(photo: gdgearth)

This is a long and intense chapter, reflecting its importance in the Winjitsu system of success. COMPETENCE is the outward and visible evidence that will help you achieve an inner feeling of Confidence. If you know that you are competent, you will reflect an image of self-confidence and inspire others to believe in you as well.

We have all heard the word “confident.” It is a great attribute that exemplifies the traits women find attractive and men are envious of.

It is that unshakeable belief in one’s self. If I were to offer you a one-word solution for success in the arena of life, one weapon to take with you to battle your fears, it would have to be “confidence,” or more specifically, “self-confidence.” There are three other words that lay the foundation for confidence:

  • Trust
  • Faith
  • Belief

Although trust, faith, and belief might be synonyms of each other, they could mean something different to each of us.

Do you trust yourself?

Do you have faith in yourself?

Do you believe in yourself?

Which one of these rings true to you? Improve any of these three areas and you will in turn, build your self-confidence.

Self-confidence is having trust or faith in oneself, the belief that you are capable. It does not mean cockiness or arrogance, which are traits of someone who merely gives the false appearance of confidence, but lacks the core traits of true self-confidence. A self-confident person does not need to preen or boast; they know who they are and what they are capable of.

If you trust in your skills as a teacher, then you will probably be confident in the classroom. If you have faith in your abilities as a martial artist, then you will probably be confident when demonstrating your skills in a training hall. With a high level of self-confidence you are far more likely to:

  • Take risks
  • Deal with fears realistically
  • Stand up for what you believe in
  • Have the courage to survive

You also could have varying levels of confidence depending on your environment and any situation you may be in. On a scale of 1-10 how might you judge your level of confidence (the feeling that you are capable) in the following environments:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 With your friends

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 With strangers

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 In the office

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 In front of an audience

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 With your mind

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 With your body

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 With your level of success

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 In a group of peers

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 On your own

The odds are that you will not have the same score for every situation. Your lack of confidence stems most likely from the way you were taught to respond to situations. And who taught you these responses? More than likely you learned from your family and friends while you were growing up. If your mother became hysterical during a thunder storm, chances are you have an ingrained fear yourself. Your fear could also be linked to the result of a past failure, but none of these must remain obstacles to your success.

Refer back to the Fear Killer List (on page 164), as the same strategies apply for building confidence. Fear kills confidence. Anything that leads to self-doubt will lead you to a lack of confidence. So naturally, we want to remove issues of self-doubt while adding issues of self-capability (confidence).

Doubt = “No” to confidence

Belief = “Yes” to confidence

Can you have too much confidence? Not really, but you could have false confidence, which is often referred to as being overconfident. False confidence is believing you are capable in spite of the evidence that shows otherwise. A person that is noisy, hasty, or irresponsible could be suffering from false confidence. Being overconfident can be dangerous. When a person is being overconfident, he or she fails to act intuitively and they don’t contemplate the various outcomes of their actions. An “excited idiot” is very often a person that exudes what appears to be a lot of confidence, but very little evidence to back it up. A false sense of self-confidence is synonymous with the acts of being loud, brash, or reckless. False confidence is more along the lines of someone that does the following:

  • Plays the martyr
  • Takes thrill-based risks
  • Deals with fears unrealistically
  • Stands up for others in order to appear confident
  • Crosses the line between bravery and stupidity

Self-confidence is not ignorance, but is based in knowledge. A confident person will not blow things out of proportion, nor will they ignore the negative facts of the situation. A self-confident response would be to simply give each area its due respect and act intelligently. A truly confident person will know their limitations and assess situations realistically. I know I can jump from one building to another (having trained for it and done it), but it does not mean that I can fly.

A confident person keeps the balance between preparing for the worst and expecting the best.

So what can we do to build self-confidence? Well, just as we learn to defend against a knife by discovering its strengths and weaknesses, we need to learn more about the enemy of self-confidence. And what is this enemy? It is self-doubt, with emphasis on the “self.”

