Instant Confidence: The Power to Go for Anything You Want by Paul McKenna PH.D. (2016)(2016)/index.html#calibre_link-48">SECTION THREE
CONFIDENCE IN THE REAL WORLD
Dating and Sex
When it comes to confidence in the real world, the number-one thing people want is to feel more comfortable socializing, particularly with people they are sexually attracted to. In this section, I will share some of the most important things I have learned about creating an abundance of social confidence, along with some specific techniques you can use to feel more naturally confident in social situations.
“Confidence contributes more to conversation than wit.”
FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD
Simon Cowell, one of the most confident people I know, told me that his father taught him that the key to success with other people was simply to imagine that everyone has a sign above their heads with the words “make me feel important” written on it in big bold letters.
So the most valuable thing of all to remember is this: the key to social confidence is to put the majority of your attention OUTSIDE of yourself and onto the person or people you are with.
In order to do that, you will need to feel comfortable enough with yourself that you don’t have to continually monitor what is going on with you.
To get started, play the Social Confidence video.
From Self-Conscious to Self-Confident
The comedian Buddy Hackett used to talk about the key to a great performance being the ability to “turn down the monitor.” The monitor is that part of your mind which is continually monitoring how you’re doing during a performance. When his monitor was turned up high, he was paying more attention to the pictures and self-talk inside his head than to what was going on around him. During a really great show, the monitor was turned down so low that he could feel all his good feelings, but keep the majority of his attention on the people around him. The lower the monitor, the better the performance.
In the same way, your ability to perform well in social, dating, and even sexual situations is largely a function of your ability to turn down the monitor and give your full attention to the person or people you are with. There are only two things you need to do to bring your natural confidence to the fore in social, dating, and sexual situations:
1. Upgrade your pictures and self-talk.
2. Pump up your state.
1. Upgrade Your Pictures and Self-Talk
My friend kept talking about this woman he fancied like she was completely unattainable. He really wanted to go out with her, but every time he was around her he would become completely tongue-tied.
I noticed that whenever he spoke about her, he gestured in front of his face as if he was describing a picture.
When I asked him what the picture was, he didn’t think he was looking at anything. But when I had him repeat the gestures and take another look at what he was imagining, he was making a big, bright, colorful picture of the woman standing tall like a goddess in his mind. In addition, he heard his internal voice saying, “Wow—she’s the most beautiful woman in the world—why would she want to go out with somebody like me?”
No wonder he felt daunted about speaking with her!
I had him shrink the image right down until it fit into the palm of his hand, like shrinking a large format photograph down to a wallet-size snap. Suddenly, his body posture completely changed. He looked surprised but far more confident.
“That’s weird,” he said to me. “I’m not scared of her anymore.”
I then told him to look at the new picture in his mind and tell himself, “It’s possible she would go out with me,” in his most confident internal tone of voice. At first he thought it was a ridiculous thing to say, but he did as I had asked. I had him repeat it again and again until the smile on his face let me know that his state had completely changed.
The next time he saw her, he felt much more comfortable, although he told me he had to go inside his mind and change his pictures a few more times before it became automatic. Although he didn’t yet feel completely at ease, he felt comfortable enough to tell himself “what the hell!” and asked her out on a date. (She said yes!)
2. Pump Up Your State
Once someone is feeling less daunted by the person or people they want to spend time with, it’s time to create some new powerfully positive associations.
When I do this with a client, I begin by having them think about people with whom they already feel confident and comfortable. When they are beginning to feel those feelings in their body, we create an association between those feelings and the person they would like to feel comfortable with in the future.
If this is someone to whom they are sexually attracted, I then have them imagine someone who for them is a role model of social and sexual confidence—it can be someone they know, but more usually people choose a movie star—someone like Catherine Zeta Jones, Sean Connery, Cameron Diaz, or George Clooney.
Finally, we put it all together and mentally rehearse being in the same social situations but with these brand new “pumped-up,” positive feelings.
Let’s do this now …
READY FOR ROMANCE, PART ONE
Read through the exercise before you do it for the first time …
1. Who are you most comfortable being yourself with? Is it a certain group of friends, or members of your family? Whoever it is, go back to a particularly pleasant experience of spending time with them. Allow those feelings to come back now and use them to create a “Romantic Confidence Switch.” Just put the thumb and middle finger of either hand together while you are feeling these feelings and build the association.
2. What are some other ways you’d like to feel? My clients often choose things like “relaxed,” “not scared of being judged,” and “permission to be yourself.”
3. Imagine someone who for you is a model of social and sexual confidence. Imagine them speaking confidently to the person or people you would like to be more comfortable with.
When you’re ready, step into that model so you’re seeing through their eyes, hearing through their ears, and feeling what it feels like to be as socially and sexually confident and self-assured as they are.
4. Once again, put together the thumb and middle finger of either hand, adding these feelings to your Romantic Confidence Switch, and keep doing it until you really feel as confident as them.
When you have created your Romantic Confidence Switch, it’s time to put it to use. While you could just use it as an “in the moment” tool to instantly feel more relaxed and confident when you are with the person, it’s even more powerful to use it to program your mind for success.
Every time you run through this movie in your mind, you are programming yourself for success. When you are actually with the person, you will be able to relax and allow your natural confidence to guide you as you make them the most important person in your world!
READY FOR ROMANCE, PART TWO
Read through the exercise before you do it for the first time …
1. Hit your Romantic Confidence Switch by putting your thumb and middle finger together. Pump up the state by making the pictures and sounds bigger, bolder, and brighter. Make sure you’re speaking to yourself in your most confident tone of voice and using your body in a posture of easy confidence and success.
2. While in this powerful positive state, imagine a movie of you getting on extremely well with the other person. Imagine the sign over their heads that says, “Make me feel important.” See them laughing, smiling, or whatever it is that lets you know they’re having a wonderful time with you.
3. Now throw in a challenge or two as well, and watch yourself handling them easily and perfectly too. Keep imagining it all going perfectly the way you want it to. If you need to, put in your role model as substitute to see how they would handle the challenge, then put yourself back in the picture.
4. When you’ve run through the movie a few times, step into it so you’re seeing through your eyes, hearing through your ears, and enjoying the good feelings of being at your best when it matters most.