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Can confidence really make that much difference?

Part of me wants to say “well, duh!” and yet another part of me wants to tell you I’ve completely made up that statistic. BUT, what’s the worst that would happen if we believed it were true? Don’t disregard this post just because I’ve told you the statistic is make-believe. There’s an important nugget of learning here that applies to all the other things we believe … some of which are also “make believe”.

If you believed that confidence was the key to greater results and productivity, what would you likely do about that? My guess is you’d find a way to go get more confidence. Well, what happens if you believe your boss is a jerk or is mad at you? The same thing, you’d find ways to fix that or even more likely, you’d find ways to prove that in fact this were the case and verify what you believed. You see, your brain is not a big fan of being wrong and when it thinks this might happen, it finds ways to make you believe otherwise. Okay, so that one may need to be rewound or read one more time.

While it’s true that confidence is not only a requirement of leadership, but will enhance productivity, it matters not whether or not I believe that. What matters is whether or not YOU believe it and then what you do about it. In fact, in an even crazier twist of irony, your confidence is made up of three elements and your beliefs are one of them. Those three elements are:
•    Perceptions
•    Beliefs
•    Explanations

We carry these with us consistently and it is amazing how much of a “reality” we can create for ourselves with nothing more than a perception that we held onto until it became a belief which then became a habit that you now use to explain why you see or perceive things the way you do. Okay, so maybe that’s a read again line, too.

As an example, if you perceive that your boss doesn’t like you because of something he or she did or changed, then you will seek out ways to validate this belief and filter every action, email, or chat through a clouded lens of “he or she doesn’t like me”. Eventually, you will find a way to spin everything that you see to fit that belief and from that point forward you will then use that belief to explain why he or she does or changes anything in the future.

If, however, you were confident that you were likable and that nothing your boss did or said changed that, you would be less quick to assume that his or her actions or changes were personal. You would then think twice before perceiving things with a personal attack or slant, less likely to look for more reasons to validate this perception and turn it into a belief and find no reason to explain any actions accordingly. It can be and is a vicious cycle at times.

The statistic may not be factual in that confidence raises productivity by 153%, but then again, we believe a lot of things that are not able to be proven as facts. The choice is always up to you and what you want to believe and maybe today that begins with believing, as well as perceiving and explaining to yourself, things that will help you BE more productive.

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