And so the enemy is us. We are the self of self-doubt as much as we are the self of self-confidence. We are our own best friend or worst enemy. Self-doubt often comes from negative self-talk. We all have this little voice in our heads responsible for playing the role of our negative self-image. It is the critic with more than enough criticism stored away to battle a positive self-image each and every day. The winner determines whether or not we have self-confidence and our level of confidence at any given time. So naturally, if you improve your self-image and give it the weapons needed to fend off the negative self, you improve your self-confidence and quiet that inner critic.

For the most part, dealing with the opposites of self-doubt and adding them to our daily programming is a solid solution. But simply adding in these ingredients is not enough. We have to keep self-doubt from constantly blocking our efforts to improve the self-image. Imagine if you wanted to sit down and draw a picture of yourself as a happy, healthy, and successful individual. Your Negative Self will start sharing the second you put the brush to the canvas. “You can’t draw a smile,” it says. “We are not happy and let me tell you why.” Your Negative Self has to battle with your positive self each and every time you attempt to draw a better picture. Each one is fighting for either a negative image or a positive image. We have to learn to tell the negative critic to “stuff a sock in it.”

To do this you need to simply respond specifically when you catch the critic in the act of promoting self-doubt. When we do that, we can replace it with confidence-building, positive actions.

Confidence is based on capability, so it is realistic to say that we all have some level of confidence in our abilities. Without this confidence, we wouldn’t be able to take a bath without a fear of drowning or drive to work without the fear of being run off the road. So however minimalistic it is, we all have some level of confidence. We just need to build on that level and continue becoming more and more confident.

I break confidence into three areas in order to help remember the main points as well as to understand how to improve our confidence.

  1. Confidence – Con
  2. Confidence – Confide
  3. ConfidenceDense


You may have heard, “fake it until you make it.” This is a quote that generally says. if you act it, you will eventually become what you are acting. This is a strategy that most use, but few are able to perfect. Why? Because if you rely purely on the acting, it isn’t enough. You can act like a Ninja, but if you are not training to be a Ninja, it certainly is going to be a challenge when you are faced with a real situation requiring Ninja skills. So, what you are really doing is pretending to be something in order to assist you with the art of achieving something; sort of like wearing a costume. We say, “con” because you may con yourself into believing you have real self-confidence, or you might con someone else into believing you’re a Ninja. This can be seen in the moment as self-confidence. A quick clap of the hands, or a beating of the chest before you run off to battle your foes. You tell yourself something and for that moment, it gives you enough self-confidence to take action.

It is also the idea that if you act like a tiger, you will develop the attitude of a tiger. In the film Rocky, the boxing hero played by Sylvester Stallone, needed that “Eye of the Tiger” to defeat his opponents. So although you might be pretending to be something you are not, it can create the feelings and state of mind needed to succeed. If you pretend long enough, you might actually adapt to this new behavior. But if you don’t learn to walk the talk, you are only conning yourself. Rocky Balboa donned the ferocious and intimidating “Eye of the Tiger” but he had the boxing skills and physicality to back it up.

Another benefit of “faking it until you make it” is that the world around you may very well believe that you are the character you are playing. So it will attract the people, ideas, and opportunities necessary to support this role. This process of drawing in what we focus on is called, “the law of attraction.” The trick behind pulling a con on yourself is to simply do everything you can to act out the part.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty

One of the biggest tools an actor has is his voice. If he is to pull off a character, he will most certainly have to master his tongue. How we speak and what we say will determine if we are going to win any awards for our performance. It will do you no good to act like a lion but meow like a kitten.

This brings us to the second part of CON, which is the “con” of conversation. The conversations I am talking about are with yourself and very often, your negative self; that pesky little inner critic.

For example, you might adapt the attitude of being a very successful and financially stable entrepreneur, even though you are up to your eyeballs in debt. As soon as you put on the act of being confidently wealthy, your negative self-image will have something to say and it might go a little something like this:

End this foolish behavior right now. You cannot be gallivanting around acting as if you own half of Manhattan. You know very well we have loans, debts, and taxes to pay. Don’t you feel guilty that you owe money on five credit cards? Who gives you the right to pretend to be financially free? I demand you put an end to this false character at once.”

