I was always a bit of a twitchy little runt when I was younger.
I had a few super weird, “isms” I ‘spose you’d call them a nervous tic.
Just before I started primary school I had this thing that was pretty odd.
For some bizarre reason, I’d feel the need to every so often spin round in a circle. What?
I’d be walking along with Mum, casually strolling (does a 4 year old stroll?) down the High Street and all of a sudden I’d bust out a quick twirl.
I mean, that’s an odd thing for a little chap to do right? Especially for one who was a KING….
Luckily the spinning era only lasted a few weeks. I made friends at school to skid with in the playground and bar getting my tie stuck in a mangle my school years passed by weirdness free.
“WOAH….hold up son…..there’s a bit more to it than that…..”
OK that’s a good point.
Look I wasn’t a particularly weird kid. Certainly not compared to people like “Greeny” who I saw pick a jelly baby out of a urinal MID PISS, and shove it in his mouth.
But there was something I lacked massively.
“He’s a bit of a dark horse your Philip” was the usual parents evening comment.
“He doesn’t answer much in class but in tests always does well” they’d say.
Now don’t get it twisted my friend. I was FAR from a loner.
I had a lot of mates and we got up to a lot of mischief (most of which I can’t talk about because my Mum will read this and I’ll get a text of disgust, disbelief and disownment)
But deep down I never really had a big pair of kahunas.
It’s funny, because when you look back you can see various examples of where this lack of confidence reared its grimy little head and actually became quite detrimental to me.
Let me tell you about a couple:
EXAMPLE 1 - Phil The Hockey Star.
I was about 7 when I tried rugby. Cold. Wet. I think I had a tooth smashed out and didn’t have a clue about the rules. To be honest? It was hardly screaming “take me up”.
So I tried hockey instead.
Ended up playing for about 18 years and I wont lie….I was dangerous.
I was that 5’6, short arse who was seriously talented and people hated it.
But here’s what’s funny?
Playing at club level? I loved. In fact I smashed it. I was an angry, confident, ballsy little centre half.
Captained the team, lead from the front. I was one of THE players in the South East.
But when I stepped up into county and National League (hockey’s Premiership), I shat myself.
My testicles crawled up inside of me like two nervous snails and I just lost it.
Sure I could still play, but l was never as good and enjoyed it WAY less because I didn’t FEEL confident.
Here’s another one….
EXAMPLE 2 - Phil The Jungle ‘MC’
This really flips the script on the hockey tale.
The drum and bass music scene was in full flow…
My mates all got “decks” but there was no way I could scam my folks into buying me some.
However what I could afford was a mic and something weird happened….out of nowhere I realised a talent had being lying dormant in me for all this time I’d been alive…
The talent of being a drum and bass mc.
If you’re not sure what that is, it’s basically a guy who raps really fast to hype up the crowd in a rave…sort of.
Told you it flipped the script on being a wholesome hockey star.
I started doing it a parties….
Carried it on through Uni….
Got booked to play at some big-ish raves…
My name, this little white middle class boy, on the flyer with A list DJ’s….
That was some fun times but guess what?
Just like before…..my balls would shrivel up.
I was fine doing gigs I knew. The regular bits. But if I went somewhere new? I crapped myself.
And here’s something else - despite all the gigs, all the parties, all the comments of “yes mate, safe yeah, you rinsed it tonight” (rave speak for “you were very good squire”).
Despite ALL of that, it took me a VERY LONG TIME to actually believe I was any good.
In fact a lot of the time I was convinced my pals were telling me I was good, purely to make me get up in front of people at a party and make a total knob of myself.
Like there was some sort of weird conspiracy against me.
Hockey star or jungle extraordinaire…I was talented but lacked confidence. BIG TIME.
Something that carried on as my life progressed.
“Why the hell haven’t you got a job yet?” my Mum would ask?
“Oh I’ve filled out all these applications, I’ve been looking all day” bla bla bla. But knowing full bloody well I was putting barriers in the way.
You see with balls the size of peanuts the thought of an interview scared me shitless so I did what I could to avoid it.
WHY IS ALL OF THIS IS RELEVANT TO YOU?
If what I’ve said sounds like you then you need to read this next bit.
Not only read it mate but PAY THE HELL ATTENTION because this could completely change your life.
There’s a reason why my confidence was so low and let me tell you, it had nothing to do with the circumference of my sperm holders.
THAT REASON IS STORIES.
Remember in my last blog post how I banged on about the stories I told myself about going bald?
Well guess what gangster….those tales weren’t limited to my barnet.
Hockey, talking shite into a mic, school….I told them to myself all over the place.
“You’re not the right sort of person to be this MC that you think you are”
“Those guys in the 1st team? They’re WAY better than you mate”
“You’ll probably get the answer wrong, DO NOT put your hand up to answer it”
Stories that I told MYSELF. No one ever actually said these to me, apart from me.
