by Ron Kurtus
Readers have sent in a total of 206 comments and questions on Excellence issues. They are listed according to date.
You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.
|Have problems voicing my opinions||Fear||USA|
|Being picked on by bully||Fear||USA|
|Lost confidence during second talk||Confidence||India|
|Don't believe what people tell me||Confidence||USA|
|Charting a course to achieve a goal||Confidence||USA|
|Wants info for Toronto||Firewalk||Canada|
|Insecure in a strange land||Confidence||thai boy in Philippines|
|Can't talk anyone without hesitation||Confidence||pakistan|
|Fears that he may lose grown children||Fear||india|
|Worries when people talk bad about him||Esteem||USA|
|Biker afraid of dangerous move||Fear||UK|
|Coach discourages him||Confidence||australia|
|Feels bad because of low confidence||Confidence WBT||U.K|
|Has fear of heights but wants to ski||Fear||UK|
|Looking for esteem in high school girls||Don't Lower Esteem||USA|
Have problems voicing my opinions
July 27, 2005
I am 17 years old and I have a problem with voicing my own opinions. I don't want to start a conflict with people so I usually go along with what they want to do, or what they are pressuring me to do--nothing bad like drugs or something, but I'm afraid if I don't start standing up for myself in little things I'm going to get into trouble at a later date. I feel guilty if I don't please people, and the thought of someone being mad at me fills me with a sense of dread. Do you have any ideas on how to break from this cycle?
A. - USA (7641)
Some people have a passive personality, which means they usually do not want conflict with other people. But it also means that they are not so pushy as to turn off other people.
Note that most people do not get angry when others express their opinions or feelings, unless it is done in an offensive manner. Also note that people who always try to please others often are either disliked or not repsected. Have you ever hear someone say, "I hate so-and-so, because she always acts so nice"?
You need to learn to express yourself in a way that is comfortable to you. Instead of facing an issue directly, you can use subtle methods to get your point across. One way is to agree with the other person, but then add a little exception. If you disagree with: "Our teacher sucks," you can say something like, "I agree, but sometimes he is real funny in class." That can take the edge off of what the other person said.
The Socratic method of asking questions in a clever manner can be effective. You ask questions to get the person to clarify his or her views. "Why do you think the teacher sucks?" You then ask a few other questions to soften the person's opinion and move it toward yours. But this method is not always easy to do.
As far as doing what others want to do, if you really don't care or don't have any other idea, then there is nothing wrong with it. But if you'd rather not do it or want to do something else, then you need to be able to assert your views and feelings.
Do not feel so insecure that others will be angry at you. In fact, if a friend would get angry because you express your desires, it is time to look for another friend. Remember that friendship is a two-way street.
If your friends always have ideas of things to do, perhaps you could plan ahead to suggest what you would like to do. Even if you end up doing what your friends want, at least you took the initiative to give your opinion. That is a door-opener. In fact, your friends may even accept your idea and like it that you are contributing your thoughts.
I hope these ideas help. Best wishes on becoming a champion in asserting yourself. Let me knwo how things turn out.
Being picked on by bully
July 25, 2005
Hi, I am a 17 years old and i have a problem with a person who is a complete jerk to me. I have a group of generally nice friends that i enjoy being with, but i have a problem with one of them in particular. This guy is friends with all of my friends and hangs around us all the time, but he is brutally mean to me. Whenever i say or do anything he'll just say something like " god your a f!@#ing faggot." But its not just sometimes, he does it religiously almost and he's not just a dumb brute, he adds intelligent remarks to it making others laugh at me. My friends realize that he picks on me and they are nice about it, so they don't usually call him over to hang out with us but most of the time he just comes uninvited, and since he makes them laugh they don't care if he stays. I can't get him out of my life! I'm the kind of person that would rather just be friends with everyone but this guy just wont let it happen. I'm also bad at coming up with come-backs on the spot,its not that I'm dumb, its just that im not quick enough to respond with something witty right then and there, I'll usually think of something i could have said four hours later. Every time I do say something back, trying to defend myself, he'll intimidate me in thinking that he can beat me up. I've been in martial arts for 9 years of my life and i know i could take him down if i had to, but the problem is that i fear being beaten up, not generally fearing pain, but fearing a giant loss of pride, this in turn makes me feel weak inside, therefore he wins every problem we get in because i back down. Please don't think badly of me for wanting to punch his lights out, I truly believe violence isn't the answer, but nothing gets to this guy and this has been going on for over 3 years now, consistantly. Please tell me how to overcome my fear of being beaten up in a fight, my self-esteem depends on it. Sincerely, Douglass.
