Building Self-confidence and Changing Limiting Beliefs

Will Smith in The Pursuit of HappynessPlaying most of his screen characters, Will Smith exudes assurance and confidence.

But he admits:

“I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”

[From my article Talented, But Insecure.]

In his article I work to build self-confidence in myself and others, entrepreneur Stephen Pierce points out that self-confidence is “extremely valuable. Because I believe in myself, I can show others how to have faith in what they can accomplish.

“I see my dreams realized because I have the self-confidence to pursue them without giving up.

“I avoid surrendering my dreams. Even if I feel sad or afraid, I know that those emotions are only temporary. I can do anything I put my mind to. Belief in myself helps me to move forward in life.”

He also notes that “By showing others that they can be self-assured and brave, I learn a great deal. When I help others, I help myself. My confidence grows when I see others succeed after I have helped them.”

Insecure even with accomplishment

Taylor Swift by AdamtwigHer fourth album had opening sales of 1.21 million – the highest recorded in a decade, and Taylor Swift has had two million-plus opening weeks.

But appearing in front of a college audience for a tv show, she responded to a question from a college student: “I doubt myself 400,000 times per 10-minute interval.”

From article Talented, But Insecure – which also quotes actors Emily Mortimer and Alison Pill, John Lennon, illustrator Loren Long, and psychologists Anne Paris and Kenneth W. Christian, among others.

Confidence exists on a continuum

In his post How to build confidence, Morty Lefkoe admits he knows very well this experience many of us (most of us?) have had:

“I had very little self-confidence for most of my life,” he writes – adding, “but now I consistently experience a high level of confidence.”

In this audio clip, he talks about realizing the power of beliefs:

Lefkoe explains more about learning to experience confidence:

“Confidence actually exists on a continuum, ranging from a very low to a very high belief in our own abilities, a sense we can handle whatever life throws at us. 

“Very few people are totally lacking in confidence and very few feel confident that they can handle almost anything. 

“So the issue for most people is where they currently are on the continuum and how they can improve their confidence.”

This is a very helpful point, I think – it is not a simple, either-or matter of having confidence versus not having.

There are levels and degrees, and changes from one situation to another, or day to day. Lefkoe continues:

“It is important to distinguish between confidence about being able to perform a specific task (such as fly a plane or speak a foreign language) and confidence in yourself.

“One might not be confident about being able to perform a specific task even though they have high level of self-confidence.  Such a person knows that her inability to perform a specific task means nothing about her as a person.”

~  ~  ~

But that may not be so easy to realize or put to use, especially when you are in the middle of feelings of self-criticism and low confidence.

As a teen and college freshman (many decades ago), I had the ambition to “be a doctor” – but failed organic chemistry. Like many people with a certain level of intellectual ability, I had managed to get through high school with good grades, but without really trying hard.

Failing a class was devastating to my confidence. And there have been other experiences in my life that deflated my confidence – just like with most people.

Lefkoe suggests practical steps: “the way to gain confidence about specific abilities is to learn those skills and practice a lot.”

The key is our beliefs:

“The way to improve our internal level of confidence that we apply to life in general is to eliminate our limiting beliefs.  Every negative belief we have lowers our internal level of self-confidence – beliefs such as I’m not good enough, I’m inadequate, I’m powerless, I’m not capable, Nothing I do is good enough, and I’m not worthy.

“Once you understand that a lot of negative self-esteem beliefs lowers your level of self-confidence and getting rid of them raises it, you will understand the myth that self-confidence comes from succeeding or failing at specific projects in life.”

Video: How to Stop Suffering: Morty Lefkoe at TEDxHoboken


Another way limiting beliefs can affect us is when we experience impostor or fraud feelings.

See the article Dealing with self sabotage: Getting beyond impostor feelings

Many talented and creative people experience impostor feelings and beliefs about themselves, despite their accomplishments.

Valerie Young, Ed.D. is an expert on impostor syndrome and commented in an Entrepreneur magazine article: “Millions of people, from entrepreneurs to celebrities, have a hard time internalizing their accomplishments.”

Learn more about her program in the article.



See more articles by Morty Lefkoe.

He is author of the book Re-create Your Life: Transforming Yourself and Your World.

See many posts on The Lefkoe Institute site.

The Lefkoe Method

“I’m not good enough” / “I’m not important” / “Mistakes and failure are bad” — These and many other beliefs can limit us.

To experience The Lefkoe Method for changing limiting beliefs – for free – go to

The Lefkoe Method

“Morty’s got a technique that works like magic.” Jack Canfield, Co-Author, New York Times Best-Selling Chicken Soup for the Soul Series.

“Your method has boosted my confidence (and our business success) beyond what I thought was possible.” Mark Watson, Cofounder – Wealth Inside Out Trainings


Social Emotional Health Program for Creative, Gifted, Highly Sensitive People

* Note – Links to programs and products may be affiliate links, which means a company or publisher provides a small commission to me (paid by them, at no cost to you) if you decide to purchase. This helps support my efforts in creating the free content you read here and on my other sites, plus helps pay for costs such as website hosting. As an Amazon Associate, and an affiliate representing some other companies such as Sounds True, as well as a few coaches and psychologists, I provide links to products and programs that may be helpful to creative people. Thanks for visiting.