Monthly Archives: August 2019

How To Be Consistent at work

In this post, you’ll find a few ideas on how to be more consistent at work.

We live in a time of constant change. So much so that it’s not uncommon for as little as a few weeks away from the internet and or the news to bring surprises to the mind and awareness of the disconnected. New technologies come to life in less and less time, and as for what goes by the name of “culture”, that changes even quicker, with the aid of new trends that happen to be birth almost overnight, with many of them going to the grave almost as quickly. What lacks today in life is consistency. This doesn’t make today’s time any better and worse than the past. As with everything in life, this lack comes with its own set of good and bad. Since whether we admit it or not we are affected by the environment around us, this fast pace of change and constant innovation spoils the mind instigating a now almost manic crave for novelty.

Like one’s own body, one’s own life is also a complex system in which changes in one small and seemingly inconsequential department can trigger a chain of cause and effects that end up affecting the system as a whole in ways no one ever predicted.

Taking that into consideration, it’s not much of a stretch to think that consistency at work is one of life’s departments affected by our constant crave for novelty and change.

How To Be Consistent At Work?

Begin by timing it

One of the first things I try to do after a break from any kind of work and I want to get back to that state of optimal performance we can only find after a while is time. The question to ask here is how long do you work for before you go for a break? 30 min? 1h?

If you struggle either with consistency in performance or just pure hard work at work chances are that the time you work for before a break is short. I noticed over time that it’s when I work for 3-5 hours without a break that my performance and consistency at work improve. When you condition the mind to work for longer stretches of time you also condition it to deal with the frustrations that come with the task, and just in case you’re not fond of it, time also passes quicker.

If you work in chunks of 30 minutes in an 8-hour shift, time passes slower because you’re often reminded of the passage of time. In the other side of the coin also rests the word “Immersion”, in which the longer you work for, the deeper you get into it regardless of how much you don’t enjoy the task. I noticed that whenever I had to execute a task I didn’t like the way to do it better while making pass time quicker was to well…try to do it the best I could while also trying to complete the task.

You can only do that by working for longer than a little while, and I attribute this effect to immersion. The more immersed you are at work you experience two things:

  1. What the author of the book The rise of superman calls “time dilation” in which time passes faster for you, and
  2. You get your problem solving mental juices flowing more and more as time passes.

The thing about problems is that the more challenging they are the more uninterrupted thinking time is required to solve them, and with the 5s focus of the person of today, solving bigger and more important problems can be increasingly difficult.

So, begin by working for longer.

Set up a routine

The kind of equipment we have between our ears optimizes for repetitive tasks. Meaning that that which is has been done before is more easily done now, more easily even in comparison to that which has never been done at all.

This is why one of the most important things you can do to improve your consistency at work in terms of performance is to set a standard for yourself and to go about enforcing it with everything you’ve got. In day one we all benefit from a burst of motivation and energy due to the novelty of the behavior. On days two and three, as the novelty factor wears off it’s important to keep enforcing your standard since if you do it for long enough the standard becomes less of an aspiration but a part of who you are as a person. It’s the equivalent brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. Most of us have been doing those for so long that we don’t put a thought to the fact that these are behaviors we did not possess when we were born. They were imposed on us by our parents/caretakers, and now they are as natural as breathing.

So, the point here is to make good and hard work a routine. The kind of thing you do without thinking like brushing your teeth in the morning, or breathing even.

According to research habits are formed in about 66 days, which when you think about it is not nearly as much as anyone would have thought. As mentioned above, life is a complex system in which change, no matter how small, no matter the place the change occurs at, can have massive effects throughout the system. 66 days of good work can trigger new and better habits that when compounded over time can be life-changing.

This is what happens for example when people begin exercising regularly. The boost in mood in energy gives rise to creativity and motivation to do better work, come up with new ideas of your own, strengthen the relationships you already have while allowing you to make new ones.

Every new discipline affects the rest.

