I did my speech, and I practiced in front of a mirror: bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla. Hey I’m sounding good. And then I went in front of my kids, and my wife. I said, oh gosh, I got a little nervous.
Then I’d get in front of Glenn Gould, Oh my goodness, I am a little more nervous!
By the time I get to the ACG, where 2,500 people, can’t say anymore, right? Twenty-five hundred people, where twenty-five hundred people are there, I won’t have a single ounce of nervousness because of my ability to practice. Right?
Over, and over, and over, again.
The problem with repetition is: how many of us bail after the first bit of failure? How many of us bail after the first bit of adversity? Edison was on that video, and it depends who you ask, there’s anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 tries to build that light bulb. 1,000 to 10,000.
J.K Rowling should be on that video. Do you know how many publishers she took her Harry Potter book to? I believe the number was 12 or 13…I am pretty confident but after two or three no’s I’d be like: “damn it!”.
After six or seven, I’m like: “maybe not!” Definitely after nine or ten, I’d be looking to be a soccer coach or something else besides an author. Right?
I mean, twelve times somebody said no. But, practice, practice, practice, and do not accept failure.
Maybe it shouldn’t be repetition, maybe the answer should be persistence. Because we all repeat something but very few of us really will persist. So that’s one way to build self-confidence.
Get out there. Do what you want to do and do not accept no.
The other one is self-talk. We all have a self-talk tape that plays in our head. Anybody go shopping and put on a pair of pants this week? If you’re a woman, the first thing that always comes: “Damn I look fat in these pants!.”
And if you’re a man, it’s the opposite: “Oh god, I got no muscle, I’m so flabby!” Right? We all have this tape that plays in our head.
As a student, if they asked me the question, it was like: “Oh, gee please professor don’t pick me, I don’t know the answer.” I’d look down. Right?
If you’re in the b…when I, let me tell you something, and the VP of business admin is here, I shouldn’t repeat this, but when they hired me as an athletics director, I sat in an architect’s meeting, and I am as dumb as a post when it comes to anything to do with numbers and angles.
And they are like: the fundibulator valve of the architectural, uh, what do you think doctor Joseph? Uh, let me look into that for you and get back to you. Right?
I was in a, oh god god, please don’t ask me, please don’t ask me. We all have this negative self-talk that goes in our head.
Guess what? There’s enough people that are telling us we can’t do it. That we’re not good enough. Why do we want to tell ourselves that? We know for a fact that thoughts influence actions. We saw it there with the video Sheldon, Dr. Levy showed.
We know that our thoughts influence actions, why do we want to say that negative self-talk to ourselves? We need to get our own self-affirmations. Muhammad Ali, what was his self-affirmation? I am the greatest! Who else is going to tell you?
There need to be quiet moments in your bedroom, quiet moments when you’re brushing your teeth. That we need to reaffirm: “I am the captain of my ship and the master of my fate!” That is my affirmation.
I came from a school of one thousand people, I lived in a town of one thousand people for fifteen years; there’s no reason that I should be in charge of an Athletics department, building maple leaf gardens. But I am the captain of my ship and the master of my fate.
If I don’t say it, if I don’t believe it, no one else will.
How do you build self-confidence?
Get away from the people who will tear you down. There’s enough of that.
Muhammad Ali, I am the greatest! There is no one better than me. There’s a difference between hubris, and ego, and false pride. It’s just reminding yourself in quiet silent moments, I put it down on a list, it’s right beside my mirror, right? about all the things that make me who I am.
Because I make enough mistakes, and the newspapers will recognize it, and people around me will recognize it; and they’ll tear me down, and pretty soon I’ll begin to believe it.
There was a time when my confidence was really low. There was a time when I took this job when I came from Iowa, I don’t know if I could do it. I had to bring out my self-confidence letter. A letter I wrote to myself when I was feeling good. Ivan, congratulations on getting your PhD before 40. Congra…I am 40, under. Congratulations on winning a national championship. Good job on raising three good kids and marrying the right woman.