This week we take a break in our discussion of all things men’s style and talk about CONFIDENCE. Something many of us men can use more of in our lives.
In addition to educating men on dressing better, Gentleman Within’s mission is to help men to live their best lives, period. Nathan Adlam, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Menfluential Conference (formerly known as StyleCon) a few weeks ago wanted to write a piece for us and I was more than happy to oblige.
Nathan is the founding editor of Social Sage, where he teaches introverts the art of charm, but really—it’s for anyone who wants to build social skills, become more attractive or influential, and do it with charm. At the end of the article, I’ll post links where you can get in touch with him. I hope you guys enjoy his article as much as I did.
Alright Nathan, take it away…
We never really grow up. We only learn how to act in public
Think back to the absolute earliest memory of yourself.
Yes, go on. I’ll wait a moment.
As you recall those mental movies, deep from the archives of your brain, think about some of the words that come to mind that describe how you felt at those very moments.
As a 4-year old driving my big-wheeler around the simulated roads of Nature’s Way Preschool, I felt nothing short of an absolute boss as I whizzed by anyone going too slow on the blacktop. I’m pretty sure that Ridin’ by Chamillionaire was playing in the background.
Even as those memories originate over 2 decades ago, I still recall how I felt during that experience. The confidence, freedom, and enjoyment is not so easy to re-create in life today.
Why is that?
From the time we can walk and talk, we all had beliefs in ourselves that we were valid. That we were the center of the universe, and if we didn’t get what we wanted…. We could cry, scream, and throw a temper tantrum if we didn’t get another scoop of ice cream or get to stay up late to watch All That just one time. Come on, Mom! Really!? Just this once!
As we grow older, it’s easy to lower our expectations of ourselves. When we’re 5, we want to save the world. A few decades later, we just want to save ourselves. As a child in elementary school, I can vividly remember hearing a news story about someone who had committed suicide.
I recall being utterly confused at the idea of someone killing themselves. Was it an accident? Why would someone even consider doing that?
Now that I am older and wiser, I have a greater understanding of the world, and can comprehend why someone, even with the outward-appearance of “success”, would do that to themselves.
Related: You might like this complete guide on How to Develop A Growth Mindset.
As we grow older, reality (or more accurately… our perception of it) hits us hard. We compare ourselves to others. We don’t take action. Fear grips us. We don’t go for what we want, due to societal expectations and fear of judgment.
It’s naïve to think that we can simply return to our young, non-bill-paying, pants-pooping, unbridled selves. And give as many fucks as we gave as we did when we were 4.
If that were the case, we’d be running around in our underwear, telling people how it really is, and having nap-time at 2:30. All of which are amazing things that society has unfortunately frowned upon in the working-adult world.
So what are we to do?
How do we live in a way that allows us to feel the freedom of running around in our underwear? [Tweet this]
For starters, create an environment that supports your goal.
Wear clothes that you’re excited about. At work, put some Play-Doh at your desk, and encourage your neighbors to make something cool. Put up some cool lights and a whiteboard. At home, put up art that inspires you. Put a basketball hoop in your house. Get rid of clutter, both in the forms of people, and things.
Maybe you don’t give a fuck, and you do these things already. Or maybe you have your own ideas as to what sounds fun for you. I only offer these as suggestions, because they are things I’ve done that help me remember to take time out of my day to play.
The reason I remind you is that it’s easy to fall into the idea of “traditional.” It’s super easy to get caught up thinking what a desk should look like, or what your apartment should have in it, now that you’re an adult.
When you create a traditional environment around your daily life, you’re going to cultivate a traditional mindset to go along with it.
Which is by no means worse than any other way. It simply means that you will be more traditional with your thought patterns. You will ask less questions, go with the flow more, and not stand out.
Quick note: You might like this article on How to Improve Emotional Health by Focusing on Your Personal Style.
The next idea that will help you to dig deep to your old, unfiltered confidence is to ask yourself this question.
If I were 5, how would I take on the challenges I am facing right now?
If you have a business, you’d tell everyone about it. You’d shamelessly carry yourself. You’d be a heck of a lot nicer to yourself.
Sure, the idea of putting yourself in your own 5-year-old light-up shoes might be too simple for some. You gotta pay the bills, deal with that loud neighbor upstairs, and make enough money to live. But the way you treat yourself would be totally different.
If you get nothing out of this article, except one piece of wisdom, let it be this. Ask yourself
What makes me confident?
Acting on what makes you confident is an idea that anyone, regardless of where they are in life, can benefit from. [Tweet this]
As people and ESPECIALLY of millennials, we spend so much time trying to fix ourselves. We think we’re broken or lacking, and we get sucked into thinking that we can’t move forward until we fix those things that we aren’t good at.
When the truth is, we are exactly where we are meant to be. And time marches on whether we are ready or not.
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