A little advice I try to follow on my own.
As a rather timid man, I always hear the advice from friends and family, "Have more self-confidence," or "be confident." I always hear the words, but the meaning alluded me for quite awhile. In a cynical way, I interpreted these well meaning words to mean not caring what other people think, or being a jerk, or even equating self-confidence with cockiness. Again, as a rather timid man, or even a man who shies away from exuberance, of any type, I began to think of this advice as a vice, something a sociopath would take to heart- Be confident! Then, after hearing those words spoken again to me during a time in my life where I felt I was going nowhere, I decided to play a word game and nonsensically decipher what self-confidence is.
Well, confidence sounds a lot like confiding, or to confide, and to confide in someone means to trust the other person with sensitive information, or just maybe shorten that to trusting the other person in general. So, maybe, self-confidence is about trusting yourself. What does it mean to trust yourself? Well, believing in yourself, of course! That seems a lot like the vague, be confident advice I went about earlier, so let's go a bit more practical. To build trust between two people, promises are made and kept, and after the relationship yields results from words to action, the two people can believe that the other will do what they say they will for future promises. Trust is built, and the role of the promise seems to be central in building trust.
So, trust in oneself is to make promises to oneself, and keeping them. Once a person gets in the habit of setting goals for oneself and works toward achieving that goal, the person can believe himself when he tells himself that he or she will do this or that. So, to have self confidence, I need to trust myself, and trust needs to be built, so I need to build self confidence by setting goals for myself and working towards those goals.
But here's where my laziness and lethargy steps in to shatter all that I postulated. There's no way to build self confidence if I keep procrastinating, putting things off, and giving up before I even start. My laziness stems from fear of failure, and believing, while licking my wounds, that not playing the game means you can't lose the game. Well, life is one of those games where not playing means you lose by default, as I learned from my own resignation and disappearance. So, even if I could fail if I try, I have to be satisfied with the fact that while I was working towards a goal, I was improving myself and building skills and gaining insights, regardless of whether or not I make it. And that seems powerful to me, especially when I'm here back in square one and getting rather sick of it here.
So, perhaps next time, I would like to hear someone say to me, "practice confidence," and things will make more sense and be more meaningful, and more likely to drive me to be self confident.