Many kids lack the positive interactions needed to understand the negativity that surrounds them. This lack of positive interaction produces feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. When young people feel this way, they hide, disengage, and have little opportunity of living up to their full potential.

In a post, I recently read, Why You Self-Sabotage Even Though You Know How Harmful It Is. The writer wrote, “For most of my life, I lived below my potential. I did so because my payoff was being able to cling to the identity of the “kid with potential.” I loved living in Potentialville. See, if I were to try hard, then I could run into the possibility of failing. Failing meant I’d no longer be talented and gifted. I’d no longer be the sharp kid with the whole world in front of him.” 

I connected with this because it is me. I am still working hard to live up to my full potential. I realize this constant fight is keeping me from reaching it. I don’t see why the next generation should have to fight and battle against these silent demons when I have the experience to help them avoid it.

In my opinion, kids should learn to be confident because self-assured people positively engage with the world. Self-confident people tend to be happier and more successful. They can create a positive definition of success (see my last post), and that can only be a good thing if we want more people off the hamster wheel and engaged in life.

There are other reasons we want our next generation filled with confidence. Self-assured people are much more capable of being at their best when it counts the most, under pressure.

Self-confident people often motivate others more readily. This positive interaction helps others be at their best. 

Self-confidence plays a big part in having greater autonomy and agency. You create a personal power by how you think, act, and carry yourself. People who are comfortable with who they are and where they are going can better positively influence society.

When you’re confident, you believe you have an important and meaningful place in the world, which gives you a positive attitude. This is a natural emotional antidote to anxiety and depression.

Confident people know their strengths and how they can contribute to those around them. Those with greater confidence have a sense of value and purpose. This sense of purpose can also create more freedom from self-doubt and negative/destructive thoughts about yourself. Becoming more comfortable just being yourself decreases your focus on what others might think of you. That’s liberating!

Adventure and exploration lay within confident people. They are more likely to step outside their comfort zone and take intelligent risks. This risk-taking can lead to deeper learning and growth. With an enhanced sense of confidence, you can boost your positive energy, giving you more motivation and active energy to achieve your personal and work goals and dreams. The more highly motivated and energized you are, the more likely you are to take on challenges.

Here are three actionable ideas that will help young people embrace and enhance their confidence.

1. Teach kids to get their thoughts out of your head

Sixty-five thousand thoughts are buzzing around the head of the average human being; that’s a lot of thinking! Unfortunately, around 85-90 percent can be negative. We inherited this form of thinking from our ancestors, who were avoiding big animals with big teeth. Today we don’t have those beasties, but our brain doesn’t want us to forget about the dangerous world in which we live. The protection our brain is trying to create has us focus on fears rather than our hopes and dreams. Thoughts are just thoughts, and if we teach our kids to write them down, they can see which are holding them back and which can set them free.

2. Teach kids to time travel, help them find their future

Asking kids who they want to become will undoubtedly lead to some frustrating “I don’t know” answers, but it is worthwhile persevering. Eventually, they will find answers. Knowing who you want to become will help form an identity, and this will improve confidence. I have included a resource here to help your kids identify their top 3 values. These can be what we believe we have or what we think we want.

3. Remind them to be thankful

Having a mindset of gratitude enhances our mood and overall sense of wellbeing. Teaching kids to find gratitude in the smallest of situations will release the respective chemicals in the body, boost their positive feelings, and increase their confidence. Writing one thing to be thankful for before going to bed is a helpful habit of seeing the good that came out of the day.