T Nation

Self-Confidence And...


I'm not even sure how to say this without sounding like a giant pussy, but i'll just go ahead and try..

For a while now, i've been having a bit of a problem.. I don't really like my personality. Im considered by most people to be extremely nice and pretty easy to get along with, which are really cool, and I like that about myself, but I don't consider myself to have many of the qualities that most, and I, would consider "manly".

First of all, i'm not very self confident at all. I used to be pretty fat, and am in the process of still getting rid of more, and even though everyone tells me im not fat at all, I still have what I might call "self image problems", and still think of myself as overweight despite what people tell me and what I tell myself.

Another group of issues I have myself is that I have a LOT of trouble with being assertive or confrontational. dont know what it is, but anytime anyone challenges something I say or something like that I tend to back down out of nervousness or fear. What of? I dont really know, but liek I said, anytime im challenged or someoine tells me im wrong or anything like that, I just freak out (not violently, if you hadnt caught that yet =P).

I also seem to be too friendly with people I think.. even when someones messing with me, whether it be serious or just ribbing me, I just try to avoid it and kind of smile/laugh out of.. again, nervousness or fear, or something like that.

Im not saying here I wish I was violent or anything, I just with I was a little more "badass" nd, well, "manly". It really sucks because ive been trying hard to be more like how I want, but its extremely hard to change from being a pussy to.. uh.. not a pussy. Over the course of the last few months its actually been making me pretty depressed.

Now im not looking for attention or someone to tell me "Its all going to be okay!" or pulling depression out to get pity. Sorry I know this was probably kind of long and I appreciate anyone reading it.. any of you guys got some "pointers" or words of wisdom? I dont even know what im trying to get from this post.. its gotta be one of the worst wored posts ive had..


I have had the same problem as you, and the best advice I can give you is this: Stop seeking approval, from everyone. You don't have to be an ass. Treat people with common courtesy because you like them, or because you feel like it, not because it's expected. Do what you want because you want (with regards to your own conscience of course). You have to internalize, so to speak "the locus of control". It also helps to squat a lot, shave your head, and generally look like a bouncer-biker-thug type person, even if you're not.


Aye, I know exactly what you mean, and I know thats exactly what I have to do. If you are in fact like me, then you'll know its difficult to do. Ive been like I have been since I was born, and yeah you are right, I seek approval from everyone. I think its kind of like a habit thats extremely hard to break, but im doing my best.

Its weird, though. I never get what is crossing the line between being confident and arrogant or an asshole. Thanks a lot for the reply though, man.


learn how to box, or wrestle, or BJJ

better than the shrinks on T-Nation


Funny that you say that, I was actually considering that.


I used to be that way too, but now I'm the assertive queen. Don't ever change the nice parts of you. With that being said, I see you're a student, and if you're young, assertiveness comes with life experience. Confidence comes with the more things you learn. And learning to be assertive and confident in the right way (without being overly agressive or offensive) takes practice over time. You'll live and you'll learn.

Have you ever read "Lions Don't Need to Roar", "How to Win Friends and Influence People" (I think that's the title- I read it ten years ago) anything from Anthony Robbins or other assertiveness/self-affirming books? I used to feel quite shy in interpersonal situations (no kidding!) so studied these books when I was really green to my career field and what I learned permeated all aspects of my life and helped tremendously.

There are a ton of books that actually teach you how to interact in a professional environment and also books about self affirmation. Both are very helpful. Then once you are practicing things, when you see the positive results materialize, you will become more and more confident until eventually it's a part of who you are.

Anyway, good luck with all you do, good luck with your weight loss and good luck with your future!


I have had similar issues. I found that sitting at home and reading doesnt help. Nor does talking about it. Well thats not true. Those things can help. But the biggest factor is actually to get out into the world and do stuff. I wasnt self confident around girls at all, and i spent 90% of my time alone at home. So reading etc wont help. You actually have to go out and get into the situations you have problems with.

If its simply with people you need to learn the words, "no", occasionally learn to avoid confrontations, be socially generous ie: give to your interactions rather then just trying to show how great you are even if it means nodding your head to something you think is crap. Over time you will grow into it.


Then do it. Boxing does wonders for your self confidence.

Not so much that your all of a sudden tough, or badass, but that youve been hit in the face before, knocked on your ass, and have gotten right back up.

It keeps things in perspective.

