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Whatever your current state of mind, you can quickly improve your confidence by consciously changing how you think about yourself and the world. If you think that you are capable of achieving more, you feel positive and you become able to do more.
Tell yourself "Everyone's going to laugh at me" or "I'm going to fail" and your self-confidence withers. If you think you can or you think you can't – you're right.
We all have an inner voice: experts call it our self-talk. You're probably hearing it as you read this sentence. Experts estimate that we say between 150 and 300 words a minute when we engage in this internal banter – and it acts as a far harsher judge of you than anyone else could ever be.
Your inner critic can be a pain in the neck. Take on a new challenge and it whispers: "This will go horribly wrong." But you can drown out automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) with capability-affirming thoughts (CATs).
Psychologist Michael Mahoney, then at Pennsylvania State University, studied a group of gymnasts hoping to qualify for the US Olympic team. The successful athletes constantly encouraged themselves by engaging in positive self-talk. Tell yourself that you can do it and you go a long way towards proving yourself right.
CATs, also referred to as positive affirmations or helpful self-talk, are like a coach motivating you to keep going, to be the best you can.
• "I'm determined to get this done."
• "Come on, you can do it!"
• "Keep smiling."
• "I'm much tougher than people think."
• "Think of the benefits when you finish!"
• "Stay confident."
• "I've done this before – I can do it again!"
Memorise your CATs or jot them on a sheet of card to keep at hand. Repeat them to yourself whenever you need a lift.
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