The Importance of Self Confidence

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businessman superheroThe importance of self-esteem and self-confidence in implementing change cannot be overstated. Two sides of the same coin, many people confuse the two qualities:

Self-esteem

The reflection of how you feel about yourself as a person and your abilities. When you think well of yourself, you feel emotions like pride, satisfaction, and dignity. Conversely, when think less of yourself, that you don’t measure up in some way, you are likely to feel melancholy or depressed.

Self-confidence

A self-measure of your judgement, skills and abilities reflecting how comfortable you are that you can achieve the goals or expectations you have for yourself. As your self-confidence grows, your willingness to try new experiences, to test your capabilities expands. The biggest obstacle to self-confidence is fear of failure. H.P. Lovecraft, an early 20th Century writer best known for his fantastical works and an influence of horror writers like Stephen King who followed him, struggled with self-esteem and self-confidence. In his self analysis, he realized that fear could be incapacitating: “The oldest and strongest emotion of all is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
 
Self-esteem and self-confidence reinforce each other. You gain confidence when you take actions that lead to success; your successes give you reasons to approve of yourself and build your esteem; and your self-esteem encourages you to take more risks and achieve greater success. A 2001 study about personality traits and self-esteem found a significant correlation between extraversion and emotional stability and high self-esteem, although researchers were not sure which comes first. Does high self-esteem lead to the social desirable traits of extraversion and emotional stability or vice versa? It is unclear. Other studies have confirmed the positive links between extraversion, self-esteem, and psychological well-being (happiness).
 
Healthy people understand that you can think highly of your abilities, but have little confidence in accomplishing specific tasks, especially those requiring training or experience. For example, you could be a great writer or a manager, but struggle with complicate math or statistical problems. Similarly, you can simultaneously play basketball – the sport many believe requires the greatest combination of agility, strength, and precision – and be a horrible golfer.
 
We are generally more familiar with problems stemming from low self-esteem, the feeling of not being good enough or deserving to be treated badly. Bullies and their victims frequently suffer from low self-esteem as do battered wives, persons with addiction of various sorts, and people who continuously find themselves in toxic relationships. But an exaggerated sense of self-importance can be equally troubling, encouraging excessive risk taking, boasting, feeling superior to others, and being blind to one’s own faults. Despots, dictators and politicians are prime examples of those with excessive self-esteem such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Joe McCarthy, the U.S. Senator from Wisconsin in the early 1950s.
 
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