Douglass - USA (7621)
First of all, you need to realize why he is doing that. Typcially, a guy like that has a great lack of self-esteem. Perhaps he is picked on at home of something. So he feels he can make himself seem better by picking on someone else. This is the typical bully.
The problem is that he knows he can get away with it with you. He can see you get flustered and senses your fear of getting whipped. It is in your body language.
Even if you could have a good come-back, it wouldn't do any good, because he has you pegged. In fact, since your friends laugh, they aren't giving you any moral support. If you look closely, you'll probably see that your friend may like you, but there is a little lack of respect for you, because you've allowed yourself to be put down so often.
Rent the video "The Karate Kid". It should give you some inspiration. The main character was in the same boat, developed his skills, got injured but still came through to win a match and win respect.
If you would challenge this jerk and get beat up, you would get a lot more admiration from your friends than when you just take it. In fact, they might even defend you.
I shouldn't advocate fighting or violence, but what I envision is you anticipating him insulting you again. Then cooly say, "What?" Get close enough as he repeats what he said and grab him by the neck and put you palm up to his face and say, "One blow and I can drive your nose up into your brain! You want that to happen?" Get your adrenaline working so you are ready for a fight. But I don't think he would try.
That scenario may not be practical, but the long and short of it is that you've got to show you are willing to physically defend yourself. Talk to your martial arts instructor about the situation. Those lessons should have given you the confidence to either defend yourself or to handle yourself in a way that some jerk doesn't pick on you or insult you in front of your friends.
I hope these ideas help. Also, I hope you can get your respect back without anyone getting hurt. Let me know how things work out.
PS: Make sure to rent that movie.
Lost confidence during second talk
July 23, 2005
hi,my name is bharath.my problem is, when i delivered my seminor for the
firs time it was too good though i was bit afraid i compleated sucessufully.
but the next time i gave my hands were shaking and i did not do well.
i was rather thinking about what others were thinking of me.
bharath - India (7611)
It is possible that you were over-confident and did not prepare yourself as well. Once you started doing the talk, you may have started to worry and then the fear took over.
Never think of what the audience feels about you. Instead, your thoughts should be on communicating clearly. Even if you were shaking and stumbling with your words, if the audience could understand the message and learned something, then you acheived your goal. Of course, you would rather not have problems like that.
Prepare yourself before every seminar or presentation. Prepare for any questions people may ask. Have notes or something available in case you forget what you were going to say. Think in terms of speaking clearly and making sure they understand you. Then you will not have time to worry. You should be in complete control.
I hope these ideas helped. Best wishes in your speaking. See our section on Public Speaking for more tips.
Don't believe what people tell me
July 20, 2005
I really appreciate your site. I don't have any self confidence. People tell me I am talented and nice and all this stuff, but I have never had any belief in myself really. Thanks for the tips.
Ben - USA (7589)
What do you say when people compliment you like that? Do you shrug it off? If you do, it means your self-image needs work.
You should say, "Thank you, I appreciate it." That will help you believe that it is true.
Confidence is being sure you can do something difficult. Self-esteem, self-worth and self-image are what opinion you have about yourself. Often it is because you set standards or expectations that are too high to reach. Make a list of all the things you can do and then compare them to the general population. I am sure there are some talents you have that are much better than other people. Accept that fact.
Whenever you do something or complete a project, give yourself a pat on the back and say, "Good job." If it is not as good as you would hope, do not criticize yourself. Rather tell yourself, "I'll do better next time."
I hope these ideas will help you build your self-image and confidence. Best wishes in becoming a champion.
Charting a course to achieve a goal
June 28, 2005
I really appreciated your article on how to gain confidence. One thing that I have not been in the habit of doing is celebrating the small successes. I do have one question about goal-setting.
I have trouble charting a course of small tasks toward the completion of my goals. I know that following through with my goals would be easier if I had these objectives laid out for me. I'd like a method that could help me reveal what those small tasks should be for each goal. Should I look at the obstacles and determine small tasks to get over each obstacle? Should I look at what I need to achieve each goal and create tasks to acquire what I need?
Hopefully, you understand.
Marcus - USA (7391)
Some tasks are very linear, such that you can outline steps to take. But other goals can be complex, making it difficult to know sub-goals in advance.
If you have a major goal you want to achieve, certain write it out and keep that item where you can see it every day. The way to achieve the goal can then be by the "salami method" or "swiss cheese method."