Jim Rohn

Build your consistency/reliability muscle

Another way to become more consistent at work is by being consistent at something else. When people decide to make a change in their lives they often begin with exercising. Most do it because they hear it from someone else about how exercising is what successful people do, but exercising as mentioned above can have powerful effects well beyond health. The reason for this is that you don’t have to do it for too long for it to become enjoyable and then addictive. This enjoyment is what is more likely to make you become more consistent at it, and thus give your life more discipline and structure. As Jordan Peterson once said, the depressed should try to add some structure to their lives even if that structure and order comes from a job they hate.

The consistency/reliability muscle like any other muscle can be built by doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. What I mean here is not to go skydiving or to fast of 30 days, but to do anything that causes you discomfort in the sense that it forces you to be consistent at something to accomplish/avoid something else.

Learning to be consistent at simple and mundane things can just like compound interest look too insignificant to matter in a moment by moment basis until it’s effects are too powerful to be ignored. This is also the equivalent to bodybuilding in which due to poor conditioning the unfit is forced to lift too light to be proud of weights for a while, while incrementally increasing the resistance to levels they never thought they ever would, but such that the change was too minimal in each increment to be perceived by the distracted mind.

Develop an ideal and chase it

One very underrated idea is that of dreaming out an ideal you’d like to become and making it a priority. I learned this lesson from one of many of Jordan Peterson’s talks and it surprised me how little people talk about this, and how even fewer people make it a priority. This idea of becoming something greater than your present self can when taken seriously turn the reckless into literal disciple machines. Of the kind that overnight simultaneously adhere and stick to a rigid health plan, while waking up early, exercising regularly and starting a business. Here being consistent at work just like brushing your teeth in the morning becomes a given, all due to your new/renewed interest and maybe even obsession in your higher self.

The role of the ideal here is to inspire you to make incremental improvements over time. Which means that meager ideals manufactured for the simple sake of making you feel good about yourself with little to no effort are out of the picture. We began by wondering how we could be more consistent at work in terms of performance and diligence, and perhaps the most powerful of the strategies to go about doing that is by aspiring and striving to become a better version of ourselves.

Summary

At the end of the day, consistency is hard. Just like any other kind of change, this is one of these things you do one step at a time…one day at a time. Each moment being a battle between your lower and higher selves. Each time you hope the higher self comes up victorious, because the more this happens the greater the odds that you’ll get the life you want in the long run.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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How To Be More Skilled

In this post, you’ll find a few tips on how to be more skilled.

The world we live in is one in which in order to thrive we need to be able to as Elon Musk once said: “get things done”. There are many ways we can go about it that range from delegating the task to as many people as we can, to do it all ourselves. Although the first can make life easier for us, it’s not always the case that it is a viable solution. Sometimes for whatever reason we can’t have other people do our work for us, and this is when doing things ourselves, and even more important doing them at the best of our abilities comes into play.

Even this thought to be Noble/inspiring way of thinking can be a source of trouble, since today, most people internalize the idea that it’s enough to do work to the best of our abilities and being content even if our best is not enough. When you take that route, the likely slew of failure after failure that will come your way might, depending on your mentality can get you to come to conclusions that range from the idea that you’re not gifted, and thus you should quit, to the world is out to get you, and thus you should quit. Whatever the conclusion is, the truth is that more than counterproductive this way of thinking is just not true. The real problem is not that of giftedness or about the goodness/evil of the world but that of a lack of skill.

How to be more skilled

The question of how to become more skilled is very broad, and just like many broad questions, the answer can sometimes be difficult to find. Often solutions that apply to everything have little to no effect on the detailed. Luckily for us, it’s possible to think about skill acquisition in a broad way, but still get amazing benefits on the local/specific, and below are a few tips we can think about in a high level while remaining useful in a case by case basis.

Get used to the pains of practice

The first point can easily be confused with the so common advice of practice as a way to getting good at something, but their difference is subtle. It’s definitely true that practice is at the core of any “getting good” enterprise. There is just no way around it. Maybe a few years from now there will be such a powerful technology that allows us to insert skills and knowledge directly into our brains without much effort from us, but at the time of this writing, such technology is not yet available. The only way to be a better chess player or computer programmer is to practice chess and computer programming respectively. This is a given.

