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Lesson 3: Have Full Confidence in yourself

As per Lesson 1 and Lesson 2, suppose you now have:

  1. Your full marks target.

  2. A burning desire to achieve that target.

Do you think these are enough to become a Laureate? The answer is no. You can have a clearly defined goal and a burning desire to achieve it, but if you don’t have full confidence in your ability to make it, you will never achieve that goal.

It all starts in the mind.

You need to have a healthy degree of optimism in your chances of becoming a Laureate. Optimism leads to a positive mindset which helps foster confidence. In other words, you need to HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF before you can have full confidence in yourself. Everything starts with a thought. If you feed negative thoughts to your mind, you are setting the stage for failure, and therefore, you would be the creator of your own misfortune. If you believe that you are doomed to failure, then rest assured that you will fail.

However, if you feed positive thoughts to your mind, you are preparing yourself for success. Positive thoughts will make you believe in yourself, which in turn will make you more confident. Most students experience confidence issues at some point in their studies, even Laureates. This is perfectly normal. For example, you might perform poorly in a test, and this might shake your confidence. That’s okay because you can still bounce back. Here is some good news for you:

You have FULL CONTROL over your thoughts.

You can decide if you want to have a positive mindset or a negative one. Suppose that you have experienced a temporary setback such as not performing well for a school assessment. You have two choices:

  1. Let yourself be defeated by this temporary setback.

  2. View this temporary setback as a learning experience, analyse what you did wrong and devise a plan to prevent this from happening again.

Laureates always choose option 2, no matter what. During Form 5, I was struggling a lot with Economics. It was horrible. I obtained around 55 marks for the first Term and about 65 for the second term at school. My issue was that I did not know how to answer essay-type questions properly. I used to be terrified of those essays. Here is what I was doing all wrong: Instead of understanding the topics and writing answers tailored to what the questions were asking for, I was just trying to memorise notes and dump them on paper. In other words, I was rote learning. Economics did not make sense to me at that time.

Thankfully, my new private tuition Economics teacher made me realise that I should understand the topics and learn to develop the answers on my own instead of memorising the so-called “model answers”. Eureka! I had found what I was doing wrong all this time. From that point, I stopped rote learning Economics. Instead, under the guidance of my new teacher, I adopted a “Learning By Doing” approach. I practised lots of past exam questions. I made mistakes, yes. But I learnt from those mistakes, and I learnt how not to repeat them. After I’ve had enough practice and made enough mistakes, I started enjoying Economics a lot. I started feeling more confident, so much that for my final School Certificate exams, I obtained the highest mark in Mauritius in that subject!!!

Thus, the moral of this story is:

Treat every setback as a learning experience and use them to grow and develop your confidence.

You cannot become confident if you are not doing enough practice. Indeed, practice does make perfect. However, before attaining that perfection, you’ll be making plenty of mistakes along the way. Mistakes can completely destroy your confidence if you let them. However, they can also be used to build confidence, if you decide to. The choice is all yours.

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming more confident.

Step 1: Acknowledge your ability.

The fact that you are a student (and reading this book) means that you are an intelligent person. Your intelligence is your ability. I know that everybody is intelligent, so you may ask yourself what is the big deal about intelligence? Well, your level of intelligence or brainpower is not fixed. The more you work your brain, the better it gets. Therefore, the more you study, the better you get at studying. The brain works in a similar manner to muscles. The more you train it, the better it gets! The critical implication here is that the more you train your brain to become more confident, the easier it will be for you to acquire and maintain the level of confidence needed to convince yourself that you can achieve full marks in all your subjects.

Once you understand that your confidence should come from within yourself, you will never let your source of confidence come from another person.

Step 2: Eliminate ALL negative self-talk.

Just stop telling yourself that you cannot become a Laureate. Imagine you are trying to run a marathon and right at the start, you shoot yourself in the leg with a pistol. Will you be able to complete the marathon? No! This works the same way in your quest to become a Laureate. Negative self-talk is equivalent to shooting yourself in the leg before starting a marathon.

Step 3: Distance yourself from negative people.

This was covered in Lesson 2.

Step 4: Acquire knowledge from all sources.

Confidence needs to be supported by the knowledge and skills required to achieve your goal. You cannot simply say “I am confident that I’ll become a Laureate” without actually studying, right? So, you need to become familiar with the contents of all the topics found in all of your subjects. Read your notes and textbooks regularly, talk to your peers and teachers about the issues you are struggling with and more importantly, ASK QUESTIONS!

Asking questions is one of the best ways to become more confident.

As human beings, it is in our nature to have some sort of fear associated with anything that we do not understand. For instance, if you don’t understand a particular topic, you are afraid of what will happen if that particular topic comes up in the exam. By asking questions, you will reduce the number of things that you don’t understand, which will reduce your fear, which in turn will boost your confidence.

Fear is the sworn enemy of confidence.

Step 5: Practice, Practice, Practice.

Practice can often scare students because they are afraid of making mistakes. But you now know better. You know the key to becoming more confident is to make plenty of mistakes. So:

Keep making mistakes and learn from them.

By following the above five steps consistently, there is nothing that can stop you from developing full confidence in your ability to become a Laureate. However, be warned:

Full confidence does NOT mean overconfidence.

The former is your best ally, whereas the latter is one of your worse enemies.

An Important Note.

Overconfidence is more dangerous than underconfidence. Don’t ever become so sure of yourself that you lose your humility and become arrogant. This is a recipe for failure. Letting yourself become overconfident is like shooting yourself in the head before starting the marathon. Always remember this! A more in-depth treatment of the importance of humility will be given in the next lesson.

Thus, assuming that you don’t let yourself fall prey to the trap of overconfidence, the Key Takeaway is:

To become a Laureate, you need to have full confidence that you can translate your burning desire of obtaining full marks in all your subjects into reality.

Do you have any questions or comments? Post them below!

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