With the salami method, you slice off small tasks one after another. This is usually for a linear goal where you do things one after another.
For the other type of goal, you cut holes in the task, like swiss cheese. In other words, you look for little easy things to do to work toward your achievement. They may not be in any order, but you slowly pick away at the task.
In either case, having the goal written down will stimulate your mind to get ideas of things to do to move toward achievement.
I hope that makes sense and helps in acheivement and more confidence.
Wants info for Toronto
June 14, 2005
Could you please provide me with information on firewalking events in Toronto. I tried looking for it in the internet but I couldn't find it.
leah - Canada (7261)
I'm not sure if Tony Robbins is doing the firewalk anymore. You could check his website. There are others who have firewalks, but we don't have information on them.
Insecure in a strange land
June 13, 2005
I am a thai boy. Who like like overages. I am 19 look like 29 or 28. Now, I live in Philippines for almost 3 weeks. But I have to study for almost 5 years. I think I dont have any confident coz I think personally of My parent who never care me more or my persona problem like. I have two passport. now, I am using Thai passport with insecuring of my self. I ca't speak Thai well and Age in ID is 26.
Give me some opinion to live in This world please.
Khacha - thai boy in Philippines (7249)
Sometimes it is good to look older than your age, because people will respect you more. But it is difficult to be of a different nationality or culture in a foreign country. Some countries do not accept outsiders unless they are tourists. But you have only been in the Philippines for 3 weeks, so it is not enough time to make adjustments.
You should not let how your parents treated you affect your future life. Some who have no parents or very bad parents have become quite successful in life. They have the determination to improve themselves in use the talents they have.
The most important thing is that you find something you are good at and love to do. Then study and learn as much about that as possible. This will give you confidence and a direction to take in your life.
You also need to be able to interact with people, no matter what country you are in. Be friendly and helpful and they will usually do the same in return.
You are on a great adventure in life, so make the most of your experiences. Every time you succeed at something, congratulate yourself to build up your confidence. Soon you will be a champion in what you do.
Can't talk anyone without hesitation
June 12, 2005
sir i hane many big problems i cant talk anyone without hesitation and i worry for smaal things and im annoyed from anyone i have lack of confidence even i cant talk to any girl because i have fear in my im always depressed plz sir help me
shoaib - pakistan (7245)
One thing works on another, so each problem affects the other. Start by being able to speak to others with confidence. The way to do that is not what you think. You need to be observant about the other person and ask a question that is of interest to the person. People like others to be interested in them. In this way, they will talk to you, and you will not have the pressure to say something clever.
There is a feeling of power in being able to get others to open up and tell about what they like. This builds your confidence. Then you will feel more like being able to tell about your interests without fear.
Note that girls especially like to have someone to be curious about their interests. Most boys only talk about themselves, so girls are happy to get a chance too.
But observing others and finding their interests is not easy. Most people want to talk and not listen. But if you are able to first listen and then talk, you will gain in confidence and overcome your fears.
I hope these ideas help you become a champion. I know you will.
Fears that he may lose grown children
May 29, 2005
i am 63 year old retired officer.at times i fear about loosing my children
if i am told that they are going in a car to a distant place, i fear they may have some problem like crash. at times i feel that my children are not having good health and fear of loosing them.for every thing i feel first the bad and the worst before i venture some thing. please understand my problem and adivse me how to get rid of these fears.
soms - india (7113)
It is natural for parents to worry about the safety their children, no matter how old the children are. But you must think whether you are worried about their safety or if you worry that they may not be around to help take care of you when you get too old.
Also, realize that such fears are not good for you or your health. Your children may have to worry about losing you, if you become anxious too much.
Some people think of the negative to hope for the positive. They think of a crash as a way to hope for a safe trip. But it is better to give them your blessings and wish them a safe trip and good health. Tell them you are looking after them. Perhaps that will help you control your fears.
I hope these ideas help.
Worries when people talk bad about him
May 23, 2005
I am having a strange problem.Whenever someone says bad abt me i am not able to forget that and it keeps on going in my mind for the whole day and i feel miserable what shall i do.This has severly affected my studies.Moreover i am not having many friends as all my friends just talk abt girls and sex and i am not comfortable with that so what should i do so that i can also have friends on whom i can rely upon.Recently i started talking to a girl and everybody started associating me with her and i didnt feel comfortable with that and i had to stop talking with her did i take the right step?please help me.
