Overcoming Self-Doubt: A Practical Guide to Building Inner Confidence and Personal Strength

Humans require outside help to understand the world. No man is an island, and we seek wisdom from those around us. Such wisdom-seeking is healthy and should be encouraged.

Our problem comes from the low quality of most people. When a strong individual seeks wisdom from the outside world, he will be disappointed. He will encounter weak individuals, a lying media, unwise propaganda posing as entertainment, a corrupt government, broken families, and so forth. The modern world offers virtuous individuals hardly any avenues for good wisdom.

Therefore, you must cultivate inner confidence and resilience in a world of misinformation and weak influences. With inner confidence, you can reject the lies and manipulations of the external world while remaining loyal to what is good and virtuous.

Recognizing the Shadows: How Society Fuels Self-Doubt

“It’s easy to run to others. It’s so hard to stand on one’s own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can’t fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It’s easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It’s simple to seek substitutes for competence–such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.” – Ayn Rand

Human beings have rational faculties that grant us the capacity for observation, pattern recognition, reason, and curiosity. However, our subjective natures, emotions, and memories can create self-doubt when seeing reality.

Other people manage our subjectivity. How do I know I’m being reasonable? Because other virtuous individuals agree with me. How do I know something is real? Because others can confirm the existence of what I’m seeing.

We reach the truth through observation, reasoning, and philosophy with others. And this interaction with other individuals underlies our tendency to be social creatures.

In the past, objective truth would have been bolstered by stable and rational individuals who were not addicted to every vice. Our modern society of weak individuals, drunken with vice and false narratives from the media, struggles to think clearly about basic economics, the government’s role in society, and even the difference between a man and a woman.

In short, we don’t live in a rational society. Therefore, we must create internal processes to assess what is and is not true and good.

The Bedrock of Inner Confidence: Cultivating Your Self-Reliance

break the chains | a man fighting the chains

The more self-reliant you are, the harder you are to control.

In the wake of a broken world, we need the self-confidence to know what is good. This wisdom comes from our actions and how well we align those actions with what is good.

The good can be roughly defined as ideals that appeal to transcendental, virtuous concepts such as courage and persistence. Materially, these ideals inspire actions that create sustainability, happiness, and longevity while reigning in individuals’ excesses and vices.

In our society, we can find few people and institutes that support and knowledge the good. We cannot depend heavily on others to guide us. We cannot turn to our porn-addicted neighbor and ask him if we are being loyal to our spouses. We cannot look to the decadent elites and learn how to use our talents for the good of others. We cannot ask the government how to be responsible with money or how to plan for the future.

Our society is broken and corrupt. The individual is left to earn and build his own confidence in the good he wishes to live.

Strategies for Cultivating Inner Confidence

When becoming an effective moral agent, you must focus on overcoming vices, engaging in frequent self-reflection, avoiding arrogance, learning from your past actions, and steering clear of negative influences.

Through these techniques, you can become more confident in your wisdom.

Rising Above: How to Conquer Your Vices

Vices are behaviors, attitudes, and ideas that make you weak, slow, and small. When you engage in a vice, you are satisfying the worst parts of yourself: your greed, lust, wrath, and envy. For example, porn is a vice because it satisfies your lust. You do not elevate sex to a higher position, where you pursue it to fulfill spiritual, mental, and physical desires. You watch it alone to fulfill temporary feelings that don’t build a family, help you fall in love, or give honor to your partner.

We all struggle with vices. No man is a saint, perfect and above us all. But when we participate in our vices and seek to justify them, we become weaker and more delusional.

Why can’t we depend on society’s views on most issues? Because most people are addicts. They have certain beliefs to justify their love of the vices they have. For example, why would I ask the average American about the morality surrounding money, its proper role in society, or even how to balance a budget? Most people are addicted to consumerism, which is why the vast majority of Americans are in debt and have no capacity or desire to pay that debt.

Since our vices make us blind, overcoming them gives us strength and clarity. When you defeat what weighs you down or satisfies the weakest aspects of your character, you can approach life with a clearer head.

Overcome your vices, and you won’t waste time justifying what you are addicted to.

