Hello everybody, welcome to episode 82 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino. We’re gonna take a look at a really cool question today, a deep question, a question that requires some self-observation. What can worry and self-confidence possibly have in common? Let’s take a look at today’s listener question and see if we can crack the case…
QUESTION: “I’ve never had a hard time believing in myself. I’ve always had confidence, work ethic and follow through which have paid off. But as I get older and more established in life I’m seeing myself getting worried all the time. There are more challenges and I believe I can rise to the occasion, but each night as I get ready for bed and think about the day, I realize that I spent at least half of it worrying. Why? I know we all worry, but most people who worry this much have a hard time believing in themselves from my experience. Why worry when I know I can accomplish what I need to accomplish? I can’t connect the dots.”
Self-Confidence and Worry
All right, gotcha. That’s a super interesting question and an awesome observation for you to make about yourself. You’re right, what do self-confidence and worry have in common? You wouldn’t think they’re closely related and it’s particularly strange to think about them coexisting as they are with you. Thank you for sending this in; let’s see if we can “connect the dots” as you put it.
I’m glad you mentioned that you ALWAYS had confidence, work ethic and follow through. That’s a good place to start. So if these feelings started way back when you were young, and you’ve always possessed them, then it’s fair to assume you have a good amount of achievement under your belt. You said anyway that they’ve “paid off.”
Typically, the more you fail or fall on your face, the more self-confidence is diminished, especially if you’re a kid and aren’t quite in the rhythm of seeking lessons out of failures. Conversely, if you smash through your goals, your confidence keeps getting re-instilled.
Accomplishments as a Kid vs. Adult
But if you think about the accomplishments of most children and the things they work towards, they’re very different than the accomplishments we seek as adults and thus the challenges we go through. Kids who gain self-confidence, as you did, usually do this through achieving objectives that mostly have to do with just them. They can keep running and get faster. They can study harder and get better grades. They can practice juggling and become good jugglers. These things are even easier if they’re surrounded by good motivators like teachers, coaches and parents especially.
As kids age and turn into adults, however, they’re brought back down to earth a little bit. Sports become more competitive. Schools and jobs only offer so many spots. And the motivators slowly drift off as we’re expected to become more independent. So sure, the challenges get tougher, but so do the people involved.
Over time, we have fewer and fewer people on our side, and the tasks we seek to accomplish involve people that stand to prevent them from happening, whether it’s an opponent in sports, kids who are studying harder, someone you have feelings for that doesn’t like you back, and the list goes on. More and more variables come in to play that prevent us from getting what we want as we’re exposed to more and more people with their own desires, and we cannot simply will things into happening by our own determination as much as we could as children.
When Self-Confidence Dips
So if you’ve always had this self-confidence and have generally achieved what you’ve wanted to achieve, the belief that you can accomplish anything is bound to stay with you, as it clearly has for you. The only problem is, when it’s not so easy to do that and the requirements for success are more and more out of your hands, you skip the idea of “maybe it’s not going to happen for me” and instead start scrambling to find ways to strong arm your way into making it happen as you always have – AKA worrying.
Thoughts of, “How can I get this done?” and “How long do I need to stick this out before the tides turn?” run rampant through those that are confident because they’re tailored to succeed and the idea of not succeeding just won’t do. So they dig deeper and deeper into the arsenal trying to figure out the solution, all the while worrying themselves sick.
Why You Never Have to Worry
A popular philosophy when it comes to worrying, coined by Wayne Dyer who was an enormously respected self-help author, is that you never have to worry, because if it’s in your control then you’re good, and if it’s not in your control, then there’s no need to bother.
But it goes beyond that, especially in this day and age. The in between for you and for many other achievers is the belief in ourselves that it’s definitely in your control, you’re just yet to figure out how. It’d the underlying, unshakeable belief in our own potential. This is usually seen as a good thing, but this is one of the many ways in which it completely backfires.
Falling Short is a Part of Life
My friend, worry is a part of life. But more importantly, not accomplishing tasks, falling short, being outdone, however else you want to put it, is also a part of life; it’s a big part.
And the worry that surrounds those things is not bred by how much someone does or does not believe in themselves. It’s bred by not accepting outcomes.
If you’ve had a lot of accomplishments and your belief in yourself has not been tested much up until this point, then the bubble is simply due to burst a little bit, as it’s doing right now, and that’s perfectly fine. This is a hard realization to come to for those with great self-confidence, especially if their identities fall into the trap of being defined by past successes, but it’s simply time to become human again and you’re going to be just fine.
If you want to find a new and healthy version of believing in yourself, look beyond the tasks and the worth that accomplishing those tasks gives you. If you really want to rise to every occasion and have a stronger base of self-confidence, then practice being okay with saying that you tried your best and moving forward when things haven’t worked out. That’s the adult version of taking power away from all the forces and people working against you.
Thank you again sir for sending in what I felt to be a very rich question. I hope my answer was able to help you out and maybe give you some clarity as to why you’ve reached this unexpected point. It’s a weird line to toe, I know, but ultimately it’s a great practice in lowering expectations for yourself – in a good way.
Everyone out there, if you have a question you’d like answered, please go ahead and submit to us and we’ll help you out here on the show. You can email your questions to advice AT oldpodcas DOT com
The OLD Podcast team has some delightful newsletters and online content for ya as well. Have a wonderful rest of your day, thanks for being here, and I hope you’ll stop in for the next one. Until then!