The point we’re trying to address here is one level above, after you convince yourself that there is no way around practice and you’re willing to put the effort. The next step is to get used to doing the work to get good at something.

One of the biggest reasons why people fail to master the subjects they are interested in is that for most of them practice is either tedious, painful or both. As we’re all aware, the brain is wired to avoid the unpleasant, while seeking pleasure. This is what makes mastery seem to be the one of the greatest jokes of the universe, because the pain required to endure in order to acquire it can be so much that it makes most feel like the suffering is not worth it, while the pleasure that comes when you finally master the subject can be so much that after you do, the only conclusion you can come to is that the journey was worth it. I remember many times in life like when exercising, where the moment to moment discomfort almost made me quit, but after, the fact that I endured the pain and discomfort became a reward on its own.

The point is that you have to get used to practice. Meaning you have to get used to as the ex-navy seal David Goggins once said: “overcome the one-second impulses to quit”. One of the best ways to train this muscle is through exercising, since it represents a reliable and controllable way to expose yourself to the same level of discomfort that comes with practice, assuming of course that what you’re trying to get good at is not some sort of physical art.

Make practice a habit

The next tip is one that people barely talk about when they talk about any form of skill acquisition. The brain’s wiring and tendencies can both be the best thing or the worst thing for skill acquisition. What we’re talking about here is the brain’s tendency to want to keep doing the same things it has done in the past, and the tendency of this first tendency to become stronger the longer the behavior is repeated for.

Some people label themselves as creatures of habit, which is funny because this is, in essence, the same as one saying that he/she is the kind of person who eats food. Everybody is a creature of habit, even those who can’t stick to exercising or reading books on a regular basis. Their habits are about everything else other than what their ideal selves would like them to be doing. You can’t stick to exercising because you’re used to not exercising. You can’t study regularly because you’re used to doing other things in the same timeframe, like watching TV shows or hanging out with friends. This is why there is more than just some truth on the fact that you are the average of the people you spend most of your time around. They nudge you to some behaviors and not others, and eventually, these behaviors become habits for which the opposite will likely be difficult to adhere to. Like, tell habitual negative to think positive and vice-versa.

The point here is that practice will likely become more enjoyable and even the kind of thing you feel the need to do the more you do it…the closer it becomes to becoming a habit. If you’re wondering how long it takes, research shows that it’s not even that long, it’s just 66 days.

The best place to be at in your skill acquisition efforts is that in which the behavior that makes you more skilled becomes an inherent part of your day-to-day life and who you are as a person. In other words, what you want is to practice regularly for long enough for it to become a habit. After that, you’ll notice that minimal effort will be required to improve your skills, even when the act of improving your skills itself is challenging.

Find shortcuts through skilled mentors

The third point/tip is to look for skilled mentors and ask them for tips tailored specifically to the skill you’re trying to master. The big emphasis here is on the word “skilled”, not just mentors. The reason for this is that it’s easy to fall for the idea that anyone who sounds knowledgeable can become a mentor, and that’s just not true. What you’re looking for is someone who you can somehow prove it has become skilled at what you want to be skilled at. These people have walked the walk you’ll walk, and on the way they more than certainly learned about shortcuts, and the wealth of experience they’ve accumulated through time they definitely have things they wish they knew when they were you, and most of them are dying to tell someone who’s willing to listen to them talk about it.

The mentor is perhaps one of the greatest skill acquisition strategies you can have on your arsenal because more than just speeding up your learning curve by pointing you to the right direction to take, they will also make it more likely that you will actually master/become skilled at the subject. Because when people talk about skill acquisition, they also forget to mention the frustration we all go through when we’re trying to get good at something and the road is both foggy and infested with obstacles that seem insurmountable.

The mentor is a representation of the fact that there is a finish line, and that the obstacles you’re facing at the moment are not insurmountable. Unless of course, you believe that you’re born the way you will be forever.

Summary

Getting good at something takes above all time and patience. There definitely are shortcuts you can take depending on the skill, but the best mindset to have is to assume that there are none. The reason for this is that if you expect the way to be shorter, and it isn’t that will by itself be another source of frustration, in addition to the frustration naturally imposed by the obstacles that come included in the mastery package you chose to pick at the beginning of the journey.