Reflections for Growth: Unlocking the Power of Journaling

journal

Journal to learn more about yourself. The deeper you can understand yourself, the more power you have.

Our community is crucial to correcting us when we act poorly. Community can include the broader society when the morals and values of such a society align with virtue. Unfortunately, our modern society lacks mentally strong, morally righteous individuals. Thus, most people cannot provide direction when discerning good or evil.

Therefore, you need to have your own self-reflection mechanism. Journaling isn’t foolproof. You can delude yourself. However, you gain more maturity when you write down events and are forced to think about them from different perspectives.

Additionally, you can constantly reflect on your past behaviors and actions. For example, if you notice a pattern around someone, you can examine what may lead to the habit.

There is a good series of questions you can ask to help with journaling:

  1. What am I grateful for today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. How did I contribute to my goals today?
  4. What emotions did I feel today, and why?
  5. How did I handle stress or challenges today?
  6. What could I have done better today?
  7. Who impacted my life today, and how?
  8. What am I holding onto that I need to let go of?
  9. How can I make tomorrow better than today?
  10. What brings me joy, and how can I incorporate more of it into my life?

Self-improvement is growing through the trenches day after day to become better than who you are. While in the trenches, you might miss the broader picture. Journaling allows you to pull back and see what you may be missing.

Keeping Humility Close: The Pitfalls of Arrogance

“Love should be treated like a business deal, but every business deal has its own terms and its own currency. And in love, the currency is virtue. You love people not for what you do for them or what they do for you. You love them for the values, the virtues, which they have achieved in their own character.” – Ayn Rand

Arrogance is one of the greatest dangers of individualism. Arrogance is simply believing you are great because you say so. It is the inflated ego driven by simply being. As an individualist, you will grow in competence and ability. But this growth can lead to an increased sense of self-worth that is delusional and abusive.

For example, I have accomplished many things in my life. I have overcome many errors and addictions. I have pulled myself up by my bootstraps by being virtuous. I have rational pride in my accomplishments. However, it would be arrogant to say I did it alone. I had help from many people, especially my wife. To discount their efforts so I can feel better about myself is delusional.

Arrogance leads to a delusion that defines how most modern people approach morality. Weak individuals believe something is right simply because they like to do it. Goodness is defined by virtue, transcendental ideals that exist beyond the material. Arrogance prevents you from seeing this.

Here are a few ways to establish humility and break the potential for arrogance:

  • Always challenge yourselfAvoid being too comfortable with where you are. Always set goals that scare you so you don’t fall into the trap of believing you will always be victorious.
  • Remember the good people around you and who came before you – Who has helped you on your journey? You could have received help from greater thinkers such as Ayn Rand or a good teacher. Even the farmer who grows your food or the doctor who nursed you to health should be remembered. Reflecting on others reminds you of your dependency on good, capable people. Such a reality reduces arrogance.
  • Reflect on your mortality – Death universalizes. Since you will die, you can’t view yourself as too high and mighty. Additionally, you have runny noses, trips to the bathroom, and other mortal concerns. Such acknowledgment prevents the perfect view of yourself that arrogance creates.
  • Stop comparing yourself to weak individuals – For example, I don’t compare my awesome marriage to a single mother in the ghetto. I compare my marriage to my church friends, who are patient, kind, and wise. I look for those better than me and seek wisdom in their actions. Such seeking reduces the belief that you are the best and have nothing new to learn.

Remember, arrogance makes you delusional, so you cannot process reality as it should be. You believe yourself above the concerns of virtue. Such a mindset leads you down a path where you fail to treat others well, accomplish your goals, or live as virtuously as you should.

Lessons from Legends: Gleaning Wisdom from the Past

Our current culture is one of hedonism and irreverence. If we wish to find wisdom, we need to look to the past.

Read often; seek knowledge from good men and women from the past—those of the past have greater knowledge than modernity wishes to admit. Our ancestors understood certain realities, such as why marriage was essential for a flourishing society. We have decided to forgo these simple truths to pursue short-term pleasures that bear no fruit.

Therefore, within the ancients, you will find wisdom and guidance. You can utilize such wisdom to help form your own self-confidence in your abilities.

