Calling on you to discuss the joys of writing and the importance of creativity in our personal and business lives.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nine and a half ways to boost confidence.

If you're a confident person, you'll likely be a confident writer. Or artist. Or musician. Or designer. But how can a creative person keep himself or herself thick skinned and feeling strong? Here are some interesting ways to feel powerful.

1. Do it yourself. Stop asking people so many questions. Go online and Google the answer. Or start an online discussion. Get fired up and fix it. The solutions are out there. And every task that you accomplish by yourself, large or small, is a win. And winning feels good.

2. Learn new things. It’s another way to get that intoxicating, winning feeling. I was taking adult learn-to-skate lessons a few years ago. One of my fellow students revealed that she learned something new every year. Learning to skate was her challenge that particular year (although from her attitude, I’m guessing it wasn't really a challenge.)

3. Revisit skills you already have. Why not do some of those things that you were really good at, but stopped doing as life got busier? There’s a reason you learned how to paint. Or picked up the guitar. Or worked on cars. Revitalizing those activities will make you feel good once again. And you’ll get a second, third, and fourth shot of confidence when others notice your talents and compliment what you do.

4. Avoid negative people. Avoid family members and friends who will -- and do -- steal your joy. I’m not suggesting that we abandon those who are having difficulty – in fact, helping others is often a feel-good for both parties. And I’m not suggesting that we hide from the real world. But there may be people in your world who are chronically negative – and that’s not good for anyone’s confidence.

5. Get outside. That’s where the real world is. A long hike, bike ride, jog, whatever, will energize your body, clear your head, give you some time to reflect on what’s good in your life, maybe even find answers to what’s not working so well. Besides, the natural God-given world is truly awesome and will bring a smile or two to your face. Guaranteed. Or your money back.

6. Surround yourself with positive media experiences. I used to be a big fan of TV crime shows – still enjoy them from time to time. But often times I’d go to bed thinking: “I just spent two hours watching people get terrified, dismembered, and murdered.” (And, when did red become my favorite color?) Studies have shown that these negative images and situations work behind the scenes to slowly steal our joy – and we don’t even realize it’s happening.

Interesting observation: One night my wife and I rented/watched two movies back to back. One was the violent The Departed followed by the overly simple and quiet Chocolat. Separately, we both commented on how that second movie made us feel so, so much better.

7. Engage people. Face to face, whenever possible. IMHO, there’s a simple reason social media is so popular: People want to connect with people, even if it’s a virtual connection. It’s what makes us human. Money magazine, November 2008 issue, published the results of a University of Michigan study that asked people: “Once you retire, which of the following is likely to have the biggest affect on your happiness?” Some of the choices were: “the size of your nest egg,” “your blood pressure,” “a hole in one….” But the most popular answer was: “The number of people who came to your birthday party.” Wow.

8. Adopt better eating habits. Besides the obvious health benefits, you just feel good when you get into a habit of, say, eating a wildly healthy breakfast every day, without fail. Even if you don’t start to lose weight or feel better immediately, you’ll feel stronger because (1) you’re doing the right thing, and (2) you’re taking a bit more control over your life.

9. Make every day a full day. Have you ever felt badly after realizing that you wasted a great day or a great opportunity? I have almost no trouble sleeping at night. Why? Because I can rest knowing that I've put in another honest, solid day of something.

9-1/2. So, what’s the half tip? Get yourself a nice pair of pajamas. Really. They don’t have to be expensive. Forget the lounge pants and the “sorta matches” NBA T-shirt. This is the gear you’ll wear more than any other. Every night, in fact. Might as well look as good as you can in the morning mirror. Start the day off right.

Author Joe Starin is an independent copywriter and owner of Hit by a Brick.

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