Driving to a friend’s birthday party last weekend I struck up a conversation with my new roommate, Danielle, who is starting a blog to share her struggles, and stories to inspire other women to overcome self-esteem and body image challenges. She said, the biggest obstacle is that “Most people don’t have the confidence to work on themselves”
I had always believed this, but have never heard it put into such simple terms. People identify so much with their body, their material things, their accomplishments (money, scholarships and awards) — and cling to these so heavily—that they tie up their self-worth in these external things.
Happiness is pursuing your potential at something you love. And the number 1 “thing” you should love is yourself. Cliche’, but true, you need to “put your mask on first”. If we are so attached to these external things, which aren’t our true self, we’ll never have the confidence to challenge ourselves, explore and grow.
If we are so identified with our self as a basketball player, and are so comfortable with the skill level are currently at, it’s hard to improve. A perfect example is guys with ridiculous upside because of their size, length and athleticism, who don’t come close to their potential. It’s a huge hit to their ego. Because when we try to improve something, many times, you’re first going to “get worse”. Based on research, The Path to Mastery, described by George Leonard looks like this
So how do you take this challenge head on?
You detach. You let go. You see yourself as separate from what you do. When we value ourselves for who we are —more than we value ourselves as a basketball player, teacher, coach or business owner — we are able to take on more perceived risks. We’re able to work on ourselves, and are ok with the bumps along the road because see them as opportunities for growth.
Adopt a Growth Mindset. Everyone in the last 10 years has been talking about adopting a growth mindset, a term developed by Carol Dweck to describe “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities”. Yes, you have to have one in order to pursue your potential. But, you will only go so far unless you detach yourself from the identity of a player, coach or your job — knowing your are more than your status, failures and accomplishments.
Stop Comparing. Comparison is the thief of all joy. Everyone has their own unique circumstances, struggles and advantages that has led them up to this point in the life. When you compare yourself to others you lose focus on what you can control. The process. And, if you’re like me you get caught up in trying to do things better than others. Instead you should be using the things that are inherently unique to you in order to serve others in a super authentic and transparent way.
The confidence to work on ourselves first comes with accepting the fact that you are amazing simply because you are here. Not because of anything you have accomplished. So detach from your identity, adopt a growth mindset and stop comparing. Once we do these 3 things it’s easier to live out the most truest, authentic version of our lives. Which is the only way you’ll truly be fulfilled and happy.
P.S. I usually only write what I need to hear.