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The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt Paperback – September 13, 2011
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Too many of us miss out on opportunities in life because we lack self-confidence. Whether it's public speaking, taking on a leadership role, or asking someone for a date, there are situations in which we just don't feel equipped to handle the challenges we face.
Russ Harris offers a surprising solution to low self-confidence, shyness, and insecurity: Rather than trying to "get over" our fears, he says, the secret is to form a new and wiser relationship with them. Paradoxically, it's only when we stop struggling against our fearfulness that we begin to find lasting freedom from it.
Drawing on the techniques of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a cutting-edge form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, The Confidence Gap explains how to:
• Free yourself from common misconceptions about what confidence is and how to build it
• Transform your relationship with fear and anxiety
• Clarify your core values and use them as your inspiration and motivation
• Use mindfulness to effectively handle negative thoughts and feelings.
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Over the years, I’ve worked with literally thousands of people who have put their hopes, dreams, and ambitions on hold because they ‘don’t have enough confidence.’ And the sad thing is, this lack of confidence is not due to any fault of their own. It is certainly not because of stupidity, or laziness, or negative thinking, or a deprived childhood, or a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is simply because they do not know the rules of the confidence game. ...
On your journey, you’ll discover a revolutionary new approach to maximizing human potential: a model of change that is firmly based on cutting-edge research in human psychology. And you’ll learn to develop a mind-set known as psychological flexibility—a powerful mental state that enables you to respond effectively to fear, anxiety, and self-doubt. You’ll also learn to develop genuine, lasting self-confidence. And you’ll learn to enhance your performance in any area of your life—from sports, business, and creative arts to socializing, parenting, and sex!”
~ Russ Harris from The Confidence Gap
Russ Harris is one of the world’s leading authorities on one of the most cutting-edge forms of therapy known as Acceptance and Commitment Training, or ACT for short (pronounced like the word act not A.C.T.).
ACT is essentially a powerful blend of mindfulness training and cognitive behavioral therapy. I’ll be covering Russ’s first book (The Happiness Trap) soon where he provides a general intro to it.
This book is, as you probably guessed by now, all about helping us optimize our confidence. Russ basically tells us that we’ve been following the wrong rule book if we want to dial in our confidence. He presents 10 rules on how to win the game of confidence we’ll explore in the Note.
I'm excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas:
1. Confidence Gap Defined - Thinking that feelings precede action.
2. 10 Rules - For winning the game of confidence.
3. Defusion + Workability - Two very important words.
4. Presto! Instant Success - The result of living your values.
5. FEAR -> DARE - How to make the switch.
More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our *OPTIMIZE* membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.
3 days ago I felt I had hit some sort of rock bottom level of motivation and simultaneously had the highest levels of generalized anxiety I had ever felt. I have always had some degree of anxiety since my teenage years or maybe even earlier, but recently I felt like I was losing control of my mind, losing control of the voice inside my head. Any efforts I made to improve my mental condition were met with self-doubt, I would give up on my efforts, and my confidence would drop even lower. I recognized that I was at a point where I had the potential to spiral into a depression, because my anxiety was beginning to rise at an exponential rate.
I must admit I haven't read a book in years. I'm too lazy, reading is too boring, I don't like being told what to do, etc. All of these types of thoughts were preventing me from ever doing it, but I still passed through classes easily somehow, never improving my work ethic, or feeling proud of accomplishing something like reading a book.
Well, I read this book in 3 days. One day I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep, at approx 6 am. I get up at 11 or later most of the time so this was waaaay to early to get things done. But I couldn't fall back asleep and then my feelings of anxiety as usual just switched back on. Immediately I was just done with that feeling. It was getting worse, after all.
I went on Amazon, searched for "confidence books", found this one, didn't read any reviews but saw it had a good rating, bought it for Kindle, put it on my tablet, and started reading. It was a book that I trusted myself to at least open, and as soon as I did, I read some interesting stuff. I first read about how we are NOT our thoughts, we aren't all the culminations of the demands and actions of a dictator inside our head. Like some sort of mental trap, we have stuck ourselves in cycling lies such as a false understanding of motivation ("I'm waiting until I feel motivated to start running."), a false understanding of confidence ("I'm waiting until I feel confident before I try dating."), and a false understanding of fear ("I need to be fearless when I go up on that stage.")
I'm trying to stop myself from typing too much. I'm just so excited, because something I have never thought I would ever type into some sort of product review is, this has turned my life around. I redefined my understanding of confidence, have practiced the well researched psychologist-backed methods for defusing from your own thoughts to fully focus on what the senses and what is happening in the present, and finally I can see some sort of path towards improving my confidence. I am not saying after reading the book I am immediately super confident and can make myself do whatever I want to to improve my life, I'm saying I now have the tools and enough understanding of the human psyche that I can actually feel some sort of direction in my life.
I fully committed to what the book said. I was always a person who would just skip the details in most tasks. I didn't even read books before. But somehow, before I was reading the book, I had that stroke of anger, about my anxiety, that I felt propelled me into taking action, not this book specifically. But, thanks to specifically this book, I now know how I can CAUSE this to happen, not wait. Because I made an effort while using Russ's methods, and after I recognized that through his writing itself he was actually teaching us the basics of defusing from your thoughts (which blew my mind by the way, thank you Russ), I got totally engaged and focused in the book, and then the book taught me about focus itself, and how all we have to do to be focused and have to peak performance is to defuse and be mindful, and now it's just like everything makes sense. My head is clear. I didn't stop my thoughts, that's not what it's about. It is about truly understand that, once again, we are NOT our thoughts.
Last I will mention, without shame, that I had tried using drugs and alcohol to cope with anxiety over the course of about 2 years. This had definitely contributed to making my anxiety worse. I say without shame because I can now admit that I know it was wrong to use them to try and improve my confidence. It was wrong not because I was using illicit substances but because I had believed it to be the answer, and to believe the answer to improving my mentality and attitude towards myself was anything other than taking actual actions was one of the wrongest wrongs I have ever had commited in my life.
Now I am moving on. I have properly set goals for myself, like "jog 30 mins tonight", not "be the confident attractive beast you always dreamed of being." And if my mind tells me not to do it, and I can clearly tell that not doing it would not help me, then I have the tools to work around the feelings of discomfort and thoughts of "I can't do it.". And I will keep using these tools in other parts of life, parts I have not yet delved into.
I read a book for the first time in 3 years, and now I feel great.
I'm a physician with an interest in this topic. Consider this book, let the feel good books like Deepak Chopra go. This book is about scientific information and how to use the lever of science to help yourself.
It was such a great book that I have purchased 4 additional copies and send them to friends! Not sure how this book has been under the radar compared to other books of its category but in my opinion, it is by far the most practical book I have read in the realm of self help since "first thing first" by Covey circa 1994!
The author explains concepts, gives personal examples, then gives exercises to readers/listeners. The book is an easy read but not easy to grasp. I probably listened to some chapters 5 -6 times. The book has a golden list of values that sets it apart from others. There are many concepts in the book to prepare you for the real world. I have found the following very useful so far:
- Action first
- Value based success
In the past 30 years, every decade, 1 or 2 books have been paramount to my personal growth and development, and "Confidence Gap" is definitely on this decade's list!
PS: the narrator in the audio version has an amazing and captivating voice.