For someone who has had little success or achievement in their life, developing a strong level of self-confidence can be a significant challenge. It is a major leap of faith to believe in oneself to the depth necessary to develop a feeling of self-assurance in all aspects of your life. For people in this situation, confidence has to be developed in small increments rather than one large piece.

Treating Confidence Like a Muscle

Stephen Covey and others posit three major areas of an individual: mind, body, and soul. Each of these facets of a person can be developed, and particular parts can be made stronger. The process of development is similar regardless of the area being developed. The one most people understand is the physical aspect of a person, so if we understand how to develop our physical body, we can take the same lessons to the other parts of the person, particularly the mind and the soul.

When starting off a program to develop the physical body, a person does not immediately jump to the end result. For example, let us say you wanted to run a marathon, which is just over 26 miles. You do not start your program by running 26 miles; instead you start your program small, say 1 mile. After you become comfortable at that level, you increase the amount, working towards the goal of 26 miles. Each level of the program is an incremental improvement over the previous level.

We can do the same thing with our confidence. Rather than asserting confidence in all areas of our life, we can work at developing confidence in one area of our life, say in a hobby or some activity around the house. Once we have become comfortable in those activities, we can increase the area in which we are confident, learning new things and moving forward; for example, we become confident in our relationship with our spouse, and then we work on our confidence in creating and maintaining a garden. As each area of our life becomes more comfortable, we begin to expand our confidence into other areas, such as work, professional development, or our spirituality. Eventually we become confident in all aspects of our life.

Starting the Process: The First Confidence

It is important to start this process in an area where we will be successful with our confidence; if the first area does not work, and work easily, the entire process never gets the momentum needed to move into the more difficult areas of our life.

To begin, you want to pick some activity or part of your life that you enjoy. Do you enjoy cooking? Reading? Some sport or other activity? How do you feel about your job? Your family? Your car? What you are looking for is some area of activity where it would be relatively easy to develop your confidence. This initial success becomes the springboard for the next step.

If you cannot find this initial activity by yourself, enlist the aid of others. You could ask your spouse or friend “Where do you feel confident about my activity?” Maybe a colleague can help you locate such an activity at work. Les Brown says that sometimes we have to believe in the belief that others have in us before we can believe in ourselves. Working with others can sometimes be just the key to unlock that first door.

Once you start the process, you will begin to feel a growing momentum. The development of confidence is like a snowball rolling down a mountain. It starts off very small, but by the time it reaches the bottom, the ball can take out a house. Your confidence will grow from a small seed into a huge tree of self-assurance, becoming a powerful tool in your growth.

Author's Bio: 

John Steely has been teaching mathematics, study skills, and habits of success for over 25 years. This material comes from a course on Deep Self Confidence offered on his website.