Now you could simply ignore your Negative Self and do your best to maintain the new image in hopes that your backseat driver will go away. Odds are that it won’t. Why not? Because it is there talking in the first place. If your negative self-image is not casting doubt, then by all means move forward in earnest. But if not, then it will be Ernest goes to jail, and you will be faced with the judge to answer for your actions. So, put on your best suit and represent yourself by simply having a conversation that supports your actions. It might go something like this:

Dear judge and negative self-image acting as my prosecutor: I have something to say. I would like to review all of the doubts presented against me and respond with my own beliefs that will prove that these doubts are not reason enough to cease my behavior and my actions deserve reconsideration.” You pause then continue:

Yes, I agree that we are in debt, and I am not attempting to ignore the facts by pretending they do not exist. I am, however, acting positively in spite of these challenges in order to have the courage to face my fears and deal with these issues head on. So in fact, my actions are in direct relation to solving the problems and doubts that are listed against me. If you will look at the evidence submitted, I have recently studied the numerous books in the field of success, confidence, and wealth, which suggest that my actions are in direct correlation with those who have succeeded before me using similar techniques. My research also suggests that doing nothing or falling prey to my doubts and worrying about debts will offer little or no remedy. I also have witnesses that include family, friends, and co-workers to share that my actions are benefiting my life. I may not be Superman, but the idea of wearing a mental cape certainly gives me the courage to improve, and if you judge based on results, I am sure you will see that this is indeed a solid attempt at solving all of the problems in an effective manner.”

Now your conversation certainly does not need to be this long. Really all you need to do is the same thing you would do in any conversation that included more than one person. You would validate their issues and demonstrate that you are hearing them correctly. Validate and demonstrate.

So, if you tell me that what I said about your choice in clothing has hurt your feelings, then I need to apologize for my actions (validate) and admit that I may have been out of line. I can then go on to express that I understand what has been said by repeating it back to you, which demonstrates I am clear. Although this can seem like you are mocking a person, it goes a bit like this:


I am not happy with what you said about my clothes.”


So what you are saying is that you are unhappy with what I said about your clothes?”

You will need to be more creative and repeat your friend’s complaint without sounding like you are mocking him/her. But you get my meaning.


I realize you are not happy with the voicing of MY opinion and I now understand how this has made you feel.”

Validation means that you do your best to acknowledge and accept that what the other person (even negative self-doubt) is saying is real to them. It may not be real to you, but it is real to them. Then simply express that you understand through a play back of the talk to show that you are a great listener.

Note that once you Validate and Demonstrate, you must then offer a solution that allows you to continue with your desired goals. So getting back to “faking it until you make it,” if you put on a cape and are pretending to be Superman, then you better have a good reason for doing so. Otherwise the judge and prosecutor will think you are nuts and toss you away to fly around in a cloud-filled box.

So when you are playing the con and forced to converse – have a serious conversation – with your negative self-image, remember the following points:

  • Validate the challenges
  • Demonstrate your understanding
  • Reason for your decisions
  • Support for your decisions

When I was young, I didn’t have the advantage of books on success or the Yellow Pages for what to do in an entrepreneurial crisis. So, much of the way I acted was built in and then later learned from what I experienced through my love of the martial arts. There are many books and audio tapes out there now, however, claiming that you must do this, that, or the other thing to succeed. As with all things, let the rule of ‘buyer beware’ be uppermost in your mind. I believe, though, in the effectiveness of many of those strategies and looking back at my life I can see that I applied many of them naturally, without the help of a book or audio tape program, at least not until later in life. This information was being built in through the martial arts, however, it was the same information. And if you read this book and a year later you respond positively without it at your side, then you will know what I am talking about. It isn’t enough to just have an idea and the attitude of fix-me-quick. You need to take action yourself; positive thinking is not enough. You need to believe strongly in what you are doing or your negative self-image will ensure that your new positive strategy will be short lived.

Regardless of your goal or plan of action, your Negative Self will always have something to say. Imagine, if you will, that every time you set a new goal a Mental Demon steps into your path, demanding you to step back. He’s pretty frightening, but you must not let him prevent you from continuing down your pathway toward success. This Mental Demon is why we often do not fulfill our goals or complete our New Year’s resolutions. We jog for a week then give up and wait until summer when we decide we want to fit into a tiny bathing suit and look awesome on the beach before we pick it up again.

