People often ask me what it takes to get to a good level of self-worth and how to keep this belief alive over long periods of time. It is a tricky question as there are so many things that can influence you. I think there are two forms, the one that is anchored in yourself as a person (that people work on through Yoga, religion, self-reflection etc.) and the one that is anchored in other achievements (jobs, titles, houses, family etc).
What I believe is to be careful in anchoring too much of your worth in external things since all these things can be taken away for you. If you identify your worth too much with your job and you are made redundant, you will likely lose a fair bit of self-worth, right when you most need it.
Based on my experience and belief there are a few things you can do to build and maintain your more personal self-worth and not be too dependent on your job or any other external thing.
Have realistic expectations, it is hard today as everyone is conditioned to present themselves as 100% confident all the time but I think self-doubt is normal. If you do something that pushes your ability you will swing between self-confidence and self-doubt. When something you thought was hard becomes easy, you can either continue to do the same thing and be comfortable and confident or you can go search for a bigger mountain to climb that may look a tad scary at first glance. One keeps you confident, one keeps you developing. If you watch Joe Rogan’s podcast with George St Pierre (World class MMA fighter), he spends time in the bathroom before every fight talking to himself, “come on, you can do it”. If George has a bit of doubt, I think it is safe to say that most of us have as well.
Inner strength is not absence of self doubt, it is to doubt yourself and get it done anyway. “You cant be brave if you are never afraid”, remember?
Physical resilience = Mental resilience. Maybe it is not the be all, end all to be fit but for me mental resilience is almost 100% correlated with physical optimisation i.e. how I manage my energy.
- Charge well, by getting sleep, nutrition, exercise and a bit of time for something that makes your soul feel good.
- Focus your energy on things that matter, there is something to learn from the book “The subtle art of not giving a f**k” (even if the title is the best part of that book to be honest).
Long term plans, I keep a rough 3-year plan along with a slightly more detailed 1-year plan about what I want to achieve in a lot of areas, not just work. It is on a monthly basis so 12 columns. I check now and then that I am roughly on track with them and have a feeling that it makes me less susceptible to “bad days”. If you are on track to where you are going a small setback is nothing to fret about. Just keep going.
Do things you don’t want to do, most of you have probably hear of famous Navy SEAL and ultra runner David Goggins. He says “Do one thing every day that suck”. That sounds a bit extreme but to have strong self-discipline to do what needs doing and not what you want to do, and in that way be the master of your own mind, is useful.
The essence of it in 3 bullets:
- Don’t pin too much of self worth on external things
- Have realistic expectations, basically everyone doubt themselves at times
- Inner strength is not absence of self doubt, it is to doubt yourself and get it done anyway