Fact: 85% of Us Suffer From Low Self-Esteem

Several studies indicate that 85% of Americans suffer from low self-esteem. That’s a huge problem. Unless you are part of the top 15% of self-actualized individuals living in a perpetual state of bliss, enlightenment, or Nirvana, there is a high probability that you, like me, suffer from occasional bouts of low self-worth or have your confidence shaken from time to time. Our confidence and self-esteem problems will not go away on their own. To successfully combat our low self-esteem, we have to not only get honest about what our problems are but may need counsel to guide us through the gnarled mess in our minds.

A Simple Science-Based and Empirically-Tested Solution for Improving our Self-Esteem

While there are many solutions for overcoming low self-esteem, one is closer than you think. Both the problem and solution can be found in one word—belief. According to Stephen Campbell and other neuroscientists, the inner critics in our heads lack discernment between fact or fiction. The brain, according to Campbell, “…believes EVERYTHING we tell it, without question, no arguments.”

This is important to understand because it validates the tired cliché, “Garbage in. Garbage out.”

Unfortunately, many of our beliefs are false. They are lies we’ve held for years, perhaps initiated by criticism from parents, bosses, teachers, or other life influences. Because our brains don’t know what to believe, the critical voices are reinforced by our negative self-talk, especially in areas related to our self-esteem and self-confidence.

This is not healthy. To the extent that we give them power over our lives, the critics in our minds are toxic.

I explore this further in the chapter about belief in my upcoming release of Ten Seconds of Boldness, The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.

For now, here’s some great news:

You can change if you somehow find enough courage to do so.

You may be thinking, That’s great. Tell me something I don’t already know.

How do I find courage? Good question, but a better question we must ask ourselves is why?

What does that mean and how is it related to self-confidence? It means everything.

It’s no secret that when we not only change the way we think but what we choose to believe, our world changes. Our perspective shifts as we replace outdated beliefs about ourselves with new ones.

And, according to neuroscience, everything we believe is tied to patterns we have created in our minds, to what we chose to believe.

Neuroscience expert Steven Campbell explains further:

One of the most exciting discoveries in the neurosciences is how our brain is continually creating patterns, based on what we learn during the day. It creates these patterns at night when we are asleep. And the number of patterns it creates is beyond imagination.

The latest research estimates that our brain has about eighty-three billion neurons, and each of these neurons are connected to an average of 10,000 neurons. That’s not a multiple; that’s a power! In other words, the connections, which determine the number of patterns the human brain can carry is eighty-three billion times eighty-three million, 10,000 times. It is no wonder that the scientific community agrees that the human brain is the most complex organism in the universe.

While the brain is incredibly complex, when it comes to learning new things, simple is always better. The problem, as Stephen points out, is that our brain never sleeps; it doesn’t know what is helpful or detrimental to your self-esteem. As a result, the thoughts and feelings we have throughout the day, good or bad, are on a perpetual quest to connect to similar thoughts, beliefs, or feelings in our brain. This further reinforces existing beliefs, good or bad, thereby creating patterns that will continue until challenged.

In my case, low self-esteem and self-confidence have manifested themselves in a myriad of negative thought patterns, beliefs, or emotions in my life. Here are a few examples, which are variations of thinking and behavior rooted in fear:

  • Jealousy
  • Resentment
  • Anger
  • Pride
  • Ego
  • Blame
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Micro-Management
  • Control
  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Making a Mistake
  • Fear of Being Wrong
  • Fear of the Unknown
  • Fear of Rejection
  • Fear of Abandonment
  • Fear of Public Speaking
  • Fear of Confrontation
  • Fear of Success
  • Fear of Death
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

If you relate to any of these fears, I encourage you to read Ten Seconds of Boldness. It could be the missing link to moving you from where you are to where you want to be.

Learn more at shawnlangwell.com

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

This is a question we have all contemplated at some point in our lives. Perhaps, we still do. What do we do to “figure it out?” Who do we ask for help? I recall a conversation I had with my stepfather years ago.

It was a cool spring day, in April. My stepfather David and I sat outside on the deck of his hillside home in West Marin beneath old oaks and towering pines, talking about my future.

I don’t recall how the conversation started, but I do remember feeling my heart thump in my chest because at that point, I felt as if I should know what career to pursue but had no real clue. I had never even written a resume.

I was lost.

“Congratulations!” he started. “You’re graduating and you’re going to get married. That’s terrific! Now what do you think you want to be when you grow up? What kind of job do you want?” Immediately I felt my gut tighten and stammered a feeble reply. “I don’t know, that’s why I am here.” He continued trying to get me to open up, to say what I wanted. I grew frustrated because he wasn’t telling me what I should do. Instead, he was trying to guide me to figure it out for myself.

David, perhaps sensing my trepidation, told me something I will never forget. He said, “You are one of the most courageous people I know.”

Surprised, I leaned back in my chair. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“You not only found the courage to stop drinking at a young age, but you have the grit and determination to finish school and start a family at the same time. That takes guts.” For the next hour or so, I asked him more relevant questions to zero in on what I might or might not like in a career. He also assured me that no career decisions are final. That it is perfectly normal and acceptable, even advantageous, for people to change jobs. He added, “Most people work for six or seven different employers in their lifetimes.” With his coaching, I decided to pursue a career in media sales. Next, he helped me come up with a game plan.

