“They conquer who believe they can.” -Virgil (Roman Poet)
What does this quote mean to you?
At first glance I thought this quote was about being confident that one can accomplish anything they put their mind to. And that may still be what Virgil meant.
But when I changed my perspective, I got something completely different. If I add a word for context, it will change for you, as well. “They conquer those who believe they can.” Well, that could still go different ways. How about, “They conquer those who believe they can be conquered.” There, that’s more clear.
So now we’re on the other side of a war, where those who are being conquered lack the confidence they need to stand up against their enemy. The war is not won by physical might, but by mental & spiritual strength. Either way we view this quote, though, it comes down to the same word: Confidence.
You’ve experienced doing something with complete confidence (without an ounce of doubt or thought of possible failure) and you succeeded. When I play basketball, my game can be great (making every shot) or it can be a complete disaster (missing every shot) depending entirely on my level of confidence. I get into my head and start analyzing and doubting myself and my abilities. I say things to myself like “well, I haven’t practiced for a while, so I must be off” or “damn it! Why can’t I make a damn shot!” At that point I might as well stop playing because my game is just going to go downhill from there.
But then there are the times when I couldn’t miss a shot to save my life! When everything I shoot goes into the basket! The only difference is what’s going on in my head – how confident I am. It’s so frustrating when I know what the problem is, but still can’t seem to get that confidence back. Have you experienced this too?
Here are some ways you can quickly gain your confidence back:
1) Realize that it’s all in your head. Well, it is!
“Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” -Theodore N. Vail
It’s that voice in your head that’s stating its concerns about your performance and abilities. Quiet that voice, thank it for its concerns, and move on.
2) Have gratitude (for yourself)
If you’re in a funk and don’t seem to have confidence, chances are you’re not acknowledging yourself for all of the work you’ve put in and the abilities you’ve earned. Instead of having the attitude of “C’mon, I’ve worked and worked on this, what’s wrong with me, why can’t I do it?!”, try to have a more productive approach like, “Wow, I’ve done so much work and put in so much time on this, that’s impressive. I know that I have everything I need to be successful. I’m going to be great!”
3) Compliment others
This works for me all the time. To keep with the basketball example, when I’m missing all of my shots I get so heated (pissed off!). That anger is really amplified when the guy I’m guarding is making his shots. But something magical happens when I let that go and genuinely congratulate my opponent on making the shot. Suddenly all of the pressure goes away and I can see clearly again. The point with this step is to stop making everything about you, and get a bit more grounded in reality (and out of your head).
Every time you practice, not only do you build on your skillset, but you also further solidify your confidence in that area. My high school basketball coach had a saying that has stuck with me: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” If you’re going to practice, do it right, and with everything you have.
5) Let go of past mistakes
Holding onto these mistakes is one of the (if not the) main contributors to your lack of confidence. They do not define you, so don’t allow them to. Think about them, learn from them, then let them go to rest.
Did this post help? Let me know what you got from it in the comments section below.