FBI Firearms instructors train new agents to shoot correctly. This means sight alignment, trigger control, and breath control. Focus on the sights, not the target. The target should be blurry.
Four times a year agents re-qualify with their weapon on the range. The only time I handled my gun was at firearms training because I worked counterintelligence—we don’t usually shoot foreign spies!
I was not feeling confident as I joined a mock arrest team with raised paint guns. I went through the back door and into the kitchen. Right, clear. Left, clear. Overhead, clear.
Firearms instructors were hiding out in the abandoned house. To be shot with a paint gun was better than the real thing, but still, I didn’t feel comfortable.
That feeling got worse when a paint gun fired as I went through a doorway. I looked at a team member, a guy from the Organized Crime squad. We were better shots than the instructor so he went down with Pepto Bismo pink splattered on his chest.
I’m pretty sure it came from my colleague’s gun. I couldn’t wait to get back to the safety of my office in the city.
Like many others, I preferred to stick to a comfortable environment because 1) it was familiar, and 2) I was at my best at what I did. At that time, reaching the top meant investigating the activities of foreign intelligence officers, and as a goal-oriented person, there was great feeling of accomplishment.
The problem with reaching our goal by making it to the top is that we don’t go to the next level.
Why? Because going to the next level means we’ll be starting at the bottom again. It’s uncomfortable—we’re out of our comfort zone and we’ll have to work harder to be the best.
But to get something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.
Here are 5 ways a strong mind can boost your confidence:
1. Strong Minds Don’t Neglect The Amazing People Around Them
They are motivated by people who are smarter, brighter, and more experienced.
Strong minds know these are the people who will give them a reason to push themselves harder.
Ultimately, they will also be better.
Look for opportunities to be surrounded by people who are performing at the next level. This is the environment in which you will grow and learn. You will challenge yourself and emerge stronger and more confident in your abilities.
2. Strong Minds Don’t Need To Always Be Right
They are willing to do things that they are not quite prepared to do.
They know that is how they grow—not playing it safe until they are 100% sure they will be a success. When they’re not sure they can do something, and they push through those moments, they have a breakthrough.
Lack of confidence is the most common reason people avoid taking the next step in their career. They are afraid of failing, but even if you fall flat on your face, you are still moving forward.
Strong minds abandon the need for perfection. It’s more important to grow and learn about yourself in the process.
3. Strong Minds Don’t Hide From New Life Experiences
They embrace the rapid iteration of trial and error.
As children, we were naturally creative; trial-and-error is how we played. Back then, we were confident in our ability to play.
As adults, we are no longer as confident of our ability to problem solve so we avoid the challenges that come with taking it to the next level.
If you have the confidence and courage to try new strategies, each iteration will bring you closer to finding a solution or making a connection. This produces a feel-good neurological response as the rush of adrenaline hits our system. Adrenaline is a hormone that motivates us and makes us more confident in our abilities.
4. Strong Minds Strengthen Their Good Attitude Muscle
They know that success is not skill or talent; it is an attitude.
Research by Carol Dweck has found that often the brightest people are not the most successful ones. Some of the brightest people avoid challenges, dislike working hard, and wilt in the face of difficulty.
Confidence grows out of being a go-getter, thriving on challenges, persisting when things get difficult, and accomplishing more than expected.
5. Strong Minds Know That Finding The Lesson Is Key
They aren’t afraid to try new hobbies or place themselves in situations where there is a high likelihood of failure.
One of the best ways to build your confidence is to learn a different skill-set by starting a new pastime. Your ego is not as invested in an avocation as it is in your career, so it will feel less threatened if you fail.
You will have accomplished something just by trying. Whether you like it or not, you have learned something and can take confidence in the fact that you pushed yourself.
If you fail, or have a setback, you will know how it feels. Notice how you respond and take the time to learn from both the experience and your response. The more you understand how you respond to situations where you experience failure, you better you can craft the reaction you want.
Each time, you will build confidence in not only what you’ve accomplished, but how you deal with disappointment, rejection, or failure. What doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger—and more confident.
To build your confidence, you will need swim against your fear of failing as if the quality of life depends on it. Because it does.
What resonated the most with you?