That meeting took place nearly thirty years ago. I have used those lessons numerous times since. In fact, I can hear David’s deep powerful encouraging voice in my head as I continue to grapple with my own lack of confidence as an author: “It sounds to me like you already know what you want to write about. I say, go for it!”

The above is an excerpt from my latest book, Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence which releases on August 1st.

Over the next two weeks, I will share confidence-building insights gleaned from several impactful conversations I’ve had with influential leaders included in the book. In particular, Kevin Miller (“serial entrepreneur”, podcaster, and host of the popular Ziglar show with over 250 Million downloads worldwide), Steve Lavin, Collegiate Basketball Coach and broadcaster, and Aaron Locks, CEO and Founder of National Academy of Athletics who has helped more than 300k kids in 131 cities across the United States become more confident and learn to live by his motto, “Play Hard – Have Fun.”

I look forward to getting to connect with you and hope that what I share will strike a chord and inspire you to find your own Ten Seconds of Boldness to pursue the life you want to live.

You can find me at shawnlangwell.com

Seven Tips for Improving Our Self-Image and Building Self-Confidence:

“All you need to succeed is a willingness to face the unknown and apply the principles of Ten Seconds of Boldness, and enough courage to make a decision and take the first step.” – Shawn Langwell

  1. There are no shortcuts to self-confidence or success. All worthwhile achievement in life is a direct result of having a dream or a vision that requires learning, practicing, and developing the habits necessary to be, have, or do that which you desire. At its core, confidence and success must start with you. Nobody else can determine your dreams or goals. No amount of external motivation will fire you up long enough to help you develop the confidence necessary to feel a meaningful sense of belonging, purpose, and accomplishment.
  2. It’s normal to suffer occasional blows to our confidence. We all do— even star athletes or celebrities. So why then is confidence so hard to build, develop, and maintain? Can it be that we feel the need always to be at the top of our game? That we are so afraid of failing that we don’t ever really try. Or is it more like the song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places”? Are we trying too hard to find confidence in things outside ourselves?
  3. Confidence is not some magic potion. It is built and developed over time, through countless hours of practice and repetition.
  4. Confidence is an experience of being fully present, and at peace with who you are, where you are, now.
  5. Confidence is acceptance of things as they are‑—“It is what it is”— and believing that if you don’t like that, you have the power to respond and react differently.
  6. Building self-confidence is a perpetual quest; it is found in the process of discovering who you really are and who you want to become.
  7. Life is a lot more fun with confidence. When I think of confidence, I think of Stephen Curry. He is, in my opinion, a penultimate superstar. Because of hard work, lots of practice, mental and physical conditioning, creativity, and his willingness to take risks, he dazzles fans around the world with his ball-handling and shooting mastery playing the game he loves—basketball. He exudes fun, joy, humility, and a sense of teamwork that, to me, is the epitome of confidence. But even Steph has off nights. Don’t we all?

If you’d like to learn more, check out my forthcoming book, Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence. Sign up for early release notification and other helpful tips here: www.shawnlangwell.com

Jump!

“What’s important is that you make the leap. Jump high and hard with intention and heart.” – Cheryl Strayed

The following is an excerpt from Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence publishing August 1, 2022.

Did you know that the African impala can jump ten feet high and cover ten yards? Yet this magnificent animal can be confined within walls only three feet high. Why? Because unless it first sees where it’s going to land, it’s too afraid to jump.

We aren’t much different.

Many have said the only way to face challenges is head-on. To go through them. Avoiding them or denying they exist, is not a viable solution. In fact, avoidance is part of the problem. To build self-confidence and become more productive, we must identify the mental blocks and fears that we let prevent us from the lives we want, but we must also find something greater than the fear that tethers us to mediocrity and feeling less than. That one thing is courage.

Where do you find courage?

The simple answer is by developing a habit and mindset I call Ten Seconds of Boldness. This is the key to unlock the door to solving problems and building self-confidence. It is where we discover our true value to ourselves and the world. It is how grit, guts, and determination to persevere are established, developed, and mastered. How you find it is a personal matter. But without boldness or courage, you will never advance beyond where you are now.

Boldness is the catalyst to move one step closer to our dreams despite our fears: where the willingness to take a chance on ourselves is borne. And it is by doing, not just thinking, that we move closer to success. As a result of courageous action, we become more productive, happy, and prosperous.

The only thing between who you are now and who you want to be or what you want to have or do is finding the guts to practice Ten Seconds of Boldness.

Keep it Simple

My goal is to help you get to know yourself so well that personal growth and confidence become a habitual response to your life experience.  That living a bold and courageous life becomes an end unto itself. That is the goal, the process of becoming.

I am a firm believer in simplicity. Simple doesn’t mean easy. But therein lies the challenge; we are complex individuals who tend to overthink things and spend way more time thinking than doing. Worse, most of what we think about is negative. Negativity will not help you gain confidence but find the courage within to step forward into the unknown while simultaneously letting go of any preconceived fears will.

The moment you stop holding back the right doors will open. The people and resources to help you will serendipitously appear.

If you would like to be one of the first 100 to receive a FREE PDF of Ten Seconds of Boldness, click the button below to sign up.


Shawn Langwell is the President of California Writers Club, Redwood Writers, past president of Toastmasters of Petaluma, an author, international speaker, and top producing media salesperson. He is the author of the memoir Beyond Recovery: A Journey of Grace, Love, and Forgiveness. This summer he will release Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.
You can find Shawn at http://www.shawnlangwell.com