Instant Confidence: The Power to Go for Anything You Want by Paul McKenna PH.D. (2016)
DEVELOPING THE CONFIDENCE HABIT
You Really Can Do Anything!
Learning from the Success of Others
Have you ever looked at someone who was particularly good at something and wished you could do that too?
“The best teachers of humanity are the lives of great men.”
CHARLES H. FOWLER
Confidence, optimism, security, creativity, persuasiveness, being a great golfer, or salesperson are simply skills to be learned and mastered, and any skills that anyone else has mastered you can learn too.
Even though you might think that some people are “just” wiser, more talented, or luckier than you, whatever it is they do so well, they do by running a particular sequence of thoughts and behaviors that have been practiced until they became habitual and automatic “success programs.”
Andre Agassi’s programming to become a great tennis player began when his father hung a mobile made out of tennis balls over his baby cot. Tiger Woods was hitting golf balls at an age where most children are still learning to walk.
The point is, babies are not born persuasive, creative, or great tennis players—they learn how to do it through a simple two-step process:
1. Copying or “modeling” how others do it.
2. Repeatedly practicing the new skill (mentally and physically) until it becomes habit.
As a child you watched how your parents walked and then you tried to copy it. Of course you fell over quite a few times before you eventually found your balance, but essentially you were just emulating what Mom and Dad did and practicing until you could do it for yourself.
If you learned to drive, you did it after years of watching how other people did it and building up a model in your mind. Then you practiced each element of the driving process until you mastered it for yourself.
What can radically accelerate the process is learning to use it deliberately and supplementing physical practice with the amazing power of your mind.
Modeling What Works
Whenever I want to learn and understand how someone does what they do, I begin by watching examples of the person I want to model doing whatever it is that I want to learn. I then practice “stepping in” to their physiology and using my body in the same way as they use theirs until the new behaviors feel natural to me.
“Example has more followers than reason.”
JOHN CHRISTIAN BOVEE
By copying the physiology of someone who is truly confident, you will begin to develop the same confident mind-sets. Remember the mind and body are intimately linked, so if you operate your body the same way as someone else you will start to have the same kinds of thoughts.
For example, when I first started working on television, I got a stack of videos of people I thought were really confident, natural, and personable on TV. These were qualities I admired in all kinds of different personalities.
I sat and watched the videos, then I relaxed, closed my eyes, and replayed the images in my mind of each of my role models in action, and one by one imagined stepping in to their bodies, standing the way they stood, moving the way they moved, speaking in the same tone and in the same rhythm they spoke.
It was amazing—I began to feel totally different. My body was filled with a sort of “relaxed alertness,” and the whole thing just seemed so much easier once I began looking at the world from the perspective of these successful TV broadcasters.
I repeated the process again and again, programming my mind to encode the learnings deep into my body memory. After only a short time, I was able to feel relaxed and confident on camera all by myself.
Let’s do it now:
THE POSSIBILITY GENERATOR
Read through the exercise before you do it for the first time …
1. Think of someone whose confidence and charisma you wish to emulate.
2. Think of a time when they exhibited the skill you wish to learn.
3. Now, run through that memory of your role model performing that particular skill. Do this several times; if it helps, do it once in slow motion.
4. Now, go over to your role model and float into their body and synchronize with their posture. See through their eyes, hear through their ears, and feel how confident they feel.
5. Now run through the memory of them performing the skill from the inside and get the general sense of your role model’s experience.
6. Do this several times, until you have a strong sense of what it’s like to be your role model.
To continue this practice, play the Master of Confidence video.
By standing, breathing, smiling, talking, and moving the way your role model does, you’ll begin to develop the same quality of thoughts and internal states as they do. You will begin to transform your experience of being alive.
But choose your role models carefully—this process really works!