to help me feel more confident about giving it a go?”
As well as that, there’s lots of questions you can build into a powerful confidence toolkit. Things like… “What can I learn from this?” “How can I improve on this?” “How can I turn this to my advantage?” Things like that.
You can use the same technique at times when you think negative thoughts about yourself as well. We’ve all had times where we’ve thought things like “I’m useless”, or “ I’m a horrible person”. Something like that. But you can use the same process to replace those generalised thoughts with more specific ones.
Like, instead of “I’m useless.” replace that with, “I’m not very good at this at the moment, but with practice, I’ll get there”, or instead of “I’m a horrible person.” say “what I did today was unnecessary. I’ll try not to do that again”.
Remember that Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has an off-day now and then. And nobody’s perfect. So accept that you’ll make mistakes and there’ll always be things you struggle with, or that you find difficult. And there’s no reason to be negative about them. Just accept them and move on.
The power of questions is the most under rated aspect of building confidence. If you can ask the right questions, your mind’ll help you become more confident, instead of making you feel less confident all the time.
So use better questions to stop proving you can’t do these things and start proving you can.
And, like I said at the beginning don’t be too judgmental on yourself, but whenever you remember to, identify your negative thought and then either reframe it, replace it with a more positive thought, or ask yourself a curious question instead.
Give it a try, I promise it’s one of the best things you can do and it can have an immediate effect on how confident you feel about doing anything.
And with that said, that’s it for this episode. If you’ve found it helpful, please tell your friends about it. Show notes will be over at theskillfulmind.com/podcast/23 and if you’ve got any thoughts, or questions, you can leave them on that page and I’ll do my very best to answer them for you.
Thanks for listening and I’ll speak to you next time. Bye for now.