So, expect it to be difficult and harder, and in the few moments in which the short trips in the journey are shorter and/or easier than you expected you’ll enjoy them more.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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Meaning of bias for action

In this post, we’ll have a discussion on the meaning of bias for action, and how to develop it.

We tend to think of robots as emotionless machines that will do whatever they are programmed to do regardless of the consequences, and often we compare them to those humans who seem to display similar type of behavior. Of the kind that follows rules first and thinks second, but the truth is that if that’s the criteria we use to judge the level of “robotness” of a person, then we’re all robots in our own way. What I mean to say is that to some degree we all once in a while give the wheel to the evolution written programs within our brains and cells. We can certainly try to suppress that kind of behavior with the goal of looking more rational, but the truth is that as much as we might be against some of evolution’s decisions, not all of them are bad. In fact, if we leverage what mother nature gave us over the millions of years we’ve been around, we can advance on our lives and careers. It’s the equivalent of using the factory engine as opposed to building a new one and trying to make it fit, and work well with the car. One example of these gifts is what is known as the bias for action.

What is bias for action?

To put it simply, bias for action is the tendency for one to convert the mental, such as ideas and plans into action. We spend most of our time with ourselves, and most of that time is spent thinking, planning, and dreaming about distant and not yet realized futures. When science tells us that 20% of our body’s energy is directed to our brains, it soon makes sense why that would be so.

Just like with any kind of preference you can think of, some people are more inclined towards taking action, while some others more about keeping their thoughts as just thoughts, like a factory that does nothing but stockpiling raw materials with no intent of turning it into something useful. Below you’ll find a few examples when this bias is at play, when it’s good, and when it’s bad.

Bias for action examples

Examples of the bias for action are everywhere, from the driven businessman/woman movies and books make us aspire to be, who as children were known for their tendency to get their hands dirty, to the workaholics of today we all use as an excuse not to work hard who completely destroy their lives because of their almost obsessive need to get things done. On the first, we see an example to follow, while on the second, just like a “don’t drink and drive” ad, a warning about what happens when you let your drive and action take the wheel for too long. Whether there really is such a thing as workaholism or not is a matter for another day, but the point I’m trying to make is that although not necessarily a tool, this tendency should be harnessed as such. Like medicine, taking it only in medicinal doses to attain the desired effect, and to stop just shy of too much.

When is it good?

Being biased towards action is good when it’s the right time. Meaning that letting ideas and plans sit on the mind for long enough for them to become bulletproof is good, but it’s when you take it too far that trains of opportunity are lost, like when you eventually hear that the idea you’ve been working on for years has made someone else millions, or when you find out that the person you’ve been thinking about calling out for a date from the past few months is now engaged. As much as we might like to think we live in a civilized world, the world we live in still holds some of the traits of the long distant past, in which a mere extra and unnecessary blink of an eye could literally mean that you’d lose your meal for some other faster and opportunist primate.

The Minimum Viable Product

In business it’s commonly known that one can’t hold on to a product idea/prototype for too long since chances are that either the product will lose its usability for the public, maybe because a better technology came along, or someone somewhere who thinks just like you will think about, and act on it quicker than you.

One somewhat example of this I was made aware of what that from the book Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang, where the author claimed to have thought about the idea of Rollerbladers before they were introduced to the market but who, due to negative feedback from relatives decided to give up on the idea. This is one of the many examples of idea postponing ending up in deep regrets for the original inventors.

To solve this problem of trying over perfect your idea the author of the book The Lean Startup proposes the idea of the minimum viable product, in which instead of waiting for people to give you positive feedback on the idea, or for the product to be so perfect the public only gives you positive reviews, you build a version of your product with the least number of features that do the job, and to release it to some segment of your target customer base. This one way to artificially create the bias for action in ourselves especially if we are of the perfectionist kind. By artificially I mean using some logic/principle to instigate you to some kind of action to which you’re not naturally inclined to take.

The 3-second rule

Another situation common to all of as is that of taking too long to take action in all or nothing kind of cases. Like for example when deciding to ask a person you’re interested in a date, or when it’s imperative that you approach the one person who has the money/connections to make your dream come true.

