After 25-odd years of walking the self-help path, it’s pretty clear that nothing has the power to make you feel good about yourself than pushing out the boundaries of what you believe possible.
In taking the journey to self-confidence, you’re choosing to live your life according to your own dictates, instead of choosing what you will and won’t do because of what others think and want. You’re taking back control of your own ship.
Or, as Tim Ferriss puts it in “The 4-Hour Workweek” – Ask for forgiveness, not for permission. (Love that quote!)
There are no doubt a million little ‘conventions’ we live our lives by. Many of these are unconscious – I’ve certainly had a hard time thinking of them. What I’m planning to do is to find and break as many of these as I can – in particular where they serve no obvious purpose and breaking them harms nobody.
What I will get, over the next 30 days, is a lot of strange looks. I’m hoping that by the end of the month, with all that practise in acting regardless, I’ll also not care. I’ll be closer to dancing to the beat of my own drummer.
The training is insidious, but we’ve all been programmed to live within boundaries of what’s socially accepted, and to avoid anything that other people might think strange or unusual. Only some ever question whether there’s a need to hold ourselves back from doing things we want, simply because other people might not understand. I recently came across an exercise in a book that suggested deliberately doing things that wouldn’t be understood, just to overcome this: the suggestion was to stop walking, lie down on the footpath for a minute or two, then get up and move on.
I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And not just because I’m big enough that getting down and back up again would be a production in itself.
Even though I couldn’t go quite as far as that exercise suggested (yet), I did start pushing the boundaries. When I found myself wondering what people would think before I did something – like whistling back at the birds on my way to work – I made myself start doing it anyway. I got a few strange looks, but not many. I’ve also had a lot more fun, doing things I’d hold back from.
It’s a pretty powerful feeling.
Taking More Bold Actions
The next step in developing this, though, is to go beyond just allowing myself to do things I’d normally hold back on. I want to start taking deliberate, chosen actions that push those boundaries, and get comfortable living my life just for myself.
I want to create a list of 30 bold actions I can take over a month, gradually getting bolder.
Some of the ideas I’ve come up with so far:
- being honest instead of ‘tactful’
- go see a movie then have dinner in a restaurant alone
- submit guest articles to high-traffic blogs
- making JV proposals
- lying down in the park at lunch (ok, it’s a compromise, but at least it’s a step in the right direction)
- asking some of the ‘twitterati’ to follow me
- putting my own work up for sale (it’s the asking for money bit here that’d push me)
- taking a 2 hr lunch at work for no reason
- giving back a christmas present I don’t want
- wearing ‘comfy clothes’ outside the house
- trying to use the mouse with my foot (that’ll help the flexibility – thanks @MissCommunicate)
- Going to work wearing a tie
This is tough. Because you can only really be bold by pushing outside what you know and are comfortable with, it’s hard to come up with ideas of what would be outside that zone!
Can you guys help me out?