Book: The Confidence Gap
Name of the author: Russ Harris


About the book: The book Confidence Gap explains what it takes to transform yourself from being afraid, doubtful and diffident to being fearless, having a strong belief in oneself and feel confident. The book also explains what is self-confidence and where does it come from? It answers questions like Why do some people don`t feel confident and why some people have a massive amount of confidence?

And If you are one the falls in the first category it tells what you need to do in order to change yourself into a confident person.


Book Summary of Confidence Gap


1.Value and Goals


Values are ‘desired qualities of ongoing action’. In other words, your values describe how you want to behave as a human being:how you want to act on an ongoing basis; what you want to stand for in life; the principles you want to live by; the personal qualities and character strengths you want to cultivate.


Have some goals and values in your life. The goals will keep you focused and motivate you to do more, take more risk, work hard to achieve them and the values will keep you on track on the path to achieve your goals.

The difference between values and goals is a subtle one. Values last forever in your life, while goals are for a set period of time. If you achieve a certain goal, then just tick it off of your list and go on to the nest goal. But values are what sticks with you no matter what goals you have in mind.


Why have goals and values?

Having them gives you a sense of purpose and meaning in life. If you want to become like a certain person you will have to work hard learn new skills and things. It can get really tough on the way.

Values will help you to stay on the path and will motivate inspire you to keep going. Goals will give you the challenge to develop, move your body, use your brain, new experiences. It will bring about change in you as a person.


2. Why do you lack Confidence?


The author says that people who lack confidence or have a confidence gap have a few reasons. There might be many reasons for you or any individual who lacks confidence.

And also the fact that people are selectively confident. What is Selective confidence? It means to show confidence in a few areas but not in all of them.

Means that people will not necessarily feel afraid or lack confidence in all situations, But rather there will be some situations in which they will feel tensed, fear and timid.

And according to the author, those fields can fall into 5 categories.

1.Excessive Expectations

Expecting a lot from your efforts will make you unsatisfied. This unsatisfied feeling will make you sad and the mind will be filled with negative thoughts.

If you will raise the bar of your expectations and won`t raise the bar of your effort you will get disappointed with the results. Then you will feel less confident about your success.

2.Harsh Self-judgment

If you are a normal human with a normal mind there is a 99.9% chance are you have strong self-criticism. You just like to criticize yourself too much.

Like: I really want to show my drawings but I am not a skilled painter, Will people like it or hate it? This is not really that beautiful it`s just average so why bother.

And you just leave the idea of showing your art. Self-criticism is necessary to keep you on the correct path but extreme criticism is harmful to your confidence. It will make you lose faith in your abilities and won`t let you be yourself

3.Preoccupation with Fear

Fear is commonly seen as a negative and a bad thing. Likey you can be afraid of thousands of things, like getting your fingers cut if use a scissor, feeling embarrassed if I do this. etc.

I like these lines by Les Brown

Fear is everywhere. If you hide under a table to not feel fear, it will come right at you. So just get out there and face it.

He is a great motivational speaker and gives seminars to people. These lines perfectly tell us that life is too short to hide under a table. You have to get out of the comfort zone to truly be alive.

4.Lack of experience

When you are doing something for the first time. You are nervous, afraid of how it will go and inexperienced. You won`t feel confident in yourself.

Because you haven`t done this before. If you have never spoken before a huge audience, don`t expect it to go smoothly. Because it won`t.

But when you do it a couple of times it won`t affect you as much as it did the first time.

5.Lack of skills

You will feel more confident doing the things that you are good at. You know how to do them and how to do it better than others. It is easy to do the things that you are good at. You surely will ace it, but when you are doing things that you don`t know, you are not good at them, you won`t feel confident.


The Confidence Cycle


The author shows a cycle that leads to a decrease in the confidence gap. The cycle has four stages.

1. Practice the skill

Know what skills you need to learn in order to get better at doing the thing. What things you will have to learn, what things you have to leave in order to become good at doing this.

As you practice the necessary skills slowly you will develop confidence. This will make you more excited and you will move forward without any fear.


Practice makes a man perfect.


But you should not follow perfectionism. When you are in your training period you should just focus on getting better and learning.

There may be a period when you will think about giving because of fear, no progress, excessive expectations. but you have to just focus on developing the skills.

2. Apply them effectively

Now after you learn the skills, you will have to apply these newly learned skills. You can do this by taking part in a competition.

If you want to get better at public speaking you can take part in speaking competitions.etc.

Getting into competitions may be hard for some of you and scary too. But remember you have to get out of your comfort zone to get better.

It may be difficult, but you have to do it.

3.Asses the results

After you apply your skills effectively, you have to asses the results. Every time after the competition, you will know where you can improve yourself and what did go wrong?

You can also ask others to assess you. This will help you to know where you have to improve. This time you can succumb to harsh self-judgment, so go easy on yourself.

Reward yourself for any achievement, this will boost your spirit to keep moving forward. You have to enter into many competitions.

The more you practice the more you will make progress.

4. Modify as needed.

After your assessment. Start practicing again as needed to improve yourself. Ask others, read books or ask someone to teach you or join some classes.
After you have improved, enter into a competition to test it. you don`t necessarily have to win the competition. You want more experience.

As you practice this cycle the confidence gap in you and others will definitely decrease. Yo

Number #1 rule of the confidence game


The author states this as the number 1 or the Golden rule to build confidence.

It is:

 The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.

He says that in order to become confident you have to do things that you fear or feel embarrassed to do. This will help you to overcome fear.

If you do it once, then twice, then thrice, then it is not as hard as it was the first time. You don`t have to do it perfectly the first time or the second. Just do it, give it the best you can and the next time you will become better at it.

This will automatically boost your confidence.

There are many instant confidence techniques out there that promise you to boost your confidence in a short amount of time.

Now the author says that the instant confidence techniques will give you confidence just for an instant. They’ll say that feel confident, project yourself confidently and give yourself positive affirmations. But these will not decrease the fear you have within. So try to overcome your fear by taking actions and you will feel confident.


Important points.

  • Identify the main causes of your low self-confidence: excessive expectations, harsh self-judgement, preoccupation with fear, lack of experience or lack of skill.
  • Remember the Confidence Cycle: practice the skills, apply them effectively, assess the results and modify as need.
  • Remember rule #1 of the confidence game: The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.

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