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Say no to dissatisfaction

education Updated: May 19, 2010 09:15 IST
Chitra Jha
Chitra Jha
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Do you wonder why the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence?
Most of us are dissatisfied with our lot. It’s human nature. We always find friends, relatives and colleagues, who are smarter, richer, better looking and more successful than us. Understanding that people we envy also suffer from this dissatisfaction, as they find others — better than them — to feel envious of, helps us cope better with our own dissatisfaction.

Whether life hands you a bucket of stuff that you are anxious to get rid of, or you find yourself sitting on life’s sidelines, you are always longing for something more. The dilemma is always the same. How do we get the push we need to move on?

What holds us back? Is it the fear of failure? Is it the fear of the unknown? Is it the fear of being unprepared? Is it the fear of making the wrong decision?
The explanation is within easy reach. We fear failure as one all-important reason: We are afraid of what others will think of us when we fail, of how they will be angry with us, or contemptuous of us. They may even laugh at us. Their opinion of us is more important to us than our opinion of ourselves.

Self-confidence is a pre-requisite for success. We transfer our unconscious self-appraisal to others and they respond to us accordingly. Perhaps the best introduction to the quest for self-confidence is a look at its extreme opposite — general lack of confidence.

General lack of confidence fills you with an all-pervading feeling of inadequacy. It colours or discolours your view of life. It leaves you with a negative approach. It makes every stranger a threatening enemy. In his book Pattern and Growth in Personality, Dr Gordon Allport writes, “Every day, we experience grave threats to our self-esteem: We feel inferior, guilty, insecure and unloved. Not only big things but also little things put us in the wrong: We trip in an examination, we make a social blunder, and we dress inappropriately for an occasion.”

Conscientious, capable men and women everywhere are being held back, are unable to do the best they can — all because they lack self-confidence. In fact, regardless of the façade that we present to the world, nearly all of us face this problem in one degree or another. Psychiatrists agree that lack of confidence is perhaps the most common of all psychological complaints.

Is there something we can do about this pervasive problem? Can we move towards more confidence in ourselves, more trust in our abilities? Can we tackle the task with the resources we have within us?

The answer is, unequivocally, yes.
Build on your fundamental capabilities. These are: capability to learn, capability to relate, capability to act and capability to re-invent yourself.

Confidence comes from preparation. Preparation needs planning and practice. Pressure comes from being unprepared. Pressure can immobilise us when we need to make the move.

The key to harnessing your strength lies in competing only with yourself and not getting affected by others’ performance. High performers focus more intently on bettering their own previous efforts than on beating competitors. In fact, worrying about a competitor’s ability — and possible superiority — can often be self-defeating. Wondering about how other people are doing might discourage you and distract you from the most important task of all — improving your own performance. If you must compete, compete with your own potential. Trying your best and not succeeding is not failure. The real failure is in not even trying or
trying but not giving it your best shot.

The author is a life-skills coach, time-line therapist, and new consciousness writer. Contact: chitrajhaa@gmail.com

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