For this problem, there is one solution I learned from the book The Game by Neil Strauss, in which you give yourself no more than 3 seconds to take action, with the goal of doing what you have to do before you’re flooded by the array of emotions and hormones that will eventually make you paralyzed enough and over thoughtful enough to chose to do nothing. This is what I would call positive recklessness, where you chose to do something you know might end up great quickly to prevent you from giving in to the increasing negative thoughts that come when we get out of our comfort zone.

The Pomodoro Technique

Another way to look at the lack of the bias for action is procrastination. At the end of the day, procrastination is, in essence, some sort of bias towards inaction, in which regardless of how pressing the matter one can’t help itself but to start working only when the deadline is a few inches away. It’s thought in science that for some reason chronic procrastinators need that adrenaline rush that comes from being about to lose something important to be compelled to act. One way around it is the famous Pomodoro technique, in which instead of working for hours on end, you chose to work on intervals of 25-30 min followed by 5-10 min breaks. It’s believed that this works because it’s a way to trick the brain each time into believing that we won’t be spending lots of time on the task at hand, and that right after that will be fun time 🙂

Decision making

We spend most of our time making decisions, and the impact of each can be so much to change our whole lives. This is the reason why when presented with a decision to make, many freeze and find themselves secluded to inaction. The person wants to make a decision, but the data is not enough to give it 100% of certainty that it is the right one, so they do nothing. There is one now somewhat popular strategy to urge people to an action that although it doesn’t appease the emotions of the person worrying, at least allows them to make the decision and it goes as follows:

When you have 40% of the evidence supporting one out of many possibilities just make the decision. The thing about the world we live in is that often it will be difficult if not impossible to be 100% certain of anything, and sometimes all we can have is small percentage points of certainty between disparate points/positions.

When is it bad?

At the extreme always lies some form of recklessness. We’re in a time in which plunging into our dreams is thought of as brave and something for the ones who do so to be proud of. Like anything in life, when you find yourself siding with the extreme, chances are that you’re wrong.

The person of today is all for the sensational and goes for it without a thought. When you think about it being biased towards action can be as detrimental as it can be good below are a few negative examples:

Leaving your day job

The first example I can think of is that of the newborn entrepreneur who reads a book or watches a speech and in a feat of inspiration chooses to leave its job to start a business forgetting that on average most businesses fail and that from the ones that do succeed, few do so overnight.

They forget that stories of success depict astronomical and quick sounding victories because the time to tell them is short. The book can only have so many pages, and the motivational speech can only have so many minutes. Leaving your job prematurely might make you look and sound like an action person, but that doesn’t make the action right/effective.

Making life-changing commitments

On the other side of decision paralysis is the need to prove how uncommon one is by making spur of the moment life-changing decisions. Leaving your job for a not yet proven and customerless business is certainly one example, but what I’m talking about here is more towards the subject of relationships. Be that romantic, like when you decide to marry a person without thinking it through because you think you found the love of your life forgetting that 1/2 marriages turn into a divorce.

There is also the classic scene on the movie in which strangers, in a binge-drinking night decide to become business partners, forgetting that a business relationship is more than just about two people agreeing on how awesome an idea is, but also about the blend of personalities, weaknesses and strengths that just like with parenting, will/will not provide the adequate environment for the birth and healthy growth of the idea into a profitable business.

The last in line and by no means the last in the long list of examples is that of investing your money on an idea without doing the adequate background work on the idea itself, the qualifications, skills, and personality of the person you’re investing in, just because you’re sure you “feel it”. The crazy thing about investing money is that even those who claim to do it 100% objectively lose money sometimes, which makes it even crazier to base your investment decisions on gut feelings.

