If ever anyone needs to boost self-confidence, it is my friend Duncan. Some people start from the position that they need to learn skills, have difficulty applying themselves and certain measures need to be adopted to give them the confidence they need to do that.
All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure
But that is not Duncan.
He is what I might call a naturally talented artist. He always has a notebook in his pocket which
is filled with sketches.
At odd moments he will stand in the street and sketch whatever is there, much to the admiration of his friends.
Recently, he asked me to take a small package to his
relation in London on my next trip there, which I was very glad to do.
When he brought the package he also gave me a framed sketch he had made as a thank you.
I was touched to receive it, for it is a thing of beauty,
and I know precisely where I would like to hang it in my apartment.
But when he gave it to me he said, “If you don’t like it, throw it away.”
I replied: “I do like it; it is beautiful, and I shall treasure it. I don’t think you realise how talented you are.” Duncan said: “No, it’s not; it is rubbish.”
Now I would like to think that Duncan was being unduly
modest, but I fear that something has happened in the past to make him believe
that he has no real talent.
I don’t know what it is, but I shall get to the bottom of it.
Sometimes we lose our self-confidence because we take note
of something said by somebody else, perhaps many years ago.
It may have been a parent, teacher, friend or anyone. You may not even remember the incident that sparked it off.
Consign the past to where it belongs – the past. All you have now is your imperfect memory of
It is not real. As Richard Bandler says, if you are dwelling on the past you are not thinking.
So, first of all, place your attention in the present. Consider the abilities and talents you
have. Think how you can help them to
Maybe you could do with some extra tuition or help, but usually you just need to practise your talent.
If you’ve had a bad experience that has dented your confidence, try this technique. Sit quietly for a moment and re-experience the bad moment. See it in your mind’s eye and view it as a still image.
You are probably seeing quite a large picture. Whatever size it is, mentally place a frame around it. If you are already envisaging it with a frame, change it. Make it spectacularly colourful and silly.
Imagine multi-coloured strobe lights flashing all over it. Change the features of the people in the picture to look like cartoon characters – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck etc. You can use your imagination.
Consider how your feelings about the incident change as you do this. Now mentally let go of the picture and let it drift away from you off into the distance until it is a spec on the horizon and, finally, it disappears off into the sunset never to be seen again.
That is a technique you can use whenever anything is playing on your mind. When that is happening you are constantly replaying (usually large) pictures in your mind, and the more you see the pictures the worse you feel.
Sometimes you may need to repeat the exercise a few times for full effect, but it is a very useful tool.
Consider another instance. Perhaps you feel upset by the behaviour of someone else. (Remember, of course, that no-one else can upset you without your permission). Anyway, you feel the need to deal with it.
Perhaps someone insulted you, your boss was rude and insensitive, or whatever. Try the plastic box technique which a friend introduced to me, which I use and love.
I expect you will know the sort of plastic box I mean. You may well have one or more in your
Those that takeaway meals come in with snap on lids will do, but even better are those with little tags on the four sides of the lid that snap down. They make more impact mentally.
Bring up the picture of the person who has irritated or annoyed you, shrink them down to a size where they will fit into the plastic box, mentally put them into the box and snap the lid shut, being sure to clip all the securing tags into position.
Imagine now seeing the person inside the box gesticulating and shouting. With the lid securely fastened, you shouldn’t be able to hear the words, but if they are still reverberating around your mind, imagine wrapping a tea towel or other cloth around the box so that you can no longer see inside.
If they are still annoying you, mentally place the box in a
secure drawer, close the drawer tightly and walk into another room or
building. That should do the trick.
Sometimes we wish we could perform these tricks for real, but I can assure you that mental suffocation is enough!
We have discussed in this short article two methods of dealing with forms of irritation that may knock your self-confidence. If you scan the pages on this website, you will find plenty of other free advice and techniques that you can also use.
Having eliminated the annoyances and irritations try using the spotlight technique, which you may have read about elsewhere on this site, to boost self-confidence.
First imagine a time when you were at your very best and
Imagine also a circle in front of you on the floor. Give the circle a colour you really like and make it glow.
Now, relive the moment of confidence. See what you saw. Hear what you heard. Feel what you felt.
And, if you can, smell what you smelt and taste what you tasted at the time. Intensify the sensations and let them grow still further.
Just before the feelings peak, step into the circle and
permit the feelings of confidence to engulf you completely.
Imagine the colour in the circle ascending until it covers your body completely until you are totally encased in a colourful mist and brimming with confidence.
When you feel really good, step out of the circle. Get used to testing the feeling by stepping into the circle, experiencing the sensations, stepping out of the circle and doing something else to break your state, and then re-entering the circle.
This is something you can carry with you at any time and
when you feel the need to boost self-confidence, you can see the circle in
front of you and step into it.
It will work almost wherever you are. No-one else will know what you are doing except you.
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