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Many people find it hard to say what they're good at. They prefer to be modest. Presenting your qualities in a confident way often is seen as being arrogant. Nevertheless it's important when you want to get things done, or when you want to create opportunities for yourself. When you have e.g. a job interview, it's important you know how to promote your qualities. Otherwise the job might very well go to someone else.
In your private life as well, it's important. When negotiating tasks, in the household, the volunteer board or anywhere else, it's important. If you're too modest, the most fun and challenging tasks will probably get assigned to someone else, and you might get stuck with the boring tasks. This is also annoying for others. It's highly likely your talents will also be appreciated by others. If the task assigned to you is too easy, you might get bored and unmotivated, and it's possible someone else gets assigned a task that's too difficult for them.
Arrogant or confident?
We live in a negative culture. It's easy to tell others what they're doing wrong. And we treat ourselves pretty much the same way: we mostly pay attention to the things we're not good at, or the things that need improvement. Giving ourselves a compliment is not done, especially not out loud. We think this is arrogant. However, this isn't justified. There's a clear divide between being arrogant and being confident.
Arrogant people don't take criticism too well. They've got trouble accepting other viewpoints, and always think they are right, and their qualities are the best. On the other hand, if you're confident, you feel secure and at the same time you're open to other viewpoints. You don't feel threatened by criticism. You pay attention to it, and use it to your advantage.
Arrogance often serves to hide a lack of confidence. Bragging often is a way to hide a feeling of insecurity.
A fear of failure influences presenting strengths. Because if you say you're good at something, you might have to proof it. It's important not to overestimate yourself and it's also important not to promise too much, in order to avoid disappointment. It's important to have a realistic idea of your strengths and weaknesses. When you're really confident, you don't feel shame in admitting you're not up to something. People that try to hide their insecurities, often promise too much.
Use your Inner Coach
I've already mentioned our inner critic, that inner voice that just loves to tear you down, and make you feel miserable. Often you're not even aware of that inner critic. The voice has become all too obvious. It seems ingrained in your entire being. It undermines your confidence.
It seems your inner voice is a bad thing. That's not entirely true though. You are your inner voice. The challenge lies in using this inner voice to your advantage. You can change your inner critic into a coach, encouraging you and cheering you up.
3 against 1
Using your inner voice as a coach, doesn't mean you'll never have negative thoughts again. It's perfectly okay to have negative thoughts about yourself once in a while. Doing stupid things, messing things up, it's all part of life. It's important though not to let these negative thoughts put you down unnecessarily, and to have positive thoughts as well.
Research shows that if you want to feel good about yourself, and bring out the best in you, against every negative thought there have to be at least three positive thoughts. If you often think negatively about yourself, it's difficult to change this behaviour. Don't condemn yourself if you're having negative thoughts. Try to see these thoughts as clouds, just passing by.
20 000 moments
In the beginning thinking positively about yourself might seem artificial. If you do this on a regular basis though, it will become an automatism. You'll become your own coach. The advantages are enormous. According to Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman people experience 20 000 individual moments a day. These moments only last a few seconds. During such a moment you read something, look back on something, or say something to yourself. Imagine using just 1 % of these individual moments to say something nice about yourself, and you'll have 200 encouragements a day !
Make a list of 5 qualities you'd like to use more in your professional or private life. Start each sentence with "I am good at ..." or "One of my qualities is ...".
Write down 3 encouraging sentences you can use if things don't go as planned. Examples are: "Everyone makes mistakes", "It's not a shame to fail" or "I'll do better next time".
Read these lists out loud at least twice a day.
Now think about how you can communicate the qualities you wrote down to others. Practise in front of a mirror. Watch your body language, and speak in a clear eloquent voice. You can use sentences like "I'm very good at ...", "One of my qualities is that ...", "The reason I should get this job / task is ...", "An important reason why I should get this task is ...", or variations on this theme.