Summary

Just like most things in life, this is one of these things that is often looked one way. We emphasize the ability to turn thought into action as this amazing trait to have that we forget that there is also the other and bad side of the coin, such that if not looked at carefully can be the source of much misery. This post is nothing more than a tour on both sides of the street. An appreciation of the pros, while not downplaying and making careful consideration of the cons. Again, at the end of the day, the bias to action can work for good and bad, and it’s only by monitoring the bad that we can fully enjoy the fruits of the good.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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Sources:

  1. https://books.google.com/books?id=ebY2NScPDWAC&pg=PA131&lpg=PA131&dq=bias+for+action+millionaires&source=bl&ots=gt8lcVL8pH&sig=bPYuY9gSeXXp-09dZLmtjzUs9uw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiq_5DLobvJAhVEXD4KHZTqAl8Q6AEIJTAB#v=onepage&q=bias%20for%20action%20millionaires&f=false

2. The Game by Neil Strauss

3. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

When to feel confident and when not to

In this post, you’ll get a few ideas on when to feel confident and when not to.

We live in a time in which the inner workings of any one’s mind has come from irrelevant to almost as if not even more important than one’s health. There is definitely some seed of truth on this concern about one’s mindset since just like with gossip that is unable to survive when only based on lies. Some truth is vital. So kids are raised with more and more attention being paid to the self-esteem, and self-confidence of the ones being raised by the now worried and concerned parents of the latest new future.

Among the biggest concerns of the parents of today, the problem of confidence in their kids is one of the biggest. So much so that more and more parents go overboard to the point of never criticizing their children. Which instead of correcting the problem, it overcorrects. Overcorrections like overdoes of medicine might solve our initial problem, but often bring with them side effects.

The overcorrection here is that instead of new adults not sure of themselves, what we now have are new adults who are overconfident about themselves with no reason whatsoever to back it up. When on the first the problem we have leaders not energetic enough to bring to life new and great ideas resulting in a universe of back to back innovations, on the second the problem we face is that of recklessness which might be driven enough to build, but that can be just as energetically reckless to destroy. If on the near past the silver bullet was to build up a person by beefing them up with positive and confidence promoting compliments, now a more careful approach might be what’s needed. Now the question is: when is it ok to be/feel confident?

When to feel confident

The time we live in is that of new rules. Behave confidently at the wrong time and you risk being called arrogant. Be caught being humble at the wrong time, and people start to put to question your intelligence and skills. Do the above at the right time and don’t be surprised if you build a following over time. The answer to this question is difficult for the simple fact that it’s based on context. Meaning, the context of the moment of confidence demonstration. Below are a few tips that might shed some light on when exactly to demonstrate that sense of confidence we’re all familiar with and want for ourselves, as well as when to put your head down.

When you have attained mastery in a field

The thing about feelings or demonstration confidence is that it’s often difficult to really know when you earned them. Just because a person close to us tells/told us we deserve it doesn’t mean we do; in fact, chances are that they will try to make us feel as if we do especially when we have all the reasons not to feel like we do.

The reason why objective subjects such as science and computer programming can be addictive once you get the hang of it is that there is no subjectivity in results when they do come. You either did write a computer program that works or didn’t. This is one of the many points made clear on the book Coders by Clive Thompson, that I definitely recommend if you’re curious about the mysterious art computer programming.

If certainty is a requirement to be confident, mastery in a subject can be one of the closest things to this sense of certainty you need. When you master a subject there is no ambiguity on whether you should feel confident about the subject. This mastery gives it to you, and even when you still doubt your skills and abilities, the world will give you the permission to feel good about yourself because they can feel the impact of your mastery on their lives.

This is why if you want true confidence on anything the way to go about it is by as taught in the book Relentless by Tim Grover, learning all there is to learn about the subject, and: “knowing without a doubt that all the hours of work have created an unstoppable internal resource that you can draw on in any situation”, and to master every single bit of it regardless of how small. Actually, the book The obstacle by Ryan Holiday talks about how this was one of Steve Job’s principles by the fact that he demanded perfection even in the interior of the product, even though this would rarely be looked at by the customer.

The master is not subject to popular opinion because the evidence is so powerful that the only way to doubt it is to doubt your senses, and for that, you’d also have to doubt your sanity.

When you master a subject you don’t even have to try to make yourself feel confident. There is no need for any morning ritual designed for positive thinking brain surgery. You don’t have to because the world will do that for you.

