Focus on the Basics First

November 4, 2019

Categories: Confidence

Heavyweight boxer Ed Latimore posted the following message on Twitter:

“Before you try any tricks or hacks for developing confidence:

  1. Get in shape.
  2. Stop eating/drinking bullshit.
  3. Build competence in a skill that pays you.
  4. Talk to humans face-to-face.

Do this for a year. If you’ve improved AND your confidence is still shit, maybe you need a trick.”

Back to Basics

Latimore touches on a deep truth that is all too easy for us to forget. In most areas of life, improvement isn’t complicated. There is a set of basic essentials that are foundational to success. Sometimes we can get distracted by the latest fads or get rich quick schemes, and forget about the basics. Most fads come and go. Most get rich quick schemes don’t actually work. But the basics have stood the test of time. People have been doing the basics for years, and they have worked. That’s how they become basics.

4 Basics for Developing Confidence

Developing confidence is something people have struggled with for years. Confidence impacts everything—your work, dating life, and health. But confidence is a lot like happiness. “Trying hard” to attain confidence or happiness doesn’t usually work. Confidence, like happiness, is a result of having good habits in your life, rather than something you can work on directly. And the tricks don’t usually work. You can stand in a power pose in front of your mirror for a minute each morning, or tell yourself a confidence-boosting mantra. But these tricks won’t replace the basics.

Let’s take a closer look at Latimore’s 4 keys for developing confidence:

  1. Get in shape. Doing something positive about your body and health will improve your confidence. So, get your butt to the gym and get on a consistent workout program. It doesn’t matter as much what activity you do. My exercise of choice is CrossFit, but you may like something else. Just do something and do it regularly.
  2. Stop eating/drinking bullshit.This is a follow-up to point #1. In addition to getting in shape, develop healthy eating habits. Don’t eat too much. Eat healthy foods most of the time. Limit sugar and processed foods. Don’t drink too much (if at all). If your nutrition is on track, you will look better and feel better, which will improve your confidence.
  3. Build competence in a skill that pays youIt’s tough to feel confident if you don’t have a job. When you meet someone new, the first question they usually ask is “What do you do?” People are attracted to people who are engaged and passionate about something. Also, building skills increases your confidence, because you are getting better at things and are better equipped to navigate life. So, go out there and get a job. Build your skills and learn something new every day.
  4. Talk to humans face-to-face. In our culture today, everyone is locked into social media. You could go all day and not have a conversation with a live human being. To improve your confidence, you have to be able to talk to people. Practice makes better. Go out there and join a group or club. Get in the habit of starting conversations and asking people how they are doing.

Too Basic?

These suggestions almost seem too basic. Go to the gym. Don’t eat like shit. Get a job. Talk to people. And on one level, they are basic. But that’s what makes them work. These are tried-and-true suggestions that have worked for centuries.

If you are struggling with your confidence, take stock in your life right now. Are you going to the gym 3-5 days per week? Are you eating a moderate amount of healthy food each day? Are you drinking too much? Do you have a regular job? Are you talking to people on a regular basis? If one of these 4 areas of your life isn’t up to par, that’s where you need to focus. Don’t try any tricks or follow any gurus until these 4 areas of your life are on track. It’s not worth getting fancy until you have the basics down.

You can also apply this principle to other areas of your life. If you’re struggling with something in your life, are there any “basics” that apply to your situation? Sometimes you don’t know, and it can be helpful to enlist the help of a coach or counselor to help you figure this out. Don’t try anything fancy and don’t pay a lot of money until the basics are under control.


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