- USA (7048)
No one likes it when someone says something bad about him or her. But if the person has a strong self-image, it will not bother him too much.
The first thing to realize that anyone who says something bad about another person ir really trying to build himself up at the expense of the other person. Do not consider what the person says as meaningful.
But also note that it is good to check yourself for improvement if someone points out a flaw through criticism. Tell yourself, "I'll have to improve in that area."
You need to build up your self-esteem and confidence. Think of all the things you can do well and make a list of them. Remind yourself that you have plenty of talent and skills. But always seek to improve in areas of weakness.
Some friends you have known for a long time. But you also want to get friends that have common interests with you.
Don't worry about being associated with a girl. The best thing is to be able to talk to girls as friends. Your friends who are always thinking of sex and getting a date will soon be jealous because you have all these girls as friends. But you don't have to date them. Try to be friendly with everyone.
I hope these ideas help.
Biker afraid of dangerous move
May 18, 2005
hi, i was wondering if you could help me over come some fears that i have. i am a very keen biker and really want to progress in the sport to a high standard but i have fears that hold me back from accomplishing goals, for example if there is a dangerous move i want to do, i just cant seem to convince myself i can do it, when i know i could do the move 99% of the time!
i get really annoyed with myself because of it.
just wondering if you could give me any pointers on how to conquer these moves?
Will - UK (7019)
Sorry for taking so very long to answer you.
It is good that you know a certain move is dangerous, so that you will proceed with caution. Look at a tightrope walker. He knows what he does is dangerous, so he makes sure he prepares thoroughly and is confident in his abilities.
One thing to do is to practice a similar, but easier and safer move. Then slowly work your way up to the difficult. In this way, you are maintaining your confidence as you stretch yourself.
But another part of this is to prepare for the fall. What do you plan to do if you make a mistake? Do you know how to fall and land to minimize injury? Some bikers and skiers practice falling, so that they won't get hurt when it happens.
If you have doubts, it means you are taking a bigger bite than you shold right now. Work you way up slowly and make sure you have a safety net, so that you can do it with confidence.
Best wishes with your move. Let me know how things turn out.
Coach discourages him
May 6, 2005
i am 16 and i play representative soccer and my coach gives me no confidence and i feel like shit after every game. my performace has dropped every week and i get more and more bench time. i have tried talking to him but he doesnt seem interested and all he tells me to do is to get more agressive. last year at my old club i was player of the year and i was full of confidence (i believe this is because i had a different coach). what would be the best thing to do
ryan - australia (6893)
A poor coach can affect the performance of his players. Also, some coaches encourage their players, while others feel that criticism will motivate the player to do better. Finally, there are coaches that like some players personalities better than others.
Since it is easily possible to get a poor coach, you really can't depend on the coach to give you confidence. You have to build up your own confidence. If you get praise from the coach, consider it a bonus.
The best thing to do when you play is to give yourself your own encouragement through the use of self-talk. When you make a good play, say to yourself, "Good play, Ryan." If you make a mistake, tell yourself not to do that again. This will help you focus on your own play in the game. You know you were good before, so analyze what you were doing then that you may not be doing now.
Although it is sometimes difficult to do, give yourself encouragment when you are playing. This will help you get back your confidence. Make some good plays that your fellow teammates will cheer about. That will give you more confidence. Don't let the coach and his negative attitudes drag you down. Try to get along with him, but realize he is not the source of your confidence.
I hope those ideas help you get back in the swing and be the champion you are capabile of being.
Feels bad because of low confidence
April 18, 2005
HI, I seriously need ur help...
I am 14 and I am the most unconfident kid in my school.
A few months ago I felt like I didnt have any point of living anymore...
I used to be such a confident person and I dont know why it has changed.
When I go to school I fear nearly every lesson.
If someone says a joke or I get in trouble I go bright red and look like Im about to cry....
I have bought several self confidence tapes and hypnosis trances but none ofit has worked...
I feel very nervous in certain lessons and it is hard for me to even talk...
I want to end this problem more than anything in the world...
I am not lying but If someone said to me i could have either confidence or 1 million pounds...
I would probably choose the confidence.
If i had confidence I would be so happy inlife...
I am always unconfident when we visit my family.
theres about 10 people there but i even fear sitting at the same table as them...
I have emailed u before about an incident at my school but i need ur help now more than ever...
All these tapes basically just say think confident and u will be confident...
That doesnt work for me as I have tried this on several occassions...
My main problem is getting embarrased and nervous in front of groups(drama etc)
I dont understand how no other people in my class are like me...
and last but not least... This is weird but if i get praised or congratulated I always go red and get embarrased.