I think boxing should be a mandatory part of high school, just for this.


Step 1: "YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN" from the Godfather, pt.1. Refer to mob guys method of interfacing with other people.

Step 2: Purchase Frank Vincent's "A Guy's Guide To Being A Man's Man". Thanks to my pops for sending this my way as it was entertaining although I found a lot to be common sense. Turns out most people don't.

Step 3: Read said book. Learn from a guy who is regularly a mobster with lots of "marbles". Your alternative is to go home and get your shinebox....Not the cool move.

Step 4: Understand the the point of the entire book is to worry less about stepping on other people's toes, and to do somethings for you. Its not all literally spelled out for you. But take advice on the cigar: "Don't pick out the biggest cigar if you are the world's smallest guy, that'd be silly, like you were compensating for your own size. Not the man's man move. You pick the one you like, the one that make's you happy and be unapologetic about it." sometimes you gotta do things for you. frank may have only been referring to cigars explicitly but there's a lot more in that message left for you to interpret.

I think a big part of people in generals problems similar to this is the thought that I have to be like an image on the television or in the magazine. Those people are unique/different and thus cool. Turns out that's why they are in the magazine. Maybe if you are yourself, and unapologetic for the way you are, because that is the way you are then you'll reap similar rewards. Maybe even land yourself in a magazine. Its unlikely, but a "can-do" attitude does wonders no matter how lame the saying is.


1) Watch the following guy movies over and over :

High Plains Drifter
Terminator 1&2

These are men that act like men.

2) Whenever something comes up, just accept it and say to yourself "Who cares?"

3) Have principles for things that should matter to you, ie. when someone disrespects you in front of your friends. You shouldn't care about it when those things happen, but you should do something about them.

4) Stay calm and cool. Whiny bitches are the ones who are always in discussion with others. Men say what's needed and just that.

5) Do manly things, with other men.
Work out, box(good advice), weld, etc.

6) Do a lot of work. Really.
Whether you have a job or school, nothing will make you manlier than working your ass off and being a grumpy, tired son of a bitch at the end of the day, but with a ton of self-accomplisment.


A big factor, as least for me, in being assertive or having a "backbone" is doing what I want, not what someone else wants. I say this very generally and I don't mean to be a selfish prick but if someone says something or asks me something or if I see something I don't like, I say something or speak my mind (remember...I say this generally). Try it and see what happens. You will be suprised that it isn't being confrontational and people won't think less of you or thing your an asshole. In fact, it is the contrary. When I think of my friends that I respect the most (again..generally), it is those that speak their mind and do what they want. If I say or do something they don't approve of...they let me know. It doesn't mean I will change, but I would rather have that than someone who just "goes along" to avoid confrontation. Give it a shot...you will be suprised and if someone doesn't like it...screw them...there are a 100 people who do.


You just have to work on it. Make a conscious effort to disagree with people when you think you are right, make an effort to not "please" everyone every chance you get. It will come with age too. If you do, make an effort to stop smiling nervously at everything everyone says. You'll start to realize you get more respect the more assertive you are. Just dont take it too far and become an asshole. Lots of people have this problem, it just takes work.

Boxing, BJJ, Muay Thai, they are all great for building confidence. So are squat and deadlift. By the time you can squat and deadlift double your bodyweight, you'll magically be more confident.


Read this:


I box and grapple, too, and likewise recommend those activities if you have the opportunity to do them.


I agree with boxing or some type of marial arts. I think that would work wonders.

Also, start listening to Social Distortion and the Rollins Band...

Also, start watching Goodfellas and Heat...


Set goals and achieve them.

Your goals should be objective (I want to lift X lbs; do X chinups/pushups without stopping; run so far/so fast; nail [name of girl]) not subjective (look better; run faster, etc.) When you get down about yourself, your subjective achievements seem smaller, but like Rollins says, 200 lbs is always 200 lbs.

The goals you set should seem VERY hard to you right now, so that when you achieve them, you will have something to be proud of.

Write your goals down, and track your progress. Spreadsheets are great for this.

Don't give up. EVER.

If you're looking for a more radical approach to solving this problem, the United States Marine Corps might be able to help you out.


Actually, nailing [name of girl] is as subjective as can be. See, his attaining the goal of nailing a girl, is dependent on her as well.

