By Frosty Wooldridge

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this trauma. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

During high school, if you remember, the “king pin” students grabbed all the sports trophies, Honor Society accolades and student government offices. The beautiful coeds dated the good-looking guys and the captain of the football team courted the prettiest girl on the cheerleading squad. Popular students walked with confidence, poise and buoyancy.

Those students seemed to be born with self-assurance. Handsome guys drove the coolest cars. Pretty girls dressed in the latest styles.

They comprised 20 percent of the student body. The rest of us, 80 percent, attended class, studied hard and rarely gathered the nerve to ask a girl for a dance. Of course, girls never asked guys to a movie. At school dances, we feared for our lives because most of us couldn’t dance. Our inability to engage stemmed from “insecurity.”

“It's not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, insecurity, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.”
― Stephen Fry, Moab Is My Washpot

In the end, most of us live average lives because of our inability to feel assurance and act confidently. We lack confidence to speak up when we see a “wrong” being committed. We fail to stand up when a bully takes advantage of another person. We shrink into the shadows during political controversy. A friend may take advantage of us, but we fail to stand our ground. We fear stepping into the grand adventure of travel for fear of the unknown.

Insecurity threatens anyone’s sense empowerment in social situations. I remember my fear of asking a girl to dance. I stood like a wall flower until an outgoing girl named Joan stepped up to me, “You wanna’ dance?”

“Oh, maybe during the next slow dance,” I said.

“Forget that excuse,” said Joan, pulling me toward the dance floor.

From that point on, I learned to dance because dancing blazed deep into my soul. If not for Joan, I might still be standing along the wall drinking a soda pop.

If you don’t meet a “Joan” who drags you out of your insecurity in life, how do you gain confidence in yourself and your ability to walk confidently in this world?

Building your self-confidence from the ground up:

• Walk tall, shoulders back and dress well. People think of you first by how you look and second by how you speak. When you dress well and speak well, you gain confidence in yourself and from anyone you meet.

• When you meet someone, give a firm handshake and look him or her in the eyes.

• Imitate someone you admire in actions, dress and education.

• Always render your speaking with positive energy, positive thoughts and positive responses. Avoid thinking negative thoughts or negative words.

• When you see someone who dresses well or looks fit, make a positive comment on a woman’s beautiful dress or bracelet. Compliment a guy on his wristwatch or his well-tailored suit.

• Think big, dream bigger and take action toward your chosen destiny. Little people think small, dream smaller and stumble through life without a plan. You change that fate by your thoughts, words and deeds. It gets simpler with each success.

• If you fall, fall forward. If you fail, learn from it, pick yourself up and try again.

• For anything in life, whether it is a race, art show, relationship or dance contest; you must prepare by learning each day. You must train your mind and body with repetition. You must move into your passions with mind, body and spiritual energy.

As you can see, you enjoy choices. By incorporating the aforementioned techniques, you move through fear and insecurity into the brilliance of living a confident life. Watch out for a “Joan” pulling you onto the dance floor of life. She will be surprised and delighted that you lead her through a waltz, cha cha, salsa or swing. The same goes for you ladies when a man asks you for a dance. It’s the dance of life.

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Author's Bio: 

Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and nine times across the United States in the past 35 years. He has written hundreds of articles (regularly) for 17 national and two international magazines. He has had hundreds of guest editorials published in top national newspapers including the Denver Post, Albany Herald, Las Vegas Tribune and Daily Camera. He wrote a column, "CRYSTAL DESERT CONTINENT," for a major newspaper in Colorado while he lived in Antarctica.

His books include, Handbook for Touring Bicyclists; Strike Three! Take Your Base; Bicycling Around the World; Motorcycle Adventure to Alaska: Into the Wind—A Teen Novel; An Extreme Encounter: Antarctica; Bicycling the Continental Divide: Slice of Heaven, Taste of Hell; Immigration’s Unarmed Invasion: Deadly Consequences; America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans; Losing Your Best Friend: Vacancies of the Heart. How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World; How to Deal with 21st Century American Women: Co-creating a successful relationship. Reach him: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com