“Set small goals that stretch you a bit but are achievable.” – Author Ian Robertson talks about ‘How Confidence Works’

“An enhancer believes you can do it and communicates that belief. A saboteur fears you will fail…”

WHAT: “Why do boys instinctively talk bull more than girls? How do economic recessions shape a generation’s confidence? Can we have too much confidence and, if so, what are the consequences? Imagine we could discover something that could make us richer, healthier, longer-living, smarter, kinder, happier, more motivated and more innovative.

Ridiculous, you might say… What is this elixir? Confidence. If you have confidence, it can empower you to reach heights you never thought possible. But if you don’t, it can have a devastating effect on your future. Confidence lies at the core of what makes things happen.”

WHO: “Ian Robertson is Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute (Trinity College Dublin and University of California at San Francisco) and T Boone Pickens Distinguished Professor at the Centre for BrainHealth at University of Texas at Dallas. A trained clinical psychologist as well as a neuroscientist, he is internationally renowned for his research on neuropsychology.

He has written five books and numerous newspaper and magazine articles and comment pieces in the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Irish Times, Time magazine and New York magazine, amongst others. He has appeared on BBC Radio and featured in several major television documentaries. He is a regular speaker at major futurology and business conferences in Europe, the USA and Asia.”

MORE? Here!

Why How Confidence Works?

Because confidence is the most precious resource a person can have – and it is therefore important to understand how it works.

What is anxiety and is there an alternative?

Anxiety is an essential emotion to get us to take action when we are under threat. The problem arises when our brain’s ability to project into the future extends and expands that sense of threat to lead to excessive or long-lasting anxiety. We need to learn to control our attention so as to control that sense of threat. Methods such as mindfulness can be useful for this, among others.

As there differences in how men and women experience anxiety?

Not really, but women are on average less over-confident than men and confidence is one of the most powerful antidotes to anxiety.

What has Padraig Harrington golf caddy got to tell us about confidence?

The words you say to yourself – particularly after failure – are crucial. These words help focus our attention on the next small goal and take our minds away from the what-ifs and potential bad things in the future that make us anxious and so disrupt our performance, creating a vicious cycle.

What’s the most important thing everyone needs to remember about confidence?

Set small goals that stretch you a bit but are achievable. Build on small successes that you define as success, not in comparison with other people. Congratulate yourself when you achieve them. Focus your attention on these small goals and not on big future achievements or risks.

What’s the difference between a confidence enhancer and a confidence sabateur, and is there a way to spot them while speed dating?

An enhancer believes you can do it and communicates that belief. A saboteur fears you will fail – or in some cases, maybe unconsciously or consciously wants you to fail to make them feel better.

I’m thinking about climbing a mountain. When I imagine my assent, what should I be doing to help me get to the top?

Talk yourself up – “I can do this’ – “push through this” …

What does it mean when a parent hides the ladder?

Most success is 90% luck, grit and persistence but too many successful people come to believe that their success is a result of some specialness in them. Their children pick this up and believe that they can’t succeed because they don’t have that specialness.

I’ve got daughters – an 8 year auld, a 5 year auld, and a 1 and some spare change year auld – what do I need to read next to better understand the road ahead?

When they are older get them to follow The Female Lead on social media.

What re you currently working on?

I’m working on a book on virtue.