So plx could u help me as soon as possible...
From Lewis Jones...
P.S: I luv ur site...(loads of helpful info)
Lewis - U.K (6694)
The first thing to do in trying to get back your confidence is to take a step back to take a look at things and try to get things better.
Being confident means you are sure you are able to something. Often if you are really good at one thing, that confidence can leak over into other areas. Take stock of all your abilities and talents and things you are good at. Everyone has something they are really good at, even if it does not seem too important. It can be a simple as being good at some video game. Realize the things you are good at and feel proud of them and the confidence you feel in such activities.
It seems like you have some fears about looking foolish and that destroys your confidence. It also ruins your esteem or self-worth.
Note that at family gatherings, the older people are always in command. It is tough for a kid to be part of the conversation unless he is a real show-off. Don't let it hurt your confidence. It has nothing to do with you. Most people your age will just sit and listen and wait until they get a chance to get away with their friends.
But in school, you are with others your own age. You want to have confidence in dealing with them, or at least not to be afraid of looking foolish. But don't think that you are the only one. Some of the kids that even seem self-confident in class also have self-doubts. They are just putting up a front.
You can build up your confidence through positive self-talk. Every time you know something or answer a question correctly, say to yourself, "Good job" or something like that. If there is something you don't know or a mistake you make, say, "I'll have to learn that."
If some other kids try to make fun of you, ignore them and even feel bad for them. They are just trying to build themselves up at someone else's expense.
Getting red in the face means you are embarrassed. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Just keep thinking positively about yourself and correcting your mistakes and improving. Your confidence will start building as you realize you can do well in more and more things. Right now youare a future champion. Soon you will be a champion.
Has fear of heights but wants to ski
April 11, 2005
Hiya, I just have a quick question that I would like to ask you regarding heights. I have a great fear of heights, I never realised how great until I went skiing and the fear of the height of the slopes paralysed me, I can not explain in words how terrified I felt. I feel that this fear is completely irrational as it would occur suddenly as I was half way down a slope or once I had fallen over, and suddenly i wouldnt be able to move, it took a lot of will power and encouragement to get down some of the slopes!!!
Apart from this fear I did enjoy some of the skiing enormously, so it is important to me that I overcome this fear and so far no-one has been able to help me so I hope that you may be able to and especially as next year, in my gap year, I will be living in Switzland and I do not want to waste the oppertuanity to ski reguarly.
Jenny - UK (6625)
Some ski slopes are so high and steep that they can put fear into most people. Obviously, there is a danger of getting injured, but sometimes the fear can be irrational too.
The best way to overcome the fear is to go a little at a time to build up your confidence. Pick a slope that is easy, where you have no fear. Congratulate yourself on skiiing down that slope. Now pick one that is just on the edge of getting your fearful. Ski that one and congratulate yourself. Continue working your way up, always pushing the limit where you are slightly fearful but not too much that you freeze up.
You don't want to go to Switzerland and not be prapared. Working your way up not only gives you confidence but it also improves your skill level. Also, be sure to know how to fall if you do lose your balance. Knowing what to expect will also reduce the fear.
I hope these ideas help. It is tough to overcome a fear, but a little at a time can help. Have fun skiing.
Looking for esteem in high school girls
March 30, 2005
my name is carolina vargas and im a jr at ontario high school. im looking for some information for a research project that im doing. im am doing it on girls and low self esteem and how society plays a role in it! but im planing on getting some interviews and im not quiet sure how to go about it and what to ask! im really intrested in this topic and want to be abloe to help some girl with there issues but im not really finding what i need. so if u have any ideas they would be highly appricated !
thanks you , carolina vargas
carolina - USA (6490)
Girls get low esteem from three places. One is if their family is over-critical, such that she is always put down. A second place would be in school if teachers and other kids tease or criticize her. Finally, if she is a perfectionist and often criticizes herself. Also, she may compare herself with TV stars or singers and feel she just isn't as good looking, talented or such.
No one wants to admit they have low self-esteem. But everyone has doubts about themselves. Ask girls you know if others pick on them and how they rate themselves compared to everyone else. Ask how they feel when someone teases them. How do they feel about the clothes they can afford, compared to what some of the others wear?
Girls also have image problems about their weight and shape. Note that this is a big area where TV and society creates the image of the "ideal girl" that is not realistic. Ask for some opinions on that.
I hope these ideas help. Best wishes in your project.
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