Goal

This week, I want to discuss the importance of believing in yourself, your goals, and your capacity to achieve greatness.

The importance of believing in yourself

low self-esteem

When you don’t believe in yourself, you cannot move forward.

Today, many people struggle to believe in themselves. They cannot see their wants and dreams as valid and valuable. Thus, individuals frequently quit pursuing what they desire to pursue instead what the collective declares they should want. A few examples: meaningful dialogue with opposing factions gives way to mindless Twitter battles; financial responsibility gives way to endless college debt; pursuing true love gives way to dating only within the tribe; and so on and so forth.

Self-worth does not profit the masses or the powerful

invested growth

Very few people invest in your growth.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.” – Ayn Rand

Why do so many individuals lack a high sense of self-worth? Primarily, we are taught to be externally obsessed and focused. Instead of focusing on personal control, personal development, and self-fulfillment, we are conditioned to care only about the tribe, the nation, or the family; i.e., we are told to focus primarily on what we cannot change. This obsession with others creates internal insecurity.

However, when individuals focus on their struggles, resolve their issues, and build their character, they can stand tall above the chaos of the masses. Self-worth produces value and virtue driven individuals. For example, individuals who value their money and time are not going to tolerate the national debt. However, you can only create such external distaste if you have internal values; i.e., you’re only going to hate the national debt if you practice frugality in your personal life.

Individuals with high self-esteem are difficult to control

head high

When you believe in yourself, you can hold your head high.

Therefore, governments, families, and institutions are driven to create individuals with low self-esteem and a poor sense of self-worth. Your questions need to be stomped, your desires need reigning in, and your drive for a better life must be quelled. Individuals with high self-esteem, who believe in themselves and their capacity to build a virtuous world, are much harder for the masses and institutions to control.

Believing in yourself means valuing your time, body, resources, and values. Individuals who value their time do not associate with manipulative people. Individuals who value their money do not waste it on pointless knick-knacks to line the pockets of greedy corporations. Individuals who value loyalty will not sit idly by as governments sell their children’s futures in the form of national debt.

The best ways to develop higher self-esteem and believe in yourself

no despair

Do not wallow in despair. Pick your battles, change your course, and improve your life.

To produce high self-esteem, you must commit to the actions and behaviors which increase your personal value as well as push you past your comforts. You produce high self-worth through a connection with the self. Additionally, you have to struggle to overcome your feelings of uncertainty and doubt. However, personal growth is worth the struggle. When you believe in yourself, you are radically focused on improving your future, loving your present, and redeeming your past.

Below I detail the ways you can learn to value yourself and your future.

1. Accept you must derive value beyond self-pleasure, i.e., you have to sacrifice

meaningful struggle

Meaningful struggles will improve your self-worth.

“It won’t always go your way, so you can’t get trapped in this idea that just because you’ve imagined a possibility for yourself that you somehow deserve it. Your entitled mind is dead weight. Cut it loose. Don’t focus on what you think you deserve. Take aim on what you are willing to earn!”
― David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me

The collective is obsessed with feeling good. Individuals must focus on building lives beyond self-pleasure. You shouldn’t live a life free of fun and excitement. However, you do need a life of meaningful struggle where rewards are well-earned and plentiful.

Belief in yourself comes from your ability to overcome odds and struggles with your sanity intake. The more you’re able to fight forward against small and big battles, the more you will believe in yourself. For example, small challenges include brushing your teeth daily while more significant challenges include raising a child. Remaining virtuous during these trying times is essential to building the belief in your ability to overcome hardships and move forever onward.

Don’t fall for the “self-care” nonsense. Consumption and a comfortable life will not elevate your opinion of yourself. Accept that value must be derived outside of self-pleasure. Through significant hardship and sacrifice, we grow confidence in our personal strength.

2. Make Success A Habit – Aim Low and Start Small

aim low

Never be ashamed or embarrassed to aim low.

If you find it difficult to make meaningful improvements, then you may need to start small. It’s easy for individuals to set the bar way too high. However, you’ll easily miss the mark. Therefore, set your aims as low as you can. The lower we start, the more we can achieve, and consistent achievement helps us build confidence.

An excellent example of this principle is exercise. Many people, when returning to the gym, will buy expensive equipment, go to the best fitness center, and set impossible goals. They’ll soon become burnt out and disappointed. However, the best thing you can do is set a daily pushup goal in your own home. Stride to do ten pushups one day then slowly increase the number throughout the week. This activity will build your exercise habit while allowing you to succeed and fail in a personal setting.

After a few weeks, you’ll be in better shape and more confident. Additionally,  you’ll endure embarrassing moments such as being unable to adjust a bench or use a machine correctly.

Remember, when you shoot for larger goals you may lack the habits and skills necessary to succeed. If you find yourself failing, then consider setting a lower target, so you can build your self-esteem and confidence as you make success a habit.

3. Set clear goals to help give your life meaning and structure

set goals

You need clear goals and the discipline to pursue those goals.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”― James Clear, Atomic Habits

Setting long-term goals will give you a better sense of your future and potential. Therefore, it is crucial for you to set clear and achievable goals so you can better understand where you want to go and how possible it is to get there.

