The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”

They say confidence is the foundation of success. Belief in your abilities allows you to overcome all hurdles, stand up for yourself, overcome your fears, and stretch yourself beyond your limits.

Here’s a glimpse of how self-confidence can impact your life, behavior, and chances of success. 

Examples of self-confidence 

If you look around you or read the biographies of people who achieved legendary success in their fields, you will invariably find that self-confidence is the common quality shared by all of them.

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”

Let's look at three such globally renowned personalities who exemplify the importance of self-confidence. Their lives are a testimony to the transformational power of self-confidence, which helped them overcome challenges and achieve the impossible.

  1. Mahatma Gandhi: 

Born in 1969, Mahatma Gandhi was an ordinary person who stood up against the British Empire. He led hundreds of millions of Indians to demand freedom from colonial rule and helped India achieve Independence in 1947.

image credit: Elliott & Fry/Public domain

Gandhi's story is so remarkable that famous scientist Albert Einstein said of Gandhi, "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."

What are the chances of an ordinary person with no apparent powers or allies to go up against an Empire that in one way or another ruled almost half of the world at the time? Gandhi didn't have an army, nor did he need one. He had self-confidence. He believed in his dream of an independent India and in his choice of using non-violent means to achieve it. He is believed to have said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” This sums up his guiding principle and the source of his self-confidence and determination.

  1. Helen Keller: 

The globally renowned American author and motivational speaker, Helen Keller, had an extraordinary journey. She wrote her autobiography The Story of My Life when she was aged 22 and studying in college. What makes Keller one of the most iconic American women in history is that she participated fully in life despite having become deaf and blind when she was not even two years old.

image credit: Los Angeles Times; restored by User:Rhododendrites/Public domain

With the help of teachers who taught her to communicate and express herself, she attended the prestigious Harvard University. She became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Despite her physical challenges, Keller was determined to make a mark and overcame her disabilities to live life to the fullest. She wrote several books, traveled to dozens of countries, gave scores of motivational speeches and fought for various social causes including women's rights. 

Here’s how a local paper described one of her lectures in 1916: “The wonderful girl who has so brilliantly triumphed over the triple afflictions of blindness, dumbness and deafness, gave a talk with her own lips on ‘Happiness’, and it will be remembered always as a piece of inspired teaching by those who heard it.”

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  1. Oprah Winfrey: 

This living example of self-confidence needs no introduction. Today, Oprah Winfrey is regarded as Queen of All Media and is the richest African-American woman of the 20th century. But she was born in a poor family and had a tough childhood. Undaunted, she persevered and had the confidence to overcome all obstacles. 

image credit: aphrodite-in-nyc

Her television show made her a household name, while her charitable work has won her admiration for many years. Today, Oprah is a multi-billionaire and one of the most popular motivational speakers globally. She has written numerous books and is one of the most renowned TV show hosts and media personalities. 

Oprah’s drive comes from her self-confidence. As she said, “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”

Learning from example  

As we can see through the self-esteem examples illustrated above, there is a clear relationship between self-confidence and success.

In recent decades, people like Jack Ma, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sachin Tendulkar have exemplified the power of having faith in one's own abilities. When you dream of doing something never seen before, or when you aim higher than anyone has gone in your field, your self-confidence will drive you to keep working till you succeed.

One of the main reasons why self-confident people are successful is that confidence increases their self and situational awareness.

Helen Keller overcame incredible physical limitations, Oprah had a terrible childhood, and Gandhi was up against a mighty empire. Yet they all succeeded. We can find scores of such examples where people overcame challenges to not only survive but also thrive.

To further develop your self-confidence, think more deeply about your needs and goals. Try finding answers to questions such as:

  • What are my principles?
  • What goals have I set for myself?
  • To what extent can I go to achieve my goals?
  • What are the things that are unacceptable to me?
  • What is my vision for life?

When you spend time reflecting on these questions, you will realize how to align your choices and actions with your goals. You will be able to understand positive and negative emotions and see which people, incidents, or actions negatively impact your progress.

At the same time, by learning about successful people and how they developed self-belief, we can learn lessons that can be implemented in our own lives. 

Conclusion  

As we can see, self-confidence is a trait that can separate leaders from followers. Merely having the knowledge, talent, or resources is not a guarantee of success. 

In the same way, people can overcome challenges by combining their knowledge and skills with confidence.

Helen Keller overcame incredible physical limitations, Oprah had a terrible childhood, and Gandhi was up against a mighty empire. Yet, they all succeeded. We can find scores of such examples where people overcame challenges to not only survive but also thrive.

Your self-confidence is your best friend in times of adversity. Harappa Education's Leading Self course will help you cultivate greater self-confidence using tools such as The Performance Equation which helps one improve their performance by reducing interferences and discovering their potential. Take this fantastic course today and unleash the abilities hidden within you!


Explore blogs on topics such as self-esteem and how to build confidence in our Harappa Diaries section to go on a path of self-development.

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