Set backs at school and university can be equally bad for a young person. With a bad exam result, for example, anxiety and fear can develop which can then have a negative impact on future exam success.
In this blog post, Daniel S provides some useful advice on how to regain confidence and make sure you ace those exams! Most importantly this advice can help you be more confident when speaking english.
Daniel S is an experienced tutor specialising in interview skills and public speaking, as well as teaching English language and literature.
How to Regain Confidence
Most of us know someone who we envy for their apparent confidence and sense of ease. Ironically, making it seem easy is a clue to perhaps the simplest path to self-possession.
Of course, we would rather feel genuine confidence than fake it. But with a strange alchemy, the two are intimately connected, intertwined like a double helix, the one feeding the other.
Fear is necessary and powerful, of course, protecting us from danger and helping calibrate our responses to what’s around us. But too often in modern life it arises inappropriately and stops us from performing as well as we know we could.
Mainstream wisdom touts countless strategies of varying complexity that focus on the self or focus on others. Often, they go something like this:
Recipe for Self-Confidence (which is not a secret recipe but just because it’s made of everyday obvious items, or is easy to understand, doesn’t make it easy to follow).
Preparation time: a few moments to a lifetime. Cooking time: ditto.
Ingredients: In no particular order, mix together in a living soul all or some of the following: standing tall, speaking slowly, breathing deeply, knowing yourself, believing in yourself, living by your principles, preparing well, dressing well, being kind and generous, thinking positively, rejecting negative thoughts, setting small goals and achieving them, focusing on solutions, changing small habits to acquire the habit for changing big habits, smiling, exercising, and being grateful.
Garnish with knowledge, competence, loving kindness.
Method: The next thing to do (which can be done first—unlike conventional recipes, you can start cooking up confidence at any time) is to remember that confidence is as confidence does, behaves, appears, or simply pretends to be.
The apparent cool composure of a person on stage talking to five hundred people does not mean inside they are not terrified, grim and wishing they were anywhere else.
Even some of the most seasoned performers have admitted to stage fright every time the curtain goes up or the camera rolls. Barry Humphries, the late Carrie Fisher, Kirk Douglas, William Shatner, to name a few, have all spoken about it publicly. Brian Wilson once said, “I have stage fright every single concert I've ever done. It's absolute living hell.”
As in The Wizard of Oz, within bold fabulous creatures may sit shy humans operating the levers and switches that let the outside world see something else entirely.
Conversely, normal souls with normal fears can appear more confident simply by telling the world as much.
The word itself is from the Latin: fidere, “to trust”; and com, meaning “with” or used as an intensifying prefix, i.e. “to trust a lot”. Fidere also means faith. And on this spins the whole premise. Confidence is a quality that does not exist unless we say it does.
It is as changeable as wind, fickle as a teenage crush, as powerful as any known force.
Religions, ideologies, stock markets and love all depend to varying degrees on our hopes, beliefs and mutable points of view, and the confidence, high or low, that derives therefrom. What we think as individuals or as groups massively influences the world we live in.
Presentation: A famous self-help book is called Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway. The title points to the fragile heart of the matter. Be bold, it says, and all shall pass. But it also accepts that fear is a precipice, an edge, sometimes the thinnest part of a moment in time when we may decide to step back and not act after all.
The book encourages us to reconsider those moments, to choose to go forward. And the beautiful kicker is, each step forward increases confidence and reduces fear.
The scared actor may suffer and shake before striding onstage but they still do it.
Perhaps it seems daft to suggest a matter so important to our wellbeing can be reduced to a simple formula, but it can. Sometimes we just need to remember to keep moving forwards and confidence will join us.
Daniel S is a trained interviewer with fifteen years experience of publishing and investment banking.
He is also a writer and journalist, the author of three books, and he specialises in teaching interview skills and confidence as well as public speaking and a wide range of English at all levels for students and adults alike. If you would like to contact Daniel S or would like him as a tutor for your child, please send him a message through his profile.
Alternatively for more tutors specialising in a range of subjects go to the Tutorfair website.
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Photo credits: Rydon Bede Pix