For example, I felt crazy when I saw us doing the same stupid acts with the economy. Only when I read Hayek, Rothbard, and Rand did I realize our current culture is consumerist and greedy. The propaganda from modern economists is simply lies. I only gained this insight from learning from the past.

The present lacks the wisdom and humility to compare itself to what ought to be. The past can give us insight into current-day moral failings. Integrating those truths into your daily living allows you to gain confidence in your knowledge.

Choose Your Circle Wisely: Steering Clear of Negativity

weak individuals | man yelling into the abyss

Weak individuals do not improve your life. They will undermine your future and potential success.

Weak individuals make it hard for you to judge right and wrong. They will cloud your judgment, mess with your emotions, and destabilize your mind. These people are not on your side.

Weak individuals are motivated to ensure their hedonistic and nihilistic ideals are rarely challenged. They are compelled to manipulate and lie to you so they don’t have to change. Such lies and manipulations will undermine your confidence in yourself.

For example, pornography is a clear net negative for the individual and society. But if you talk to a weak individual, you will be trapped in discussions about bodily autonomy and individual decisions. Instead of discussing what ought to be, the negative effects of pornography, and how individuals should pursue what elevates them, you are instead discussing why hedonism is justified.

What lessons can you learn from such a conversation? What great insight into the human condition do you gain by indulging in your vices, with the only justification being “it feels good”?

But if you live your life virtuously, your strength is justification enough.

Keep weak individuals out of your life. Avoid them so you can be as objective as possible.

Pursuing Inner Confidence: The Path to Personal Virtue

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

When we live virtuously, we challenge ourselves to pursue what is good while sacrificing what is easy and comfortable.

The man who lives virtuously is the outlier. The man who sets a budget, exercises regularly, eats well, has patience, and so on lives in a hard but rewarding way. His reward is self-confidence.

Can you trust a man incapable of thinking critically about the government? Can you trust a man who can’t balance a budget or plan his finances? Can you trust a man with no goals or plans for his future?

But you do. You live a life of virtue, and that struggle should give you the self-confidence to know your opinion is correct when you argue with a weak individual.

Live well. Overcome your vices and take your life seriously. The world needs you.

Turning Insight into Action: Practical Steps Forward Towards More Inner Confidence

  1. Current Trends: What are some current trends and issues you’ve been able to identify with the modern era? Do you think there are any solutions to these societal issues? What are you doing practically to protect yourself from social dysfunction?
  2. Mental Health: How does the dysfunction of the world make you feel? Why do you think such brokenness provokes such feelings in you?
  3. Personal Power: What are you doing to improve your personal power? Are you getting into better shape, overcoming your vices, or focusing on accomplishing your goals? The more you can achieve personally, the more confidence you will develop.
  4. Create a Vice and Virtue Ledger: For one week, log your actions daily and categorize them under ‘Vices’ and ‘Virtues.’ Reflect on how your vices might be undermining your confidence and how your virtues could be enhanced.
  5. Daily Journaling Practice: Start or end each day by answering at least three of the journaling prompts provided in the post. Aim to discover patterns in your thoughts and behaviors contributing to self-doubt.
  6. Set Humility Goals: Identify areas where arrogance may have crept into your life. Set specific, measurable goals to practice humility, such as acknowledging others’ contributions to your success or learning a new skill from someone.
  7. Historical Figure of the Month: Choose a historical figure who embodies a virtue you admire each month. Spend the month learning about their life, reading their works, or reflecting on how they overcame challenges. Apply one lesson learned to your own life.
  8. Audit Your Social Circle: List the five people you spend the most time with and assess their influence on your life. Are they positive, supportive, and virtuous? If not, consider ways to expand your circle to include more positive influences.
  9. Virtue Commitment Challenge: Choose one virtue you want to develop more deeply (e.g., patience, generosity, courage). Set a 30-day challenge for yourself where you commit to one daily action that exemplifies this virtue.
  10. Reflect and Plan: At the end of each month, reflect on your progress and plan for the coming month. Which strategies were most effective? What new actions could you take to continue growing?

Please remember it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

Refer to the linked articles and studies throughout this post for detailed evidence and case studies supporting these views.

*Image credit to Unsplash.