“I am the greatest. I said that before I even knew I was.” —Muhammad Ali
The stories of major successes are full of radical actions that put people in a position ahead of the pack.
While in college, Bill Gates acquired his first deal that founded Microsoft by calling the president of MIT-Systems and securing a meeting for a demonstration of new software for their platform. In truth, he hadn’t even written a single line of code.
David Bowie hired a large number of bodyguards to follow him just to make him appear famous while in the U.S.
Self-improvement guru Wayne Dyer would call bookstores in different accents pretending to be customers in order to drum up demand for his first book.
Benny Blanco (writer for Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Maroon 5) tells the story of his unsigned days: “I used to cold call labels and pretend I was one of their artist’s attorneys. I’d say, ‘This is Jay-Z’s attorney, we need to speak with Craig Kallman,’ you know, owner of Atlantic, and they’d say, ‘Right away.’ And then I’d be like, ‘Please just listen to my demo tape!’”
Breaking into an industry, building your first client list or getting that dream job without the necessary experience can be tough. These are hurdles that prevent most people from achieving. Without the track record or client base, you have to make up the entirety of the difference in one quality: pure confidence.
It’s the real, genuine inner belief in yourself and your own abilities that will propel you into a higher league where these outrageous ideas of action live. It helps you find the weak points in the system for you to exploit in a way that actually benefits all parties involved.
How to Gain Confidence
Shawn Achor, positive psychology expert and best-selling author, describes positivity as the Happiness Advantage. He says success is fueled by happiness, not the other way around. In positive states, our brains become creatively inclined, confident, positively expectant, more productive and involved in new projects.
1. Enter a state of strong positive emotion.
To become receptive to new ideas, you must first get positive. From this place, you can begin repeating your desired characteristics in your mind, or aloud like a mantra.
Lady Gaga describes it like this: “And it’s not yet; it’s a lie. You’re saying a lie, over and over and over again. And then one day the lie is true.” Initially her circumstances did not reflect what she was saying, and that’s how it’s going to be when you start doing this kind of work. You have to live in that faith. You have to believe it and know it. There has to be a certainty behind the beautiful lies you keep repeating to yourself every day, the ones about what you want your life to be.
2. Focus your mind on the desired goal.
When things show up that are not in alignment with your goal, ignore them completely. You want to attach the idea of confidence to you. Ask yourself, How would I feel if I had it now? What does that success feel like?
Take time to really feel what you want. Be confident in your desires. Feel that pride in yourself, that excitement of having accomplished your dream.
When Madonna was asked what she was like before she became Madonna. She replied that she’s always been Madonna in her mind. She was first signed when she visited the recovering Seymour Stein (co-founder of Sire Records) in the hospital with her demo in a Walkman. It was the first time they met and he was impressed with her music and her drive. To get her first movie role at age 20, she wrote director Steven Lewicki a three-page handwritten letter describing herself and her life. Without a résumé or headshot, Madonna was cast in the thriller A Certain Sacrifice.
3. Put yourself first.
Make you and how you feel the two most important things. You deserve all that you desire for yourself.
When Sylvester Stallone was dirt broke, he wrote Rocky and turned down $300,000 for the script, (equivalent to $1 million today). He said the only way the studio could use the script was if he played Rocky. “It was really insane at the time,” Stallone describes turning down such a deal.
You are already more than enough to achieve all that you want in life, so be confident in your happiness and your goals. Confidence can be the difference-maker in your success. The things other people don’t have the confidence to do can be your open door to a different life.