It was like having this f*cking little chimp nattering away in my head and instead of ignoring it, I listened to it.
Listened to my own bullshit about how I wouldn’t be able to do it or how I wasn’t good enough.
You ever done that? Talked yourself out of something?
Convinced yourself that you won’t be able to do it?
Or that if you try, something terrible might happen?
When you tell yourself a particular story over and over again, eventually you start believing it.
When you start believing your story, it becomes a BELIEF.
YOU AND YOUR BELIEFS
Now listen to this:
YOUR BELIEFS DETERMINE YOUR BEHAVIOUR…
…YOUR BEHAVIOUR DETERMINES YOUR RESULTS.
This is SO important, there’s a picture to help you remember it.
Beliefs are good. They give us our identity, opinions and a way or “code” to live by.
My folks brought me up to believe that I should hold doors open for chicks. Turns out that’s a pretty decent belief to have.
But not all beliefs are good. In fact they can pull our pants down and bend us over if we’re not careful.
Please allow me to demonstrate with a story stolen from one of my favourite books “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck” by Mark Manson.
(I‘ve changed some bits of this purely for my own amusement but if you want to read the original, there’s a link at the bottom where you can get your own copy. I highly recommend you do this.)
A chap, we’ll call him Dave, was on holiday in Thailand and decided to do what a lot of tourists do – ride an elephant.
So he hopped in a tuk tuk, paid his two pence for the 45min journey and upon arrival at the elephant sanctuary noticed something a bit odd.
A lady, who could have been a man, on her knees in front of another guy……oh….erm…..sorry, wrong story. REWIND…
Dave noticed something weird about the elephants.
These humongous beasts that must have weighed a good few tonnes and could have bulldozed an entire forest with one flick of their penis, were tied up with a ridiculously thin piece of rope.
He said to the man in charge “surely these huge animals could break free from that small rope?”
To which the keeper replies “they could indeed Dave, but they don’t….
…this is the same rope we use when they are young. So young they’re not strong enough to break it. Those little beggars try and try but just can’t snap it so eventually they just give up trying…
…As they grow up become CONDITIONED TO BELIEVE that breaking away is impossible and consequently don’t ever bother trying again….ever”
Our big eared chums formed a belief that then altered their behaviour and the way they live. Behaviour that in fact would allow them to break free and maybe even escape to a place where humans don’t sit on them taking selfies.
Beliefs like this, that limit us, are cleverly coined as, wait for it….LIMITING BELIEFS
Beliefs that hold you back.
That stop you doing the shit you know you need to do.
The shit you know will make you feel good and HAPPIER.
“My hair will DEFINITELY look crap if I shave it so I’ll hang on a bit longer”
“I won’t publicly speak and maybe win that pitch because I’ll get laughed at”
“Exercise won’t help cure this anxiety so I’m not gonna even try it”
“No one will fancy a bald bloke in his 20’s, won’t even bother with Tinder””
You’ve told yourself these stories for such a long time that you now BELIEVE them and because you believe them, your behaviour is changing…..FOR . THE . WORSE.
And the funny thing about it all is this…
THESE STORIES ARE ALL BASED ON ASSUMPTIONS WITH ZERO EVIDENCE!!!
Look at me back in the day.
Maybe if I hadn’t told myself I was the wrong colour / wasn’t from the “streets” / couldn’t rap or I didn’t have the skill / wasn’t fast enough / everyone was better than me
Maybe I could have become some sort of famous rapper or hockey player.
But enough thinking about what could have been, we ‘aint here to wallow.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
These days Im very different.
Through the coaching I’ve had, money and time I’ve invested in myself, I’ve learnt all about this stuff.
That’s not to say I never get nervous. Holy Christ of course I get nervous. That’s a normal thing and any coach / guru that tells you otherwise is a lying dick.
But apart from learning that these stories hardly EVER come true, here’s what I know:
YOU CAN EITHER CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO ‘EM AND NOT DO THAT THING YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO DO…
THAT THING YOU KNOW WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU….
OR YOU CAN GIVE IT A BASH AND PROVE THOSE STORIES ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
I don’t wanna get all cringey on you now mate but it goes back to that whole thing of - If you don’t try you’ll never know and will be forever saying “what if?”
“What if” is a terrible thing to think because you actually will NEVER EVER know.
So in conclusion I want you to take this:
What are you NOT doing because of a belief that you hold? (exercise, diet, getting out there)
What would happen if you tested that belief?
Where would you be with your confidence, your body, your happiness if you were an open book and just said “bollocks to it, I might as well try”.
Think about that and see where you end up…
Oh and if you’re struggling with confidence don’t forget to grab the “10 Rules” I produced to help guys start transforming their body and turbo boosting confidence levels.
Type your best email address in that box down below to jump in.
I’d love to know what you take from this article so whack me a comment when you get a mo.
Phil “the bald coach” Hyland