• Kirsti Gwynn

The Best Way to Build Confidence

Back in high school, I was shy.

And when I started university, nobody I knew was studying in the same faculty, meaning that I would be spending all day around strangers... not so fun for a shy nineteen-year-old.

But while I was shy, at the time I was also feeling a little lonely. My family and I had moved to Cape Town in early December, and classes started only started in February. I didn't know anyone my age in my new city for those 2 months, and by the time I was on campus, I really wanted to establish a new group of friends.

So I set myself a challenge. Every time I sat down next to someone I didn’t know – be it in lectures, the computer room, or on the student bus (I took this very seriously) – I would strike up a conversation with them.

I can't even tell you how nerve-wracking this was to the old, shy me! I’m laughing now because it’s so not the type of thing that makes me nervous anymore. (And also because one of my best friends is, in fact, a friend I made at a bus stop.)

But my point is not about strange new ways to make friends. It’s that that experience taught me something life-changing:

It showed me that often the best way to build confidence is simply to step into fear, and prove to yourself that you can do whatever you’re afraid of.

Over the course of those three years, I became much more confident meeting new people, and I formed lots of incredible friendships that I am deeply grateful for to this day.

Don't you just love the idea that we can disprove our own self-limiting fears by testing them out in the real world? Rather than listening to them, we can approach them completely differently.