Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Using Insecurity to Build Self-Discipline

Edward Brown, M.S.

Dictionary.com defines Insecurity as a “Lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt.” Some synonyms include instability, precariousness, shakiness and vulnerability. Insecurity is the feeling that you lack control and confidence in your outlook and position in life. You have a weak and shaky foundation in which you operate and anyone can cause emotional and psychological disruption.  On some level, we all wrestle with insecurity. Just think of a time when you felt good about completing a project. You spent hours tweaking and perfecting it. In your imagination, you envisioned people marveling at your creativity. Then you showed your crown jewel to a loved one or co-worker. With a look of disapproval and confusion, they sheepishly said,” Oh, that’s nice.” At that moment, all you wanted to do was crawl under a rock. You vowed never to create anything ever again. Guess what? You didn’t. These moments where insecurity got the best of you can be proportional to the degree that you exercise self-discipline. After all, if no one cares about trying new things, why should you? And it is painful to be ridiculed by friends, loved ones and strangers.

By thinking in these terms, you are actually being rational. Who wants to be ridiculed for being creative and taking chances? However, what is the personal cost for happiness over a lifetime when you are driven by your insecurities? And what impact does self-discipline have over insecurities?

The road that most people take is to allow insecurity to impact their lives negatively. By being progressively selfish, you can not only develop greater self-discipline, but also build a life of happiness. Progressive selfishness is the notion that you act predominately in your self-interest as a mode of behavior and as a means of achieving goals that benefit you and society. Conversely, regressive selfishness is the notion that for you to win someone has to lose. With regressive selfishness, the other person not only has to lose, but also must be humiliated and annihilated. 

There are a few ways to use your insecurities to build your self-discipline to become happier and successful through progressive selfishness.

Here are a few ways to start the process.

Use your insecurities as a catalyst for success. Psychologists postulate that people are motivated more by the loss of something over its gain. Consequently, fear can be a motivator. Your fear of ridicule, shame, failure or solitude can actually move you to do phenomenal things. It has been suggested that President John F. Kennedy was viewed by his father and people who knew him as a youth as wayward and unfocused. His brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. was seen as having the greatest promise among the Kennedy family.  After Joseph was killed in World War II, John became the person anointed to position the family within politics.  A great deal of Kennedy’s motivation came from a desire to please his father (Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.) as well as prove to the world that he could make a contribution.  Use and overcome your insecurities as a means of showing the world your true value. Although you may experience degrees of setback and failure, your self-confidence will grow as you develop the self-discipline to follow through on projects. The major difference between success and failure is the ability to keep plugging away at a problem until there is a breakthrough.

Begin with a general interest and whittle it down. For 60-plus years, experts in the field of motivation and peak performance have regaled the importance of passion.  At its core, passion is the emotional energy that pushes action forward. If passion were part of a car, it would be the engine. Once you fuel passion with action, it moves you closer to your goals. However, as you are moving, you will find your concentration getting more specific. You might start with a passion for baking desserts. Then your passion may whittle down to baking just cakes. And finally, only baking chocolate cakes. In this vein, as you develop self-discipline in your area of expertise, you start experimenting with different types of chocolate. Generally, the whittling down process leads you to the core of your motivation. The more specific you become, the more expertise you gain. This expertise builds confidence and acclaim.

Commit to the self-discipline process. Self-confidence is merely a record of successful achievements. Winners who have overcome life’s obstacles have gained a self-assuredness derived from a string of successes. Action and follow through is the core to achieving influence and distinction. Whether it’s weight loss, business development or educational plans, the ability to stay the course, learning and growing along the way, is the key to success and happiness. You must love the process from the passion you possess to stay motivated. Always do what’s necessary at the time it should be done. And don’t delegate or pass the responsibility on to someone else. Self-discipline is a skill. If you delegate your responsibilities to someone else, the other person will become the expert with great self-confidence. That is how someone willing to do the work that you will not steals your ideas.

Now you know the secret to turning your insecurities into success through self-discipline. You must create a mission to show the world your value, find a passion, whittle it down to its infinitesimal parts, and stay the course by sticking to the process. In the end, you will not only have developed self-discipline and self-confidence, you will have created a new life. 

Edward Brown, M.S., is a content marketer and applied researcher for Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute, Inc., which develops educational digital products for corporations and law enforcement agencies. He has advanced legal training from the University of Dayton School of Law and a master’s degree from Mercer University in Leadership Development.

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