You need to develop some Mental Martial Art skills to get past these Mental Demons.

I have spent a lot of time on this section because it is an area we can tend to skip. I mean, who wants to spend time talking to themselves and trying to convince themselves of the What, When, Where, Who and Why of their actions? We have very little time as it is. To quote W. L. Bateman, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten.”

Whatever it is you are deciding to do with your life, you will need to have a serious conversation with yourself in order to stand up to your Negative Self-Image. And if that doesn’t work, you can kick him where it hurts and get him out of your way. Show your internal judge and critic that you mean business.


The second area of confidence comes into play when you confide in others and seek their support. This can certainly help you to build your self-confidence, but again it is only one small part and only effective if those you confide in are truly supportive and ready to assist you in building your Self-Image.

When I was just 17 years old I took over one of the martial arts schools where I was a student. The instructor had suddenly quit, removed all of the training equipment, and disappeared. I was already an assistant, so I took action, stepped up, and did what I thought was best.

That very day I went home and got all of my equipment and replaced the bare cache of weapons with swords, knives, bows, sticks, and a plethora of other martial arts weapons. I also brought what bags and other training gear I had so that when class started that evening it would appear as if nothing had changed. I did this for a few weeks before the owner returned to hear the surprising news that things had gone on in spite of his disappearance.

He expressed his regret to the students and said he would do his best to find a permanent replacement as soon as possible. But the students simply said, “Thanks, but that’s not necessary. We are very happy with Mr. Tew.” And so, thanks to the support of the students, I took on the responsibility of running the school from that point on. I was gratified that my efforts had been rewarded with their loyalty, and redoubled my efforts to train them to the best of my ability.

But it wasn’t without a quick conversation with my Negative Self once I realized the weight of such a responsibility. He made his presence known, loud and clear.

Hold on, Rick. You can’t be running a business, much less be responsible for others in a setting that can be very dangerous. Leave this to a more experienced Black Belt who is older. For goodness sake, you can’t even teach unless there is an 18-year-old present. Besides, the owner said he can’t pay you, and you will have to work for free until he can. You are only 17.”

Looking back, a conversation that played in my head would have gone something like this:

I agree that I have little to no experience running a business, and I am rather young for this responsibility. However, I have had no problems handling sales and I know the pitch inside and out. I also have more than two years experience and I am ahead of my game in comparison to the other Black Belts. I didn’t get the fastest orange belt and end up on TV at age 15 for doing nothing. In fact, judging by my actions and teaching ability, I am the most qualified here and most important, it was the students who suggested that I teach; they have a lot of faith in me, many of whom I signed up.” Take that, Negative Self Image! And so the Mental Demon shrunk down, allowing me to pursue my goals for the school without further interference.

I continued as planned, but there were times when I had to question my strategy. At one point I sat down with one of my students, a professional golfer who was no stranger to signing million dollar checks. We were talking about classes and my role in taking over the school. I asked if he felt it was a problem with me being only 17 years old. I have never forgotten what he said to me:

It is only a problem, if you make it a problem.”

From that moment on, I did not make it a problem, but turned my youth into an inspirational aspect for my students. I also didn’t let that Negative Self get another word in edgewise.


The third and most important area of confidence is to have a solid and impenetrable positive self-image, or dense, thick defense. This is built from the above examples and the following steps in building self-confidence. Your ultimate goal is to stabilize self-confidence; the idea of bringing all three of the above principles together into one whole unit: confidence. When you have combined excellence in self-confidence, it will not be reliant on unpredictable conditions or circumstances. Conditions throughout life will change; your confidence in yourself must not. A Constant supply of Confidence is the goal.

“Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”

– S. Willard Molton

Resistance Builds Strength

You build your confidence with a history of training, one technique, one step, one brick at a time. Solid input day in and day out will add up as investments into your confidence bank. Every time you overcome a challenge or defeat your negative self-image you are making a deposit. If you want to walk and feel like a million bucks, you need to make these deposits each and every day until you have enough funds to keep negative self-doubt out of reach. Just as you can make deposits with your positive self-image, your negative self-image can make withdrawals. You already know that if we do not keep self-doubt out of our knowledge banks that it will spell confidence bankruptcy.