Objective goals for improving success with women would be :

"I will talk to x number of women today"

"I will talk to x number of women this week"

"I will ask x number of women this week for their phone #"

To OP, if you're not having success with women, just remember 2 things:

-Its a numbers game (the more women you hit on the more success you'll have)


-Its all about confidence OR phrased differently, its all about "I don't give a shit". Not giving a shit is usually a sign of confidence, which is what TC was getting at in his article.

She turned me down? I don't give a shit and I just found out she has no taste in men.
My friend teases me for being shot down? I don't give a shit.
I went for a dance and she pushed me away? I don't give a shit.
I called her up and she was acting weird and blew me off? I don't give a shit.

Get the picture?



Get in an elevator and pinch ten girls asses, only 9 may slap you!

Works for sales too...keep rockin.

Good luck,



Posted on the Myspace of a friend of mine :

Monday, April 10, 2006


I want to say a little something regarding that recently published book ("Manliness" by Harvey Mansfield) I told you about. It may sound unduly harsh at first (but it isn't, once a person gives a full hearing to Mansfield's various arguments), however, the guy really -- I mean REALLY -- drives home just how utterly indifferent a truly manly man is toward what women could think of him.

And this is just like you've often said: act like you "don't have a CARE IN THE WORLD" what women think of you, you're there just to have a good time and get to know other people. Nothing Mansfield says is of any greater immediate help or applicability than what I or anyone else stand to learn from you. But what he says really does -- at least for me, and possibly for other guys out there who are really cerebral and who, oddly enough, need a frickin' cerebral book to assist in breaking out of the prison of their own minds -- accentuate, or compliment, in some rather surprising ways things I've learned from you.

It may sound ridiculously obvious to say something like "manly men are pretty much totally oblivious to what women think of them," etc. But it's a WHOLE DIFFERENT THING to actually experience what that means --- what that means in a way that really can't be captured in words. A guy can get that experiential knowledge after "marinating" in a book like his; which, again, is much like what you teach: it's not only teaching by example but, moreover, by actual lived experience. Being, not becoming.

Many of the valuable lessons I've learned from you -- and which I've been employing in my life these last several months -- are things I've learned by actually, personally, being on the receiving-end of the way you treat/interact with others in general. Those certainly aren't always the easiest lessons to learn or to accept. (It's in that sense your other client's blog statement about "Brent's teaching being hard to wrap your mind around at first" really hit home). But they're the most long-lasting.

It's one thing to think you know something because you have it down just by rote, like it's a TECHNIQUE, known through abstraction or through mere words or repetition. (Like RSD's "method acting"). It's a whole other thing to really know something on a phenomenological level. (I hate using such a pompous sounding word, but there's no term that more aptly captures what I'm getting at). And "technique" is precisely what you try to deemphasize.

About that "experiential" thing -- I'll hazard throwing this in here -- the following is something written by an incredibly bright/insightful friend of mine.

This really hits the point home; may seem dark and too existential, but this really illuminates "knowing something on a deep phenomenological level" like nothing else I've ever read; the mere act of reading it itself is probably an example of my whole point:
In Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych, the dying Ivan remembers a syllogism he once learned- which is the traditional first syllogism anyone learns: "All men are mortal, Caius is a man, therefore Caius is mortal". Because he is confronted with his own death, Ivan becomes haunted by the syllogism- what was once a mere logical tool, said and forgotten, now has a new property that haunts Ivan.

What was new in that syllogism? It is not that Ivan once thought it false, and now sees it as true. He knew that it was true from the first minute he heard it- as we all do. But before he was himself dying the truth of the thing seemed unimportant and did not affect him. Ivan never meditated on the truth of his own mortality, and so he had to learn about it in the harsh school of experience.

This sort of meditation is necessary for man concerning all the basic truths of our existence. The intellectual light in man is so dim that we can hear discourses about ourselves for years without even realizing that the discussion is about us. We talk about "a combination of spirit and body" or "a child of God" or "an animal" or "a being that acts for an end" as though we were discussing theories.


How can you be assertive when you don't know what you want? How can you be confident when you don't know who you are?

Sincerity. Stop comparing yourself to others and simply be yourself, unashamedly.

Confidence and assertiveness will both follow sincerity. People respect sincerity as well, because with it, you respect your true self.


stab the next person you see. be creative use a pencil, or a sharp stick, or a piece of broken glass.