 After a while, your source of confidence begins to come not from the words you tell yourself to make you feel good, but from the outside world, from people who have no need to make you feel good. They do it because they feel like they need to. They feel as if they are the possessors of some truth(the truth of how good you are), and they have to make this truth available to someone, even if that someone is you, the person they feel awed about.

When your work gets positive reviews

The stranger has no business in making you feel good about yourself. Your parents, friends and family members do, so much so that they’d rather see you looking ridiculous and make you think you don’t than to put you through the pain of letting you know that are not as perfect as you think.

The stranger, especially when protected by the anonymity of an unspellable username, on the other hand, is freed from the constraints imposed on us by social norms/rules. They are free to say what they want and really feel because even if you get angry, the most you can do is spill out some insults back to them. Even here they have the choice of not seeing your response since all they have to do is to not go back to that page where they released all the evil they’ve been carrying and accumulating for which they were not allowed to release in the real world.

So, it follows that when the stranger gives you a compliment it means double. It might be the case that the stranger is one of these good-hearted people who can’t help themselves but uplift anyone who crosses their path, but chances are that they are not that kind of people because if most people were like that the world would certainly be a better place. When positive their opinion carries more weight because there are no social consequences for rudeness when we are anonymous, in the same way, that the negative feedback of a loved one carries more weight because there is only something to lose for making you feel bad about your work.

When the opposite can hinder your results

One time to feel confident even with nothing backing it is when confidence is the one thing that will bring upon you resilience and strength to get over an obstacle. The problem is that people use this form of artificially generated confidence like vitamins instead of painkillers. Vitamins you take every day, while painkillers you take occasionally and only when really necessary.

An occasion to use confidence as a tool is when it matters. When not using it will be detrimental for your results. What I mean is for the extreme life moments in which you need to believe you’re a God to have access to that extra energy that comes from confidence to keep going. Like when you’re running a marathon, and all your body is telling you is how much you’re not fit for what you’re doing, and that you will fail no matter how hard you try. That everybody else is better than you, and that loss is inevitable. Here being realistic is the last of the useful things you can do. It can be in fact counter-productive, to the point that it becomes a source of empiric evidence for why you should quit.

Just like honesty, with this, there are moments in which a lie is the best thing anyone can/has to do because the opposite will result in destruction as opposed to construction. Be overconfident when you’re selling yourself or your business idea to someone and when any drop of doubt will be enough to prevent you from accomplishing your dream. I’m not talking about telling a lie regardless of whether that lie will cause pain to someone, what I’m talking about is telling a lie to yourself because it will make your life and the world better in the future. When the extra bit of confidence is what will allow you to secure that so needed investment for your business, or when it is the one thing that will allow you to get the person of your dreams. It can be tempting to use the confidence tool indiscriminately and mask it as necessary, but the power of it is enhanced when you apply it correctly and at the right time.

When not to?

To put it simply, when you want to feel good about yourself for the sake of feeling good. Sadly, this is the reason why many people use self-inflicted confidence. They use it as a strategy to not feel bad when they fail. They use it as a strategy to feeling good being the way they are, even when the way they are is far from a source of proudness. They use it so they can feel proud of things any average human being can accomplish/do. They use it as a way to lower their standards, and at the same time shut down the cognitive dissonance that occurs when reality tries to tell them how much they need to change.

Summary

At the end of the day true and deserving confidence has to be earned not wished. The act of earning your confidence should be taken as depth and resilience-building experience. Here the depth and the resilience would be with respect to your so claimed sense of confidence, and the resilience would be for the moments in which the nature/source of your confidence comes into question in the minds and hearts of others. When your confidence is based on something concrete, there are no words that can tear it down. Even in moments of low self-esteem/self-worth, there is no need for a motivational speaker or a motivational tape. What brings us back are the memories of our past conquests, and obstacles overcome.

The quickest way to get to that earned sense of confidence is by continuously working on oneself. To continue even if when there is only a 1% improvement a day since even those 1%s with their little impact of theirs eventually string together with other small 1%s compounding their effect overtime for long enough to make a true impact as a whole.

Sources:

1)Coders by Clive Thompson

2)Relentless by Tim Grover

3)The Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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