With all repetition aside, you need to find a way to continue to make deposits each and every day. I have devised a strategy to help you do this, and I teach that in “Winjitsu Book 5 – CMT” with the use of Personal Achievement Maps.

Another way you can do this is to catch yourself when you feel that self-doubt is trying to make a withdrawal. It becomes a race between the positive and the negative self-images to the ATM. Whoever gets there first, determines whether you win or lose.

It will be a test of time and the best thing you can do is to come up with strategies to keep yourself on track with consistent action. Start by constantly visualizing your success and maintaining the concepts taught in this book. Do your best to make deposits into your bank of positive self-confidence, as they will support you during lean times.

It is said that you can judge a person’s future success by what they are NOT willing to do. There will be roadblocks in your life that will force you to stop, turn back, or deal with the issue head on. Fear is inevitably part of these road blocks. Fear will be there every step of the way to try and show you what you are not willing to do.

When you are faced with a point in your life where you seem to have given up, ask yourself what it was that you were not willing to do. You feel that your self-confidence bank account has a low balance. Simply ask yourself what you are (or were) not willing to do to succeed?

At first, you will state that you will do everything possible to succeed. But as time passes, and if you are honest and persistent, you will see more of what I am talking about. For example, you might not be willing to try something more than once. And if you try it twice and it fails, you might not be willing to try it again for a third time. Maybe you are not willing to work 9 to 5, sleep outside, or live in a car. Maybe you are not willing to promote your work, market your skills, or share your ideas with others. When you set a goal, something in our lives will come up to try to stop you. You will then use this as an excuse and share it with the outside world–which will be happy to hear it as they may not have wanted you to succeed anyway. The point is, there will always be road blocks, but you must be willing to figure out ways around them or over them to succeed.

This is why the Winjitsu logo is a giant W that actually represents your path in life. Look at it again, it is weaving around obstacles.

When I was 16, I left high school with the goal of being a martial arts instructor. My friends and family naturally thought I was crazy. As with most of my major life changes, I wasn’t running away from anything, but instead moving toward a more rewarding goal. I chose to focus on my own passions. Although leaving high school didn’t leave me with many pats on the back, it did free up my time and boost my energy so I could focus on the things I really wanted to do. High school felt like a ball and chain, slowing me down and keeping me from my potential. This is definitely not a path I would recommend for everyone, but it was the right path for me.

Although I didn’t believe in using a piece of paper or diploma to prove anything to anybody, I took the high school equivalency exam at the request of my parents and got my diploma. It is still in its original envelop and has never been used. But this small act added a lot of density to my self-confidence and helped gain more support from my family.

One of the possibly worst decisions of my life turned out to be one of the best choices I ever made. Having proven that I could succeed without the help of a diploma has helped me to lay a foundation of confidence I have relied on for all of my life. It was a huge deposit into my account.

The bigger the experience, the bigger that deposit will be. Martial artists are part of that industry that isn’t likely to be able to command a good income. But my choices and experiences have led me to an very fruitful and wealthy lifestyle, and the education I received in school can account for very little of what I believe I have and can continue to achieve.

Rich Man, Poor Man

I have had rich days and I have had poor days, but with a solid confidence in my ability to bounce back, I know that it is only a matter of time before I rise again when those poor days come along. I knew even at a young age that I didn’t want to be reliant on a diploma or the beliefs of others. I wanted a job based on my own skills, that was rewarding on many levels, not just monetarily.

I could have stuck it out in school, and although I had to suffer the slings and arrows of my decisions, I still chose the pathway that was right for me. We all have to make these choices in life. For one person it might be to leave school to join the military and fight in a war. For another it will be to maintain a course in academics and finalize that goal of being a teacher and changing the education system. We each have our own life to lead and our own contributions to make to the world. And every step you take will add or deduct from your confidence bank.

Winjitsu Work Out

Make a list of the things that you are willing to do to succeed, and then make a list of things you are not willing to do. Which list is longer?

Reflect upon those things you are not willing to do, and ask yourself why they are off limits to you. Are they principled positions, or excuses to avoid taking action?

Practice conversing with your inner Negative Self, and develop arguments that will silence him.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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