Self-worth comes from having a set plan which gives you a vision of your future. When you believe the future will be better than the present, you will act.  Individuals who lack goals, especially life goals, will find it easy to become discouraged. Your day to day will fade as you waste your time on activities which don’t serve your long-term happiness.

You cannot believe in yourself if you lack structure and purpose

without structure

Without structure, you will lose hope in your future and faith in your actions.

Structure is crucial to helping you better understand how your actions are pushing you toward greatness. A purposeless life gives way to distractions and political obsession. If you want to be a hedonist or a cog in the machine then these paths are better suited for you. However, if you wish to view yourself as a being of potential, then you need to think inward and consider what you can do to better your life.

For example, going to the gym, eating well, and getting more sleep are all activities which improve your present and give you something to look forward to in the future. Benefits such as a stronger body, better health, and a more alert mind, are all benefits you can look forward to when you set clear goals to improve your health.

Lastly, life is suffering. When going through pain, you have to understand why you’re going through the pain. For example, if you want to lose weight, you will deal with the pain of healthier eating, exercise, and sleeping. When facing this pain you need to be able to remember why you’re going through this pain which will help you cope and move forward.

Therefore, set clear life goals, long-term goals, and daily goals, so you’re working hard toward a better life than what you have today.

4. Remove terrible people and ideas from your life and you’ll breathe easy

virtuous friends

You need virtuous friends.

Terrible people and horrible ideas can cause a low sense of self-worth. For example, collectivist ideologies are, by their very design, meant to place blame on entire groups despite the innocence of the individuals within those groups. This sort of mindset fosters guilt, hatred, and depression within individuals. However, if we reject the very premises of collectivism, i.e., the crimes of one man are given to another by “virtue” of unchosen factors, then we can overcome the negativity collectivism breeds.

Do not follow politicians into the hapless voids of racism whether against a racial majority or minority. Do not listen to critics who lack talent but spit vitriol. Do not fall prey to members of your community who say you’re a victim. Never listen to collectivists who frame innocent people or tell you about how cruel and evil the world is. Ignore soul-crushing ideologies, and you’ll feel lighter as well as more capable of changing your life in ways both big and small.

Hope will elevate, empower, and motivate you

stop consuming garbage

Stop consuming media which feeds your arrogance or justifies your vices.

“There’s nothing worse than a wolf befriending sheep. Avoid false friendship at all costs. If you are good, straightforward, and well meaning it should show in your eyes and not escape notice.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

On the other hand, one way to help elevate your mind and increase your confidence is to associate with people and consume ideas which enrich your soul. I’m a big fan of stories where the protagonist wins and triumphs over evil. This doesn’t mean one cannot enjoy stories with bittersweet endings or nuanced narratives. However, you shouldn’t consume works where the writer is bitter, and the characters are evil for the sake of “complexity.” Avoid cynical fiction and never consume ideas which promote despair and weakness.

5. Gratitude, reading, and self-awareness will increase your confidence

read

Reading will expand your mind and boost your confidence.

The last, best way to build your self-worth is to focus externally. Practice gratitude by reminding yourself how blessed you are to be where you are. Nothing is perfect, and I will never advise you settle. However, as you take stock of what is wrong (and prepare to fix it), you need to acknowledge the unearned blessings you have in your life. Unearned blessings include having virtuous parents, being born in the civilized West, having a car, access to clean water, and so on.

Furthermore, read. The more you read, the more aware you become of the horrors and difficulties of others – and how they overcame them. Frederick Douglass’s autobiography and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs are depressing but hope-filled works. Why? Because the world has drastically improved and I’m inspired to ensure the world continues to thrive and never slip back to the horrors which defined the past. Read, and you will expand your mind, deepen your self-awareness, and improve your gratitude.

Lastly, develop your self-awareness. Pay attention to the needs of others and seek to resolve issues people may have. Of course, keep it reasonable. You cannot resolve a coworker’s marital problems. However, you can ensure your coworker has your report quicker than usual. Focus on helping others in reasonable, sustainable ways, and you’ll feel better about yourself and your ability to improve the world.

How to believe in yourself again

believe in yourself

Fight for your happiness.

At the core of believing in yourself is improving yourself. You cannot believe in a lazy, vindictive, bitter, and pathetic individual. Thus, you have to do everything in your power to change your behaviors for the better. Get in shape, donate to charity, speak kindly to others, and improve your skills. Self-improvement is painful. However, the more you fight for your happiness, the more beautiful and inspiring you will become in your own eyes.

Do not try to drown your doubts and fears in the murky waters of politics, collectivism, and addictions. Start small and build yourself up. Become an individual and watch your life improve for the better.

Actionables

  1. Of the five items on this list, which is hardest for you to do?
  2. What is one thing you are willing to sacrifice to reach true happiness? Why would you sacrifice this one thing?
  3. Who can you rely on to help you build self-confidence?

Suggested Readings

  1. Major depression on the rise among everyone, new data shows – You’re not alone but don’t fall into the pit of despair
  2. How to Believe in Yourself – The article which inspired this one
  3. How to Forge True Confidence

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

*Image credit to Unsplash.