The Secret to Unstoppable Confidence

Mark ReaganConfidence8 Comments

Confident Woman jumping

99% of people don’t know this!

I read this on a sales page this morning for a personal development course.

If 99% of people don’t know it, it’s gotta be good! Otherwise, why would it be a secret?

We love secrets. We love it when other people confide in us, when we’re let in on some juicy info no one else knows.

We’re a society obsessed with secrets… even if those secrets are about to be revealed to us moments later. Just after the break… on the next episode… I’ll tell you about it later…

We don’t want it later. We want it now.

Even I’m guilty of this (all bloggers and writers are), when I have headlines like Two Things You’re Doing While Building Confidence (That You Shouldn’t). There’s probably people out there who think that’s a bit manipulative, and it’s done to increase interest. This is the way it’s been since the very first story was told – if you knew how everything happened and how it ended, it wouldn’t be that interesting of a story.

Crossing the Gap

If information is held back from us, we want it. Screenwriting guru Robert McKee calls this the gap. There’s a gap between where we are and the info we want. As long as the gap isn’t too big, we’ll leap forward to cross it.

The gap could be:

“Who killed Professor Plum?”

“Who is Keyser Soze?”

“How do I generate $1,000 extra dollars a month?”

Whatever form they come in, these are secrets and we LOVE learning what they are.

Maybe that’s why we keep looking for them when it comes to what we want. if we see someone who’s successful, we ask, “What’s the secret to their success?”

“What have they got that I don’t?”

“How does she do it? How does he?”

We don’t just want to know, we have to know.  

When I was learning how to dance Salsa, I hit a plateau. I saw all these other dancers who were so smooth out on the dance floor, and I didn’t know how they did it. I had to find out.

One of the appeals of discovering a secret to success is that it’s easy. “If I learn this one thing, I’ll be successful.”

And what happens? We learn the one thing. Only it doesn’t make us instantly successful, so we have to learn the next one thing.

Over and over, we start looking for the next secret, the next magic bullet that’s going to fix our problem or bring us the success we want.

It exists. But it’s not what we like to hear.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Stephen King, who sums it up aptly: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

Hard work isn’t sexy. It doesn’t sound fun, and it doesn’t entice our mind like a secret formula does.

But in the long run, hard work wins out. A person who works hard will beat out the talented person who doesn’t.

I know. Growing up I was one of the talented kids who didn’t do any work. I didn’t think I needed to. I was “smart.” That’s all that mattered to me. And for a while, I stayed on top academically. I didn’t have to study for tests or put effort into projects – I easily got A’s.

It didn’t last. My sophomore year of high school my grades started to slip. The kids I thought were dumber than me caught up. They didn’t even catch up – they left me in their dust. By my junior year I was failing most of my classes and having a breakdown because I didn’t know what was happening.

Hard work doesn’t just beat talent, it turns into talent.

The secret to unstoppable confidence is hard work. 

But Wait, There’s More!

Ok, ok, so you can work really hard and still suck. You see this all the time on audition shows like American Idol. A lot of contestants have worked their whole lives, spent hundreds – maybe thousands – of hours singing, and they’re awful. They can’t sing a single note on key. And there are people out there who are very confident, to the point where you see them as just arrogant and no one likes them. 

Let’s add this onto our secret of success: Who can help you?

I love mentors, whether they’re an “official” mentor, or maybe just a teacher or a coach.

A good teacher made a huge difference for me back when I was learning Salsa dancing. And right now I have two mentors: one for my business, and one for my public speaking.

Sometimes a teacher might just be a good book. Books are great to help get you started. But there is a problem with a book – it’s not tailored for you.

Hard work makes the difference, but you want to be moving in the right direction. Those people they let through the American Idol auditions so the world can laugh at them? Yeah, they’re on the wrong path, because no one gave them honest feedback (or they refused to listen to it) – not until they reached those merciless judges, anyway.

A good mentor or coach can give you good feedback. The greatest athletes in the world have coaches. Think about that for a sec.

The people at the very top of their game have a coach.

The importance of having someone who can give you honest feedback never goes away. It’s too easy to be blinded to our faults or to become a little lazy.

Many of the most skilled people have others to help them grow in the right direction… and there’s always room to grow.

There’s just one final step…

The Magic Bullet

You can have all the training you want, all the practice you want. Nothing changes until you put yourself out there. You don’t develop confidence by avoiding what you’re afraid of. You take confident action, even if you’re afraid.

As my coaching trainer told our class, “Everyone is looking for a magic bullet to solve their problems. YOU are the magic bullet.”

If you want unstoppable confidence or success, only you can can take action and make the difference.


Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.


8 Comments on “The Secret to Unstoppable Confidence”

  1. Hi Mark,

    I always love your writing. Nice post.

    I have to agree with you that mentorship or coaching can make all of the difference. Even just knowing that someone really believes in you and is there to help is very powerful.

    Thanks again :)

  2. Great insight and so very true. Talent will only get you so far. Consistent hard work is what will separate those who are good and those that are great.
    Thanks for a great post.

  3. Great post Mark. Our brains are such mystical things. Secrets or perceived secrets make us want more and we believe we must know. We want the secrets and we definitely want them NOW. We have become a culture of instant gratification. Hard work pays off and is rewarded. But if you want it now and don’t want to work to see the fruits of your efforts, you may never get it because it takes time, effort and a type of resilience to see it through.

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