“Being unconquerable lies with yourself.” ~Sun Tzu
1.) Change your relationship with failure:
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” ~Marcus Aurelius
Failure is a whetstone. You are the blade. Sharpen yourself. No excuses. No pity. Sharpen yourself against the pain, the obstacle, the struggle, the loss. Be steadfast.
Life is too short to wallow in self-pity. Transform that pity into a pivot point, where you’re able to turn the tables on your relationship with failure and use it as fodder for a life well-lived.
2.) Expose yourself to new experiences:
“If you are not living in awe, you are not paying attention.” ~Rumi
Quality comes from quantity. Cast your net wide. Stretch your comfort zone so far that it snaps back on you. When the whiplash fades, you’ll know what to pour yourself into. You’ll know what drives you, what makes you come alive.
But you’ll never know if you don’t put yourself out there. Go all in. Read voraciously. Travel as an adventurist rather than a tourist. Meet new people—fascinating people, boring people, local and foreign, young and old, rich and poor. Do as Nietzsche advised, “Live dangerously.” Discover new ways of being human in the world.
3.) Be brutally honest with yourself:
“It does not matter what you bear, but how you bear it.” ~Seneca
You must know where you stand in the world. Where you begin is your baseline. If you’re beginning from a state of ignorance, weakness, and dullness, admit it. Own it. Dissect it. Dig in deep. Get all your ugly ducklings in a row. Then figure out what’s in your control and what’s not.
Once you’ve figured that out, only focus on improving what you can control while adapting to what you cannot. Keep honesty ahead of hubris. This will require a subtle recipe of temperance, patience, and steadfastness. As Jean Piaget said, “We organize our worlds by first organizing ourselves.”
4.) Build competence through self-discipline:
“Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.” ~Frank Herbert
Take the thing that makes you come alive and build a world out of it. When you are a world-builder, you are equal parts divining rod and lightning rod. What makes you come alive is your foundation, your core purpose, your lodestone. Build on it with diligence and discipline.
Use your worldbuilding discipline to invigorate your own hero’s journey. Take a leap of courage out of your comfort zone. Overcome your own threshold guardians, shadows, and dragons. Discover the magic elixir of competence, and then gift it back to the “tribe.”
5.) Embrace change:
“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold onto.” ~Lao Tzu
Don’t cling. Never settle. Stay loose. Stay flexible. Take a leap of courage out of faith. Nothing stays the same. Everything is fleeting and transitory. That’s okay. Keep your curiosity ahead of your certainty.
Don’t get caught up in the hype of the status quo junkies. Their conformity is all in vain. Don’t allow their destiny to prevent your own. Stay ahead of the curve by realizing that everything is on the curve. No exceptions.
6.) Create manageable goals:
“Set for yourself goals, high and noble goals, and perish in pursuit of them. I know of no better life purpose than that of perishing, animae magnae prodigus, in pursuit of the great and the impossible.” ~Nietzsche
Create a scaffold of goals, a self-apprenticeship. The foundation of this scaffold is the thing that makes you come alive. The engine of this scaffold is curiosity. As Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss.” When you follow your bliss, passion opens a pathway of self-sufficiency. Curiosity becomes a driving force, a forward impetus.
Create your own momentum. Knock out small goals every day. Then tackle bigger goals along the way. Seek out the shoulders of giants, not just to learn and help you reach your goals, but to see further than they did.
7.) Choose the difficult path:
“Without problems, we are deprived of our ability to solve them.” ~Fabrice Midal
There is discomfort in working out a muscle. There is discomfort in challenging an entrenched idea. There is discomfort in questioning a cherished belief. But it’s all worth it when the muscle, the mind, and the soul become stronger despite.
Choosing the difficult path is choosing to challenge your fragility with an antifragile spirit. It’s choosing the difficult task of transforming a lump of coal into a diamond, a pebble into a pearl, dullness into sharpness, and weakness into strength.
8.) Seek balance:
“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.” ~Tom Robbins
Rediscover the sacred balance between Nature and the human soul. Listen to her speak a language older than words. Distinguish healthy from unhealthy. Soak it in like a primal sponge, risking sanity for divine connection. Decipher the inexplicable into something explicable.
Maintain the tension between opposites. But keep humility ahead of hubris, courage ahead of comfort, humor ahead of power, curiosity ahead of certainty, Beginner’s Mind ahead of mastery, and the Truth Quest ahead of the “truth.” And make sure the Ego works for the Soul and not the other way around.
9.) Be your own authority:
“Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself.” ~Pubilius Syrus
Become your own authority. Learn self-rule over being ruled. Decide you are a leader. Own it. Take control of the narrative by recreating the narrative and then have the confidence to declare to all so-called authorities that you cannot be owned and that you own yourself.
Authentic leaders don’t follow power. They learn how to turn the tables on power, even their own, so that power does not corrupt. They don’t kowtow to tyranny or authoritarian rule; they question it, despite any “rank and order” or outdated narrative that props it up.
10.) Transform fear into fearlessness:
“You want to get your fear behind you where it’s pushing you forward instead of in front of you where it’s stopping you.” ~Jordan Peterson
At the end of the day, self-discipline creates competence, competence creates confidence, and confidence creates courage. The courage gained from your unstoppable confidence will be a force of nature to contend with.
Be ruthless. Be fierce. Be daring. Ride like lightning, crash like thunder. Love dangerously. Love on purpose, with purpose. Love like you’re not going to live forever. Because you aren’t. No fear, but for the fuel of it. No concern, all burn. This is what fearlessness truly is. Your confidence is a blaze of glory just waiting to flare up. Let it flare through the sieve of your fear.
About the Author:
Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.
This article (10 Ways to Build Unstoppable Confidence) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and self-inflictedphilosophy.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.