Posts tagged: Confidence

Video: Why talking to strangers is easier than you think


It doesn’t seem like a stretch to say that talking to strangers has become more difficult. With a million devices in hand and a million distractions to boot, the art of small talk feels increasingly lost to our digital networks.

And this is bad! According to recent studies, not only are artificial encounters like social media detrimental to our overall happiness, but they often come at the expense of activities like engaging with strangers and meeting new people in real life. And, as more studies have shown, these activities are attributed to overall higher feelings of personal satisfaction.

The case for talking to strangers

The truth is that we are social creatures, who crave connections to other people. Even fleeting ones with strangers. To prove this point, Nicholas Epley, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, and a student conducted a study where public-transit riders were asked to engage with other
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Excitement is the antidote to feeling nervous


Whether it’s public speaking or a date or even just a vacation, there are plenty of moments that make us nervous. We plot out everything that could go wrong, we worry ourselves into a bundle of nerves, and, as a result, sometimes we end up getting in the way of our own happiness and success.

But what if there were a simple shift in mindset that could turn all of the anxious energy into a force for good?

In studies conducted by Harvard Business School, researchers looked into how closely feelings of nervousness and anxiety connect to excitement. As it turns out, the link between the emotions is not only strong, but fluid. In this video, one writer, who has an intense phobia about karaoke, tries to conquer her fears by turning her worry into
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Why the best confidence is built


At Unstuck, we were recently inspired by this story about Girls Build, a summer camp in Oregon that teaches young girls to complete elaborate construction projects using (big, intense) power tools like drills and chopsaws:

Girls wear hard hats and tool belts wrapped twice around their tiny waists. They’re divided up into stations, working on everything from pouring concrete planters to shingling the roof of a sandbox. With every project they’re learning they have the power to turn a pile of raw material into an actual structure.

Like most summer camps, the goal is to help children develop their skills, be it social or physical. But the idea of learning to build something sturdy and awe-inspiring struck us as a poignant metaphor for something else — namely what it means to become confident.

 

We often think of confidence as a naturally-occurring phenomenon (perhaps in terms of those annoying people who can
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Why nostalgia is good for your self-esteem


We’re all familiar with that overwhelming sensation that bubbles up whenever we hear a certain song, eat a certain food, or maybe walk down a certain street. It’s that feeling of emotional homesickness, best known as nostalgia.

But nostalgia gets a bad rap. The word itself — a bittersweet combination of nostos (a return home) and algos (the accompanying pain) in Greek — emphasizes the sadness of memory. And for centuries, it’s been labeled a disorder and attributed with negative thinking and depression.

However, researchers have recently come to believe there is more of an upside to nostalgia than a downside. Looking back at your life isn’t just about feeling loss, but also has the potential to deliver a sense of meaning and self-continuity. For example, revisiting old pictures can remind us of memories that are positive; we see ourselves among the networks of friends and family that we’ve built across our lives and we feel rooted.
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How to get past rejection


Getting rejected stinks, plain and simple. We wanted something — a job, a fresh opportunity, a relationship with someone — and we didn’t get it. What’s to like about that?

Nothing — right?

Even worse than the initial sting of rejection is the ripple effect it can have on our lives. We start to doubt ourselves. Our motivation plummets. We’re afraid to put ourselves out there again.

Here are three strategies for getting past the awful feelings that rejection brings with
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Job search: Get the confidence you need right now


Job search

It’s time for a new job. About that you’re certain.

What’s less certain is that you’ll land a good one, especially with all the what-ifs swirling in your head.

What if I’m going in the wrong direction? What if I can’t find the same salary level? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if the new job is worse than my old one? What if they make me take a test? What if? What if? What if?

Stop.

Ask yourself a new question: What can I do right now?

Looking for a new job dredges up a lot of pesky (and persistent) feelings of insecurity. We spend time imagining the worst instead of preparing for the best. To regain your confidence and hang onto it, you need to put aside distracting uncertainties (which, by the way, don’t help get anything done) by focusing on the actions you can take.

Start by tackling these three
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How to really shine (Hint: Be yourself)


Shine

Let’s start the new year as ourselves — magnified.

Just imagine it. As we walk the chilly corridors of January, we give off a certain something, that je ne sais quoi usually spotted in the picture-perfect pages of magazines. Our confidence swells. Others are drawn into our orbit. We have something to offer — and we’re offering it.

Are we being overly romantic? Maybe. But hear us out.

There’s something that you’re good at. Really, really good at. But in the swirl that is life, it’s probably gathered some dust, as you scramble with paperwork, home repairs, and finding five minutes to breathe.

So let’s take those five minutes now (pretend you’re reading a work email if need be) to breathe and ponder: What is that misplaced thing I do so well that brings me joy? Here are some thought starters: serve as the glue for your family, find the singular treasure at flea
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Bad ways to make a good impression


Every so often we find ourselves out of our element when we’re in a situation with other people and feeling unsure. Could be anything, really. Meeting with new business acquaintances. Attending someone else’s family picnic. Caught in a group share-a-thon.

Before panic takes over, we search for a way to fit in. Most likely, we summon lessons of yore, some steadfast this-is-how-you-act-so-people-will-think-well-of-you belief.

Then, finally, the incident is over. We got through it and that’s that. We ignore the smidge of discomfort that’s telling us we may not have made the best impression. Relief often overpowers the desire to reflect.

So let’s pause here for a moment.

Now that we’re feeling balanced again, we have an opportunity to revisit how we act in uncomfortable situations — especially if, deep down, we wish we had a better answer.

To get started on updating your response, here are nine go-to beliefs that can give the opposite impression
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Whose life is this, anyway?


Are you faking it?

Stuck moment: I don’t get it. I’ve done everything they say I’m supposed to do. Work hard, take breaks, build relationships, and so on — check, check, check. Everybody says I’m winning at life, but I’m just not really happy. Or satisfied. Or something. I don’t know what my problem is.

*   *   *

There’s living life, and then there’s living your life.

Everyone has something to say about it, don’t they? Whether it’s our mother insisting on Friday night dinners, our friends begging us to go to Vegas, advertising tempting us to buy now and save, or society pushing us to climb higher, there’s a constant buzz that can get so loud we can’t hear ourselves anymore.

That’s when we lose our way. So many demands and choices clog our brain that our internal compass goes haywire and we get disoriented in our own lives. We try to tell ourselves we’re
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You’re overwhelmed — so why won’t you ask for help?


Lone Leader overwhelmed

Leading by doing — we could write the book. We see the big picture, organize the details, meet the deadlines, and never let them see us sweat.

Yep, we’re on top of it all the time…except when a task veers beyond our arsenal of expertise. But that rarely happens. And since we’re so good at figuring things out, we soldier on, on our own. Until we can’t.

Sometimes the task is too foreign, the time too short, the energy too finite to pull it off. And then we’re stuck acting like a Lone Leader, trying to operate without the necessary support.

There are at least three reasons a Lone Leader prefers to operate solo, even when overwhelmed. Knowing which one you’re prone to is the first step toward being able to issue an SOS. Take our mini-quiz to find out your
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